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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Interview with Amy Hankins of Antcomics



Amy, I discovered you over at Drunkduck.com and you have a web comic called Antcomics. It basically is funny shit featuring the greatest british rocker from the '80's... Adam Ant. Just what in blazes prompted you to do a fan comic about him? Not that I'm complaining.

When I was a kid, I started on this kick where I drew caricatures of my favorite rock stars. Sometimes I’d write stories about them, make comics, whatever. I’d make up little adventures for them (the Beatles were the first one I did. I still have that someplace!). When I became fascinated with Adam Ant, of course he became a cartoon character. My style was very different back then (I was in 4th grade), so he looked quite a bit different. I wish I had one of those drawings someplace, but I can’t find one. Anyhow—I wanted to do a comic strip about him way back then, but never got around to it. You know how a nine year old’s interests change rapidly too, of course—this sort of faded into another interest. I still liked Adam Ant, but didn’t draw him much.

A few years back, I was at the library and noticed they had a “Best of Adam & the Ants” CD. I checked it out and listened to it. I hadn’t heard him in years. The interest in him was rekindled. I then bought some DVDs of his concert performances and videos…I remembered how much fun it was to watch the Ants live and in their videos. I started doodling in a meeting one day at work, and with Ants on the brain, doodled a cartoon of Adam. Soon after, I tried my hand at the other Ants. Then finally, came a comic idea (The Metamorphosis, where Adam transforms into an actual ant).

I had recently stumbled upon a short film called Antmuzak*, where Adam and the Ants go to the grocery store to shop. I was roaring. I watched it about three times in a row, and kept wishing there were more episodes. Suddenly, I was thinking of all kinds of scenerios the Ants could be in…then I thought: “Wait! I can make that happen!” I did, through Antcomics. I sent a couple to the moderator at Adam-Ant.net (the official Adam Ant news site), and he put a link up on their message board, “AntRap.” The crowd went wild, and demanded more! I was hooked, and now had a captive audience.

*Link to Antmuzak: http://www.beam.tv/beamreels/beamreel.php?reel=WGsMngHJjK&order=&page=2
(This tells a bit about the guy who created it).

How long have you been a fan of Adam Ant?

Since 1982. I didn’t even know about him until his song, “Goody Two Shoes” was released in the U.S. I caught an Adam & The Ants concert on A&E, too. That was what really got me hooked.

How long have you been drawing comics?

I’ve been drawing since I learned how to use a pencil. As for comics, I’d say I was around six when I started trying cartooning. I tried my hand at a few comic strips.
How do you feel that the past 2 questions may have "dated" your age?

Not bad at all! I’m only 34! (Funny, back in 1982 I could have considered that old).

Im trying to get a bead on how you make your comics... it appears to be only pencils and then markers. Is this right? I really like it.

That’s pretty much it. I pencil them, then ink them with black pigma pens/Sharpies. Then I use a combination of markers and colored pencils to get the desired effects.
Tell me about any future projects you may have on the go.

More Antcomics, of course! Actually, I do other types of art too, particularly sculpture. I work with polymer clay a lot, and I am working on a series of prehistoric animals, actually. I have a whole list I plan to do. I will probably do the Ants in clay one day too, but that will be very time consuming…
Most of my best work is posted at my Deviant Art page (link = http//www.deviantart.com/hankinstein). There you can see the polymer clay critters and other various goodies, if you’re interested.

If you were able to work with any one artist in the world, living or dead... who would it be and of course... why?

That’s a toughie, but I think either Donna Barr or Mark Crilley. They both have styles that have really influenced me, plus their art is like no one else’s. I am sure they could really give me some good pointers. Mr. Crilley is particularly good at backgrounds, and large, panoramic scenes…I really envy that ability. A lot of comics lack backgrounds, or at least have minimal ones. His comics oftentimes will have whole two page spreads of some giant castle or landscape. Awesome stuff.

Are you musically inclined? I ask this due to the whole Adam Ant infatuation thing.

A bit, I play about eight guitar chords (enough for rock n’ roll, right?) and the drums. My boyfriend and I have a garage band, and he’s one helluva guitar player. He even has a ‘studio’ and a Tascam recorder, so we record our music occasionally. It’s all strictly for fun, but we’re getting pretty good.

