FLIGHT 3: PopImage Interview

Talks with Flight artists, as well as reviews of related books...
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Post by J.ELLIS » Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:23 am

Thanks Everyone - more one-on-ones plus follow-ups to come

Dave:

Throughout these interviews the term all-ages keeps coming up and you’ve said you just wanted to make a fun story for your FLIGHT contribution, but the story itself seems a bit… subversive. While being fun and hopeful it also touches on some serious issues like job security, corporate tactics, depression, immigration… while you wanted to tell a story that was fun, was the deeper meaning intentional or was it perhaps something that grew from the unconscious and bled itself onto the page?

Speaking of all-ages, you deal with the subject of what’s appealing and appropriate for a younger audience day in and day out as editor for Nickelodeon Magazine. Does your position of being both an editor and a creator sometimes collide? Do you see yourself in a position where you can help fellow artists gain further exposure or do you need to look at your role as editor to emphasis timeliness and getting the right story?

Do you find there’s difficulty in appealing to an audience with dwindling attention spans as younger audiences have an over abundance of stimulation already available to them?

JAX EPOCH AND THE QUICKEN FORDBIDDEN was probably my first exposure to your work [That and TEEN BOAT] and it’s had quite a long and successful shelf life. Has JAX been something that had always been laid out on a specific path or do you find that having continuously worked on it for so long that your initial plans have changed?

For that matter, ASTRONAUT ELEMENTARY, is this a project that has solid plans or do you find yourself coming up with new material week by week?

FLIGHT has a majority of creators with strong animation ties, but you’ve worn many hats yourself, tell us about Dexter’s Lab: Chicken Scratch and your experience with seeing your work adapted for the big screen?

AGNES QUILL for Slave Labor Graphics, will this be a collection of the webcomics or a continuation? How would you describe the title to new readers?

Lifemeter Comics, still fairly young yet garnering quite a bit of attention and showcasing some remarkable talent, tell us about how this project got started?
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Post by J.ELLIS » Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:03 am

BTW - if anyone else would like to get in on the interviews/roundtable - please answer the roundtable questions no later then friday
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Post by dave roman » Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:20 am

Throughout these interviews the term all-ages keeps coming up and
You've said you just wanted to make a fun story for your FLIGHT
contribution, but the story itself seems a bit subversive. While
being fun and hopeful it also touches on some serious issues like job security, corporate tactics, depression, immigration? while you wanted to tell a story that was fun, was the deeper meaning intentional or was it perhaps something that grew from the unconscious and bled itself onto the page?


The subtext is definitely intentional. Even though it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, the first half of the comic focuses on frustration from having your livelihood taken away from you, and feeling powerless to do anything about it. I wanted to create something that would have an equal balance of whimsy and sadness. Like most of my of my comics, it plays with the contrast of high fantasy and day-to-day reality. And with Flight, the extra-cool part was being able to make the color choices symbolic as well. Everything turns gray once the depression begins… you see the insides of rabbit apartments, which are made up of earth tones to reflect grass and dirt…the evil birds are red to evoke the threat of Communism or Nazi invasion. It all makes for good shorthand when you have a simple art style like mine.

Speaking of all-ages, you deal with the subject of what's appealing
and appropriate for a younger audience day in and day out as editor for Nickelodeon Magazine. Does your position of being both an editor and a creator sometimes collide?


Being a cartoonist on the side, I can totally relate with the artists and writers I work with. Chris Duffy (senior comics editor) and I both genuinely love kids comics (and pretty much every other kind of comic), and are huge fans of all the people we use in the magazine.

Do you see yourself in a position where you can help fellow artists gain further exposure or do you need to look at your role as editor to emphasis timeliness and getting the right story?

I guess it might sound cool on your resume. But I kind of doubt being in Nickelodeon Magazine really helps cartoonists in terms of exposure or creating future customers for their own works. Our readership is mostly 8-12-year-old kids, who don’t usually go to comic shops or conventions, let alone seek out additional projects by their favorite artist. So even though a million kids a month read Patty Cake or Grampa and Julie strips in Nickelodeon Magazine, the comic book versions by SLG or Top Shelf aren’t exactly sure-fire hits in the direct comics market. One positive tradeoff, though, is the complete freedom to hire someone like Johnny Ryan to do comics for us, even though his other published work (Angry Youth) is totally inappropriate. I personally love to discover new artists who could do something unique and different, that kids would also appreciate. Especially if it makes us laugh. More than anything else, the kids who read our magazine expect comics to be funny. They don't really care whether Mike Mignola, Ellen Forney or someone straight out of art school drew it!


