Mandy Ord is a Melbourne-based illustrator and cartoonist, her passion for comics inspiring talks and workshops at schools, universities, festivals and community groups across Australia and internationally. Mandy's books include Sensitive Creatures, Rooftops, NY, Galapagos and When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over. Mandy's first book for children Chalk Boy, written by Margaret Wild has been placed in the CBCA short list for picture books in 2019.
How do you describe your creative practice?
I am a cartoonist and illustrator working predominantly in the genre of autobiographical comics for print. I mostly work in ink and in black and white but my practice often gives me a platform from which to explore and collaborate with different materials, art practices and creative practitioners. This includes written content, audio content and music, animation, public art and the theatre.
How did you get involved in this area of work?
I have always loved art, reading and drawing comics and storytelling from a young age. I studied painting at art school where I discovered the genre of comics I would go on to develop in my own work. Comics have been a lifelong passion and exploration that just keep surprising me with their ability to push boundaries on new creative territory and to tell vital, important stories.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m about to start work on a new book of short stories. I would love to create another children’s book.
Do you have a studio or work space?
I have a lovely little studio space in my house that overlooks the backyard. I’m surrounded by plenty of comic books and books of illustration to keep me inspired and my little dog offers me moral support as he snores quietly on the carpet near my feet.
Has anyone or anything influenced your practice?
There are many cartoonists who have directly inspired my practice. Mary Leunig has always been a hero of mine as well as Canadian artists Julie Doucet and David Collier. There are so many it’s hard to choose. I also grew up reading Footrot Flats comics and had a few favourite children’s books, including The Digging-est Dog by Al Perkins and One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer.
What does a typical day involve for you?
I go to work most days and draw in the morning and then when I arrive home, I plan for whole days at home to create my creative work in my studio. If I’m working on a project I do research on the computer and then sketch up ideas before completing the finished work.
What would be your dream project?
Collaborations with new people in different art practices. I would love to publish more longer form comics as graphic novels, collections of short stories and anthologies.
How do you define success in the arts? How do you celebrate your successes?
I define success in the arts as having the opportunity to complete projects that hold the most meaning personally. I have self-published for years so success was never defined by anything financial. It was always the completion of a project and the sharing of the story to others that provided the most fulfilment.
Knowing people enjoy and get something out of the stories you write is one of the best feelings. Being able to hold a copy of a book you have created in your hands and knowing it is out in the world doing its own thing is very magical.
Where would we find you on a typical Sunday afternoon?
Most likely working in my studio after a morning of walking the dog and buying treats and breakfast from the local farmers market.
What energises you?
Playing with my dog and having conversations about all sorts of things with my partner. Seeing a movie or a play or a concert that takes you to another place for a moment and pops you back into the real world changed somehow. Public displays of kindness and inclusion.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
Follow your passion. Create because you love what you do. Stay true to your own creative voice and work hard. Be professional and meet deadlines. Communicate well when collaborating with others. Mostly though, have fun.
What are you looking forward to?
Seeing more of the explosive, raw, and fantastic creative talent that is the Melbourne and Australian comic publishing scene .
Do you have favourite author/book/artist/artwork?
I have a huge love for anything created by Joy Hester. Her work is so emotional and beautiful and strong. I love the writing of Anthony Doerr and Eva Hornung.
Do you visit your local library? If yes, what do you love about libraries?
Once in a while I visit Eltham Library, the City Library and occasionally the State Library. I love the open welcome feeling of the spaces in each of those libraries. The City Library has a good graphic novel section.
Where can we see more of your work?
I sell my mini comics at the Sticky Institute at Flinders St Station as well as my books in a variety of bookshops around Melbourne including Readings. I also have content online through my blog and website. I have some public art in and around Albury city centre in the form of NBN art boxes covered in comics.