What are the “right” tools for making comics? Luckily there is no answer set in stone, you can use whatever tools you feel most comfortable with! In this video I demonstrate some of what I use – see if you can get some inspiration from that.
As you may know, I taught a comics course at the Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark last week. I’m planning a podcast about the course, that will probably go up later this week, but I also got some questions from students that I thought I would answer here. Perhaps there is some value in it for the Comics for Beginners community.
Q: When you’re working on a comic, don’t you ever want to change or ditch your story completely?
A: Yes, absolutely! Every time. But if I listened to the voice inside my head that tells me it’s not good enough, chances are I’ll never finish anything. I may decide NEVER to use this pen again or NEVER to make that same story mistake, but rarely do I change horses in the middle of the stream. That doesn’t mean I have no sense of self critique (at least I hope not), I just try to act like a pro and get it done. And whatever I learn, I take with me to the NEXT project.
I talked a bit about my collaboration with writer Chris Miskiewicz. I feel very fortunate to have met Chris and we get along very well creatively, with complete respect for each other’s work and a common goal to make the end result even better. When I described our working relationship, I got this question:
Q: How do you find a partner like that?
A: It’s probably different for everybody. First off, you don’t meet anybody if you just stay at home at your drawing board. You have to get out there. I met Chris at the MoCCA Festival in New York and we got along instantly. AND I liked the work he did. He lured me in with a smaller project, a short comic for his Everywhere! anthology on Act-I-Vate. Doing a little something together is probably a good idea to see if you’re on the same page. Test the waters. Meeting in person (and getting drunk together) is also something I would very much recommend, as it just takes the relationship to a whole other level than an online friendship. It frees up the communication.
Another question that was asked was about making a living as an artist and starting out:
Q: When did you decide to become an artist?
A: I didn’t, really. For a looong time I didn’t even ALLOW myself to think it was possible. I didn’t know anybody who made a living drawing, and my parents certainly didn’t either. So like the good parents they were, they persuaded me to get an education and/or a REAL job. Well, I botched thatcompletely. Never got a degree, but was working on illustration, comics, fanzine production while pretending to be a good student at the university and later the school of architecture here in Copenhagen, Denmark. It wasn’t until I met Peter Snejbjerg (artist of Books of Magic, Starman, Preacher and numerous other US books), that I realized being an artist could be a profession and not just a hobby. Starting at Gimle Studios alongside Peter and a bunch of other pros made me what I am today. If not for them, I probably would have given up. So finding a peer group and a studio spot was key for me. AND running out of money, so I HAD to make it work!
It was a great experience to meet all the talented young people in Viborg. Thanks to Aske, Fie, Kristian, Muir, Bob, Maria, Emil, Cathrin, Siri, Jacob, Eydi, Jam, Albert, Mathilde, Line, Clara, Julie, Nilas, Mette and Sofie for the opportunity to offer some guidance. Soon I’ll be asking YOU for advice!
You know the term KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid?
Today I invented the term PASS – Plan Ahead, Stupid, Stupid. (Well, it had to be four letters I think). That note is going up on my wall.
I’m kind of between projects at the moment, and I did the mistake of NOT having anything planned for today’s work.
So what happened?
Kitchen talk at the studio for half an hour and the wasting an hour on YouTube. Saw some great clips with comedian Ricky Gervais, but how does that help my work life?
So my Tip of the Day is a no brainer, something I usually practice: Plan ahead. Know what you will be working on next day, have a prioritized to-do list. An empty desk and an empty calendar is not very motivational and even though I have PLENTY of stuff I COULD do, I end up spinning the wheels all morning, going nowhere.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself. But who else is gonna be, right?
Last week I talked to animation director and first time graphic novelist Craig Frank (http://www.frankfilm.dk/) about his succesful Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming book JFK Secret OPS (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/256252644/jfk-secret-ops-the-graphic-novel) and his experience with making comics for the first time and how to avoid cramping up by painting on several canvasses at the same time.