Do you find there's difficulty in appealing to an audience with
dwindling attention spans as younger audiences have an over abundance of stimulation already available to them?


Not really. Kids will always seek out things that will make them laugh. And Nickelodeon Magazine is filled with parody, gags that are actually funny, and unique comics, as well as interesting articles, bizarre facts, etc. Video games and iPods still have a long way to catch up in those fields, and the Internet still hasn't completely replaced the coolness of receiving your favorite magazine in the mail or convincing your parent to buy it for you at the grocery store.

JAX EPOCH AND THE QUICKEN FORDBIDDEN was probably my first exposure to your work [That and TEEN BOAT] and it’s had quite a long and successful shelf life. Has JAX been something that had always been laid out on a specific path or do you find that having continuously
worked on it for so long that your initial plans have changed?


John Green and I created the series when we still in art school, and probably over-ambitious about what we hoped to accomplish. We envisioned Quicken Forbidden as an epic series about an apocalyptic battle between magic and reality along the lines of Akira (specifically the manga series). After several years of self-publishing, we became humble and certainly more realistic in our goals. I started finding ways to speed the story up so we could resolve most of the major plot threads by Issue15. Sadly, the realities of self-publishing made it impossible for us to keep going past our 13th issue. Which is where AiT/Planet Lar stepped in and became our knights in shining armor, when then offered to publish the trade paperback collections (which we re-dubbed Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden). The collections have really given the series a long shelf life and allowed people to digest the story in much more satisfying chunks. They also allowed us to extend sequences and fine-tune mistakes we made along the way. Originally, I thought it would be cool if the series ended with a really downbeat ending. Jax, guilty of destroying her home dimension, is forced to sacrifice herself to save the rest of universe. But now I realize, killing the main character of your comic series can be a cruel blow to the fans that have invested so much time in caring about them. But we got to have our cake and eat it too, by killing her off in the last issue we self-published. And then we can resurrect her for an extended epilogue in the third and final trade paperback! That’s what John Green and I are currently working on, with the hopes of having it come out by next year.


For that matter, ASTRONAUT ELEMENTARY, is this a project that has
solid plans or do you find yourself coming up with new material week by week?


I draw it week to week, but the overall story line is completely charted out. Over the course of the school semester, each of the students' story lines start to become more intertwined, introducing elements that start off small but increasingly build towards a climax that will involve all of the students and their graduation from elementary school.

FLIGHT has a majority of creators with strong animation ties, but
you’ve worn many hats yourself, tell us about Dexter’s Lab: Chicken
Scratch and your experience with seeing your work adapted for the big screen?


Well, it was loosely adapted from an issue of the Dexter's Lab comic book that I wrote. Same title, same set-up, but it spikes off in a different direction and ends dramatically different. When they adapted other Cartoon Network comics into episodes of their respective TV show, the comic writer usually got a small "inspired by" credit. But since "Chicken Scratch" was adapted into a short to run before the Power Puff Girls movie, it didn’t go through the same production stages. I was also told after the fact, that Genndy Tartokofsky didn’t feel I deserved credit, because I never would have wrote the comic if he hadn’t created the TV show in the first place. Which really bummed me out, because I really was a big fan of his. I still think Dexter’s Lab was one of the best cartoons ever.


AGNES QUILL for Slave Labor Graphics, will this be a collection of the webcomics or a continuation? How would you describe the title to new readers?

Agnes Quill is a teen detective/horror series with lots of Indiana Jones style high adventure. It’s set in a city called Legerdemain, which is built around a cemetery the size of central park. Agnes’ family is known for being able to talk to ghosts, so they tend to bother her with their problems. The book will be out in October from Slave Labor Graphics and will include all the online stuff, but also a ton of material that is completely new. Mostly prose material that fleshes out the unique city that Agnes lives in, and gives lots of background into her family heritage. There are journal entries and newspaper clippings that add up to an illustrated novella.

Lifemeter Comics, still fairly young yet garnering quite a bit of
attention and showcasing some remarkable talent, tell us about how this project got started?


