Andy Poole – Colorist on N0.1R

Andy Poole – Colorist on N0.1R

Poole is a British artist who enjoys playing with conventions when it comes to coloring comics. Drawing from a young age, music and sports played a big part in this talented artist life.

 

There are a lot of preconceptions, even rules of how a noir work should look. 

How is it to work on such a setting?

Noir was always something I’d evaded in the past, it always seemed so boring to work in black and white or greys. I’m a Colourist, that means I work in colour, the fun stuff. What a naive attitude, I’m sure it stopped me from being involved in some of the most interesting projects I could ever work on.

The truth is, noir is ruled by the story and characters, not the visuals, and I should have realised that earlier on. People focus on film noir when they think of noir as a genre, and that’s just not how it is. Blade Runner is a noir, and that was a visual spectacle, not the black and white cinema people expect. Knowing that, I’ve come to be a lot more open and am able to enjoy noir work. I no longer constrain myself.

With a project like N0.1R, I’m able to take those preconceptions and turn them on their heads. It has that traditional atmosphere from pre 50’s cinema, the black and white visuals, but then when the story hits a climax, I’m going to be injecting colour and light that should change people’s perceptions the way my own were. It’s very exciting.

 

Did that put any different kind of pressure onto you?

I’m not feeling any other pressures outside of the usual, as I’m working with a supportive team who are offering guidance when they can. The line artist, Nicolás, has been especially helpful, the rendering style is somewhat styled after his own work too.

 

What attracts you most about being a colorist?

That’s not a question I can give one answer to. I love the creativity, the collaboration, the story telling and the challenge. I also love seeing black and white art brought to life with colour, under my very hands. It’s unbelievably satisfying.

 

Do you have a genre you look for in your projects? Why?

I’ve not been in the position to pick and choose what projects I work on, that’s an unfortunate reality for many independent artists. Given the choice however, I’d love to tackle some hard science fiction, particularly with a focus on space. I’m a sucker for spaceships with flashy lights and pulsing engines. If I could paint a nebula or render a planet for the characters to explore, I’d take on that book every time.

 

When did you begin to show your artistic capabilities?

In a broad sense, very early on. I loved to draw from as far back as I can remember, I took up music before I hit my teens and started writing not long after. I’d tackled the major artistic forms before there were hairs under my arms. I’d also lost interest in those things only years later. It wasn’t until college that I found my creative feet again. And later still, I hadn’t discovered comic book colouring until my early twenties.

 

What’s your favorite childhood moment related to comics or drawing?

Comics weren’t the cultural giant in England as they were in the US, my interaction with the medium was with comic strips in the papers and with children’s comedy books like The Beano or The Dandy. I didn’t seek out American comics until later in life when the internet introduced me to them where my friends and family could not, it just wasn’t a part of the culture.

Drawing on the other hand, that was always present. My favourite memory has to be from my school days. All of the classes in my year had gone on a trip abroad that my family couldn’t afford to send me on, so I was left to be handed around other classrooms with a blank pad and the task to create anything I wanted as long as I filled each page. I loved drawing, I loved nature and animals, so I wrote and drew my own nature book. It mainly contained birds of prey, sharks, crocodiles and the occasional poisonous insect, all of the cool animals of course. When my teachers and classmates returned, they really didn’t show much interest in what I’d accomplished, but I was proud enough to hold on to that book well into my adulthood.

 

Growing up, did you read a lot of comics or were there other activities that you preferred?

Like I said, comics weren’t big where I grew up. Football (soccer) was the biggest cultural pass time, and still is today I suppose. I hated it, still do. I was able to escape it all with computer games and drawing for the most part. Discovering Japanese animation through bootleg video tapes and terrible televised translations also helped me zone out and find enjoyment outside of a culture I didn’t feel much a part of.

 

Did you always want to work on this creative field?

As a kid, I secretly wanted to be a policeman, then a soldier. In high school I wanted to be a graphic designer or architect. When I was at college age, sixteen to eighteen, I started writing very seriously and wanted to become a novelist or a comic book author. But at the time I was already studying new media and web design, which then led on to digital art and then I kind of just grew into becoming a colourist. I love digital rendering, though I still want to be a novelist… Or an astronaut…

 

Is there one project that stands out from the rest?  Why is that one different?

