Aug 28, 2017
This week we interview the artist and creator of the comic Kings Club, AmeliaP! Her comic was featured and Gunwallace also gave it a theme tune that was featured in Quackcast 335. AmeliaP is a talented professional comic creator and game designer. We couldn't interview her directly because she's not confident enough in her spoken English, so what we've done instead is read out a written interview that I did with her especially for this Quackcast. Amelia has some surprising and valuable insights for comic creators. You can read the full text of her interview bellow. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Abejitas - This tune bounces in like a wild thing, spinning and buzzing crazily, full of black striped yellow techno sweet honey madness and rapid wingbeats of energy, this will sting you into full awareness!
Topics and Show Notes
Topics and shownotes
ZINC COMIX - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2017/aug/22/featured-comic-zinc-comix/
Kings Club - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Kings_Club/
AmeliaP - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/AmeliaP/
Quackcast 335, Kings Club theme and feature - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/quackcast/episode-335-dialoguecast
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Tantz Aerine - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
PitFace - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Abejitas - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Abejitas/, by Lazarinho, rated E.
INTERVIEW WITH AMELIA.P
1.So your name is Amelia Pessoa but you go by Amelia Woo for your US work, why is that?
-Thanks to my grandmother, who changed the surname when her family was running away from Spain, I have a Portuguese surname ahahaha!
Like any kid, I started to draw comics in manga style. One of my first jobs in inside industry was “manga”, but in that time, the audience had a rage against any Western trying to do a manga, so I chose a name from a director I grew up watching his movies, John Woo. I know, it's Chinese, not Japanese, but… it was an Eastern name at least. After that, I did some important jobs under this name, so, for publishers track me, I had to keep this. Slowly, I'm trying to be ME, and erasing this surname from industry.
2. You've had a LOT of work professionally in comic publishing, how did you break into that? I'm assuming you're Brazilian, was it hard to break into the US market from outside like that?
- My Glasshouse Graphics portfolio, Comic Vine profile and ComicDB are way too outdated. I have more works on my belt than that. After a boring experience from a 9 to 5 job in my college days, I pretty decided it wasn’t my path, so I stepped into the comics industry. I believe in the momentum, so everything I should do is just to start. But before I enter into the comics word, I searched for the easiest way to enter. There were too many barriers to writers (besides the language) and their salary was horrible… AND I didn't want to tell a story about the universe and characters from other creators. It's hard for me having the same agenda. I had to enter on it one way or another. So I improved my art skill enough to be paid for it, because I really wanted to be a professional visual storyteller. (Bachelor degree in Arts at one of the best colleges in my country, doing a lot of personal projects to train myself, all those things).
-Yeah, I'm Brazilian. Believe or not, we must be around 30% of the US comic book artistic force. Brazilians are like doppelgangers, with Italian, German, Japanese and other surnames. Even a Brazilian doesn’t know if you are Brazilian by surname (pretty different from my case. But, if wasn't for my grandma, you could think I'd be Spanish or Mexican). I found many artists I didn't know they are Brazilians before, like Greg Tocchini and others. I think it's hard to break into US market no matter the country an artist comes from. Even for a North American it's a hard task unfortunately. Many factors make this a hard task, since the unstable incoming to the social contempt. You know, most parents want your kids to grow up as a doctor, or lawyer, etc. Parents encourage their children to get into Arts (or writing) as a hobby usually.
CONTINUE IN PART II
3. What was your first professional comic?
-I have a double debut, a one shot at Yaoi Press (yeah, it was my first manga experience. Yaoi… not my cup of tea, but, hey, I like to see “Bara” guys in beautiful drawings) and some pages in The Avengers (special edition to military forces).
4. How long have you been in the industry?
-About 12 years.
5. Is it hard work?
-Hell YEAH! This isn't for weaklings. You have to work under pressure (if you don't meet the deadline day, that super expensive booth from your client will suffer). Long hours working keeps you away from other people (between 10 to 16 hours daily, rare days off). Plus, the financial instability makes an artist a financial wizard… or a control freak of his/her own finances. No health insurance in the Americas (different from Germany, the Estate gives a health insurance for a certified artist). It isn’t a glamorous life people think it is. But, I prefer to endure all those things than staying in a job I don't have a slight affinity.
