This interview is of carolyn, whose comics are: The Horribles and The People That Melt in the Rain!
(interview conducted by Kristen Gudsnuk!)
1. Your comics are the result of you and your husband's collaborative effort. Is it easier working as a team? How much does your input affect his drawing, and his drawing affect your writing?
“The Horribles” is my own project, but we collaborate on one of my comics, “The People That Melt in the Rain”. We've been wanting to work on something together for a long time, and I wrote “The People That Melt in the Rain” for us to do together. His input was there throughout the writing process, and he often suggests dialogue and is quick to point out anything cliche. I allow him to pace the story - however he wants to lay it out. My input on the art is very present in that I'm the colorist and finisher on each page, and I make sure he's consistent with outfits and the appearance of the characters.
2. How is “The People Who Melt in the Rain” colored?
Mike provides me with finished pencil pages, that require digital clean-up. From the scans, I size the image in photoshop and then create the panels borders on a separate layer. I paint in the colors on a layer between the panel borders and the background layer. It takes from about 7 to 20 hours.
3. Your comics seem aimed at an all-ages audience. What are the benefits and limitations of such an audience? What drives you to direct your comic toward this demographic?
The benefits of working on an all-ages comic are incredible. There are no limitations on where you can promote. Since my comics are great for everyone I can advertise on family sites, children's websites, even at my kid's elementary school. The fact that I have a wide audience makes things MUCH easier.
If you have a restricted rating you can't even get featured here on Drunk Duck (which is a huge boost to readership). I write for this age group because I have three kids and I wouldn't want to create anything they can't read, also it seems to come naturally for me, having started my career in children's books.
4. Certain parts of “The Horribles” remind me of favorite books of my youth- the crocodile that eats the dungeon key, for instance, evokes ‘Lyle the Crocodile,’ and other panels bring to mind the works of Maurice Sendak (and maybe Edward Gorey). Who are your influences? What were your favorite books as a child?
Oh I loved “Lyle the Crocodile” and “Ed Gorey” is a definite inspiration for “The Horribles”, but I must mention Neil Gaiman as well. I started this project as a very simple children's book and discovered it could be a darker more complex story as I worked it into the comic format. I love so many different children's books it's hard to say. I like everything from Mo Willem's “Knufflebunny” to Don and Audrey Wood's “The Napping House”, children's books are a great format for illustrators especially.
5. I love the Horribles' fiendish spin on overly-sanitized children's literature. What inspired you to write “The Horribles”?
Writing and drawing “The Horribles” is great fun for me. I keep thinking that I'm going to end it sometime soon and then I write another chapter or plot another whole book. The characters work well with my style and in all I don't see stopping. My kids inspired me to write this initially
and children everywhere love when they see me working on a page. I do a lot of school visits with this project and get a great response.
6. “The People Who Melt in the Rain” is developing to be very mysterious, indeed. What gave you the idea to make this parallel-universe town of Deluge?
It's strange to say but I thought of the title first. I never do that when I write, but it worked really well with this project. “ The People That Melt in The Rain” is a layered and complicated story. It took me three and a half years to work out the story arc, that will be a total of 12 chapters. It's really intended to read like a fully illustrated young adult novel.
7. …And what's with the frog-rain? Is it a biblical reference?
Well, there is a lot of reference to rains of frogs and fish in antiquity, but it's our obsession with “the unexplained” that inspired that scene. Unexplained falls of numerous creatures and objects have happened around the world from antiquity to modern times. Like the “fish fall” on the Santa Monica Freeway in 1984, the rain of coins near Saint Elizabeth's church in England, and just numerous other events that include falls of eels, crabs, seeds, masks, shards of glass-the list just goes on and on. We love unexplained events and I just wish I could have worked “Big Foot” into this story as well, but maybe in the sequel.
8. Are these your first comics? What creative work were you doing prior to these comics?
I used to work for a studio that colored books for Marvel back in the 90's, but these are really my first comics that I've created. Mike has been working in comics for many years and has worked for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IPW, Image too many credits to name. I have written and illustrated 8 children's books, done work for kid's magazines like Highlights for Children, and Hopscotch, and numerous other places. I spent last year building sets and puppets for a theater group in South America, which was just a blast.
Mike's a professional artist and has been working in all areas of the business, including children's books, role playing games, even album covers (CDs).
9. A lot of people on DrunkDuck aspire to be professional comic makers. Do you have any advice for these people?- how to find work at a company like Marvel, for instance, or resources one can use to get ahead in the industry?
Web comics is a great place to be actually. You get your work out there to thousands of people (hopefully). Also you're doing all you can to promote your comic, you should be on Facebook and MySpace and other networking sites as well as places for comics, plus working on your craft as hard as you can (never let praise overshadow that nagging feeling you need to get better, because you do, whoever you are, however good you are). Then go to a comic convention near you. Promote yourself and your comic, and talk to everyone, and there you go, you're in the industry.
As for working for Marvel, well, don't get me started on Marvel… If you want to work for them draw their characters the “Marvel Way”. Then get in line… It's a long and often pointless wait. In fact that's the great thing about web comics, you don't have to submit to one publisher after another and collect rejections… You get your work straight to your audience. You get direct feedback. The way I've gotten published is to mail samples of my work to art directors with a cover letter and a self addressed stamped envelope. Then they mail me a rejection. If I set a goal to collect 100 rejections in a month, I'd usually get a job or two before I reached that goal. After a few jobs I started to have clients who returned with more work. My ego took a major beating though. The point is if this is really what you want to do, the key is to never give it up.
10. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'm just glad to get such a great response to my work here at Drunk Duck, and for anyone keeping up with “The People That Melt in The Rain”… Stay tuned, this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Group - Kristin Gudsnuk interviews carolyn of The Horribles and The People that Melt in the Rain!
skoolmunkee at 2:03AM, Sept. 24, 2009
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
Gillespie at 11:37AM, Sept. 24, 2009
Good interview. Very helpful and interesting information. Thanks!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:36PM
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