In my professional career, a short comic book fantasy called King and No King stands out most. It was my first time colouring on a project that would be published by a big publisher, this being Image Comics in their Popgun series of anthologies. I was working on Ryan “Wya” Ottley’s artwork, it was right up my street. It contains my favourite comic book panel that I’ve coloured to date and is a benchmark in my career, bridging the gap between amateur and professional.

Personally, I wrote a short experimental comic called The Last Man, with artwork being a collaboration between me and an artist called John West, who is now a good friend. I took up the major art duties, painting backgrounds and environments, and John produced the design and lines for the lone character of the piece, in his style that I enjoy immensely. It was proof to myself that I could make good looking artwork and collaborate with people without the pressure of finance over my head.

 

From deciding color palettes to applying the last smear of color what is your process? Is it a painfully strict plan or a more organic process?

My very first step is deciding on the rendering style. Am I painting everything on the page? Do I tackle it with cell style shades, or do I go with the anime style that inspires me, fully painted backgrounds with cell shaded characters and objects?

Either way, I flat everything and then render the backgrounds with either my own pre-set colour palettes or new palettes when needed. Character colours come next, and then any lighting and effects that seem to be my hallmark, or so I’m told.

I mostly stick to that process, but lately, working on projects with Outland Entertainment, I’ve had to tackle artwork with rendering and colour styles that I never have before. I’ve had to be much more adaptive and let the process develop organically with these projects.

 

So… can you tell us what project(s) are you most looking forward in the short run?

Outland’s N0.1R is something I always like to work on, it is both easy and fun, the perfect combination. The project titled Star of Mourning is very exciting for me, it is a challenge, heavy on digital paints that are quite time consuming and requires a lot of experimentation to get the look and feel the creators desire. However, it looks very good and I look forward to each new page that comes my way.

 

Thanks Andy for giving us a small peek into your creative world!

My pleasure.

 

S.G

P.S.: If you enjoyed reading this interview take a look at the other ones we have from illustrators to writers, passing through game-designers and authors.

Scott Colby – Co-Writer of N0.1R

Scott Colby – Co-Writer of N0.1R

Finding a creative outlet in writing from a young age, Scott Colby is already releasing his 3rd novel later this Summer. However, N0.1R was his first comic book venture!

 

Where did you come up with the concept for N0.1R?

N0.1R was originally the idea of the book’s artist, Nic Giacondino. He had a heck of a world and an idea and just needed someone to help flesh it out a bit more. That turned out to be my job. His concept left me with a few questions about the world and the characters, so I got to work answering those myself and the final product was born.

How is it to collaborate in the creation of a story? Is there too much compromise?

I really like collaborating on a story. Sure, there’s compromise, but more often than not something really cool comes out of the combination of two disparate ideas about something. It’s rarely one side or the other coming out on top.

Did you always envisioned it as a webcomic?

That was what I was told it would be.  🙂

There’s a whole debate around comics becoming digital. Do you think webcomics are the gateway for this new digital world?

Definitely. The great thing about the internet is it’s a giant, never-ending rabbit hole. You never know what you’re going to find—or who’s going to find what you put there. Combine those traits and you’ve got a great platform for comics moving forward.

Do you find yourself more driven towards a specific genre(s)? Which one(s)?

A lot of what I write is fantasy, but I try not to get stuck on any one genre. I’ve done a little bit of everything.

Why?

I was just thinking about this the other day. I enjoyed the fantasy genre when I was younger, but lately I feel like it’s lacking depth. Working in that particular genre is a great chance to really challenge accepted norms and build something surprising and new—which are things I feel like a lot of fantasy authors just don’t do.

What was the first thing you ever wrote?

I was always that smart kid who finished his work first, so I needed a way to pass the time in school. I couldn’t draw at all, so I started writing. I can’t remember my first story, but I’m pretty sure it happened in third grade.

What was the first book you ever read (or was read to you)?

No idea.

And comics: which were your favorite ones?

I haven’t read a ton of comics, but I was always partial to the X-Men. Such a cool universe with a great cast of diverse characters.

Nowadays, what can we find you reading?