6. Why did you embark on a videogame version of your work? Please tell us about the game.
- Games are my passion, since my childhood. I think it's one of the greatest media you can tell a story, because the player has a feedback in real time, in a deep layer.
Also, I'm a hardcore gamer, but being a player and being a developer are two different things. After testing the waters, I discovered I like it much more than playing a game. My preferred genre is the third person shooter, and I was pretty unsatisfied about the games with the same gameplay being reproduced over and over again. So I had a vision. After I established the main gameplay, I thought about using one of my ready-to-use stories, and Kings Club fits well. So I polished the gameplay from the idea and I finished with something like that:
PC Third Person Adventure Shooter with 4 general skills and a cover system in a Non-Linear Open Level, facing the enemies on your own terms and pace. This first mission takes on Mexico. The player has to discover where the narcos are, taking them off the hideouts, picking a fight or provoking them until they lead to their leader. Exploration and combat mixed into an experimental hybrid game genre.
The player skills are based on playing card suits
Hearts = Stealth/Infiltration
Spades = Assault
Club = Escape/Extraction
Diamonds = Protection/ Scout
The player character will be announced in the last chapter of the comic book (that’s why I’m rushing to finish the Graphic Novel and go back to the game. I’m dealing with a limited time; I'm still a comic book artist as my day job).
Before focusing on the Graphic Novel, I was building the levels to send to testers before exposing it to the public. (The internet is a goddamn viral thing. If you put an ugly video from your game any place online, it can be spread and your first time to impress will be compromised. I saw it happen to some game dev buddies of mine, with people downloading their WIP videos and posting online. It isn’t fair…).
7. What kind of work are you doing on the game? Did you have to learn any new skills to be able to do it?
-Other than music/soundtrack/voices, everything. From programming to animation. I'm still in solo production; it's a small, indie and a short introductory game in the series, no big shot here. This first game is a practice to understand the players, the marketing (and how to deal with big operations in the future) and test my skills as game designer and level designer. I just want to know where areas I’m a failure and in what areas I have to hire new members for the next game. I can finish the first game in solo mode, but I'm not sure if I want to. Slowly, I'm changing my mind and considering bringing investors to build a small team after I finish the demo. After the demo game launching, I’ll be sure of what path I have to take.
-I did. A LOT of them. I still think one of the HARDEST things a person can do is a video game. So many hats to use…
I past 5 years studying HOW to do a game before thinking about doing one. And, the basic skills. Now I'm putting the things together, I have to bring testers to adjust the gameplay rhythm. Game devs say you must have a tester for the day one usually. But I had to learn how to make a functional game before someone test it.
8. Why did you choose Drunk Duck to host the Kings Club on? And what did you think if the theme music that Gunwallce did for it? What's the story behind your potato avatar? :)
- When I decided Kings Club would be digital-first, I started to search for cool webcomics hosting. I was shocked I didn't find a place where a non-manga esque title could find its audience. The internet is totally dominated by its visual style (I like manga too, but guys, c'mon! It's like a zombie attack!). I was desolated… Ironic, isn't it? My agent oriented me I had to adapt myself or I wouldn't survive in the early days. He was right! In the “printed realm”, if I hadn't adapted myself from manga to something more naturalist/stylized realist, my career would have sunk. And online, we have this. I was unmotivated to release Kings Club online and almost contacting publishers and some buddy editors to a printed edition, forgetting going digital-first… When I remembered Drunk Duck. A decade ago, or so, before being a comic book professional, I was a DD member. No bullshit, but this was the place which motivated me to follow a professional path. Here was the place I exercised my art (I did a fanzine at that time, that's about Warcraft, ugh). I mirror Kings Club to other hosting, but Drunk Duck is one of my favorites, considering a house for Kings Club. One of the reasons I like Drunk Duck is because there are readers and creators with a wide taste here (well, I read ALL comics, Eastern and Western, so I don't understand limited preferences to visual style. For me, the story comes first).
