Letter from California

For this new issue of  Letter from… column, we asked toonpool.com artist Carolyn Hiler about her life and begged for some photographs of her working place and the city she lives in.

Carolyn Hiler


Carolyn Hiler makes A Zillion Dollars Comics, and she has been a toonpool member since June 2011. Carolyn lives at 4400 feet in Mt Baldy, CA, a town of 300 people located in the Angeles National Forest, about an hour east of Los Angeles. When not cartooning, designing goofball products, or hiking with her two adorable mutts, she works in private practice as a psychotherapist and art therapist. A Zillion Dollars products are available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/AZillionDollars.



Which fictional character are you?
From the Wizard of Oz, I am the Wicked Witch of the West. I love monkeys, and the color black, and flying. I am also Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The vampires are the enemies of a creative life. I slay them all the time! When I’m feeling a little more pensive, I’m Kermit the Frog, always wondering about things like rainbows, and trying to write sweet memorable songs.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Leftovers from a big launch party I threw last weekend for these new tote bags I made. If you live within a 30 mile radius and are interested in some extra mozzarella, goat cheese, feta, romano cheese, tomatoes, peppers, basil, artichoke hearts, arugula, pizza dough from Trader Joes, tortilla chips, and other fixings for grilled pizzas, you should come on by with some tupperware.

What bores you the most?
The idea that life was better in the good old days. Anyone who has it all figured out. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

What do you do when you see the glass half empty!
I paint the words “half empty” on a drinking glass.

Today you might feel one way, tomorrow another

Do you like your place or would you like to live somewhere else?
I love my place and I would also like to live somewhere else. Pros of living in Mt Baldy: Pristine mountain air, delicious tap water, creeks running by our house, view of the stars, total silence, and novelty snow. None of those things are available in nearby Los Angeles. Cons of living in Mt Baldy: No good restaurants, art stores, or easy access to my best pals. A significant amount of isolation. Pros of isolation: Extreme productivity. Cons of isolation: Insanity.

What are you able to do that Superman can’t do?
Couples therapy.

If you were sleep walking one night, where would you probably wake up the next day?
At the airport boarding a plane to New York, my city of origin, where I also live at this exact moment in a parallel universe.

What would you wear to be kicked out from a black tie cocktail party?
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Thinking up cartoons is hard work and takes time

Studio table with trusty pal


Tell me the biggest prank you did on a friend.
I seriously cannot think of any pranks I’ve ever done. I’m way too nice. I prefer to limit my mockery of other people to quiet,private endeavors such as cartooning.

How to ruin your vacation?
Bring along, an uptight, miserly, control freak. Or someone who thinks you are.

10. If I gave you a giraffe, where would you hide it?
First, I would talk to the giraffe and see if it really wanted to hide or if it wanted to be out in the open. We would go over the risks and benefits of hiding vs. exposure. I would talk about how vulnerable one feels when putting one’s giraffeness or one’s artwork out there every day, but how it’s actually worth it, because life is too short to spend too much time hiding or worrying about what other people think or trying to be something that you’re not, like not-a-giraffe. Then we would sing an inspirational song together about the freedom that comes from being oneself, and about how you can make fun of clichés and believe them at the same time. After that, the giraffe would probably prefer to embrace its giraffeness and risk going public. But because I’m such an incredibly accepting and respectful person, in case the giraffe still preferred to be hidden, I would stash it up on my roof, where the only creatures who would see it would be the mountain chickadees and the Search and Rescue workers in the helicopters flying overhead looking for lost hikers.



Credits to Nicoleta Ionescu for
talking with
Carolyn Hiler

© toonpool.com

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9 Responses to “Letter from California”

  1. Kim says:

    Fun interview, Carolyn! I envy your work space :)

  2. Jon Carter says:

    Carolyn, great interview! Love your studio, but how do you get any work done in such a beautiful environment? ;) Your dogs are awesome, it’s great they can keep you company while you work.
    Keep up the great work, I love your stuff, especially that great “I ♥ Shoplifting” bag lol!

  3. Battlestar says:

    Yes, I love that workspace as well! :D

  4. Mari says:

    Love your interview! so fun and witty! :)

  5. berti says:

    fun reading. love the “sorry – not rushing”-mug.

  6. Marilyn Hiler says:

    Hey, what a fun interview. I’m proud of your cleverness and originality.

  7. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for your comments! Glad you liked the interview. When I make lists of things to be grateful for, the studio is always at the top.

  8. You live in a lovely place! Great interview and very funny – love the glass half full/empty idea! Could take on……

  9. Rachel says:

    I LOVE the I <3 Shoplifting tote bag I saw on your etsy store. Good luck to you!

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