Join the Lab Mice facebook group.
Click here for the Lab Mice deviantArt archive (previous to 2013).
Click here for comics-only reading on Ash & Acorn–or, visit the home page.
Lab Mice Comic Books:
>Does Anyone Have a Water Balloon?!? (2010) (not in print)
>Standing on the Edge of Real Life (2011) (next printing TBA)
>Ypres! A Mouse! Lab Mice goes to Belgium (COMING SOON–TBA)
>Leaping Before You Look/Title TBA (work-in-progress)
Why don’t the Mice have eyes?
This is, understandably, one of the questions I get asked most. When I started drawing my little mouse characters, they were just quick little doodles. I found that trying to get the right expression in the eyes was difficult and time consuming (yes, even for cartoon mice it’s hard). So I decided to leave them off altogether, and focus on creating expression in other ways–by using the arms, the mouth, the eyebrows, etc. It worked (somewhat to my surprise) and it was a challenge–and it made them that much more unique. I’ve started drawing them with eyes more often now, when really exaggerated expression is required, and I think that works well, too.
How did Lab Mice get started?
You really want to know? Okay. Buckle up, it’s a longish story….
Lab Mice really owes its existence to my tenth-grade biology teacher, Mr. Rogan. Every class period he gave us short “bell-ringer” review quizzes to complete at the beginning of class. I usually got to class early, so after finishing my quiz I started doodling idly on the bottom of the paper. I handed in the quiz with the doodle–a teeny-tiny mouse interacting with a startled elephant–not knowing what he would think. I must be the only student who hasn’t gotten in trouble for drawing on her schoolwork. I kept adding a new drawing every day (the mouse ended up being squished by the elephant, and returning in a body cast to receive an apology). My teacher thought that the little cartoons were great and wouldn’t start class until he had looked at my newest drawing. Talk about encouragement! I started drawing the Mice everywhere–on things for friends, in correspondence, in my other school notebooks. Eventually I started drawing it as a one- or two-panel cartoon, which appeared a few times in the school newspaper, and more regularly in the newsletter for my youth group, Teens for Christ. Lab Mice owes a huge thank-you to Mr. and Mrs. Brown, TFC’s leaders, for that (that’s also when Lab Mice got its name)!
At college I worked on refining the comic, and eventually started submitting it to The Drawing Board, the college’s student-run comics publication. That was where Lab Mice really took off. My friends and fellow students were so encouraging with their enthusiasm and positive feedback on the strip–another group of people to thank! My grammy was the person who inspired my first book–Does Anyone Have a Water Balloon?!? —a little twelve-page stapled copy of my best comics to date. My senior year I asked one of my art professors if I could do an independent study creating a professionally-bound comic book from scratch. He liked the idea, and, armed with his advice and my textbooks–How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema; and The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book by Bill Watterson (yes, really), I dove in head-first. What was intended to be a one-semester project spilled over into two, and I raced to finish it before graduation. But–finally–it was done! It was so exciting to hold Standing on the Edge of Real Life, my first “real” comic book, in my hands. I also got an “A” on it, which was a pretty great way to close out my time at college. And that was how Lab Mice got where it is today.
Did you make it through? Thanks for reading! 🙂