I love music, I grew up listening to the Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Steppenwolf. Stuff like that. My mom raised me on some good music. My Dad taught me the guitar (also a great guitarist), so we were pretty musical. I played snare drum in 5th grade band. I never got the note-reading thing down though…but with percussion, I got out of that part! (snicker).

Are you infatuated?

With Adam Ant? I suppose so. I just think he’s got amazing energy, and his music (particularly in the Ants era) is amazing. There is a line in one song that goes “you might not like it now but you will”, referring to ‘Antmusic’. It’s true, I think. I think someone could hear his stuff and not be particularly fond of it at first, but listen a few more times and get totally hooked. There is just something about it. It’s definitely unique. There never was anything like it, and I don’t think there ever will be.

There doesnt seem to be many female comic artists out there... does this bother you and what have you got to say to your fellow estrogen packing sista's?

Nah, it never bugged me. Actually, I thought it might be an advantage, because I read somewhere once that female cartoonists were sought after. I’m not so sure; I know several that have been rejected by syndicates, etc…of course, I never had the guts to submit anything. I just don’t know if I could think of a funny gag every single day and keep the comic fresh and truly funny. I know, I’m a chicken. But keeping it fun, for me, means just doing it when I am inspired and it isn’t forced, you know?

As for the sistahs…those of you that submit stuff, keep trying. I read that Lynn Johnston (For Better or for Worse) was rejected countless times before she finally got her comic accepted…and look at her now! Still going. I say ‘kudos’ to the women who are trying, and we definitely do need more female cartoonists. I’d love to see a comic by a female artist that didn’t have to do with eating disorders, depression, menopause, motherhood, or other things commonly associated with women. Not that those things are bad as material, necessarily; but it seems like most of the comics in the papers, by females, always have to do with that stuff.

Uh... Im not sure what else to ask you now... lol. How about this... do you have someone or many someones you would like to shout out to and any last pearls of wisdom for up and coming cartoonists?

Well…hmm…’pearls of wisdom,’ you say? Since I’m virtually a nobody, am I allowed to do that? :o)
Seriously, keep practicing. Study other cartoonists. If you’re a kid, and you’ve started already, then good for you, I really think kids have an edge. By the time they’re adults, they will probably have developed their own unique style without even realizing it (that’s what I did. I have been whittling away at my style since about age six).

Study your heroes. As a kid, I drew Garfield, Scooby Doo, and countless other characters. Copying others’ work really gives you a feel for how they draw, and gives you great practice (don’t infringe on any copyrights, though kids—I’m not telling you to do that). In Art History class, we learned that many of the great painters and sculptors copied at first. Nothing wrong with that. It certainly helped me. You can then make up your own characters, and implement different aspects of your favorite cartoonists’ styles in your work.

A lot of people compliment me on my ‘action scenes’ and facial expressions, for example. I studied Calvin and Hobbes a lot, which really helped me nail those down. If you asked me what cartoonist can draw the best facial expressions, I would say Bill Watterson, hands down.

I also had a book called How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. Now I obviously don’t draw the ‘Marvel Way’, but that book helped me immensely with perspective and action scenes. Even if you’re not into the superhero style, this book is helpful. It taught me things like drawing the stick figure first, to get the pose you want…stuff like that.

Another thing that helped me refine my style—believe it or not—my life drawing class in college. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Cartoon characters aren’t anatomically correct. But having that knowledge of drawing realistically is definitely a help, no matter what. I highly recommend art training—whatever you can get. You may already be good, but this really helps you refine those skills.

Okay, I am rambling…

Now for the shout outs!…

My parents—back in the stone age, before computers (ha!) my Mom, a stay at home mom, often entertained me by drawing pictures for me. My Dad, too. They would sit down and color, make story books with me, etc. I think they are the ones who really jump started the art thing with me. I think it’s genetic, too. I have a lot of excellent artists in my family—my great aunt, for one. She is a brilliant oil painter.

I really owe a lot to several art teachers in school—most of them were very encouraging, yet could give me the constructive criticism I needed. They pushed me to further develop my style and taught me a lot of things that really stuck with me.