-The theme he did was PERFECT! With an urban and gritty touch, love it!I found it so amazing that I asked his permission to add this theme in the game. He was so nice he only didn't ask for payment or royalties and gave me the permission, as he offered me a rearrange in the theme if is necessary.
-“Even when something is considered low quality, this thing can produce cool results” or “Never, ever, underestimate someone”. It's a letter of love to indie production ^^ (And it's a real photo I took from a potato with a toy military helmet, because it had to be a real thing!).
CONTINUE IN PART III
9. What are the materials and or programs that you use to make your art?
-My Wacom Intuos Pro, Photoshop CS2 (old stuff), Sculptris, Blender and an old version of 3DS MAX. I'm goddamn fast 3D modeler and I take advantage of it, doing some background with 3D (and sometimes, I do “freehand”, it depends how many times a background will be present in the story. I modeled N.Y. Central Park Belvedere castle in some hours when it was present in an entire issue of Gates of Midnight. It saved me days and days of work). But, my “analogical” arsenal is: pen, pencil, paper, brush and ink (my favorite technique). If I have to color on paper, I like acrylic, gouache and watercolor. I love Prismacolor markers too.
10. Do you prefer analogue or digital methods of comic creation? .e. pen and ink VS a Wacom tablet and a computer.
- Despite being faster on paper and ink, I prefer a digital way to save paper and storage space.
11. How long does it take you to make a comic page?
-It depends on the genre and audience my client is aiming for. When it demands a crazy detailed artwork, it took me around 2 days to finish a page. For my simplified and neo noir Kings Club comic, it took around 1 to 3 hours (but much more time to think how the page will look like).
12. What is your comic making process like? i.e. coming up with a script, plots, characters etc,. How does creation a comic for yourself differ for your professional jobs.
-Like a bull in a China shop hahaha! For publishers, I read the script and start to walk around my house, thinking and evoking images in my mind before going to paper. I try to remember all references the audience is used to the thing I'm working and extract something they can be related to, but done on my way. After that, I start the thumbnails, defining the composition and keeping the author's storytelling in mind. Then, I do the layout, when it's a new client, or I go to the inking part if it's a client who already knows me and my modus operandi. I do the thing and wait for the editor follow-up. If I have the greenlight, I send the high resolution to the editor, if not; I fix what have to be fixed. Usually I don't have to change a drawing more than 2 times, with the most of part doing no changing in the drawing. It sounds methodical, but as I said, it's like a bull in a china shop, with all those steps happening at once, in high speed in my mind. Sometimes I stop everything and study another technique to improve the results, simply.
When I’m creating my own comic, it's an entirely different story. That's the moment I AM the storyteller. My steps to create this Graphic Novel were:
-World creation, followed by characters creation, polishing the background first. Everything had to be connected, for me. Establishment of the visual part.
-Some research from real to fictional events to thicken the story. Book time! (Blackwater and Rainbow Six were two different examples used as documentary and fiction work I'm referring to).
-Breaking plot to arcs
-Check the consistency
-Breaking arcs to scenes
-Check the pace, overhauling the ideas
-Breaking scenes to micro points, dealing with dialogues
-Come back again and adjust the pace, having the whole picture in mind.
- Thumbnails associated with the script, checking the scenes rhythm while I'm doing the whole chapter. Sometimes I have to change something in a previous chapter or in the next chapter to create a solid link.
-Draw! Directly to the digital paper, with minimum sketching.
- Lettering (sometimes I check again the dialogue here, changing it. I like to see how it looks like after everything was set up).
-Wrap it and happy time to publish online (a sort of. Because I have to slice the pages and dialogues to make a mobile version).
YEAH! Game development had a great impact in the way I organize a story. I became an organized bastard.