Lately I’ve been on a science fiction kick—Marko Kloos, John Scalzi, Iain M. Banks. And I read nerdy baseball websites like it’s going out of style. Not that it’s ever really been in style.

Are you a person of idols?

Not really.

Who were your childhood heroes?

Optimus Prime and Bret “The Hitman” Hart.

And today? Who do you look up to?

Anyone who can make a living writing his or her own stuff.

What made you enter the comic universe of storytelling?

I wrote some prose for Jeremy Mohler way back when, and he offered me the chance to write some comics, I decided it sounded like fun.

Of all the projects you’ve worked on, is there one that stands out from rest? Why?

Probably my first novel, Shotgun. That thing took forever. My style’s changed and improved (I hope) since then, but you can definitely catch a few glimpses of where I was going.

And now a peek into the Future. Can you tell us what project(s) are you most looking forward to?

I just finished the first draft of my third novel, Diary of a Fairy Princess. It’s the most absurd, ridiculous thing I’ve ever thought of. It’s great. It constantly makes me laugh while I’m revising it. Half of it’s written in a spoiled princess voice I had a ton of fun working with. I suspect readers are either going to love it or hate it with few opinions in between—and I really can’t wait to see which way it goes. Hopefully it’ll be available by the end of the summer.

Thanks Scott for giving us access to your creative universe!

S.G

P.S.: If you enjoyed reading this interview take a look at the other ones we have from illustrators to writers, passing through game-designers and authors.

Nicolás Giacondino – Creator & Artist (Mars2577, Nightfell, N0.1R, …)

Nicolás Giacondino – Creator & Artist (Mars2577, Nightfell, N0.1R, …)

Nicolás Giacondino is a talented Argentinean artist that has taken Outland Entertainment by storm. His unique style fits unseemingly into a vast array of projects without ever losing its authenticity.  

You’re working in several comics here at Outland Entertainment. From being the artist in Mars2577 to co-creator and illustrator of Nightfell and N0.1R.

How is it to collaborate in the creation of a story? Is there too much compromise?

Collaborating with other authors (be it writers, artists, colorists, etc.) has to be an organic and loose experience. You have to be open to the ideas sent your way and offer what you think are valid points to improve the story. And yes, there’s a level of compromise, but always to the work itself; you never have to become too attached to your own conceptions and ideas so much so that they’ll clash with the others’ or create tension. If it’s better for the story, then you have to incorporate it.

Speaking specifically of the projects I have here in OUTLAND, the back and forth between all the parts involved in the creation process has been amazing. Everyone’s extremely professional and at the top of their game in their respective areas, offering great advice and also knowing when to give the other the upper hand if something will work better for the saga. In my case, being the artist, I will provide visual cues and ideas for the writers to interpret and reimagine. They then send me their own takes and I’ll assess the suggestions and improve the material so that we’re all on the same page.

It’s my opinion that collaboration is the best experience when making comics. It forces you out of your comfort zones and exposes you to new and radical ideas, which help you to evolve your artwork.

Does it help or hurt knowing in advance that you’ll be the one giving a concept its visual life?

Definitely helps. I’ve dabbled a bit in writing (I have a published graphic novel penned by myself), but my primary concern has always been the artwork. So, being able to focus and work solely on the visual aspect lets me do my best knowing the other parts of the project are taken care of.

I also love to give the writers or collaborators in all the projects I tackle the utmost respect to their vision. I have a very unique style, but I’m open to it bending to the requirements of the story. You can never get something illustrated 100% as the writer imagined it; but I try to come to at least 99%.

Did you always envisioned these projects as webcomics?

Well, I always envisioned them as comics.With the climax of the digital age all around us, webcomics were the default option to get the project out there in the world. That said my intent is that we may be able to see these stories in print too.

Ours is such a strong medium, so full of possibilities that I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 

There’s a whole debate around comics becoming digital. Do you think webcomics are the gateway for this new digital world?

Webcomics have taken things a step beyond in that they allow a larger number of artists and writers to express their vision without having to go through the filter of a major publisher or a ‘house style’. For me, personally, that’s been very advantageous and liberating. My style isn’t what you’ll usually find in the cover of the big companies, but published independently it has found a great audience that luckily grows larger every day.And I’ve seen the same happen to other artists and creators, who are able to reach a much more massive audience than they could’ve dreamed of.

