Katie Cook is an American comic writer, artist, and a children’s book illustrator. You might recognize Cook from her work on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, her illustration work for Star Wars and Disney, or her Webtoon webcomic Nothing Special. You can listen to the full interview on Chaotic Pop.
Nothing Special is a fantasy comic by Katie Cook about a teen girl named Callie who goes on an adventure with her best friend (and later boyfriend) Declan, to figure out that she is a little bit more than your average teenager. The whole point, in the beginning, is that she doesn’t really think there is anything special about her, but there is. You find out there is an attraction about her on a magical level that draws in a lot of interesting people.
Cook wrote the story over the course of a year before drawing it after Webtoon offered her the chance to tell a story that was all hers again.
“I come from a background of licensed comic books. You know I’ve done a webcomic before but I had stopped it for a while because I was writing My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I’ve done stuff for Marvel, I’ve written stuff for Disney, I’ve drawn stuff for Disney. And all of the sudden Webtoon came along and they offered me the chance to tell a story that was all mine again.”
Excited and nervous, she decided to write the story that she wanted to read when she was a teenager.
“I wanted a story about a guy and girl that were made for each other, but are also awkward and weird and wonderful. I’m very big on the fact that they have a healthy relationship.” She says.
She also didn’t want their relationship to be the focus of the story. Everything happens to Callie and Declan, as opposed to the story being about their relationship.
“Will they break up, will they do this? Oh my god! I’m too old for that, I can’t do it.” She says. Instead, she loves to put the characters in situations that will give them a stronger friendship.
She was actually skeptical about doing Nothing Special in the beginning because a lot of her compatriots told her it would be a one and done and no one was going to read it.
As an industry veteran, Cook says she sees a stigma attached to webcomics in the industry right now. There is a misconception that because they’re free it has to be flawed or no good.
“There is a taboo to webcomics right now which I, I’m fighting against, and I know that a lot of people are fighting against. I’m very vocal about the fact that you know people put out amazing quality content online right now and they don’t have to publish it. You know, it can just be online and it can exist and it will find an audience. And that’s what I like about Webtoon right now, that they have a lot of amazing content and a lot of amazing stories that are available online for free and that’s what kids and teenagers and what not are reading and people are missing out by saying but it’s a web comic it’s probably not that good.”
Cook also says there is a tendency in the industry to separate content as either for kids or for adults. She says the idea of something for all-ages can sometimes be difficult for people to understand. As an illustrator and writer of content that is often deemed as “for kids,” she sometimes feels pigeonholed into that box.
When it came to Nothing Special though she proved the naysayers wrong. Nothing Special has a large readership of active fans on Webtoon. With hundreds of stories to choose from on the platform, thousands of readers are tuning in every Tuesday and choosing to read it.
When asked about the most challenging aspect of creating a web comic, Cook says it’s the production schedule she’s created for herself.
“Self-imposed deadlines a lot of the time, especially with the Webtoons stuff. You know, I’m putting out between 30 and 60 panels a week and that kind of production is crazy. You know, it’s more than a 9 to 5 at this point.” she says “I put my kids to bed and then I go back downstairs and draw…I don’t get days off because I’m self-employed.”
As much as she loves to write and draw, at the end of the day it’s still a job. With such a busy schedule; even in her dream job, it’s amazing she isn’t burnt out.
“I’m working on things that I love right now which is the thing that keeps me going. That was a different story a couple of years ago. Sometimes you take on a job that you’re not as excited about or you don’t really like because it’s a job. I’ve got a mortgage to pay. Right now, I’m really lucky that between Nothing Special and the stuff I do for Star Wars and Disney, I really only work on projects that I’m excited about which is crazy and I’m really fortunate that my career is where it is right now because I don’t have to take on a job I don’t want to do.”
To her Nothing Special readers, Cook wanted to say thanks for reading and she appreciates the messages she gets from readers.
Katie Cook will also be at the following conventions this year:
- Emerald City Comic Con
- Motor City Comic Con
- Heroes Con
- San Diego Comic Con
- New York Comic Con
Find Katie Cook Online: