Episode 337 - Interview with AmeliaP of Kings Club

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

Featured comic:
ZINC COMIX - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2017/aug/22/featured-comic-zinc-comix/

Links:
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

Featured music:
Abejitas - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Abejitas/, by Lazarinho, rated E.


INTERVIEW WITH AMELIA.P

PART I


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!
Woo…
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


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


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.
-Plot Overview
-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.
-Color Time!
- 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.

Episode 316 - The Quirkcast!

Mar 27, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

For this Quackcast we decided to chat about quirks- the things that stand out about a character, help you remember them, get interested in them, traits that pick them out as individuals and can ALSO be used to point at deeper character traits! These are so useful in so many ways and really help to define a character as well as giving them a handle for the audience to latch on to. The idea was nicked from a newspost where Tantz goes into it with a lot more depth, so check that out too if you can! the cover image is from the Nazi General sketch by Smith a Jones- it's all based on quirks. This was Tantz's fantastic idea for a newspost. Speaking of Tantz, this newspost was recorded around the time of Greek independence day! Happy independence day to Greece!

Episode 315 - Creepy Pasta

Mar 20, 2017

4 likes, 2 comments

This week we decided to all read out Creepypastas, just because! I's a popular thing on the net and people like that sort of thing… Well Banes and Pit do anyway. So what ARE Creepypastas? Well they're not the rotten spaghetti that had Banes blasting from both barrels just before the Quackcast, no, the name comes from “copy and paste”, simple as that. Creepypasta are just scary stories that writers have made up and copy and pasted to sites on the net, usually on things like Reddit. Often the writer pretends that it's a true story, but not many, if any at all, are based on real events. Today we're reading a few that we found at random. Hope you enjoy! The music of Gunwallace this week is My Pet Succubus. It’s party time down here! Bouncing, rolling piano notes, tapping drums and ebullient synth strings exemplify the happy go lucky personality of the irrepressible protagonist of this comic.

Episode 313 - Technical techniques

Mar 6, 2017

4 likes, 4 comments

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.

Episode 312 - happy little trees

Feb 27, 2017

4 likes, 5 comments

In THIS particular Quackcast it's just Banes and I chatting about tips and tricks for artwork. Hopefully some of the stuff we mention is helpful to someone, I tried to illustrate some of that in the cover pic. Banes drew the image of Penny crashing through a scene which I've coloured and added trees, oceans, mountains, clouds, fire, smoke etc all with the use of simple custom brushes. The shading was all done just by painting grey over a layer set to “multiply”, which makes all light colours transparent and darker colours less so, so that you get a perfect tool for making shadows! Anyway, listen to the cast and maybe you'll get something out of it! The music that Mr Gunwallace has for us this week is for Mr Valdemar and other gothic tales - The tinkling crystal notes of a piano are paired with the dark woodiness of a mournful cello and touches of strings to give us this haunting gothic soundscape.

Episode 308 - Hyena Hell

Jan 30, 2017

4 likes, 0 comments

Today on the Quackcast we interview Hyena Hell! You might remember the bombastic, punkrocker HyenaHell for her comic The Hub She used to be very active on all of DD (forums, comics, everything), before life issues took her away from DD. But she was still a prolific poster on social media after that when she wasn't creating comics, posting interesting and thought provoking blog posts about art, life as an artist, and living in a changing New Orleans… She has a unique art style- highly detailed, carefully inked drawings, which are quite similar to her work as a printmaker. You can see a great example of that in The Hub. We have sad news and hap[y news… The wonderful Hippievan has retired from doing Friday newsposts on DD. The happy news is that HyenaHell is going to dive into the driving seat of this out of control juggernaut! HyenaHell has a long history with DD and an amazing personal perspective on art and life that I think would be good for the site. It's always good to listen to a new and interesting voice! In the mean time, listen to Banes, Pitface, TantzAriene and I interview HyenaHell, who tells lascivious stories and her and I going into, Lipstixxx a stripclub in New Orleans… Gunwallace's featured music for today was: Mechaniko - it's the sound of nodes on a neural network firing, connecting, and cascading with shared knowledge: Multilayered, technological robo-future rock!

Episode 293 - THE BURBS DVD commentary

Oct 5, 2016

4 likes, 0 comments

In this happy season of October we come to that time of year again when Banes starts to get excited by Halloween! This year his idea was for us all to do a real time DVD commentary for The Burbs, that great comedy horror film staring the famous Tom Hanks, from back in 1989 when he was still a hilarious leading man and not a super serious drama guy. We all LOVE this movie, it's very funny, with a lot of cool twists and great scenes. Along with Tom Hanks it stars Princess Leia AKA Carrie Fischer, dudeman Corey Feldman, and Bruce Dern being Dale Gribble before Dale Gribble was even a thing! Pitface, Tantz, Banes and I all talk along to and over the movie as it's playing. To enjoy the FULL effect I strongly suggest you find a copy of The Burbs on a legal streaming site, or less than legal one depending on your ethics, or maybe even a DVD or old video! Pop it on and spoil the movie by listening to us all blather away together, it'll be just like watching the movie WITH us! And wouldn't you like that? I'm sure you would, we're all very friendly people. ;) Our feature AND the music by Gunwallace this week is for the same comic, “Useless”. The theme is atmospheric and haunting, lightened with the strains of a singing, melodic electric guitar.

Episode 252 - Wish Fulfilment

Jan 4, 2016

3 likes, 5 comments

Happy new year! In this first Quackcast for 2016 we have Banes, Pitface and Tantz Aerine along to talk to us about Banes' neswpost topic of Wish Fulfilment in writing. It can be a good thing in that it makes the writer more interested and passionate about what they're doing as well as creating a very relatable ideal for readers with similar tastes. The negative side is that they make their world too perfect and too specific to themselves so that the whole thing just looks like an exercise in boring, pointless ego stroking. Gunwallace's theme this time was for Professor Herbert and GEO, which was also the featured comic! It sounds a bit like the theme to an '80s cartoon, which exactly what the comic looks like it should be O_o


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