Life Meter Comics spun out of the realization that lots of cartoonists I know, at some point, have drawn an awesome rendition of Mario, Link from the Legend of Zelda, or some other game icon in their sketchbooks. Zack Giallongo had a picture of Pit from Kid Icarus that made people flip out when they saw it. The two of us shared a table at a convention where it seemed like every other person was wearing a Nintendo nostalgia shirt, or cosplaying as Princess Toadstool. It just put a spotlight on how many people probably had a deep emotional connection with video games. So we started encouraging our friends to execute any crazy ideas they had floating around in their heads that involved a video game character. We just asked that it be true to the spirit of the source material, and not be a parody. That way it would be a total tribute to the stuff that inspired us as artists. By collecting it all on one website (which was designed by Stephanie Yue), it makes it easier for gamers to find and appreciate the pieces without having to search through a million individual artist blogs.

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I'm locking myself away - More Interview Q's to come

Post by J.ELLIS » Sat Jun 24, 2006 5:25 pm

Tony:

“Old Oak Trees” was inspired by your grandmother, what did she think of the final story? Have you found that once you take an interest in your family’s past, other relatives come forward with their own interesting stories?

Other contributors have referenced your story as setting the tone for the new volume, how’s it feel to have been such an inspiration to, not only the book, but your friends?

The influences for your style in “Old Oak Trees” is definitely a cross between that of storybooks and animation, from the innocent illustrative quality of books like Wind in The Willows to the kinetic energy of FLCL. Is this a natural sense of style for you or do you find that when you draw for yourself, whether it just be sketches or doodles, that your art takes on a different quality?

A lot of your animation is Flash based, does this seem like a common format when most animation schools push towards learning either systems like Maya or studying classical animation?

What inspired you to add a tutorial section to your website? Do you teach in person as well?

Tell us about the Pucca series you’re working on? How does it feel being involved in adapting these shorts for a North American audience?

When working with an animation script do you find you have a lot of freedom to add to the story, whether it be in setting, tone, expressions, etc?
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Post by J.ELLIS » Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:01 pm

Reagan:

What was your art process for your FLIGHT contribution? What’s really striking about your story, aside from your pen skills that is, is the colour process. Was this a mix of paint and computer or all in one medium?

Tell us about Wyit and Sidna, right now are there merely the characters for which to tell the stories you want when the need arises or do you currently have plans to explore them in length, whether it be a series or graphic novel?

Looking at your influences I’d have to say you’re drawn to the majestic. Not just magic and warriors but also characters with a greater sense of something beyond them. Something worth fighting for. Would you say this appeal rings true?

Do you often feel like the odd man out, while other artists have a completed education and jump for project to project, you’ve got a steady employer and jump for school to school?

Do you have an ultimate goal for your art career? Meaning, are you looking to breaking into animation, illustration, sequential art, storyboarding films, all of the above?



(I also love that Mark Andrews falls amongst your influences. He’s one of those artists I think would fall in perfectly with the Flight antho)
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Post by J.ELLIS » Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:35 pm

Bannister:

When planning your story, was it always a silent piece or did you find that while planning it out the images spoke well enough for themselves?

Was this story done completely on the computer? Having done other pieces in that sense, how does it compare? I’m one of those who will just always be drawn to the natural feel of paper then a computer screen, and you of course still continue to work with inks and watercolours.

There’s a huge difference as to what is marketable in Europe versus North America, do you feel outlets like FLIGHT give you an opportunity to tell the stories you want to a new audience?

Tell us about the premise behind les Enfants d'ailleurs, the Children of Elsewhere?

A lot of your work falls in the category of cute or adventurous but you’ve also recently been involved with Project Rooftop, redesigning popular characters like Iron Man and Flash in new ways. Is there any desire in your part to work in that genre?

Having recently returned from the Canary Islands, has the trip inspired your work? Or for that matter being able to tour the Louvre and Notre Dame recently as well?
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Post by J.ELLIS » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:57 pm

Ben:

For your story, aside from the two competitive inner voices, the story also speaks towards the strength of a friendship as both are quite different and are able to poke fun at each other, was there no factual persons this actually represented, perhaps two brothers or an old friend?

Could you tell us a little about what brought you to study in Italy for these past few months?

How have the influenced affected your art, as someone more akin to animation, getting the chance to experience so many classical artists?

You mention hoping to design and decorate churches in the future, which I find immensely interesting, how exactly would you be able to specialize in that field?

Could you tell us a little about Zita and what lead you to chronicle her adventures?

