One thing I love about the internet is how easy it is to find new artists and comics through existing connections. I came across Pictures in Boxes through a friend and was immediately drawn to the awesome Lego humor. I had played with Legos growing up, but don’t recall ever pretending to make the Lego men think such hilarious thoughts!
Created by Davie, a talented artist and game connoisseur, Pictures in Boxes is a webcomic that features many games, toys, and food. Searching through the Pictures in Boxes archives makes you feel nostalgic for your childhood as you see some of the characters who have helped shape your existence come to life through 2D panels.
Unfortunately, Davie is extremely busy so is unable to update these comics as often as we all would like. Knowing that each one is going to be great, I highly recommend following this excellent webcomic so you don’t miss the coveted updates.
Interview with Pictures in Boxes creator:
Q. Have you always been an artist and/or what got you into drawing comics?
A. Well no, I haven’t always been an artist. It wasn’t until my final year of my undergraduate degree that I picked up a pencil and began drawing. I used it as a form of stress relief while writing my thesis and studying for my exams. I felt it that it was a better alternative to the routine I had gotten myself into anytime I took a break from study. Before that I would just throw myself in front of the television and try to zone out for an hour. It kept my brain active and helped relieve a lot of stress. I turned to comics because I had always had a huge interest in them since childhood, beginning with Calvin and Hobbes and continuing up to the present day. I had always wanted to see my strips in a printed newspaper. It’s something that I would still love to see in the future.
Q. What inspired you to begin Pictures in Boxes as a regular webcomic?
A. When I began drawing out strips on paper during college I realized that I really enjoyed the whole process. I began toying with the idea that I could potentially develop something that could one day appear in newspapers next to Calvin and Hobbes and Pearls before Swine. I originally had a desire to build an audience and develop somewhat of a reputation and then submit an idea to Universal Uclick so I set out and began developing strips with that goal I mind. It wasn’t until PIB had been running for awhile that I began to drift away from that goal when realized that I didn’t matter whether or not I ended up in newspapers, I was just really enjoying the experience.
Q. Your layout is primarily within 4-6 boxes. Has this layout helped guide your humor or have you had to train yourself to think in 4-6 stages?
A. My preference is definitely a 4 panel comic strip. It’s just a style that I began with and I find it quite a comfortable boundary to work within. I am definitely going to try and expand outwards though because sometimes I try to squeeze too much into the 4 panels when the joke would probably work better with 6 or 8. It can be a disadvantage sometimes and definitely something that I shouldn’t be so stubborn about.
Q. Your Lego comics really crack me up. What inspired you to view the world of Legos through this hilarious perspective?
A. Lego has been something that has been with me my entire life. I can’t overestimate how significant it was to me as a child growing up. It was something that I really connected with (no pun intended) and has continued to be a major driving force in my work. I played with Lego as a kid, I played the Lego games on the Nintendo in my teens and now in my twenties I’m waiting patiently for the Lego Movie to come out on DVD. Everything is awesome.
Q. That said, in being a huge Legos fan, did you feel the Lego Movie really nailed Lego-animated humor?
A. I was skeptical when I heard that it was being released but after seeing the film in the cinema, I genuinely believe that it is one of the greatest films I have ever seen.
Q. Besides Legos, you often feature comics about superheroes, food, and gaming, changing the inanimate into animated objects with creative backstories. What inspired this depth of character building?
A. This has always been the style that I have enjoyed. I always loved the fantastical element that comics are capable of providing and I find this approach more interesting and less constricting. I have definitely been heavily influenced by games such as Super Mario Brothers and the Legend of Zelda. The direction that games like these have taken is something that I have tried to replicate in my work.
Q. It’s been less than one year since you started Pictures in Boxes. What have been your largest hurdles so far? How about your biggest successes?
