Thursday, November 08, 2007

20 Questions - the second half

It was my friend Nicola's birthday a couple weeks ago. Nicola and her husband Lee have been so incredibly supportive of me and my art. They have both also helped model for me (Nicola played the doctor in part 1 page 2 of BLACKOUT).

Nicola is probably also the heart of my art critique team. Her insights have always been valuable and I appreciate that someone has that good an eye for detail.

Anyway, she's a huge Invader Zim fan, and an even bigger Gir and the "Doom Song" fan. So I just had to draw Gir or her birthday. I love his messed up little green dog suit with the disturbingly wandering eyes and stupid little tongue. And I'm pretty happy with how stoned my piggy looks.

Happy Birthday Nicola!



11. Were you aware of the show before you started working on the online novels?

Yeah, absolutely. I really enjoyed it, but working on it gave me a new-found appreciation and respect for it.

12. How often are you requested to illustrate those online graphic novels? What is their importance among the other works of yours? Is there any sort of contract or formal agreement determining any average production or a minimum of work?

There is no contract between me and NBC. In fact, I liaise directly with Frank of Aspen comics. I think they throw a lot of work my way because I was fast and reliable. I stepped up a lot of times, bailing them out the fire. I know there were some production issues with War Buddies. One artist was supposed to draw the entire arc, but that artist had to pull out for some reason. Frank asked me to step in and I churned out that story in record time thanks to Annette my colourist.

Right now I'm on a little bit of a hiatus working on my graphic novel, Zero G. But I can't wait to finish it and get into some more HEROES work. I really think the comic stories this season have been a lot of fun and I wish I could have drawn any of them.

13. Even though they are novels of a few pages, we guess they give you plenty of work to draw them and do the illustration. How long does it normally take to have an edition done? How does this process work? Meaning, you first have all the drawings done and then put the colors on them at once, or do work each piece/page individually? Do the digital process has a great importance in your work or doing the job using you own hands is still the most important in your opinion?

Generally, I get 5 to 10 days to draw a 5-6 page HEROES project. The first stage is layouts. I send over scratchy little thumbnails that indicate where characters are going to be and where the panels are going to be. I also indicate speech balloons. Once NBC and Frank approve these. I then get onto the artwork, generally the timeline is so tight that I have already started drawing while waiting for layout approval. I just hope that there are no problems. When working on the Death of Hana and Blackout (both comics coloured by myself) my art process seems to be a little bit more organic and less structured. My driving factor is expedience and speed. When working with Annette, I make sure to draw everything down to every tiny detail. When colouring myself, I realise that sometimes it's faster to paint stuff than it is to draw it.

At the end of the day, the computer is just another tool. It's taken me 4 years of working with it to get better and faster than I was by hand. That was a huge sacrifice. So anyone who thinks they can just pick up a computer and just press the "make better" button had better think twice.

14. Do you work directly with the writers and have the chance of giving opinions and suggestions, or is the script complete and finished already when you get it?

The script is completely finished by the time I get to it. With War Buddies I was only getting one episode of the time, which meant I had to ask who Dallas and Austin were. That was cool getting to know weeks before anybody else. With the Death of Hana, and Blackout I received both parts all at once.

I try and add what I call an "easter egg" in all my comics. Something that only the hardcore fans would appreciate. So keep your eyes out for these.

15. In the novels, the characters features - and traits - and the real actors' are pretty much alike. In Blackout you have three characters never seen before on the show. Are you asked to draw any relevant or specific characteristic of any actor, because the character might be on the show at some point?

If the character will later turn up, I'm usually told very specifically what to draw. Although, sometimes I'm not told! With War buddies I assumed that Dallas and Austin were important characters to the continuity of HEROES so I asked who they might be. I was glad that I did. With characters that are unplanned to appear in the future I'm allowed to draw whatever I want as long as I stay within the writers description. In Blackout, the Primatech agent and the kid are all totally designed by me from Mark Sable's direction.

16. Are you inspired or influenced by some artist concerning this feature accuracy quality in you drawings?

The accuracy is inspired by the show. For example, when I drew Blackout. I modeled for Mohinder myself. I watched a couple of episodes and really studied his character and his body language. I studied what he was like when he was earnest, sad or hurt. All these emotions that he is communicating through the comic I modeled off the actor's performance. I'm very particular about little details like this

17. What is the character you like the most in Heroes when it comes to drawing? Why?

When it comes to fast sketches, I really like drawing Hiro Nakamura. I just can't seem to get him wrong. I really enjoy these fast sketches as they capture something about the character. When it comes to the comics, I really want to draw Peter Petrelli. I think Milo is a cool looking guy and I haven't had a chance to draw him much.

18. Which character would you like to be drawing, beyond those you have already done?

As I mentioned, Peter Petrelli would be my favourite. I wouldn't mind drawing Niki/Jessica more as the few times I have haven't been totally satisfied with what came out.

19. Why? Is he/she your favorite character on the show?

Actually, Matt Parkman is my favourite character on the show. I really enjoyed Greg Grunberg's performance. I find with Hiro I'm laughing a lot at him, but with Matt, I'm laughing a lot with him. The character is genuinely funny and Greg's performance really grounds him.

20. And i couldn't end it without asking this one: What can you tell us about next novels? Is there any scoop for us? Is there anything exclusive you could tell us?

I wish there was, but right now I'm a little out of the loop. But I can't wait to get back into the HEROES comics! This season should shape up to be a really good one. I'm sure they've learnt a lot from the first season and I can't wait to see what they unload for the second season. And even if I knew anything, I would only give you the tiniest hints. I mean, why spoil something so beautiful?


The HEROES graphic novels were supposed to be in Wednesday, but they've been delayed. I've just got off the phone to Matt (the owner of Comics R Us) and he says they should be in by Friday afternoon. So note, the FRIDAY SIGNING TIME HAS CHANGED:

COMICS R'US CITY: 9th November 2pm-5pm
COMICS R'US CHAPEL ST: 10th November 12pm-2pm

I will have a new print run of sketchbooks ($15) and I will be doing sketches ($10) and autographing the graphic novel (free of course!). I hope to see you all there!


Kelly J. Compeau said...

Well, that was a nice 2-part interview, Jason. Let's hope this strike ends soon, so we can all get back to the business of show.


Stef {Lilithia} said...

Mmm. Bringing my Sydney friends over today. See you sooooon!

Flawedprefect said...

Wow - Brazillian!? Is that Portuguese or Spanish? Cos I tried both when you first announced it in Babelfish... couldn't make sense of it. So glad yo u did the leg work right here on 1000words!

Impish said...

Yay! Gir! I'm dancing like a monkey. You know it'll be hanging in pride of place by my work PC to inspire me to acts of doom during my day.

Of course we're supportive of your art: your passion and enthusiasm is infectious and you have the talent to back it up. What's not to support?! Hope CRU goes well and Matt's store is overflowing.

I bet you'll end up at the cafe next door jawing with the punters afterwards.

jasonb said...

kjc: you're telling me. id love to do some more HEROES stuff. Glad you liked the interview.

Stef: thanks for dropping by!

paul: I actually have no idea what language that was. =)

nicola: hahahaha! thanks so much! Seeya soon!