Do you find yourself more driven towards a specific genre(s)? Which one(s)?

I’ve always been very passionate about science fiction and have been fortunate to be able to tackle projects related to it through the years.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy working in other genres, such as Fantasy or Steampunk. I’m always curious and willing to try things out and my style is very adaptable to many different kinds of stories. Horror, for example, isn’t something I’d done. But through Outland, I was able to illustrate two tales in that genre that were very exciting!

Why Science Fiction?

Science Fiction, for me, allows you to contemplate very interesting, radical ideas and philosophical issues with more ‘purity’ than in any other genre. The far future or the dystopian near future peels our preconceptions on any given subject so that the message is carried across with more strength, allowing the reader to think about the implications of the narrative devoid of his personal stakes in it. For example, cloning is a very tricky subject in the contemporary world; there’s lots of ethical and moral questions being addressed and everyone has a political, human or religious view. If I transport them into a distant planet or time, cloning then becomes something abstract, an idea that can be dissected within the boundaries of that new world. Yet, the consequences and realizations that you bring back with you when the reading experience is over are carried into our contemporary world, hopefully giving people a new perspective on the matter.

When did you begin to show your artistic capabilities?

As I always say, I started drawing as soon as I was old enough to hold a pencil. And, asking my parents about my passion, they tell me it goes indeed that far back. I had a few other interests during my teenage years, but drawing is what’s always driven me.

What’s your favorite childhood moment related to comics or drawing?

Well, living in Argentina, sometimes we didn’t have access to all the latest material being published in the US. But there was a point in the 90s, when the arrival of comics would be almost instantaneous upon release, which caused me to open up to some major influences.

I remember a day in particular, when I was walking down a street from school and came across a newspaper stand and amongst the magazines and usual comics, there was the first issue of Jim Lee’s run on X-Men. I flipped quickly through the pages and dredged up whatever money I had in my pocket and bought it. Inside, there was an interview with Lee himself, talking about his process and whatnot and that’s when I decided I’d wanted to do this for a living. Up until that point, drawing comics was a hobby, but that issue of X-Men and Jim’s words changed my mind completely and set me on my path to become a professional.

Growing up, did you read a lot of comics or were there other activities that you preferred?

Like I said, there wasn’t a lot of material back when I was growing up. Mostly old DC paperbacks and some indie stuff. Argentina once had a huge comics industry and a lot of amazing talents came from here south into the international market, but after the dreaded dictatorship of ’76, it was all but dismantled. In fact, my hometown only had one comic-book store, which I discovered when I was 18 years old. But I was always interested in whatever I could find, so yes, I did read a lot of what was available.

As for other activities, I also enjoyed music passionately. I played the drums in bands all through high school and considered it a career option at some point, but as I said earlier, drawing always kept me coming back. Whenever I’d have to design a poster or CD cover, I’d remember why I loved it so much.

What about beloved artists? Any childhood idols?

Jim Lee was my absolute hero, as I mentioned before. But I also followed the work of other classic artists that helped me shape my style a lot, including Jack Kirby and Bruce Timm, two of my most important influences.

Later in life and as I found more and more material to read, I found the likes of Frank Miller, Neal Adams, John Romita and so many others. From my country, I also loved the work of Carlos Meglia and Enrique Breccia, both of whom I had the chance to meet personally. The latter became my mentor when I participated in one of his illustration and comics seminars.

Did you always want to work on this creative field?

At first, I didn’t even know that was possible. I’m not sure it is now either, haha!

I always sort of took comics for granted. I mean, I knew they had to be drawn and written by someone, but I never dug deeper into what professionals in the field actually did; I just enjoyed them and figured there were a few lucky fellows who were able to work on these amazing magazines. It wasn’t until the boom of Image Comics and artists making a big splash away from the major publishers that I realized this was something you could do for a living. So, upon that discovery, I started reading and studying more and more, trying to find ways to make it as a professional comic artist.

Going back to your own work: illustrating, coloring, lining,.. Do you have a favorite?

I enjoy the whole process, from pencils to colors. But inking has always been the part that I enjoy the most. In fact, Outland has given me the chance to work a lot in black and white and showcase my artwork as such, which has been a huge pleasure. Line weight, spotted blacks, crosshatching… those basics of inking make me truly happy when I’m doing a page.

