Publisher Spotlight: NAUGHTY BICYCLE
Naughty Bicycle is an indie publisher located in Tampa, FL. It was started back in 2009 by writer, inker, and animator Josh Dykstra. Later, Josh was joined by his girlfriend and Womanthology contributor Kate Carleton (lead artist, illustrator, inker, penciler, graphic artist, colorist,and animator). Together this dynamic duo created comics for both print and the web with titles such as Big Dumb Dog!, Facebeast! Elephantastic, and Agatha Frisky. They post a lot of their creations online for free (which are also available for purchase) and then get the word out. With their hiliariously and beautifuly drawn comics, they are definitely going to make a mark in the indie comics world.
WNI sat down with the two creators to learn more about their company and hear their thoughts on what’s going on in indie comics.
WNI: Where did the name Naughty Bicycle come from?
Josh: The name actually came from a friend of mine, John Sisson. I’m in a band called The
Long Johns, and when we were thinking of possible band names back when we first
started, the name Naughty Bicycle was considered. Like most of the other potential
names, it was vetoed, so I decided to use it for our comics instead.
Kate: Josh actually brought the name up to me. He said he got the idea from his band. Since
then the name stuck.
WNI: Will there be any animation in the future?
Josh: Hopefully! Back in high school, I learned the basics of Flash animation and started
making my own cartoons. I kind of fell out of it though when I started making indie
comics. Comics are much easier to produce, but I would love to get back into animation
in the near future.
Kate: I hope so. I’ve always been interested in animation watching Disney films when I was
little. I love the whole process. Josh knows more than me about Flash animation.
However at the moment I feel like I have no time to work on anything like that at the
moment. I do hope to sneak in an animation class before I graduate from the University
of Tampa. I know we have plenty of ideas that we would love to do. It’s just with school,
my day time job , and my other projects it would be difficult for me to work on that right
now. I’m surprised I’m juggling as much as I am.
WNI: What can Naughty Bicycle readers look forward to in the future?
Josh: More issues of Facebeast and Agatha Frisky. I’ve completed the script for Facebeast #2,
and I’m currently developing the story for the next issue of Agatha Frisky. In addition to
that, I’m planning a new webcomic that centers on the (mis)adventures of a ska/punk
band called The Hall Monitors. I plan on doing the artwork for that as well.
Kate: More comics! Right now we are working on Facebeast 2. Josh is also in talks on doing a
web comic all by himself, even the art, and of course there will be more Agatha Frisky.
WNI: 2012 has been declared the year of creator owned comics. What excites you about
what’s currently going on in the indie community?
Josh: Just the fact that it seems to be getting easier and easier to get your work out there.
When we first started, I couldn’t pay people to be interested in anything we did. But I’ve
seen a bigger audience for this kind of stuff lately. I can only hope the indie audience will
get even bigger over time.
Kate: I love how people are getting more into to indie comics and there have been so many
successful projects backed on Kickstarter this year. I think people are starting to realize
there is more out there than Marvel and DC.
WNI: What indie books are you reading?
Josh: I just picked up a book by Mike Wagganer at MegaCon called Deep Space Tragedy that
is pretty awesome and extremely promising. Other than that, I’m a fan of the Critical
Millennium series by Drew Gaska, and Gronk by Katie Cook.
Kate: Oh man I love a lot of stuff that’s out there right now some stories I have loved that are
out there are “Gronk” by Katie Cook, “My Sister the Freak” by Dani Jones, “Cleopatra in
Space” by Mike Maihack, “Deep Space Tragedy” by Mike Wagganer, “The Wellkeeper”
by Derrick Fish, “Aspire” by Rachel Pandich, and “The God Machine” by Chandra Free
to name a few, but trust me I love a lot of indie comics. I have quite the collection from
WNI: You put your creations online for free. Do you think that’s an approach that indie
creators should take?
Josh: I’m not sure if it’s an approach they should take, but it’s definitely one I’m comfortable
with. I’ve always felt that giving things out for free is one of the best ways to get your
work out there. I mean, people love free stuff! The free books we have on our site are
some of our older comics that I feel have pretty much run their course, and probably
aren’t going to be making us money anyway. So why not just give them out for free, you
know? I think it’s a good way to get people more interested in what we do as a whole.
Kate: I don’t see anything wrong with posting some of our comics for free, most of them are older comics. People don’t know much about us yet and I think it’s the best way to get our stuff out there and give them a taste of what we offer.
Josh: Just keep at it. At first it may seem difficult, pointless, tedious, unrewarding, etc. But if
you just keep at it, things can only get better with more time and practice.
Kate: Be patient. It takes hard work to get your name out there and find an audience who likes
your product, but they are out there. It also helps me to see what others are doing and
get advice when I need it. It’s definitely worth it when you see the finished product and
the idea you had is alive in your hands.
WNI: What inspires you to create comics?
Josh: Mostly other creators. When I walk up and down artist alley I try to pay attention to the
other indie creators. I love seeing what other people are doing, and how they do it. It makes me think of how I do things, where I could improve, and it motivates me to work harder on my next project.
Kate: I got inspired by going to cons and wandering around artist alley and discovering stories and art I love and I wanted to be able to do that as well. I never had to motivation to share my art, I rarely shared things I drew from high school to many people, but Josh helped push me to get my stuff out there and he always wanted to write comics, but couldn’t draw as well so if I didn’t meet him I might not be where am I am now.
WNI: Josh as a kid you into comics and then as you got older you left. What made you
Josh: Indie comics are what brought me back. As a kid I used to only be interested in
mainstream comics. Then, when I started going to cons a few years ago, I started
observing comics from a more indie point of view. I saw the guys and gals in artist alley
selling their own stuff, and something clicked with me. I saw potential in making comics
WNI: Kate you’re one of the 140 women contributors on Womanthology. What was your
Kate: It was fast paced. I was actually on the secondary list and meet Rachel Pandich at
Tampa Bay Comic con apparently she followed Naughty Bicycle on twitter, which Josh
updates, and loved my art and our comics. I started talking to her about Womanthology
and how I was bummed I didn’t know about it until it was too late and how I wanted to
work on the next issue if they had one. Well as luck has it I got an email from Rachel
later saying that she was frantically looking for an artist since her artist dropped and if I
was interested in working with her for the Sketchbook, since the deadline was
approaching for the book and I wouldn’t have much time to produce a colored four page
comic for the book. Of course I said yes, I’m not a published big shot, and loved the idea
of Womanthology. So I managed to pump out 4 pages of penciled pages to submit to
the sketchbook. I would love to still be in the huge big book if they do another one, but
even working on the sketchbook has opened so many opportunities for me that I couldn’t
dream of. I consider myself EXTREMELY lucky and couldn’t thank Rachel enough.
WNI: What advice can you give writers and artists?
Josh: For writers, just tell the stories that you want to tell. Don’t worry about what other people
might think of it. I try to make comics that I would want to read. If other people end up
liking my comic, that’s cool too. But I’m really just doing all this to amuse myself.
Kate: All I can give as advice is to practice, practice, practice! Constant doodling has helping
me improve a lot and studying different techniques and trying to improve on a style that I
can call my own.
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