If you frequented tumblr in 2014, you may have seen a comic circulate that joked that using sanitary pads with designs on them felt like making a blood sacrifice to Satan each month. After seeing the comic, one user put forth an idea for a story where a teenage girl accidentally forms a contract with Satan through the aforementioned method. In response, another user, orange-plum, posted the first page of a comic that would later be known as Satan and Me (SaM).
Four years later, SaM is nearing 300 updates, has developed into an epic telling of the end of days, and has amassed thousands of followers across multiple platforms. The artist – known largely as Orange – has even received paid work for another one of her comics, Beneath the Ark, which debuted in 2017.
We had the chance to talk to Orange about her comics, budding art career, and the benefits of engaging with your audience.
When did you start drawing?
I’ve always drawn for as long as I can remember. I remember in 4th grade I got really popular with my classmates because I could draw Spongebob so spot on, haha. And then I just kept drawing. Before I got more outgoing in college, in high school I was really shy. But everyone knew me as the kid who could draw, so at least that was something.
What were the benefits of attending art school? Do you think you’d be where you are today without it?
Art school taught me things I never paid attention to before. I jumped LEVELS in skill in just a year from art school. It had very good teachers and repetition. It was great. I don’t think I’d be quite where I’m at today if I didn’t learn that stuff in art school. I got a job because my comics were popular, but I’m not sure if they’d be as popular if I didn’t jump in skill, you know? It’s hard to say.
Do you have any major influences, both in art and storytelling?
I’ve been influenced by some online artists, but to be honest, I just kind of do my own thing? I used to write fanfiction because no one was doing stories the way I liked and it was all the same stuff, so I had to make the stuff I liked by myself and they blew up. I think I just like to avoid general story motifs because they get boring. And clearly other people are bored too, or they wouldn’t like my stuff?
Are there any story motifs in particular you dislike? How have you tried to subvert them in your works?
I’m not sure about specifics. It’s just a lot of the same recycled tropes with the same archetype characters. It’s almost boring with its predictability. Not that I’m laying down some momentous groundwork on avoiding that stuff mostly. I can say, for example, love triangles are tiresome. I don’t like them, because you can always pick out who the “girl” ends up with, leaving the other person hanging. A lot of series are done with overemotional tropes that I can’t relate to, so I just don’t like to do them.
Would you be happy making comics as a career, or is there another artistic project you’d like to pursue?
No, comics as a career is not for me. I’m seeking television and novels for my works. I’m in the process of getting an agent as we speak to explore that if it’s in the realm of possibility.
Was Satan and Me always going to have an over-arching plot, or was it initially going to be a comical slice of life about a girl who accidentally forms a contract with Satan?
Eventually it was bound to have a plot, but initially it was just episodic to pass my time. In my previous work before SaM, I never did slice of life. That’s not my jam. I’m more of a hurt/comfort and angst with comical moments sprinkled in kind of person.
Did people react badly to Lucifer being the protagonist of your comic?
No one in four years has reacted badly to Lucifer
Why is follower engagement so important to you?
I like feedback. Followers also make a series and people always forget that. Marvel, for example, wouldn’t be where it is without followers. Treat them kindly. Take their opinions and wishes into consideration.
Does it have any downsides?
For the most part it’s all positive, but there are some downsides – peer pressure, whining, demands. People don’t mean to do it, but that takes a toll on a creator sometimes if I’m honest. It’s very draining and you lose some of that drive for your own series when you get it too often.
You have openly discussed your health over the past year. How do you feel that has influenced the way you work?
I’m an open person and I like to let people know what’s going on in my life so if the comic slows down or something, at least they know why and can be more understanding. Knowing about hardships might also cut out people whining and making me feel bad for being slower, if they know what sort of things I’m going through off-screen.
What is the most surprising thing about the whole experience?
Surprising is that I made some cool friends who actually come visit me multiple times and the job opportunity I got from the experience. I also never would’ve been able to go to art school without the comic and support from the lovely viewers.
Satan and Me stands out as a unique story with a diverse cast of characters and a stunning art style. I’ve loved following its progression as the years have passed, and cannot recommend this comic enough.
All of Orange’s comics can be found on Tapastic, Webtoons and tumblr.
tumblr: orange-plum.tumblr.com / thisiskindgross.tumblr.com / hereitcomescomic.tumblr.com