This interview was written by my (Scott T, the creator of this site) 7 year old daughter, Mariah.
Mariah: I really like your comics. When did you start making the comics for The Chapel Chronicles?
Emma T. Capps: Thanks! I started making the comics for the Chapel Chronicles in 8th grade. For my 8th grade project, I designed a collection of greeting cards and gifts based upon this character I designed named Chapel Smith. I then decided to extend it to comics.
Mariah: When did you first create the Chapel character? Is she really you?
Emma: No, Chapel isn’t me. For example, I don't really like to dress up whereas Chapel does. I'd say Chapel's a lot more competitive and courageous than I am, and I actually admire how much self-esteem she has to wear crazy outfits all the time! I don't think I'd be brave enough to wear a Lady Gaga dress to a wedding, that's for sure, and I think it's great that Chapel's confident enough to go ahead with it!
I first created Chapel, I believe in 7th grade. I was just doodling and my mom saw my doodles and she said she really liked one which became Chapel.
Mariah: This is one of the most awesome comics I have read. They make me laugh in my head.
Where do you get the ideas for your comics? Do your ideas come from things that happen to you or from things you see happening to other people or do you just make up the ideas? My dad makes comics out of what he sees me and my brother doing.
Emma: Again, thank you so much! I make comics to make people smile so I’m happy to hear they make you laugh. First, I brainstorm my idea. I would say I have flights of fancy quite a bit...I like to think about things that could happen. Of course, this helps me quite a bit in dreaming up new Chapel comics! I'll try to find something I've observed or witnessed recently to use as a jumping-off point. I do sometimes draw directly from my own life, but I try to always make the comics very universally appealing. I only ever use something that's happened in my own life if I think it's something everyone can relate to. In the first volume, there are many Chapters that have never happened to me (I’ve never adopted an animal nor found a person whose music I obsess over).
Mariah: Your art is hilarious. How long does it take you to make one comic?
Emma: First, thank you! I try hard to make people smile when I write my comics. It generally takes between 5-6 hours to draw, ink, and color a comic. I don’t keep track of how much time it takes me for to come up with an idea. Recently I thought out 15 ideas and only picked 9 to draw. Some can take longer like the Valentine’s Day strip when the background is complicated. You can see that strip here: http://www.chapelchronicles.com/comic/50.
Mariah: Did anyone help you with the comics for the book or did anyone help you put the book together?
Emma: My dad helped put the book together a bit because he knows about the printing process but I selected how I wanted it to look and wrote everything; including deciding what press quotes I wanted in the book, the About Emma section, the cover. Since it’s my book, I need to touch every element in it.
Mariah: Are you happy with the book? Are lots of people seeing it?
Emma: I am very happy with the book. Recently more people have seen it since I implemented a good commenting ability on the website which my techie father kindly wrote for me. I would like to find more ways for more people to see it. Since I’m in school, I don’t have tons of time to market my work like other people do because I have homework and an early bedtime. And I’m now being homeschooled so I don’t have loads of friends. So I need help from family, friends, and reviewers like you to spread the word.
Mariah: There are lots of board games in the book. Do you like board games? My favourite game is Operation.
Emma: I do like board games. I’ve not played all the games I put in the book. I’ve never played Risk but I do like playing games with my family and friends such as Pictionary and Scrabble. I play Scrabble in Spanish with my Spanish teacher. I play Battleship with my mom but I always seem to win even when she places her pieces randomly on the board. I’ve never played chess but I liked drawing that strip because I added an homage to my dad’s game called Through the Looking Glass, which was the first game for the Macintosh.
Mariah: Do you have any other characters you are making comics about?
Emma: Besides Chapel, I also want to do some graphic novels, which would be very different from Chapel in both style and tone. It will be in a different drawing style; my more realistic drawing style and not the cartoony style I draw for Chapel. I'm going to be working on one this summer! I've already got some of the plot planned out and a good majority of the characters designed.
Mariah: Do you have another Chapel book comic out soon?
Emma: Yes! In the short-term, this April I'm going to be exhibiting at a comic convention called The MoCCA Festival (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) in New York City, and debuting a brand-new book of Season Two of my Chapel webcomics. I'm really excited to go, and I hope lots of my readers can make it out to say hi! MoCCA is April 28th and 29th, 2012. I will also be debuting a perfect bound, 80 page book which will contain all the strips in both Season One and Season Two with some special materials.
Mariah: Thanks for answering my questions.
Emma: It’s always a pleasure to answer questions. I hope you sign up for email and that way you’ll get some seriously wacky fun in your mailbox. You can always feel free to email me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your questions and your time!
Chapel books and other items can be purchased at http://www.chapelchronicles.com/orders/new#item423