Team OQA

Doodler: Iris Eel

Team OQA
Doodler: Iris Eel

This article is written by guest artist Iris Eel.


My name is Iris Eel. I doodle, animate, and on rare occasions make games.

My primary tools are graphite pencils, inks, colored pencils, and digital coloring software (to a lesser extent acrylic and oil paints). I've also really gotten into gel pens as of late.

What are your favorite tools?

This is going to sound decidedly unprofessional, but I consistently rely on the mechanical pencil, simply because it's the most convenient for putting down quick, light lines for drafting. But also, gel pens. And I've only recently discovered the pleasures of inking with an actual brush pen, so that's a new beau. ;)


What kind of audience are you catering to with your zines/comics?

I imagine my primary audience would be indie folks with an academic tilt, or vice-versa. Basically anybody who likes dense, manga-esque visuals and uh, deconstructing language/narrative/sense-making. I'm currently working on a comic that's about all aforementioned stuff, but it also has to do with fascism and agriculture, so honestly I’d say the main audience I cater to is myself. There’s no guarantee anyone else is going to read or enjoy something that I make, but I might as well make sure I enjoy it; since I’m going to be forced to spend an extensive amount of time with my work no matter what. And I happen to have very niche tastes, so unsurprisingly, the work I make is also quite niche.  ╮( ̄▽ ̄"")╭ 


How did you first get into art & what kind of training did you recieve?

Like many other people, I've been drawing since I was 3. Most of it has consisted of emulating manga (and more recently, comic) artists I admire (although I also went through a phase where I developed an excessive appreciation for Michelangelo’s rendering of human musculature, so I have many a sketchbook page dedicated exclusively to copying his works). I’ve complemented this self-taught practice with a number of courses, ranging from life drawing to 3D modeling. 

Which artists do you admire, and whose influence do you find in your own works?

Oh boy. In no particular order:

Q Hayashida, Kentaro Miura, Talking Heads, David Mazzucchelli, Shintaro Kago, Egon Schiele, Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Manet, Scott McCloud, Emily Carroll, Koyamori, Nozmo, Hokusai (and Ukiyo-e in general), Bada Shanren, James Jean, Shitao, Hito Steyerl, Michelangelo, Takashi Murakami, Don Hertzfeldt, Hayao Miyazaki, early Disney animated movies, Porpentine, Surrealists, Dadaists, Xu Bing, OMOcat

But also, I admire a lot of writers and philosophers who I think have had just as strong of an influence on my work.


At which events do you display your works?

I mainly promote my work online and at comic conventions, so CZF (Chicago Zine Fest) and local library shows. I also have some zines at Build Coffee in Hyde Park. It’s a lovely place to be, and also has an array of other cool zines everyone should check out, even if mine’s not your style. I tumblr occasionally at, but now I mainly post updates on Instagram as iris.eel!