Carol Lay was born in Southern California in 1952. Growing up in the suburban desert of Orange County, Carol escaped into plenty of books and great story television like The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and One Step Beyond. When she later landed at UCLA, she discovered Frank Zappa and Zap Comix in the first week, along with The Firesign Theater, Marx Brothers films and more. Better late than never.
In college, one course too many in Conceptual Art almost derailed her artistic plans – she stopped drawing for two years and considered a career in computer programming because of her interest in logic and linguistics. But she stayed in the Arts program and graduated with her BFA. Around that time, Carol’s mother asked her to draw some number and alphabet cards for the first-grade class she taught. Carol found her way back to drawing through the useful and colorful cartoons she drew for those cards. She then picked up some practical commercial art skills, first by drawing Yellow Pages ad illustrations, then in a photo-lettering design shop. When a friend gave her a crash course in comics she finally found her calling. The genre incorporated Carol’s skills and interests in drawing, storytelling, logic, and complex puzzle solving.
At various comics conventions, Carol met established and aspiring cartoonists and picked up her first work in comics by lettering other people’s stories. From there she taught herself to ink, write, pencil, and color stories; working for Hanna-Barbera comics, Western Publishing, DC and Marvel Comics, and various independents. She also drew commercially for Mattel (Barbie, Mad Scientist, Masters of the Universe); did storyboards for rock videos, feature films (Top Secret, Back to the Beach, among others), and commercials, later working part-time as an animation storyboard artist on several shows.
But her first love was always comics. In 1990, Carol was invited to contribute a short serial to LA WEEKLY, which resulted in a 5-page story titled, “The Thing Under the Futon.” The pay was several times what independent comics paid and the audience was larger and included women (!), so Carol pursued and landed a regular spot in the paper with a weekly comic strip. “Story Minute” continues today in its current form (new stories mixed with reprints) online at GoComics.
Carol lived in New York for several years, working for clients that included the Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, MAD Magazine, Worth Magazine, More, and others.
When not working, Carol enjoys hiking, playing Irish music on an English concertina, and cooking meals using only plants.
Currently, Carol lives and works in Sacramento, but is keeping her options open.