War and Peas is one of the funniest webcomics out there. In 2011, the creators Elizabeth Pich and Jonathan Kunz, two friends at art school in Germany, started a blog called linsedition to share their doodles and experiment with comics. Since the early days, the two have stuck to their identifiable style of minimal lines, pastel palette and grown alongside their uniquely wonderul characters like the Grim Reaper or the Feminist Witch.
I've always loved how weird and yet relatable the War and Peas comics are, and the consistency of putting out new work. So I wrote in to Jonathan and Elizabeth for a quick interview during the lockdown. They obliged, and turned out to be genuinely witty and inspiring people, as expected:
What started off as a silly doodling experiment in art school has become one of the best known webcomics on the Internet. I’m intrigued by the nature of this collaboration. How does the process of comic making work between you two?
Yes! It started out as a silly doodling experiment and still is. In the meantime, we have also grown to be a small company – not really in a monetary way – but in the way that we handle things. We have become more professional and have established some productive procedures. On the other hand, it’s still all about the silliness and creating new ideas to make ourselves lol (laugh out loud).
It’s been nearly a decade of making these comics. Can you talk about the evolution of the style and content?
Wow, it’s true, we started this a very long time ago and we’ve created hundreds of stories since then. When we scroll through the comics of each year, it doesn’t really look like we changed a lot. But when you compare each year with one another, it becomes pretty obvious. We've evolved the drawing style a lot while our sense of humour has nearly stayed the same. We just figured out some narrative techniques to boost the punchlines. That’s pretty much it.
Have you changed as people too?
That’s pretty hard to say. Of course, we’ve developed as human beings in the last ten years and War and Peas has always been a big part of us growing up. Although we’re both pretty analytical at nature, we shy away from analysing our own humour. We don’t want to jinx War and Peas by reflecting on it too much.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
We don’t really overcome them. We just crawl into our caves, cry and get hyped on coffee. After a while, it's just over and we can get back to work.
How do you know when a comic is ready to be shared with the world?
There are tons of unreleased comics. We just try to listen to our intuition when it comes to make those decisions. Maybe we’re wrong and are unknowingly sitting on a pile of the best comic strips in the world but who knows! Usually if one of us cracks up at a comic, it’s a sure sign.
What are some of your favourite webcomics and sources of inspiration?
We barely read webcomics as inspirations. We admire the work of Clementine Hunter, Louise Bourgeois, Bill Watterson, and Amy Poehler.
What do you like doing when you’re not making comics?
Just the usual. Strolling around in parks, listening to podcasts and throwing bags of doggy poo at innocent pedestrians.
Any big takeaways over the last decade of making War and Peas?
Work hard but don’t overthink your own art.
Treat your characters like your own children.
Don’t sell out!
In what ways do you want to continue to grow?
Growth comes on its own if you stay determined. But if you try to press its direction, you’re making yourself unavailable for real growth. We’re looking forward to reaching more people and perhaps one day write a series. Netflix, if you’re listening.
Thank you for doing this, Jonathan and Elizabeth! You've made our lives more bearable.