Life in a Building with Cosmic Tenants – Building Blocks

Adalisa Zarate is a Mexican comic book author, translator and track director. She started working when she was 16, self publishing, then with Mexican editorial houses and is now expanding to make web comics in English to reach bigger audiences. She is the creator of Building Blocks.

Synopsis: What would happen if you found out you were the Superintendent of Heaven? What if the building you were living in had “cosmic” tenants? What if you didn’t know? Poor Joshua, he has no idea what he’s in for. Follow him and his fiancee’s adventures in Building Blocks.

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?
I have an incomplete degree in Modern English Literature from the UNAM (Autonomous National Mexican University). I am only missing the paperwork for my bachelor degree.

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
Magical Realism. I personally love how you can mix real life situations with a little bit of magic.

Are there any other genres that apply to your comic?
Slice of Life and Comedy, mostly. Of course, given the supernatural tenants, I can’t discount supernatural.

What was your inspiration for the story?
When I was 19, I fell in love with the song One of Us. Ever since then, the idea of cosmic entities trying to let humans go their way while making a living has been in my mind. I retooled the idea many, many times until I was happy with how it was coming out, which is the webcomic as you see it now.

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
Oh, dear, many. Todd Nauck comes to mind, same as Terry Moore. Definitively the Foglios with Girl Genius, and Gail Simone. Uderzo and Goscinni when I was younger, and Naoko Takeuchi too. I have many, many influences.

How long does it take you to complete one page?
A week, but I work in my other webcomic and illustrations too, so if I was to just work on one page, two days.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
I first make the storyboard very loosely on pen, move to Manga Studio to do the final pencils and inks. Finally, I color the page on photoshop.

Is your comic a finished work? If no, how long do you think you think it’s going to be when it’s complete? Is there a definitive ending or will you just keep going for as long as possible?
As long as I have a story to tell, I will continue with these characters. To be fair, I have even started a silly spinoff for one shot jokes that I publish on my instagram from time to time so I see Building Blocks lasting for a while.

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
Given how many times I retooled it, about 20 years! In my defense, I was doing other comics at the time.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making of your comic? If you could go back in time to the point where you just started making it and give yourself a pep talk, what would you say?
Self doubt. I always felt at the beginning I was biting more than I could chew. So I would go back and tell myself: Your original idea is solid, don’t let your own self down turn it into something that it’s not. Also, don’t even try to put a shirt on that character, it’s not going to work.

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
The characters. Even the secondary ones end up being incredibly fun to write and draw.

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
Timing. There are full pages that have been scrapped because the timing of the script wasn’t right. Fortunately, I have an editor who checks my scripts and will tell me when I am meandering or not getting to the point.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
Oh, Many! Christy is the main one, which is a surprise since she wasn’t planned originally. I love her curiosity and her loyalty to her fiancee. Bob, definitely, but talking too much about him would be spoilers. But he’s so fun I can’t help but come with new ideas when he’s around. Joliot and Eryn too, mostly for their absolute refusal to cooperate with the Building rules.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
Lu, the hermit of 604.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
I think it’s a tie between Christy, Eryn in her War form, and Joliot. Bob is fun to draw, but he’s not as challenging as the girls.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to draw?
Lu, mostly for plot reasons. Gail, given how many rules I have given myself to draw her.

Where can we find you?
My personal site is calicochimera.com. Here is where you can also find my other current active webcomic, Traveling Seers, as well as many, many illustrations I’ve made for other projects. In facebook I’m AdalisaZ, in twitter luxshine and in instagram luxshinedraws. The Building Blocks comic is at tapas.io/series/BuildingBlocks and Traveling Seers is at tapas.io/series/TravelingSeers

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
I love feedback and interacting with people on line, so if you comment on my comics, I will reply.

Also,I started doing a sort of spinoff of Building blocks for Instagram and twitter, the Mis-adventures of Bob the Reaper. It updates every Friday, more or less.

Have you read Building Blocks yet? Let us know what you think in the comments! Or, hey, go to the creator’s site and show some love ?

Want your webcomic to be featured here? Drop me a line!