I have to give a shout out to my fellow DrunkDuckers, of course—can’t forget them (you included, Scott!). I have several faithful readers who are a lot of my reason for keeping this thing going. Their comments boost me along, and are highly appreciated. I plan to do fan art for each and every one of them one day—I’ve done two so far, so this’ll take awhile! Anyhow, you guys know who you are, and I can’t thank you enough. You guys’ work is all excellent as well, and very inspiring! (gush, gush…) :o) You really ought to go read their comics. Just see my “Comics recommended by” section on my DD page.

My fellow Deviant Art artists: Another reason to keep going! They were actually the first to see an Antcomic.

The folks at Adam-Ant.net, and the AntRap message board there. Another reason to keep me going. They are so supportive, and of course they are some of my biggest fans. Actually they are the reason that Antcomics became an ongoing series. I had done a couple and showed them to them, and as I mentioned, they went wild over it. It was major motivation!

Carty, at Cartrouble gets a special shoutout because he too is a big supporter. He posts my cartoon updates on his Carty News Now page (also Adam Ant related). Carty is the one and only person on the planet that owns an original Antcomic, too (well besides me). His girlfriend commissioned me do one for his birthday. Lucky him! ;op

I hope I got everyone in there…

Well Amy, thanks very much and best wishes in your future endeavors. I know I'll be popping by your site often. Scott out

Here's some pics of Amy:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Interview with Eric Goff - Creator of Outcast Studio's




First off... lets start with your name on your site. Goff. What is its origin and whats your real name?
My real name is Eric Goff and that's where my screenname comes from. When I first "came up" with my screenname I didn't realize that I could try and come up with something clever or cool so I just used my name. Everyone in highschool called me Goff so that's what I used.

Can you give us a history lesson on Outcast studios. When I joined a few years back, it was much different. It felt like a comic publishing company. Was it and what direction is it headed now?

Well it all started way back when an friend and I were making a comic for my character Cedric The DragonSlayer and at the time I thought it would be a good idea to try and start one of these crazy new web-site things to help us get our names out there. When I chose the name I didn't want to be too specific with the site because I always thought that it would be nice to have some room to grow. So instead of using Outcast Comics I decided Outcast Studios was a pretty cool alternate.

At the time there were a few sites out there with groups of artists showing off their skills and I was always impressed with the following they had. Blind Monks is the site that I remember most. I always thought it would be cool to get more artists and writers together as a true on-line studio creating comics. Not just cool artwork but an actual honest to god comic company. It wasn't long after starting the web-site that my friend and I parted ways creatively and I started to focus my energy on the web-site.

Within the first few months I had another writer and artist on board working on a comic (that never saw the light of day). The writer Bucky Carter has been with me since essentially the beginning. Since then we slowly added artists and writers. We found that it was especially hard to produce comics in a timely manner. We were never able to get anything off the ground on-line or in print. We always ran into problems with the artist not being able to keep up with the work. Often we'd have an artist finish up 1 or 2 pages and then fall off the face of the earth never to be seen again. Then the next artist would start off with the same two pages of the story and again fall off the face of the planet.

Not long after having eternal problems with artists working on projects we decided to move in another direction with our off shoot site comicbookinsider.com. It was basically intended to be a comic news site. We started off really strong with about 8-10 writers writing columns on a regular basis and interviews with some heavy hitters in the industry from Ryan Scott Ottney. He interviewed people like Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada which was good for our initial traffic numbers but as with other projects the passion seemed to fade for our writers and eventually we shut the site down.

So with no artists interested in our in-house projects and most of our writing core disbanded I made an extra effort to seek out on-line comic creators with their own comics.
This was a double edged sword for the site. On the one side it was great for content. We had good period of time where we had several on-line comics running on a regular basis simultaniously. The down side to this was the studio was becoming more and more about the individuals behind the individual project and less and less about Outcast Studios and our place on the internet.

Eventually most of the individual comics and creators moved away from Outcast Studios to have their own sites and persue their own endevours. That leaves us near present day where I decided to try and remake the site AGAIN into a place where all comic creators can come and be part of a studio atmosphere. I thought about changing the name of the site but eventually couldn't part ways with my baby. So Outcast Studios still remains 8 years and thousands of changes later.