Zita is hilarious and really epitomizes the theme of an all ages title which we’ve discussed through these FLIGHT interviews, is there an intended outlet for her stories outside of the webcomics? Magazine strips, animation, etc?
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Last of the Initial Q's - Follow-Up's to... follow

Post by J.ELLIS » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:54 pm

Azad:

Azad I just read your FLIGHT story and I’m not sure what to say beyond “wow”. The story is amazing and I’ve never seen your art like this, what was the culmination of this story? It seems in part inspired by the New Orleans flooding though I’m unsure if the timing matches up with when you originally began this story.

A lot of the FLIGHT contributions fall into a storybook quality, as does yours, but it also feels like there’s something more to it. Perhaps a story told to you by a relative as a child, or maybe something more recent?

As a creator who isn’t dependant on comics work to survive, you’re able to choose which projects you take on. How do you manage the time between work and creating stories for yourself?

Sammy, remains your most recognizable creation. Could you tell us a little about Sammy and how that character got started? I was really impressed when I saw you bring in the FLQ to one of your Sammy stories.

Currently you’re working on a mini-compilation to debut at San Diego, will this be a Sammy related project or more personal works?

How would you compare doing a story on your own to that off working with another writer? With your future projects do you have a preference to your role? For instance, writing for another artist?
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FOLLOW-UPS - WHOOT WHOOT

Post by J.ELLIS » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:23 pm

Kazu:

Much of it is drawn from the films of Akira Kurosawa, most notably his film Dreams. Whenever I think of how I want to present a story aesthetically, I almost always think of that film. I viewed the movie at three very different stages in my life, and my reactions to it were so varied they made me realize how much I had changed. My favourite works of art tend to be mirrors that reflect our lives, and whether or not it was intentional, Dreams had a profound effect on the way I viewed myself. I can only imagine that this is also what the changing seasons do to an individual, as I've never actually lived anywhere the seasons changed.


FOLLOWUP: I guess that can have an adverse affect on someone, it’s interesting that you chose one of Kurasawa’s most personal films as your favourite. Many people seemed to not understand it as it wasn’t particularly straightforward. Do you try to create the same sense of openness in your stories, letting the reader’s imagination decipher the piece rather then laying it out for them?

FOLLOWUP: What the current schedule for FLIGHT? One volume per year? Six months, eight months, etc?

In light of the themes in Amulet, without younger readers, we can't have older readers. If we only cater to the people sitting in the middle- who often have no desire to have children- then who will pass these books down to the younger generations? If comics want to grow, then they'll have to reflect human growth as well.


FOLLOWUP: You mentioned wanting to create children’s material that wasn’t condescending, which seems to be the biggest problem with writings directed towards younger readers, even something like Harry Potter, the most successful children book series in a long time, falls prey to being quite formulaic. How do you avoid falling prey to the same pratfalls or clichés?
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Post by J.ELLIS » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:26 pm

Kean:

Really? I don't see them as fun-loving characters -- more of the opposite, really. In my mind, I see Portia and Jason as those two weird kids in class that kept to themselves and never really talked to anyone very much. JELLABY so far has been more my rumination on childhood and growing up, and these two characters have been an opportunity for me to dig around and reflect on that period of my life, because children can be just as alienated as adults are, sometimes even more so. I do think the fact that they can have fun is also because of the fact that they're children, and all that weighty stuff can just roll off of their backs in the moment, like it sometimes does. Childhood is filled with all kinds of contradictions like that.


FOLLOWUP: Perhaps more fun-loving in the sense of adventurous, though they’re the odd ones out amongst their school mates, that may also be the reason they can hang with a giant purple monster yet still retain their sanity and sense of light-hearted escapades.

You and I both have heard a lot of different opinions about all-ages material, like ‘kids don’t want to read about kids in school’, but I think the wide range of opinions is influenced by a greater diversity of children and their tastes when, quite frankly, they like what they want and they’ll find what they like.

Being awesome helps.

Haha, I would love to do a JELLABY cookbook.


FOLLOWUP: The Jellaby BLT.

RE: Inspired by Mignola/Hellboy: Very little, actually. I've always been fascinated by Mignola's page layouts and pacing more than anything else, and while I can't deny that that's been an influence on me, it's just one of the many things that has shaped my 'style' for JELLABY.


FOLLOWUP: When do stuff for yourself do you break out of your artistic style or do you find you fit whatever your drawing into your personal view?


