We had the good fortune of connecting with Conor FitzGerald and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Conor, why did you pursue a creative career?

I’ve loved drawing ever since I was a kid. Cliché, I know, but it’s why I do most of anything I do nowadays. That mixed with a penchant for telling stories and you have the beginnings of the path to comic book writing and illustration.

There have been so many stories – of so many different mediums – that have resonated with me, but when a story clicks with me so much it changes my life; it’s just this unreal feeling. When you push yourself through strife because your favorite TV show character just can’t give up, or when you recite slogans to help cope with how difficult life can be. Even if you just need a reminder that there’s someone else out there who’s going through something like you.

I want to tell stories to make people laugh, or cry, or grow, or even just feel that unreal feeling.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been told by friends before that all my stories have an unexpected hook to them that makes them extra enticing.

I love making stories that take tropes and bend or break them, or lean in so hard you can’t tell if the tropes are being goofed on or appreciated. I also love telling stories about people realizing self-growth, whether it’s from guilt and self resentment, sea-level self esteem, or how to be honest with yourself and the people you love. It’s all stuff I deal with a lot, and I know so many people do too, so it feels good even if at the core of it I’m essentially just creating a world to run therapy on a fictional person that came out of my brain.

But I think the most important thing I’ve learned while getting past the nonsense freelance jobs and low-paying gigs is that being passionate about something doesn’t just mean you love it all the time.

I love art. I love drawing. I love inking characters and designing outfits and figuring out stupid lighting effects that make my gerbil brain drool. But sometimes my art becomes the sole manifestation of all the reasons I could hate myself. It’s just another tool of failure I use to coast through the years until I can grow up and really do something with my life.

There have been plenty of times where the idea of drawing makes me so frustrated and sad that I feel like I can’t do *anything*.

But I always come back to it. Through the ups and downs it’s one of the most important things to me. Ever. And even when I’m crunching on a tight deadline, taking 10 minute work sessions and 5 minute power naps until 4 in the morning (I do not recommend that, by the way), or so taken aback by edits or notes, I still want to do it. I want to draw. And understanding that it won’t always be fun, or even likable, and really accepting that has been paramount to my work and drive.

Also starting things. Starting any project can be the most daunting thing, but once I learned how easy editing can be it became a much less stressful task to barf up whatever my brain was excusing for a plot onto the page if only it meant I could come back the next day and refine it.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d take them to museums – like the Broad, downtown. And then we could go to Little Tokyo and do karaoke or just walk around and shop. Or even talk.

And typically people like beaches?

I don’t know, I try to let my guests decide what avenue of vacation they want to explore the most and lean into that.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly all my close family and friends. It’s hard not to sound corny about it, but I’m so fortunate that there are a gaggle of goofs who help inspire me, drive me, or even support me from a distance, because without all of it I know I wouldn’t have been able to do a dang thing with my life.

There are a few folk who literally shaped me into who I am today:

My dad is a fantastic writer who raised me to look at all the parts of a story, what drives characters, and why we react and relate the way we do to the things we consume. My mom has a brilliantly creative mind that can conceive worlds and people that can be so real and fascinating, and taught me how to breathe life into my stories. My friend Max showed me what kind of stories are important, and (maybe without realizing it) that at the end of the day the best stories are ones you make for yourself. My friend Brian helped me think past the baseline of a story, and push myself even if it was just out of directionless spite: he taught me how to think of who characters are as people, and not just what they do in the story. And my friend Alex pushed me into the work ethic that carried me so far, and keeps carrying me past points I could barely even conceive of.

Website: tokkenstudios.com

Instagram: ts_conor

Other: behance.net/tokkenstudios

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