p4d: How did you start playing Magic: The Gathering?
IL: Ah, the origin story. I started college in 1993 which gave me access to the pre-World Wide Web internet. I was absorbing as much random culture as I could, including online message boards about games. Everyone was talking about something called MTG. After finally finding out what the initials stood for I took a bus to Dr. Comics & Mr. Games in Oakland to purchase their last 3 Beta starter decks (rares: Bad Moon, Elvish Archers, Force of Nature, Mind Twist, Mox Emerald, Winter Orb). Those cards ended up being the entire card pool for my friends and I for months, as we waited for more to be printed.
p4d: How did you get into writing and illustrating comics?
IL: I’ve had a hopeless attraction to the medium ever since my initial exposure. I’ve drawn comics since grade school. Being able to bring a subject to life with some words and pictures on paper still feels like magic to me. Beyond a love of comics all you need is hard work, poor judgment, and BOOM you wake up a cartoonist.
p4d: How did your professional work come to overlap with your involvement in the Magic community?
IL: One of my other projects is a popular NBA art blog I started at a time when sports blogging was still the Wild West. I took the time I expended on basketball and converted it into something productive and unique. Fast-forward a few years to when I started paying more attention to the MTG online community and I figured I could do the same thing. I combine my interests to contribute to my communities in ways I enjoy.
p4d: You designed the Planeswalkers for Diversity logo. Thanks! Will the logo be available on any cool items that players can obtain?
IL: Yes! I mean, that’s a big part of the idea of giving the group an identifying mark. It would be good to get it on to items that people can display to show their support. [Editor’s note: we don’t have any merchandise yet but we are working on it!]
p4d: By creating the logo you have contributed an important piece to Planeswalkers for Diversity. Thanks again! The organization can now start building a brand and some momentum behind the idea of Magic being welcoming to everyone. Why do you think p4d is important enough that you made this contribution?
IL: The group formed soon after a few particularly nasty Magic community incidence of intolerance. I remember being infuriated and looking for a way to help out. There’s a lot to love about the MTG community but there’s also lots of juvenile, hateful behavior. I want my community to be one of mutual respect, support, and empathy and p4d is a step in that direction.
p4d: What would you like to see Planeswalkers for Diversity accomplish?
IL: I know that the group has many goals and actions but the main thing I want out of it is increased visibility for the issues and straightforward education for people whose behavior needs adjustment. Just being out there, available as a resource, and speaking up is huge.
p4d: How can those of us who love your work follow it?
IL: I recently hitched my wagon to GatheringMagic.com, where I’m producing comics on a semi-regular basis. You can find updates about that and anything else I post at http://inkwell-looter.tumblr.com and you can follow me at http://twitter.com/inkwell_looter