Hopefully I can figure out a schedule that'll keep me happy, productive and sane, which is ultimately the goal, isn't it?


FOLLOWUP: Sanity is overrated. Now Insanity, that shit is the bees knees yo.
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Post by J.ELLIS » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:28 pm

Neil:

Those previous FLIGHT stories are actually fiction, but people often confuse them with autobiography despite the characters, I think because I wrote them in the same "slice-of-life" style as my journal comics, where the plot is pretty subtle.


FOLLOWUP: It reminds me of stuff that I wrote years and years ago that I referred to as ‘fictional autobiography’ – though not necessarily a complete picture of real events, they were inspired by real events and the story just took a different turn. Has working on the story given you an interest in following the similar steps of your character? Travelling and learning as he does?

Well that's not a new dilemma at all. (I've been called a "dabbler," which I like to remember when I need some motivation!) Although I like to blame this problem for my sparse output, anybody can be creative with a little time management effort. I often work on this stuff when other people would be doing recreational stuff like watching TV, etc. But making a book of course requires a much more solid commitment. I'm working on a way to resolve that, but I still struggle with it, to be honest. Hopefully things will be a lot smoother soon.


FOLLOWUP: Having a fulltime job is enough of a commitment let alone trying to manage side projects, have you created a strict work ethic for yourself?

Well, sometimes I composite or fictionalize characters, so I know who they are and it's still very real to me, but it won't offend anyone. I think it's okay as long as it's truthfully inspired. In the FLIGHT 3 story, my friend who's seen at the beginning and the end is an actor in real life, so I figured he wouldn't mind. I also try not to ridicule people (other than myself) like a lot of 'journal comics,' though I have my lapses. Usually people are excited to see themselves portrayed.


FOLLOWUP: Do you find some friends are just waiting to see themselves portrayed in your strips?
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Post by J.ELLIS » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:29 pm

Joey:

Of course, this isn't how it started. It just started from the concept of a "Van Gnome" and a fun story with Sewer Dragons, Junkyard Trolls, etc. But as I was writing it, I realized that it was pretty much the issues that I was dealing with finishing up college and figuring out where I go next.


FOLLOWUP: So Nodo’s ‘love interest’ has ground in real life as well?

However, as this was going on, I was starting to think about a fun story with a lot of possibilities, and that was The Ride Home! I tinkered around with it for a while, first only creating Nodo, and the Sewer Dragon Ferdinand, and then expanding it a bit until I felt like it was the story that I wanted to tell! And by this time I was going full-force on shorts for minis and anthologies, and I felt like I was ready to take on a larger story. In the initial outline of TRH I thought I only had an 80-page story, but thankfully it filled out to 150, so I could make it the graphic novel that I wanted it to be.


FOLLOWUP: Currently you’re look for a publisher for THE RIDE HOME correct? What steps have you taken to marketing your work?
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Post by J.ELLIS » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:31 pm

Michel:

I take inspiration whenever or wherever it presents itself, be it personal stories, literature, music, comics, movies, televisions etc… These days, I find a lot of inspirations in Science-Fiction literature. Writers like B R Bruss, Jack Williamson, H G Wells, Lovecraft, Philip Wylie are all great storytelling inspirations.

But at a more basic level, I find that the Flight project is a huge inspiration in itself.


FOLLOWUP: Quite a few of your stories begin in space, has this always been an interest for you or was it something you found interest in later in life?


I’m learning a lot about animals and endangered species. It’s awesome to bounce off artistically from the amazing designs that nature creates. Nature is the ultimate artist, that’s for sure. On a technical level, I’ve had to push my Photoshop skills way up from where they were. The paintings I’m doing now are a lot more detailed then what I could do just a year ago.


FOLLOWUP: Well taking this image of the bird as an example I’m left wondering if this is all you or have you juxtaposed photos into your paintings?


I mean, I’d like to design sets for a ballet, an opera or a heavy metal band. I want to invent stuff… I want to maybe write a novel, compose a symphony… who knows. I don’t want to put any limitation at this point.


