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Tagged by RAE-J for this questionnaire made by FrostedCanid!

Referencing these two comics:

MAGGOTINA PG 1 by KelpGull

Ages, Part 1 by KelpGull

1. What got you started drawing comics?

Not... really sure? I've been drawing little comics for as long as I remember, though nothing to write home about. Had a really good teacher that I took a few summer classes with at a community center between the ages of 12-16, and I've kept up with it casually ever since.

2. What is your favorite comic that you've read?

I actually read way more books than comics, so I don't think any single one stands out as a favorite. I did enjoy Watchmen and V for Vendetta (they did not translate well into film), and also have gone through most of the Calvin and Hobbes collections (pure gold). As for webcomics, False Positive is a nice collection of horror genre shorts worth checking out, and there was one I followed a long time ago about this little reaper character who went on existential adventures. I can't for the life of me remember the name of it. On DA I've been digging Songdog-StrayFang's Best of Bad Decisions, as it's a well-written whirlwind of canine suspense. Also DrZime's May the Rain Come and ongoing comic Jupiter are both really lovely genre-defying tales, highly recommended.

3. Has there been a scene so far that has been particularly hard to capture in your current and/or past comics?

I overthink things, so I'd venture to say that there have been more scenes that were hard to capture than were easy :D
In general, slower scenes with intense character interactions are difficult for me. I always want to show every little gesture, and end up cramming the page with too much visual information.

4. How long did you wait before starting your current comic and/or comics in the past? (i.e. the writing/story development process)

Maggotina was spontaneous. I saw some flies getting it on one day at a makeshift barber shop during deployment, and started work on it that same night. Ages took a lot longer. Amusingly enough, it was always intended to be a fun, low expectations comic to push myself artistically and test out some techniques, but I could never figure out what I wanted to do with it. I think it was first conceived when I was around 16, but I didn't start actually making pages until I was 20, and then I didn't start posting the pages online until I was 22.

5. If you could have done anything differently when you were starting out, what would it be?

Basically, just start already! I think that's a universal clarion call from more experienced artists to those with less experience (or just their past selves). The work you produce is never going to be perfect, no matter how long you wait to start it, so just go ahead and start. We take time for granted, but you never know when it's going to run out. Do as much as you can, as soon as you can.

6. Who is your favorite character to write?

The Bird. Though there are other characters soon to appear that I think I'm going to have a lot more fun with :D

7. Who is your least favorite character to write?

I wouldn't say I really have a least favorite, but the Rabbit does give me some trouble. It probably won't be apparent as to why until later on.

8. How drastically did the story change since you started?

It's changed more times than I remember, though I think most of the major themes have stayed the same. The one change that I made that drastically altered things was to include the Bird in the travel party. He initially only appeared for a few pages as a sort of catalyst, but he ended up being the solution to a writing problem that I was having. Namely, the Fox and the Rabbit really don't have a lot of chemistry together on their own.

9. What are the major influences/inspiration for your comic and/or previous comics?

For Maggotina, as I mentioned, I saw some flies getting it on while I was getting a haircut, and suddenly really wanted to draw a comic about flies. During deployment I developed a sort of love-hate relationship with the tiny beasts and ended up drawing them a lot. It was the first comic I saw through to completion, and so it has a bit of sentimental value for me.

For Ages, I wanted to do a new spin on the Fox/Rabbit relationship that deals with mortality and purpose in a casually surreal environment. The writing/story style was influenced a bit by the Redwall series, and a bit by Perloo the Bold, which was one of my alltime favorite books as a young'n. The art style was actually born mostly out of necessity (as an ongoing comic I need to be able to work on it anywhere, can't be dependent on a computer), and to challenge myself by taking away my crutch (color) so that I'd be forced to work on value contrast (still not great at it).

I don't generally keep track of my artistic influences, which can be both beneficial and detrimental. I sort of just... pour things into my brain-sponge, forget about them, and get subliminal blips of them later on.

10. What does your process look like?

Well, first, I generally sketch out major story beats. Then, thumbnails. Thumbnails thumbnails thumbnails. I generally thumbnail out every action or gesture that I think needs to be translated into a panel in order for the story to move smoothly. I don't usually write a script, but I will write down important lines of dialogue if I feel like I've nailed them down. (Nailing down dialogue takes me forever. Not my strong point.) Then, once I've got a good chunk of material, I start working on character designs and translating the panel thumbnails into page-layout thumbnails (I do way too many thumbnails). After this it all depends on the particular comic, and whether I'm working digitally or traditionally.

(Would love to hear your answers, but don't feel obligated! This thing does take a while to fill out.)
Also anyone else who wants to do it? Or just post your answers in a comment, would love to read them either way :D
  • Listening to: Ayreon - The Source
  • Reading: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Watching: Steven Universe
  • Playing: Zelda probably?
  • Drinking: Teeeeea!
BlazingCoral Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2017  Student General Artist
Wow, I didn't know you'd been working on Ages for so long!! That's cool. Your process is interesting too--what do you mean by major story beats? And when you do thumbnails, do you thumbnail out the panel layout, or just the gestures?

Also, thank you for tagging me!
KelpGull Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, yes, it's been quite some time x.x
I actually have examples of my process at hand from my most recent short comic, so I can show you some :D
For the major story beats I do something like this:
Scan0028 by KelpGull
It's mostly just quick doodles of the major events that need to happen to move the story along (or complete it in this case, since it was a short one-off.) I also put some minor event/dialogue notes on these.

For thumbnails, I start with the gestures and move on to panel layouts. My gesture thumbnails consist of pages and pages of this:
Scan0029 by KelpGull
And mostly include all the small bits and pieces that I think would enrich the story. Many things get cut and adjusted during this stage.

Finally, before sketching the page drafts, I do a quick sheet of panel layouts that is almost completely incomprehensible and not much more that a brief visual guide for myself. Such as this:
Scan0030 by KelpGull

Hope that clears it up a little bit :D
And no problem for the tag! I read your responses and I'll be commenting soon :)
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Submitted on
June 28, 2017