A. In terms of my biggest success so far, it would definitely have to be my Rubik’s cube comic. The attention I have received because of that strip far outweighs anything else that I have done. I have had so much help from people of the last few months and if it weren’t for their support, then I’d definitely still be hiding in obscurity somewhere. People like Tzu-Ting Lin from Funny Story, Christian from Tastefully Offensive, Mallory from Insanely Gaming, Dan Walsh from Garfield Minus Garfield and countless others who I’m terribly sorry for not including here have seriously helped to promote my comic over the last few months. Although a seriously big thank you is needed for everyone who has helped in any way or who just simply reads my comic in any way shape or form.
I haven’t really had to face too many hurdles. I have been quite lucky to receive a lot of wonderfully positive feedback. I suppose the biggest problem I have faced is where I have an idea for a comic and I begin to draw it out but no matter how hard I try I am just not able to have it turn out the way I like. I have had to abandon countless strips for various reasons relating to my abilities. I must have a folder on my desktop with more half drawn strips and attempted jokes than anyone else out there.
Q. Your “Internet” comic about how artists names are often removed from their work is so sadly true. What is your advice for dealing with copyright theft on the internet?
A. I have noticed recently that people on the internet are becoming increasingly aware of this theft and are great at calling the offenders out when it happens. I have seen my name removed from my strips on so many occasions but people will always generally give the source in the comments. I usually get messages from people telling me where they have spotted my comics without the watermark which is fantastic. I have no problem with people using my work in any way they wish but to deliberately just rip off the source is pretty shitty.
Q. Maintaining a regular webcomic takes a lot of time. Besides staying on schedule for your die-hard fans, what is one of your main driving forces that helps keep Pictures in Boxes going?
A. It’s been very tough. Making webcomics is very time consuming. I find it very difficult to work it into my daily life. I am only really able to churn out one comic every two weeks lately because my schedule does not allow anymore. I have also taken on several projects on account of Pictures In Boxes although in hindsight I shouldn’t have accepted so many. I take a long time to create a strip and I usually have to spread one over the course of several days. I am quite far behind on a lot of deadlines so I think in the future I am definitely going to have to take on less work before I start really annoying a lot of people. The main thing that keeps me going is the enjoyment I get from drawing. I mostly do it for myself and the feeling it gives me. It is fantastic that I have received so many nice messages from people telling me they enjoyed my work and that my anxiety comics have helped when they needed it so there is definitely a lot of reasons that allow me to continue.
Q. What are some of your favorite comics that best sum up Pictures in Boxes?
These are to name but a few but they are some of the ones I enjoy the most and that I had the most fun creating.
Q. What are some upcoming goals or plans you have for Pictures in Boxes?
A. I have no immediate plans although I would like to release a book at some stage over the next year and possibly work on a few zines. I would love to work on animations at some point in the future although that would probably be a bit down the line. I am always looking for guest art and strips from people so I would love to have more of them appear on the site if people would be interested.
Q. Who have been your biggest comic influences and why?
A. I have been so heavily influenced by so many amazing strips that I find it hard to narrow it down into a short list. There are so many webcomics I could mention but I won’t because I would be here all day. I just say that Calvin and Hobbes, Simons Cat, Garfield minus Garfield and Peanuts were the ones that initially kicked started my career in comics. These are all classic strips/animations that I believe should be mandatory reading/viewing for anyone looking to start their own comic.
Q. What is one piece of advice you wish you had received upon starting Pictures in Boxes that would have helped you as a comic artist?
A. It sounds like such generic advice but don’t get too stressed about what people think. Do it all for yourself and most importantly just have fun. When you start getting stressed and begin tailoring your comic to what you think other people would enjoy even though it may be counter to your original vision then that’s when things begin to go wrong. Do what you enjoy doing and then everything else will fall into place.
Q. Anything else you want to add?
A. I just want to say a big thank you to you Sara and to everyone who has been reading over the last six months. It really means a lot and I am so happy that people are enjoying my comics. If anyone would ever like to get in touch then just contact me over any of my social media platforms or just straight up email me. I have been quite busy lately but I always write back and I know that there is still several people I have to reply to and I am so sorry I have not done it sooner but I am going to make a conscious effort and allocate more time to do so.