Art Books & Graphic Novels

Surfside Six: A Half Dozen Questions for Author and Artist Kim Dwinell

Kim Dwinell, idw publishing, science of surfing, Surfside girls, top shelf productions, graphic novels
Artist Kim Dwinell splits her time between the drawing board and the surfboard.

Return of Surfin’ Sunday: Interview Special

We recently had the pleasure of sharing our reasons for loving Top Shelf Productions’ latest publication The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean which hits shelves this Tuesday, September 28th, 2021.

The book’s author and artist Kim Dwinell has a dichotomy of skills that span both very outdoor and indoor disciplines. As a surfer and lifeguard since her teens she has an immediate connection to the ocean. Inversely her talents with pen and paint led to a more art-board vs. surfboard vocation as a teacher of animation at California State University, Long Beach. She continues to balance both with family life in Southern California.

Andy and I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Kim and her answers follow below.

Kim Dwinell, idw publishing, science of surfing, Surfside girls, top shelf productions, graphic novels

Q – What was the most surprising fact you learned when researching The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean?

A – Wow, that’s a hard one. It may be a two-way tie between the fact that hippos and dolphins are related, and that pelicans can inflate their necks and chest like bubble wrap. I imagine the bubble wrap self-inflation would really come in handy sometimes! I love to surf but was always scared to try skateboarding because I don’t want to break an arm (bad news for an artist.) I would feel much more secure with bubble wrap under my skin.

Q – Do you create your artwork with traditional or digital media? Any favorite paints or software programs?

A – I am super old-school and paint in watercolor. I paint water with water! However, I scan everything into Photoshop and put in my text digitally. Photoshop is a mighty cool program.

I thought I might try creating straight into Photoshop, but I miss the paper. I’m really tactile. I am all about Arches 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper and Winsor and Newton paints. I am especially enamored by the color Payne’s Grey- the color of a stormy ocean.

Q – In our review summary we suggested a book highlighting the historical background of surfing, such as its indigenous origins, bios of heroes and heroines, and the sport’s imprint on popular culture would be an interesting follow-up.

Any chance of seeing something like that in the future?

A – Oooh. That sounds amazing. I’m surprised how much I really dug the process of researching and writing non-fiction, and I definitely hope to do more. Especially if it’s surfing and water related! I may have to pitch that. I really dug into The Science of Surfing with my head down in January of 2020, and the amount of research I had to do gave me a fantastic escape from the scary COVID news that surrounded us constantly at that time. I’d just pop on the Monterey Bay Aquarium live-feed of their kelp forest and disappear into ocean research.

Q – Your characters Sam and Jade turned out to be wonderful teachers. Have you considered developing an animated series of their adventures that includes educational modules?

A – I’m really glad you think Sam and Jade were good teachers! It was fun to channel the science research through snarky twelve-year old voices.

I grew up on Saturday morning cartoons and Schoolhouse Rock. I can still sing you the Constitution as a result. I would love to follow in that tradition with Sam and Jade. Bite-sized, entertaining science tidbits!

Q – We noticed the “Pissed off Warrior Fairies” on your web site. Will we be seeing them in adventures of their own?

A – Ho ho! Well, yes, perhaps! That book is so far in the future! It just has a basic shape right now, but it’s there and at this point it’s called Morwenna. It’s really just a distant twinkle, though. It’s darker and medieval. I am firmly in sunny Surfside right now.

Q – Is there a Sam and Jade relationship in your past that informs the friendship of the characters? 

A – Yes, Sam and Jade are definitely me and my best friend Melissa. Melissa and I have been besties since we were 2 ½. We learned to surf at Doheny State Beach by taking our used surfboards on the city bus from the Laguna Hills Mall all summer when we were 14. We met some interesting characters both on the bus and at the beach and had adventures as well. None involved cute pirate ghost boys though, unfortunately. That’s all my imagination.

Kim Dwinell, idw publishing, science of surfing, Surfside girls, top shelf productions, graphic novels

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