9 June 2008

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?
I am a late twenties male who was born in Australia but recently moved to Canada. I have a Fine Art degree with Honours, which I entered as a mature age student after drawing comics for many years beforehand. Other than comics I like to make collages and do printmaking when I get the opportunity.

What is your background?
I did not grow up reading comics other than Asterix and Garfield, as a matter of fact I did not read that much at all unfortunately (I do now). I think most of my childhood was spent for better or worse watching movies. I think this saturation in pop culture and celluloid led me later into picking up comics. First it was superhero stuff, as that was the first thing I was really exposed to through newsagents. I later went onto more alternative titles like ‘Madman’ by Mike Allred and ‘the Maxx’ by Sam Kieth. I later got into Crumb which opened up a whole world of new comics and influences to me.

How long have you been making comics?
I started making comics after getting into Crumb (approx 1997) and seeing the possibilities of the medium in terms of width and depth of stories. My thinking is almost that of a filmmaker (see above) but I don’t like the group effort it takes to make films, which is why I choose comics as a medium. Comics can be made on a tiny budget and can include anything in your imagination. Plus they can be worked on in private until you are ready for the world to see them, I like that the most.

How do you publish you work?
I mostly self publish in book form as it allows me control over my work. I am not opposed to being ‘published’ by other means but rather just enjoy getting my material out there any way I can.
This year (2008) I started posting a two panel journal comic up on this blog every day.

Why do you use Blogger and not a professional website?
I really like blogger's features, it makes it so easy to update and change the look and feel of the site, plus best of all it is free! I am not really concerned at this point that I do not have my own ‘.com’. As I do this for free, I need to keep my overhead costs down too. I also think blogspot accounts are a more down to earth and straightforward type of site.

Why do you put your comics on the web for free?
This is something I have thought long and hard about. My primary reason for putting material on the web is that it motivates me to get the work done. Having the idea that there are people out there reading the strips helps me strive to keep up the strip. It used to bug me that I did this for free, but I am ok with that now. I have always thought the best part of drawing comics is having the readers, not necessarily making the money. Although that does help keep the comic going too, paper does not grow on trees and someone has to keep feeding these squids.

Yeah, but don’t you think it spoils you future books?
Making books is my primary concern, not webcomics. Therefore this is another sore point and perhaps I’ll reconsider in the future. I figure it is just like when you read newspaper strips and then later buy the collection in book form. I also try to put extra and new material in my books.

‘so’ and ‘so’ also makes journal comics...
I know of lots of people that make journal comics in all shapes and sizes. Most people have a three or four panel format and I, for better of worse, only use two panels. I like the two panels as it keeps things brief, almost like a comic haiku.

Journal comics suck!
It is one of those things like black licorice, you either love it or hate it. I try to make comics that are truly personal and have a continuing narrative and themes in them. I try to make the comic more than just ‘I did this, I did that’.
Everything I put in the comic has special significance 95% of the time, which you as the reader has to figure out in the context of the strips as a whole. As long as I continue to enjoy reading other good journal comics then I will continue making my own.

Why do you leave the blue lines in your web comics?
I leave them in as I think it is interesting to see behind the scenes of the artistic process. Sometimes you may be able to make out where I have changed my mind of even used whiteout to a small degree. I also think that this leaves the actual finished product for the books I make and the ones on the web are actually just previews of the end result.

Where do I buy your stuff?
You can order directly from me through email (see adress at botom) if you know what you are after; or an easier way would be to go to my etsy.com store to see what I have in stock. I also do print on demand T-shirts through redbubble.com I have a range of shirts in the store already and can quickly make up a custom design based on previous artwork upon request, ie a particular strip or piece of my art work that you like.

How do you currently make your comics?
I am always trying out new things, new tools, new methods, ink, paper etc.

Currently I have been doing my journal strips as such,
  1. -I draw in my A5 spiral bound sketchbook. This is because it is portable and thus easier to draw anywhere. I do not mind drawing tables it is just that it can be hard to sit down at them and get work done. The book allows me to be anywhere.
  2. -I recently started using a Col-Erase 'light blue' pencil. At first I tried it out from curiosity but now I prefer not having to erase my lines and smudge up the page and my hand from graphite. I try to pencil rough indications only as guidelines for my pen.
  3. -I currently draw all my comics with my Steadtler .05 tech pen. I got so used of sketching with it was only natural to keep using it for ‘finished’ comics. Sometimes I feel bad that I should use a ‘real’ comic tool like a nib or brush and get a more variable line. But that is just another thing to slow down my comics making ability.
  4. -I always make my comics to end up as pure lineart, crisp B&W copies with no greyscale. My preferred method is to save scans as 1200 dpi bitmapped TIF’s.
  5. - I have collated and folded so many books (which can be fun) that I enjoy leaving my focus on actually drawing them, I now prefer to find printers that can make the books for you.

Any more questions drop my a line at:


David Ano said...

Cool FAQ. One question you missed is, "where do I buy your stuff". Also, I do not know why, but I am in editor mode. Here are some corrections.
- Sam Kieth's name is speil K-i-e-t-h. (Not Keith). Hence the name of his company, "I Before E".
-You might want to credit Madman to Mike Allred because as you wrote it, it sounds like both both are credited to Kieth.
- "Why do you put youR comics on the web for free?" (add the R)

awcomix said...

Hey David, thanks heaps for your corrections. My middle name is Keith, I do now remember he spells it differently...
Most web comic have an about or FAQ section and I thought it was about time I had one.