 

And projects? Is there one that stands out from the rest?

They all have unique qualities that I think make them amazing, but if I had to choose one in particular I’d say Nightfell is the one that stands out the most.

Why is that one different?

Because it flips a common trope which we all know: that zombies eat the living. In Nightfell, the undead actually protect us and are our last line of defense against darker, more sinister creatures from below. That basic premise brings about uniqueness to the work that I think makes it truly original.

Also, it has deep roots in the Sword and Sorcery genre and it was conceived to be read as either a regular comic-book or a strip (which is how it’s being released in the website). That is also something that hasn’t been seen for quite a while and a format that both Jeremy Tolbert the writer and myself enjoy enormously.

From making the pencil sketch to applying the last smear of color what is your process?

My take on a page usually starts with reading the script and making a mental image of how the composition should work. I visualize the panels and what the writer’s vision is and then I map that out in panels across the page.

Once the panels are laid out, I go in very quickly and sketch out the basic perspective and character interaction and make sure everything works and is where it should be. When I’m satisfied with the storytelling, I tighten up the pencils and send them to the Editor and writer for approval.

If approved, then I move onto the final inks. With Outland, this has been the final stage in many projects and so once it’s done, I send it as a hi-resolution scan for it to be colored and lettered.

If I’m illustrating the whole, then I take special care to not outline certain things I will leave specifically for color to define. I then go in and add the volumes with grayscale and once that’s done I’ll put in the colors and details.

Do you follow a painfully strict plan or is it a more of organic process?

I’m very strict in the process. I found out that it is the best way to meet the deadlines and focus properly on every step.

So… can you tell us what project(s) are you most looking forward in the short run?

I’m very much looking forward to showing audiences the projects we’ve been working on so hard. Especially Nightfell and N0.1R, a crime story set in a world where organic life is nonexistent and robots rule in a mimicry of our 1940s.

There’s always something else in the pipeline, but I can’t really reveal much other than there’s exciting times ahead!

 

Thanks Nicolás for giving us a small peek into your creative world!

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the stories we’re working on!

 

S.G.

Graphic Novels celebrated at London Book Fair 2015

Graphic Novels celebrated at London Book Fair 2015

This year, the London Book Fair celebrated Graphic Novels and as such I was gladly presented with a huge array of seminars on the topic.

[Of course, I blistered my feet running through Olympia to get from talk to talk. From Mexican culture, to the progress of VR, AR and digital publishing, passing through matters such as “Publishing for Boys & Men”, the fair managed to cover an range of subjects sure to pick anyone’s interest.]

The Comics!

The speakers were passionate about the discussions, laying bare preconceptions and stereotypes. From the need to establish graphic novels as an artistic medium to the more farfetched possibilities the digital format allows, all of it was thrown towards the audience in an urgent need to stir further debate.

Everyone defended this world and some have as their life goal to make Graphic Novels not frowned upon, like Neil Gibson, founder of T Pub. He currently acts as a sort of ambassador for the medium, stating it is one of the most efficient ways to communicate stories. His mission to get more people reading comics involves advocating how to use them in work and study environments.

 

#LBF15_NeilGibson

Neil Gibson talking about the pacing of Comic books.

With Paul Gravett – renown British comic book critic – we reflected on “What can comics do that other forms can’t”. A lively overview of several international projects: “Pablo” by Julie Birmant & Clément Oubrerie, “Death of the Artist” by Karrie Fransman and “There’s No Time Like the Present” by Paul Rainey.  It’s interesting to see extremely different approaches of the medium on a conceptual and visual way. From freely drawn black & white cartoons to photography and full pages reinterpretations of famous works of art, you get but a tiny scope of what the Graphic Novel really allows you to explore.

 

#LBF15 _ GraphicNovels go digital

“What can comics do that other forms can’t” panel.

A final but quite controversial discussion about the digitalization of comic books left everyone still in doubt of what the future holds. Bringing together Sam Arthur from Nobrow, Sam Humphrey from SelfMadeHero, Leah Moore from Eletricomics and Russell Willis from Sequential, moderated by South London Hardcore Podcast’s Steve Walsh.

