In a question and answer session with Daily Beacon Editor-in-Chief Sarah Rainey, former Beacon employee and current professional cartoonist Paige Braddock spoke about who she is, her time at UT, important career moments and how being part of the LGBTQ community has changed her outlook on her work.
Paige Braddock will be having a virtual moderated conversation held by UT’s Pride Center on Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. More details can be found on UT’s Events Calendar website, and you can also register online now.
Question 1: Who are you, and what is your current profession?
My name is Paige Braddock, and I am the Chief Creative Officer for Charles M. Schulz’s studio in northern California (Snoopy and Charlie Brown). The studio oversees the licensed products and animation based on the “Peanuts” comic strip. Peanuts initially gained popularity in the United States, but now has a huge international fan base, especially in Japan.
Q2: When did you attend UT Knoxville, and how long were you at the Beacon? What position did you hold while you were here?
I was at UT from 1981 to 1985 where I earned a degree in Fine Art with a focus in illustration. I was at the Beacon during my entire time at UT. “Sadie” was a daily comic that I created for the Beacon’s comics page.
Q3: How has your experience at the Beacon helped in your professional career?
Doing a daily comic for the Beacon definitely helped me improve my writing and drawing skills. Getting published in the paper helped me build my portfolio for future jobs. Creating something that has a daily deadline and an ongoing storyline is a lot of work. This was sort of the perfect training for the illustration job I eventually had working for a daily newspaper where every day you have multiple deadlines to meet.
Q4: Did you feel that you could express yourself in your work during your time at the Beacon? How do you feel times have changed since then?
I definitely felt like I could express myself. The editorial staff at the Beacon was very supportive. At the time when I was doing a comic for the Beacon, no one was really open about being gay and while I’m sure there were subtle threads of the lesbian experience in my work, I definitely wasn’t overt about it. I would hope that if an artist wanted to do a comic strip now with an LGBTQ+ lead character that they would be accepted and feel comfortable enough to be open in their storytelling.
Q5: What has been the most impactful or inspiring moment in your professional career?
Getting the chance to work with one of my cartoonist heroes, Charles M. Schulz. After working in journalism for 12 years, I moved to California to work with Schulz. The studio was a very inspiring place to work, and I think the quality of my comic work improved because of his influence and encouragement.
Q6: How has being a part of the LGBTQ+ community changed your outlook on your work?
I think being part of the LGBTQ+ community has made me cherish and appreciate diversity and authenticity in storytelling. It’s empowering to see yourself represented in stories.