We've outlasted some pretty big name sites and for that alone I'm proud of what we've tried to do and the things that our members have gone on to do. I've been lucky to be surrounded by a lot of talent through out the years and it's always helped to inspire me to never give up.

Have you ever created a web site before? What made you decide to create one like this?

This was the first web-site I ever started. I had ZERO experience in creating a web-site. It's been really frustrating at times becuase I still don't have any idea what I'm doing unless I taught myself how to do it. And I'm pretty lazy so I haven't learned much smile.gif See previous answer for the WHY.

I notice your not an advanced cartoonist like some of the guys on your site but still, your there drawing every single day. Do you ever want to just toss the pen in the bin and give up? I know I do.

Heck yeah in fact I've told myself a few times that I should just give up and focus on other things that I can do for the studio and it's members. But I always come back to drawing becuase it's fun. Nothing I can do to make it stop being something I enjoy smile.gif

What things are you working towards now? Such as, your art, your life, your web site?

Truthfully I try not to think about goals becuase most of the time I just disappoint myself. I'm not good at sticking with goals.

With my art my intentions are to get good enough to enjoy what I see when I finish a drawing. I'm getting closer and closer to that. Some say you never get to that point as an artist but I have pretty low expectations of myself smile.gif

My life? Wow! I have nothing. Absolutely nothing. I wish I could be one of those people driven towards a goal but that's just never been my style. I would call that being "Too Laid Back" but my girlfriend would probably tell you that I'm a lazy ass.

The web-site? Honestly the web-site is really starting to drain on me. I've seen my dreams build up and then crash and burn with the web-site so many times that I've lost count. I've come to the realization within the last year that it would probably be a load off my mind to just shut it down or let someone else take over. Don't get me wrong I love everything that I've accomplished with the site but to the outsider there really isn't much to show for it. Trying to keep my energy invested in ideas on the web-site that continually explode in a firery ball of flames can drag you down smile.gif so really I don't see myself continuing for much longer. In other words it's not something I think of when I see myself five years down the line but then again if you had told me everything that was going to happen when I started the whole thing I would of thought that it would be an awesome ride and definetly something I wanted to do. So who knows? I don't.


Do you have any "pearls of wisdom" for the readers out there?

Even a person who has no idea what they're doing can do something as long as they know it's something they want to do.

I don't think that makes any sense. Last thing would probably be "Never underestimate the stupidity of internet users."

Thanks so much Eric. Best of luck in life and I hope you keep the strength to keep the site running. Its an asset to many of us.

Scott out

Friday, September 21, 2007

Interview with Matt Bennett AKA- "mattcrap"



Hey Matt, Thanks for being my next victim. Have you ever been interviewed before?

Nope

Im a huge fan of your particular stylized cartooning, so much so that I regularly print off your work and use it as a reference for my own work. You okay with that?

Yeah, I think that's awesome. I'm flattered that my hamfisted poses could be considered worth replicating. When I think back to all the different guys that I used to do the same thing to, it makes me laugh. Ron Frenz and JRJR could sue me for the number of poses I swiped from them over the years.

I was wondering... do you scan in the line work or is it made digitally. If the latter, what do you use?

I've tried doing some tablet drawing (my wife got me a Wacom Graphire 4x5 for christmas) It's really cool, but it's just not the same. I kinda have spurts where I'll really be into it and then just forget I even have it. My "process" is to take an 8x11 sheet of copy paper (usually the good stuff) fold it in half (for the extra padded support) draw in pen (very rarely doing any pre-penciling) with Staedtler pigment liners and a couple other ghetto pens for black fills. Then scan it, clean it all up and color.

Are you involved in a comic or are you just pumping out the stuff for the hell of it?
I am involved in a comic...AND I'm just pumping out stuff for the hell of it. I'm in cahoots with a great artist named Kirk Wescom [link] who is in the process of penciling and inking our GoldenAge oneshot. I've got an abandoned blog up for our in-the-works book. [link] GoldenAge features my "old guy superhero" Starblast. It's looking to be a 32 page+ oneshot that will hopefully do well enough that I'd be able to do another book (preferrably EveryMajorCity)

I really love the stuff with shield vs. the canuck. Im a Canadian so I laugh my ass off at it. Typical of U.S.A vs. Canada type stuff. How do you feel about any of that?