Does the reader want extra content: interviews, audio commentaries? After the early flop of motion comics it is safe to say everyone is thinking (or at least trying to) go for subtlety instead of bells and whistles.

Everybody agreed that we don’t want to disturb the readers experience. The aim is to create a new way, nearly a new medium which has graphic novels at its very core. A more immersive – but not invasive! – medium to experience stories.

082

“Graphic Novels go Digital” panel.

Outland Entertainment was part of the innovative addition of the Sequential app at the LBF15. The upcoming graphic novel N0.1R [created by Nicolas Giacondino and Scott Colby. writen by Colby & illustrated by Giacondino]” is an old school whodunnit starring a cast of really cool robots. Artist Nic Giacondino does an amazing job bringing both the characters and the setting to life.” Scott Colby states.

You can get N0.1R‘s preview as well as the whole catalog from #LBF15 exhibit at the Sequential app using the code LBF15 – LBF15 – LBF15.

#LBF15 _ N0.1R

Attendees browsing N0.1R at the Sequential app corner.

The games panels were also incredible insightful with a special shout-out to the funny and incisive Jo Twist [@doctoe] UKIE CEO and to the creative Rob Morgan [@AboutThisLater], freelance game writer and narrative designer.

Bottom line: the LBF offered insightful seminars on a varied assortment of topics. Three intense days that allow you to get an overview not only of the publishing industry but of what is being done in the whole entertainment sector.

 

And one cannot forget that it was the 1st London Book & Screen Week! An event that complemented the whole experience by consolidating the idea of this increasingly cross media world.

SG

 

Outland Entertainment launches its own line of webcomics

Outland Entertainment launches its own line of webcomics

Press Release: Outland Entertainment launches its own line of webcomics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUMMARY: Outland Entertainment launches its own line of webcomics with five titles.

TOPEKA, KANSAS, FEBRUARY 24, 2015 — Outland Entertainment is proud to announce the launch of its new line of webcomics. The comics will update at least one page per week in black and white on their websites.

“I’ve felt for a long time that webcomics are the new frontier of comics and sequential storytelling and I’m extremely excited about the line of works we’ve developed”, says Outland Entertainment’s Jeremy Mohler.

Ithaca [created and written by Emily Hall, illustrated by Dean Kotz and Jeremy Mohler] and Mars2577 [created and written by Gabe Schmidt, illustrated by Nicolas Giacondino]  are available as of today, while other projects will be launched during the following weeks:

Remnants [created, written and illustrated by Alec Morgan]  March 2nd;
Nightfell [created and written by Jeremiah Tolbert, illustrated by Nicolas Giacondino and Jeremy Mohler]March 9th;
N0.1R [created by Nicolas Giacondino and Scott Colby. writen by Scott Colby & illustrated by Nicolas Giacondino]March 23rd.

Ithaca is an homage to the Midwest. There’s no better way to discover the strange beauty of a place than to go on a journey through it. Artist Dean Kotz perfectly captured the gritty, moody atmosphere I was going for”, says Emily Hall, creator of the modern, Tarantino-inspired retelling of The Odyssey, Ithaca.

Remnants is a project very near and dear to me. It’s the first story I ever wrote myself and the first comic I produced entirely on my own (with a little help with the lettering from Owen Staley). I hope other people will enjoy reading this first issue as much as I did producing it! (Hopefully it won’t take them as long!)”, Alec Morgan tells us .

“For Nightfell, we began with a basic premise: what if the undead were the good guys? With that simple question, the world of Nightfell was born — and there, nothing is quite what it seems at first. The artwork on the page may be black and white, but the moral tones of Nightfell’s characters are more varied than that,” states Nightfell creator, Jeremiah Tolbert, a story that challenges the preconceived meanings of light versus darkness.

Gabe Schmidt mentions, As someone who has been a fan of webcomics for years and graphic novels for far longer, I am excited at this opportunity to be involved in the melding of the two.”

And Scott Colby addsN0.1R is an old school whodunnit starring a cast of really cool robots. Artist Nic Giacondino does an amazing job bringing both the characters and the setting to life.”

For more details, visit outlandentertainment.com or the individual pages of each webcomic [linked above].