13. What's in the future for the Kings Club? Will you publish it as is, do a film treatment and sell the rights, release it though a publisher or self publish and sell it that way?
- This first Graphic Novel will establish Kings Club series future. I don't like the way I’m doing it now, as a print format and digital format at the same time. An online comic and printed comics can't be treated in the same way. At least, I can't! I saw two different beasts here. It can work for other creators, but not for me. Digital and printed-version, I’m testing test both. I don't want to kill the online version after the first Graphic Novel, even with a printed version, but testing the two versions will give me the necessary feedback to check what the most well received version is.
I have some tricks up my sleeve (and an agent) and I'll use it to find a good publishing house for Kings Club. I don't want to do it by myself. I prefer someone helping me with the promotion. I have a game to finish, and a comic publisher will save me some time. I'll bring on board an (famous) editor buddy, who I worked with before, to edit this first Graphic Novel (surprise, surprise. it'll be revealed later).
It's interesting a movie being mentioned because I have more contact with this kind of thing than many artists could have, but, I never been thought about a movie. Well, if a contract comes to me; fine! But when I created Kings Club, I had only the comic in mind; the game is being a nice bonus for this IP.
Aug 7, 2017
Let's get physical! let me hear your body technique! As a follow up to my newspost on Friday about figure drawing, we all got together to do a Quackcast about it, along with contributions in the form of comments from DDers on my newspost. Figure drawing is hard, it takes a lot of practise, but there are a lot of approaches you can take to improve like wire frame drawing, gestural sketches, geometric shapes, drawing shapes and silhouettes, using mirrors, photos, and copying what others have done to try and understand and improve your technique. We add our own insights and use silly accents to read out the contributions :) Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Cerintha: Classical, careful, creepy, The clarinet plods along methodically while the violin skips, leaps and dances, pure piano tones ring out like tinkling bells, sparkling with light and joy.
May 29, 2017
In this Quackcast we cover the Importance of good linework in comics and different line techniques such as Herge's Ligne claire, the traditional thick line for characters and thin for everything else as exemplified in the work of Mucha, variable line widths as in Manga, solid blacks like in American comics, and complex lines like Durer or Hyena Hell. I really seriously thought I could get an entire Quackcast out of the concept and techniques of linework, but honestly I was struggling… Okay, so linework constitutes the skeleton that most comics are built on, with the notable exception of painted comics, photo comics, 3D and vector comic among others… But for most comics line is a pretty essential element. There are a lot of different techniques involved in the use of lines. Herge popularised “ligne claire”, which means that all lines have the same thickness and that there's no line shading. A popular style that I was taut was to have thick lines around characters and overlapping elements, with thin lines for internals and backgrounds. This is popular in a lot of manga, US comics and famously the work of Alphonse Mucha. Part of my technique on Pinky TA involves making my lines grey, so that when I set the line layer to “multiply”, the lines take on some of the background colours beneath them and don't show up as darkly as traditional black lines. The work of Hyena Hell on the Hub is interesting for her use of very complex internal shading line to build up texture and shapes, this can also be seen in the works of Albrecht Durer. Manga is notable for its extensive use of very stylised shading, crisp lines and the use of variable line widths for outlines, while American comics make heavy use of solid blacks for areas of shadow, basically extending the width of the line as far and as solidly as it can go. How do YOU approach your linework? The music for this week by Gunwallace is for The Wallachian Library. It's a dark, black future sounds, neon glows, pulses of energy and ideas, vectors and virtual circuits.Sorry, no link to this comic, the user deleted it from the site.
Mar 6, 2017
Carrying on from last week's Quackcast discussion on tips and tricks for drawing and artwork, we jump again into the topic and THIS time we have Tantz Aerine on board to lend her perspective and tell us about even MORE little techniques to use to draw better. It's an interesting, technical cast and bellow I've kisted some examples from our own work of what we talk about. Details discussed in this episode: Establishing shots, Facial lines, Scars, Wounds, Snow, Rain, Smoke, Fire, Explosions, Gold, Fur, and Eyes. Gunwallace has given us the music to the Fading World this time, it's an oriental procession into a snowy, twilit, exotic world, unbalanced, and dangerous.
