Out&About was born as an idea in 2012. I always liked writing and drawing stories so illustration and comics were a natural outlet for my artistic expression. When I grew older I thought there were no gay characters I could relate to in the comics I used to read. After I came out to myself I also felt that there weren’t real representations of the gay culture in my country (at least the one I was familiar with) and of LGBT issues in general. I decided, then, to create my own stories and characters based on what I knew. I wanted to tell stories about LGBT issues, in a way that is informative but also fun; showing my characters’ day-by-day life, struggles with friendships, relationships, family, work and so on. Situations that are common to everyone.
The original name in Portuguese, “Torta de Climão” comes from a very common slang that originated in the gay community in Brazil. It means literally “Big Climate Pie”, but it’s used to refer to a very awkward situation. Adapting to English was tricky as there is no slang with the same meaning, but Out&About sounded like a great name. It’s a story ABOUT people who are OUT and proud of their own sexualities, living their lives trying to be as happy and fulfilled as they can.
First sketches and scripts
From the end of 2012 to 2014, in the middle of a lot of work and very little spare time, I initiated the process of creating the characters, testing styles and writing little stories. Over the months I also realized that a lot of little situations that happened to me or to my friends were really funny and could inspire stories for my characters and so the first strips started to take shape. Besides that, I started to write strips as social commentary based on news related to LGBT issues and write based on things that I heard people talking about in general. My initial goal was to write about things I knew and felt comfortable and informed enough, always with a pinch or irony, comedy and sarcasm. Over time I felt like I had to learn more about the LGBT community as a whole in order to be more inclusive and real, although always trying to keep my artistic autonomy.
A diverse community
Even being comics related to LGBT issues with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual characters, my main goal with this personal project is to tell a good story. My characters have their own personalities, lives, families, dreams and reasons to be the way they are, good and bad sides included. A lot of things they say and do are based on things I’ve seen, other things aren’t. There probably will be people of any sexual orientation who will relate to them a lot, to a certain degree, in different ways with different characters or not at all, and that is OK! There are so many different people in the world or even inside the LGBTQIA community! Some of them feel they belong, others don’t and there are characters who feel that way too.
What I want to show in my comics is that there is such an enormous hue of people in the world, that it’s possible to identify with different traits of the personality of different characters, because none of them will be an exact representation of specific people. The real beauty of the LGBTQIA community is that there are so many kinds of people and this is what makes our community become a whole.