I was recently asked to be on a blog tour by the fantastic cartoonist, Rachel Dukes, whose comics are great and you should check them out. The blog tour is the kind of thing where cartoonists and writers share their process. It’s an opportunity to peek inside the studios of some of my favorite creators and learn how they do it. Now, on to my leg of the grand tour!
What am I working on?
I am always in the middle of juggling a few projects. There’s always some lag time on one while I’m waiting for editorial feedback or a deadline for an illustration project gets in the way of working on a comic.
I just finished coloring the first volume of a serialized comic called August Chase, and I’ve sent it around to a bunch of 8-12 year olds to get their feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.
This comic for middle school readers is about a group of lost boys who reluctantly team up when they find themselves being chased by the evil Magistor and his henchmen.
While I’m waiting on those small people to get back to me, I’m working out the plot points for the second volume.
How does your writing process work?
I am always split between two sides of my self when I write. First, there’s the magic, then there’s the technique.
When I sit down early in the morning with my cup of coffee to thumbnail, I try to forget everything. I let the world move to the periphery of my vision, blur, and then disappear.
Then I go deep down through the gently sucking void and into my story cave where images flicker on the walls and I try to transcribe them onto paper. This meditative time is where I get the sparks of ideas that become stories. Sometimes the stories come fully hatched, but more often this is where I find the kernel of something exciting that I want to investigate.
Once I’ve got an idea for a story, then the technician takes over. This is where I think about story structure, pacing, and clarity. I break the story into three acts and make a list of plot points. From there, I move on to thumbnailing.
Why do I write what I do?
The stories I choose to work on always start when I have the kernel of an idea, and I wonder, “What is going to happen next?” I tend to move between genres and target demographics because what propels me is curiosity. How is this character I’ve discovered going to navigate the danger they find themselves in? How am I going to play around with storytelling tools and do it in a way I’ve never done before?
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I come from a fine art background and spent years studying color theory and design. All my comic and illustrations are done either in watercolor or digital watercolor because I can’t leave my love of paint behind.
The sensibility I bring to my work is eros and thantanos. Love, and the death instinct. I like paying tribute to the dark side of life while holding on to playfulness and whimsy.
Up next week, you can follow the blog tour to three brilliant stars in the night sky of cartooning: Jon Chad, Sophie Goldstein, and Luke Healy. Go check out their work and see how awesome they are!