I love Canada, never been, but it seems cool. One of my favorite bands, Chixdiggit are Canadian. One of my favorite artists and all around cool dudes, Dapper Dan Schoening is Canadian. The theme of USA VS CANADA in those drawings were/are just a spoof.

Aside from the random stuff we see on your deviant gallery, do you have other projects on the go or hoping to do?

Like I said, EveryMajorCity would be my all time top choice of projects. I've got a few "kind of arrangements" with a couple different guys, but nothing concrete. Fellow DA'er mek23 and I are "working" on a Joyblood oneshot. I haven't sent him any new script pages in a LONG time. Another deviant that I actually met over at the drawingboard, Danny McDaid, is insanely high on my list of guys that I'm begging to draw with me. There's alot of "depending on" scenarios out there too. I really want to come up with something worthy of having Ryan Dunlavey draw it for me. I tried a while back (and will continue to try) when it's fiscally possible to get something together with Scott Wegener too.

Do you have other sites available to all of your fans?

I used have a crapload, there's only a few now. My half-hearted official website that I haven't updated in over a year AT LEAST. [link] There's the GoldenAge blog that I mentioned earlier and I'm sure there's a couple more that have very VERY old crap on them. I've gotta comicspace page with nothing on it. I'll really invade all the bandwidth out there once I have something tangible to offer the masses.

I want to keep this short and suh-weet so is there anything you want to say to anybody out there?

It's called Ketchup, not Catsup....and the only brand worth using is Heintz 57!

Well Matt, thanks again for being my very first "celebrity" to be posted on my blog and hopefully not the last. Best of luck with everything in the future and maybe one day, if willing, I would love to work on a project together. Who knows... more Canada vs. U.S.A. (just hope your shield guy doesnt run up against my guy, Angelos!)

Thanks Scott

Scott out.

You can visit Matt's deviant gallery at
http://mattcrap.deviantart.com/
or his own website at
http://www.epicallyuninventive.iwarp.com/

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Interview with Daniel Harris AKA Hyptosis.


Hey there Hyp, First of all... Hyptosis. What is the origin of your web name and what is your real name if you dont mind my asking?

My real name is Daniel Harris. In my life I’ve met many other Daniel Harris’. A girl I was in second grade with is now married to a Daniel Harris. I get phone calls for Daniel Harris and creditors searching for Daniel Harris, and lots of other stuff for other Daniel Harris’ all the time. =] I might as well have the name ‘male human.’
As for ‘Hyptosis’ I used to play a lot of muds. Old text role playing games for anyone who doesn’t know. I had a character who was trapped in a well… yeah I know. My rope broke or something. No one was around to help me. So I logged off, made a new character, random letters formed Hyptosis, and lowered the rope with him. Everyone seemed to like him better and it stuck. Wish I’d had a cooler handle now. But as far as I know, I’m the only Hyptosis on the net.


We met some time ago on a certain site called Outcast Studio's. It's been awhile and I have seen a lot of production out of you. Your a machine. How do you do it?

Well, you’ve got to get over the mental hurdle I think. I usually don’t feel like drawing or painting to be honest. But you have to realize, it needs to get done. Putting it off makes you look bad to those waiting, it also doesn’t get you paid any faster. It’s like anything. If you need to loose weight, you change your life, you don’t go on a diet, you change your diet. Forever. So with art, you draw whether you feel like it or not, it isn’t really an option. Quality comes with quantity, I believe that with art. Study, produce, study produce.

Your latest stint called "The Realms of Aegis" seems to be at the forefront of your efforts these days. Being a comic writer/artist now too... I cant help but wonder... do you have a set storyline in your mind or is it from the hyp (pun intended) like my own stuff?

Well, I have the story on index cards. No dialogue, just what happens. This person betrays this person. This guy falls into lava. Etc. I write the dialogue at the last minute. I don’t suggest this, but this is just how I tend to work. I’m an avid roleplayer, or used to be, not much time for it these days, but I’ve got a lot of experience making stuff up on the fly and staying in character.

