Have you had any formal comic book art training?
No, which is pretty evident. lol Just lots of practice and study reference photos of anatomy, architecture, .etc, over the years.
What's your most favorite character from the Sinsationals to draw and why?
I couldn't really pick which character I like to draw the most because each character has something interesting in their design. One of the reasons I made the Sinsationals so diverse was so I wouldn't get bored drawing them! They’re all so different and for that reason.
I believe you said that issue 1+ are all done digitally, while issue 0 was drawn on paper - why did you switch?
I switched purely for convenience and creative reasons. I realized that I was really being stifled by the process of drawing on board with a pencil. My process was fairly tedious: I’d first start by doing a rough sketch of a pinup/sequential in a sketchbook. Then, I’d scan that sketch. Then I’d print it out on standard office paper. If the illustration was going to be 11x17“ then I had to print two halves of the rough sketch and tape them together. Then, I’d move to my lightbox and overlay an art board on top of the printout. THEN, I’d redraw the illustration on the board based on my initial sketch with a light pencil(7H) and then I’d go back and do a final finish pass with .5mm and .3mm tech pencils. Phew!
It was such a laborious process and costly(new pencil leads, new art boards, new ink for my printer every 1-2 months, .etc)but I thought it was the only way. I’d heard of Cintiq digital tablets but they were way out of my price range at over $2000. I then heard about other companies that were selling them. I bought a 19“ tablet from a company called Yiynova for $600 and it’s the best art tool I’ve ever bought. I love it and on the rare occasions when I have to use physical media I can’t wait to be done and go back to my tablet.
Working digitally is so freeing and that’s what art is to me: the freedom to express yourself with as few restrictions as possible.
What software applications do you use?
I use Photoshop CS4
What's your favorite and least favorite part of the process of creating a comic?
My favorite part is when I’m putting the finishing touches on a page that I’m satisfied. The least favorite part is probably lettering because I’m below an amateur at it. lol I’m a one-man show, though, so I do the best I can.
The Sinsationals are quite the eclectic collection of characters and archetypes - What can we expect their adversaries?
The appearance of the villains will be a slow burn. I actually have the next 5-6 story arcs already plotted out so I know fairly well where the story will go. The first villain gets revealed at the end of issue #1 and the action starts up in issue #2.
A story arc that starts in issue #6 will introduce a series of new challenges for the Sinsationals. Without spoiling anything, a new batch of strange characters will be introduced that will become complex obstacles for the heroes.
All of the villains will be as diverse and bizarre as Infinity City itself, though.
What went into the creation of each character, where do you start? Do you create a back story for each in your head, or just start with a drawing?
Sinsationals actually underwent several stylistic and narrative changes during the process of making issue #0. It was originally intended to be more of a comedic spoof on a variety of things: from superheroes to anime, to fetish subjects, the comic was going to be a tongue-in-cheek indictment of a lot of stuff I found silly in various segments of different forms of media.
Dollface was going to be a standard anime character with a, insipidly bubbly attitude and who only spoke Japanese despite the fact that she appears Caucasian. She was also modeled after the dangerously young heroines in anime/manga that seem to be purposely sexualized, which is why she was named Lolacon, a name I thought sounded like a combination of “lolita” and a character you’d find in a Japanese video game. I then found out the name was too close to “lolicon” which apparently has something to do with pedophilia in Japan. Nixed that quickly.
I knew I wanted this ecclectic band of sexy heroines who were each based on some archetypal heroine who is typically sexualized but has no depth as a character. My goal was to make each Sinsational sexy in their own way BUT to slowly ingratiate the audience to these characters by making you care about them.
The point for each character was that they would be displaced from their normal lives in someway and would come together because they each were rebels and outcasts. They would find a very distinctive friendship that would grow from the fact that each of them was misunderstood and, in a way, lost. They’re helping each other find purpose.
Then, I started doodling and doing sketches, refining looks. The interesting thing is that, for the most part, the Sinsationals will never ever have a set look. They have visual themes they abide by but no costumes. Their looks will change from issue to issue. Maybe in one issue M has frizzy hair and the next she has dreadlocks or maybe straight. In one issue Gamma might wear a singlet and in another she’ll wear a sports bra and yoga pants. What will be consistent is their silhouettes and visual themes which will make them stand out.
Will the first story arc cover the origin of the group as a whole, or will we see them already formed as a team?
It’ll be “Sinsationals Begins”. lol Issue #1 takes place about six months before issue #0 and details how the Sinsationals came to be. In the beginning they don’t know the others even exist and the circumstances of the story force them to come together. Their alliance builds into a friendship by the end of issue #4, which ends the arc.
How far are you going to dwell into the characters personal lives and interactions?
That’s going to be a slow burn, too. In issue #0 I laid the groundwork but a lot of the context was left out, obviously due to time/budget constraints. However, what happened in issue #0 and what will happen in issue #1 will inform into each characters’ backstory. Each of them has a private goal they want to attain; M wants to prove to her people that she’s strong enough to lead; Big Girl wants to be a normal girl again; Gyna wants to know what the secret of “being human” is, .etc.
What I’m really looking forward to is when I can actually get the ladies interacting with each other, playing off of each other and developing personalities. New characters will be introduced, villains, allies, love interests, which will cause things to go in interesting new directions.
How do you feed a seventy foot tall girl? I won't even ask how certain other daily functions happen at that scale.
Hahaha. I actually do explain this in a future issue. Magic has something to do with it.
Since it looks like the Kickstarter campaign for issue one will be successful, why is it important to try and get more pledges to hit the stretch goals?
The stretch goals will allow me to focus entirely on the comic for a longer period of time, rather than knocking out an issue, taking several months of commission work by necessity, then going back to raise funds for another issue, and so on. The more support I get the more Sinsationals content I can produce, which is what I want. Sinsationals is a labor of love for me. It’s not easy producing a comic from beginning to end by yourself but I love it.
How many issues of The Sinsationals do you have planned?
I don’t have a set final issue number down, but, as stated before, I have easily the next 5-6 story arcs(4-5 issues per arc) plotted out in what will be one long, linear storyline that builds to a climax. This doesn’t mean it’d be the end of the series but it’s definitely going to be big.
What is your favorite comic book character? Artist/inspiration? Writer?
Hal Jordan, hands down. Now if only someone could make a decent movie with him!
Artist? Way too many to list, but off the top of my head: John Byrne, George Perez,Ivan Reis, Paulo Siqueira, Sara Pichelli, Travel Foreman, Gary Frank, Kevin Nowlan, Adam Hughes, Oliver Coipel and a million others.
My two sons are my greatest inspiration.
Thanks for your time Shade, I'm looking forward to reading more issues of The Sinsationals!