Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your comic book series, Soft! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Diego S: Thank you so much! Soft is essentially the story of Margaret, a 30-year-old woman who moves from her hometown to the big city in order to kind of give her life a restart. She's not great at being responsible, organized, or diligent, and Soft is partly a comedic approach to how poor of an adult someone in their 30s can be. She'll eventually make close friends in her new home and find herself involved in people's lives maybe more than she'd like to be. And just as importantly, we'll also see Margaret maturing and learning to be a happier person. I want Soft to be funny and relatable, but also tender and touching at times.
If I'm completely honest, I think the biggest inspiration for Soft is the uncertainty and messiness of my own adulthood. I think we're living in a time where many people in my generation don't really have it all together, and it's not entirely their own fault. Soft is a way of humorously exploring those insecurities, but also trying my best to look at life optimistically.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in both writing and illustrating the series, and what have been some of your creative influences?
DS: My process is pretty straightforward. After I've decided on the overall idea for the next issue, I start off with a manuscript of sorts where I make a thumbnail-sized layout of a single issue's pages, and this is done on an average sketchbook. The script tends to be written more or less parallel to the thumbnail layouts, although said script is usually not 100% set in stone before the actual drawings happen. After the manuscript is wrapped up, I move onto actually drawing the comic pages on bristol paper, which I then scan and finish digitally--the digital part is mostly fixing mistakes, cleanups, filling in grays, adding dialogue, and paneling. Adding the dialogue is pretty much the very last step, as I've found that it's very likely that certain words and sentences can change once I actually have a look at the finished drawings.
In terms of creative influences, here's what I can think of: Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, Vagabond author Takehiko Inoue's drawings, Margaret Cho, Ali Wong, 1960s Argentinian comic strip Mafalda, the writings of Andi Zeisler, and Kiyohiko Azuma's Yotsubato (which is probably the greatest slice of life comic/manga of all time). I've also been listening to a lot of this trendy city pop/future funk music online, and I find it that it really helps me get in the mood to make comics.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
DS: I hope, first and foremost, that they can relate to and find a friend in Margaret. Soft is, at its core, a slice-of-life comic, and its aim is for readers to see at least a part of themselves in the story. Whether it's the inherent anxiety of moving to a new city on your own, the difficulty of being responsible when you're living alone, the joy of making new friends--I hope readers embrace these themes.
BD: How many issues of the series do you have planned?
DS: I hope to keep the series running for as long as I can.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
DS: Thinking that far ahead genuinely overwhelms me, so I'll stick to comics for now.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
DS: Just more issues of Soft! It's all I have energy and time for at the moment.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Soft?
DS: Soft's first two issues are available digitally on ComiXology, and you can also find me on Instagram (@haveiseendiego). It's where I post all my drawings and any information regarding new releases or any conventions I may be attending!