Creating MericaTown

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What inspired this project?

Chris: The inspiration behind wanting to create a coloring book came from all the sadness and anger that was coming off of Americans at this point in history. I wanted to make something dealing with politics but not a mean, cut-throat project.

Dani: Chris was the mastermind here, he had the big picture, I had the illustration skills. However, once I got going I started to understand and feel more inspired by other “famous” artists from the past that also dipped their artful hands into the world of politics either in cartoons, or even in paintings. It felt good to know there is a place for art and politics to come together.

 

What is it like working collaboratively?

Chris: It has been wonderful collaborating with Dani, she is so talented and wants this to be as professional as we can make it without losing the humor and heart. It was great having a second pair of eyes and ears.

Dani: It was different than anything I’d done before. Theatre productions and plays are usually my go-to collaborative space. Bringing it into a book project was new. It was great! Bouncing ideas is always helpful especially with someone as passionate about the project as you are. Chris was awesome at helping balance the mental load.

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Did you come up against any resistance for this project?

Chris: I think resistance came from within on not making this a hate book each day a new event or tweet came out and feelings were hurt and lives were changed. Keeping this fun was a obstacle. 

Dani: I expected more #haters online but not many showed up. I felt almost like my own worst enemy at the start of the project. I just didn’t want to draw him. I had to have a nice chat with myself and really figure out why I wanted to work on it. Eventually the whole thing turned into political therapy for me.

 

What was the most challenging part?

Chris: Outside of [making] the book, trying to get friends, families and strangers to support something you are passionate about. Politics makes people scared and so taking the chance to bring comedy to light up such a serious subject (and not lose all your friends) was challenging. 

Dani: Getting over my own psychological hump of hating the idea of giving him mental energy (or saving photos of his face on my laptop). Hah. 

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What was the most rewarding part?

Chris: Getting funded so quickly. We had the support and faith people needed in our project to see it through.

Dani: Making a book! This is my first time working with an author on a project, let alone a project that has me drawing the same person over and over again. Lots of firsts for me, so I’m really thankful for that. It’s also given me the confidence to approach more projects like this. Coloring books, comics, illustrated stories. This won’t be the last of Dani Dodge.

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