FOLLOWUP: Do you set clear goals on personal projects that you hope to tackle, like starting a novel, or at this point do you find you’ve enough ideas to fill any spare time for the foreseeable future?
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Post by J.ELLIS » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:33 pm

Dave:

The subtext is definitely intentional. Even though it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, the first half of the comic focuses on frustration from having your livelihood taken away from you, and feeling powerless to do anything about it. I wanted to create something that would have an equal balance of whimsy and sadness. Like most of my comics, it plays with the contrast of high fantasy and day-to-day reality. And with Flight, the extra-cool part was being able to make the colour choices symbolic as well. Everything turns gray once the depression begins… you see the insides of rabbit apartments, which are made up of earth tones to reflect grass and dirt…the evil birds are red to evoke the threat of Communism or Nazi invasion. It all makes for good shorthand when you have a simple art style like mine.


FOLLOWUP: Aside from Communism or Nazi invasion, the image of the ‘Bird Seed Inc’ building actually made me think of the Golden arches.

One positive trade-off, though, is the complete freedom to hire someone like Johnny Ryan to do comics for us, even though his other published work (Angry Youth) is totally inappropriate. I personally love to discover new artists who could do something unique and different, that kids would also appreciate. Especially if it makes us laugh. More than anything else, the kids who read our magazine expect comics to be funny. They don't really care whether Mike Mignola, Ellen Forney or someone straight out of art school drew it!



FOLLOWUP: Do you have a dream-list of artists or writers you’d like to see get involved with the magazine?

Originally, I thought it would be cool if the series ended with a really downbeat ending. Jax, guilty of destroying her home dimension, is forced to sacrifice herself to save the rest of universe. But now I realize, killing the main character of your comic series can be a cruel blow to the fans that have invested so much time in caring about them. But we got to have our cake and eat it too, by killing her off in the last issue we self-published. And then we can resurrect her for an extended epilogue in the third and final trade paperback! That’s what John Green and I are currently working on, with the hopes of having it come out by next year.


FOLLOWUP: Do you find you still have an attentive fan base to the characters adventures?

Agnes Quill is a teen detective/horror series with lots of Indiana Jones style high adventure. It’s set in a city called Legerdemain, which is built around a cemetery the size of central park. Agnes’ family is known for being able to talk to ghosts, so they tend to bother her with their problems. The book will be out in October from Slave Labor Graphics and will include all the online stuff, but also a ton of material that is completely new.


FOLLOWUP: How do you find working on Agnes compared to other projects? When people think of SLG, Dave Roman isn’t the first name that springs to mind when you consider the tone of other projects you’ve done.

Life Meter Comics spun out of the realization that lots of cartoonists I know, at some point, have drawn an awesome rendition of Mario, Link from the Legend of Zelda, or some other game icon in their sketchbooks.


FOLLOWUP: Do you feel you’ve reached a bit of an untapped market here? This isn’t like one of the big companies doing some licensed project but really seems to speak true to the fans and nostalgia of the classics. I personally don’t know shit about video games and remember very little about the games of my childhood, but I can look at something like the Frogger strip and get it right away.
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Post by Michel Gagne » Sun Jun 25, 2006 9:15 pm

FOLLOWUP: Quite a few of your stories begin in space, has this always been an interest for you or was it something you found interest in later in life?

MG: Yeah, I’ve always been obsessed with space: first with comics (Lee/Kirby’s Fantastic Four), then with films (Star Wars) and later on with literature. Space is a total mystery. It drives me insane and it inspires me at the same time.

FOLLOWUP: Well taking this image of the bird as an example I’m left wondering if this is all you or have you juxtaposed photos into your paintings?

MG: The process is like this. Using a lot of photographic reference, I do a series of thumbnails or roughs which are reviewed by the art director. Once the rough is approved, I do a tighter drawing delineating all the shapes within the image. Then, I use textures sampled from photos, custom brushes and all sorts of Photoshop tricks. In the end, I always try to push way beyond just copying a photo. I would feel like a thief if I’d just grab somebody else’s photo and pasted it in my image without modifification. But I certainly won’t hide the fact that I do use and study a large amount of photographic material. The goal is to bring out my design sense and sensibilities even though I’m working in such a realistic style. If the picture looks completely like a photograph, then I feel like I’ve failed to some degree. Here’s an example with the actual photo (on the left) that served as its basis and inspiration:

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FOLLOWUP: Do you set clear goals on personal projects that you hope to tackle, like starting a novel, or at this point do you find you’ve enough ideas to fill any spare time for the foreseeable future?

MG: My goal in life is to keep creating, remain original, love my wife and be a decent human being. I work hard and I’m always pro-active with my projects, but I never know for sure what I’ll be working on in a year. I like not knowing...
Last edited by Michel Gagne on Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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