Guys Kopsombut is a writer/illustrator/webcomic artist living in Nashville, TN. He has been drawing comics since high school and drew for his college newspaper, too. Even though his profession is in comics right now, his background isn’t actually in art! When he decided what he wanted to study in college, he was torn between engineering and art but thought it would be harder to learn engineering on his own. He chose to study Computer Engineering and went on to get a Master’s in Leadership and Organizational Performance, but life took Guy in a different direction.
“Around seven years ago, I was watching the news and everything just felt very depressing and hopeless. I wanted to do something to remind people that there was still good in the world. I wanted to help people smile. I asked myself what I could do on a daily basis to bring joy to the world and I remember drawing comics in school and how it helped them smile. I made a goal then to try to draw a comic each day and just help one person, any one person in the world smile. I ended up drawing a comic each day for six and a half years, “ shared Guy when reached out by Earthwonders.
Guy is very active on his social media. He counts 210k followers who like and support his work. Lately he has chosen to post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as he is focusing more on publishing. Last year he published his first book “Everyday Smiles: Finding Joy In Every Moment”
“The book is super unique in that it provides readers with a way to find joy in their lives while also helping them smile with my comics. It’s part 4amShower comic collection and part self-reflection journal. It’s been one of my proudest moments having my comics published. When I’m not working on my comics or book ideas, I am helping my parents at our Thai restaurant, The Smiling Elephant, in Nashville. In my free time, I love playing computer games with my friends, practicing my tennis swing, and eating yummy things like pie,” said the artist.
Guy’s main inspiration it’s to make people laugh, and when he sees that that’s working through his comics, he keeps creating even more getting ideas from multiple sources. “The first way is that my readers suggest animals and themes to me. I then brainstorm a comic from their suggestions.
The second way is by empathizing. I try to think about what others might be feeling and what encouragement they might need to hear. I try to help people see the good in themselves and others as much as possible. A lot of other comics end with a cynical joke, but mine always end on an upbeat note. There’s already so much negativity in the world and I don’t want to add to that. This doesn’t mean that I don’t touch on harder topics. In fact, I do my best to address major events in the world, but provide comfort in some way or another. My comics are always positive and guarantee to help you smile.
Finally, I try to observe my daily life as much as possible and look within myself. You never know when a comic idea might pop into your mind just by watching what’s happening around you or listening to your own thoughts.”
The artist also shared with us his working process and everything that goes on behind the scenes of these adorable comics which involves long periods of reflection to ideate the comic idea and intense moments of rapid creation.
” While I’m going throughout my day, I will constantly think of comic ideas. Depending on the comic, I may need to do research to ensure I’m getting facts correct. Once I develop the concept of the comic, I’ll play around with words and character positioning in my head and try to get the right dialogue for each panel. If I’m on the go, I’ll jot down ideas in a doc in my phone. If I’m by my computer, I’ll put it in a google doc. Both documents are filled with pages and pages of ideas. The thing with me is that I truly believe in fresh inspiration. So, sometimes, even though I have an idea plotted down, I’ll forgo it to try to come up with something in the moment when I’m sitting down to create a comic.
Once I get the dialogue down, I’ll arrange the dialogue into panels in the google doc. I’ll then take the dialogue into Clip Studio to make sure it all fits. I’ll sometimes add or remove words to ensure the words fit and are aesthetically pleasing. Once the words are there, I’ll sketch, ink, and color the characters in Clip Studio (all of my comics are made digitally). I’ve started a new process of using photo elements for the background of my comics, so once the characters are completed, I’ll search for background images. Once the background is compiled, I’ll add in the word balloons.
A lot of my comic ideas are generated at 4 A.M. I’ll wake up on the dot at 4 A.M. and will have a comic idea. I’ll write it down and it will either make sense or not in the morning. I do a lot of my dialogue refining and ideating in the shower. There have been so many times that I have stepped in the shower without an idea and will come out with one. When I was coming up with the name for my comic, I basically placed these two concepts together.
I would say it’s challenging but not in a negative way to come up with comic ideas. The way I view it is like a puzzle. It’s really fun trying to get all the pieces (characters, dialogue, concept, etc) to fit together. As for illustrating, at this point in my career, I don’t think it’s challenging to create them since I have the methodology down. The benefit of knowing the process is that it allows me to experiment and try new things like using photos as backgrounds!
Guy is always working on something. Currently he’s moving forward full steam going into publishing. He is working on a middle-grade graphic novel concept and hoping to publish children’s books later on. As for 4amShower, he hope to make it into a brand that focuses on positivity and joy. Moreover, Guy expressed his wish to partner with charities to create art and raise funds for them with his artwork.