Nov 21, 2016
This Quackcast was based on Tantz Aerine's newspost from two Saturday's ago: Death in comics. We lightly expand t to death in all pop culture in the Quackcast. It's an interesting topic! Not the one we were originally going to do though… We were supposed to all have pizza and interview VinoMas's Princess January, but no one got pizza except me and I gave Vino the wrong time so he didn't show up, hahaha! So that idea… died. Death in comics can be used a whole lot of ways; a promotional technique as in Superman, a way to get rid of superfluous characters, to show gore and a massive body count, to create tragedy and pathos, the create comedy and laughter, and more! We give examples from our own artwork as well as mainstream comics like Maus, Judge Dredd, Superman, When the Wind Blows, nd even great webcomics like Charby the Vampirate. Banes could not show for this Quackcast. He is NOT dead… not yet. Gunwallace is right there back in action and the theme he's given us this week is Ectopiary! It's darkly threatening and vaguely classical, a creeping, scary exploration of dark places.
Jun 20, 2016
For Quackcast 276 we had a discussion about the topics of time management, organisation and deadlines- all things essential to the practitioners of webcomics, and even more-so to people involved in webcomic collaborations! This is tricky stuff to handle, you have to balance your webcomicing with your other life activities as well as audience expectation for updates! And as you go on it gets harder and harder to stick with self imposed deadlines, so how do you combat that? Well one way is to make a Patreon account so people will put money towards you updating, That can make an excellent incentive to stick to a deadline, when there's money involved! Collaborations can be easy or hard to keep alive, as long as everyone is equally eager to take part and everyone wants it to succeed then you're good, if not then your group project needs a good leader: not someone who WANTS to be a leader, rather someone who's dedicated to getting the project DONE and needs to be the leader to make that happened, sort of like my role at Drunk Duck. They need to be willing and able to coordinate people and tell them what to do, handle their strengths and weaknesses right to get the work done. The last part to remember is contingencies for when things go wrong! What are your safeguards? i.e. buffers, finishing early so you've got extra time to work on the project if it needs it, have backup people lined up to do work for you, filler art at the ready, guest strips, maybe even simplified techniques or just posting line art instead. How do YOU stick to deadlines (if you do), how do you handle time management and organisation with your comics and collaborators? Gunwallace's theme music this week was Z74's Star Knights. It's An operatic swarm of hornets on a massed bombing run over enemy territory.
Jun 13, 2016
The topic this week was ALL Banes' idea! We talk about page layout: techniques to make a good, readable layout, and stuff to avoid. We have Tantz Aerine (greetings), Banes, and myself, Ozoneocean, chatting about how best to do page layouts, at least from our own limited perspectives. None of us are pros in this regard, but we've been doing comics for many years now and we've all developed some pretty decent ideas about how best to do it, in our own ways. Banes is mostly influenced by American style comics, which have more interesting layouts. Tantz and I were manly influenced by European comics, which tend to have a more conservative by very constantly readable style of “box” layout. On Pinky TA and Bottomless Waitress the majority of my pages are in a fairly standard box format, but every now and again I experiment with crazy shapes, overlapping panels, no panels at all, and even “infinite canvas” pages that work with the scroll function. Speaking of which we briefly mention Scott McCloud and the comic Heart of Keol, which uses vertically scrolling large pages. The music this week by Gunwallace was Wastelanders Anonymous, an epic classic rock tune with a lovely repeating upward base rhythm, soaring guitars and authoritative keyboard.
Aug 14, 2014
This is part 2 and the final of our look at advanced colouring techniques. This week we had even more heavy hitters with fantastic ability and skill weighing in on the topic of colouring. These guys can teach us a LOT! We like to do these technical Quackcast subjects to hopefully help people improve their comicing skills and it's great to have people sharing the wisdom of what they've learned while they've been making comics themselves and spreading it around to the rest of us!