You have recently began to team up with someone over at Drunk Duck .com. What can you tell us about that?
I’m guessing you mean Silentkitty? She’s a blast and a nice person, and also a great artist. She very inspiring and there might be more work form us in the future, I don’t know. You can never tell. >_>

On a personal note... your health. Its semi-public knowledge that you have some issues that can at times... keep you away from us all. How are you doing these days?
Yes, I was having some trouble with my heart, but for the time being I think it is controlled. There are future problems I’ll have to deal with, but there is little that can be done, so I’m just trying to not think about it, and get as much work done before than as I possibly can. I work out roughly an hour 5 times a week, I’m hoping to gain some time for myself by doing this.

What are your future plans/goals for personal reward in this crazy business of comic making?

Unfortunately I know better than to have expectations in the business. There is too much talent, and it’s only expanding more in my opinion. Amazing artists are getting younger and younger and I’m just going to say I’m doing I for fun. It is true I work on comics professionally as well as a colorist, but it isn’t going to make me rich. I’ll just keep doing it while I can, and try to have a good time while doing so. TroA is a labor of love and that is all. ^_^ My only goal for TroA was by the end, my art is visibly superior to the early pages.

You have a web site that features much about you, what is the name and link and what other places can we go to in order to peruse more of your artistic genius?

Haha, surely you jest calling any of it artistic genius. =P At http://www.lorestrome.com you can find pretty much anything I’ve ever done that is worth seeing. I’ve got a few closet projects right now I’ll be happy to announce in the future, but they’re in such early stages now I’ll just be happy if they even have a future.

I have seen a video on You Tube that you made about using your computer to make artwork and it seems to be getting a bit famous. I have actually seen it linked from random art gallery web sites. Can you tell us about that video?

Which one is it, the latest cityscape one seems to be getting the most hits and comments from what I’ve seen. I plan on releasing some tutorials on cityscapes when I get a chance, I don’t know if I’ll put them on drunkduck or youtube or what yet. But they’ll be out there sometime in the future.

Well, Hyp... I like to keep the interviews short and suh-weet... Is there anything you would like to say in closing to someone or everyone out there in web land?

I don’t think so, I’d say something along the lines of stick with it, etc, but honestly you’re going to either stick with it or not, regardless of what I say. Don’t let people get you down, and realize the only person who can stop you or make you move forward is you. If you want to know how to build a house, then just build a house.

Thanks so much my friend...

You bet, thank you mate.

Scott out


Oh yes, one last thing... I couldn't do it without Finwik. She edits and helps me write TRoA and generally does a good job of keeping me from sounding daft. She's also a valuable source of inspiration and I just couldn't do it without her.

You can visit Hyptosis at http://www.drunkduck.com/The_Realms_of_Aegis/index.php?p=89324

Or his site at
http://www.lorestrome.com/

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The token halfling hero

Orc


This one was painted by my friend Hyptosis. You can see his work by clicking on the "Realms of Aegis" link.

Fighter type

Female fighter type

An elf


Once upon a time I wanted to create something on the web fantasy related. These are the result.

Just something fun...


Ever notice that Superman and Elvis look a bit alike? Maybe its just me.

Hawkgirl


A challenge over at Outcast studios got me drawing this one. I really liked how it turned out when I put the cartoon over a real photo. I love it actually.

Bigguns


I have always been a fan of Heavy Metal and this was sort of my tribute to them.

Badass


I went through a stage of fantasy only pics but during it, I broke speed to do up a sci-fi pic or two. Here's one of them drawn by me and painted by Snickle. He's somewhere out there on the web.

Asheron falls


This one has no real story to it... just sort of a picture of friends who get attacked and one falls. Asheron.

A nekkid angel.


This one, after being up on Elfwood for 7 years got me booted. Funny place Elfwood has become. A great site if what your after is drawings made by 5 year olds or looks like a 5 year old did them! No wonder everyone went over to Deviant.

Arian - A D&D creature I drew


I called it an Arian because, Im an aries and the symbol for aries is the ram.