Monday, 1 March 2010

Think Indifferent!

As we start the build up to Bristol Con we'll have quite a few new ebook previews over the coming weeks of what will be out over the coming year.

First up here is the 14 page intro to The Indifference Engine:

Writer: Cy Dethan, Pencils: Rob Carey, Colours: Mel Cook, Letters: Nic Wilkinson, Cover: Paul Cartwright

“My name is Alan Blake.
I've got no resources, no skills and no friends.
But if I were you, I'd be the very last person on Earth
I'd want coming after me...”

Myebook - The Indifference Engine - click here to open my ebook

Responding to a strangely specific job advertisement, a distinctly ordinary twenty-something suburban slacker finds himself in the middle of an inter-dimensional task force staffed entirely by superhuman alternate versions of himself. Struggling to fit in, he uncovers a conspiracy that strikes at the very heart of the organisation – a conspiracy that only he can stop.

Alan Blake, by any credible standard, is a waste of good skin - a directionless and ambitionless slacker whose single most notable characteristic is that he makes other people feel good about themselves in comparison to him.

Alan considers himself a good listener, but it’s more complex than that. It’s almost like he absorbs other people’s problems and somehow unburdens them. If he weren’t such a loser, that one character trait alone could have made him immensely popular. Still, at least he serves a purpose of sorts. Whatever your own personal flaws or failings, hey – it could be worse. You could be Alan Blake.

And now, please welcome the extremely talented Rob Carey, who has agreed to a rare interview appearance as he tells us some more about himself and working on the book...

Q: How did you hear about Insomnia and come to be the artist on the Indifference Engine?

A: I went to the 2D festival, in Derry last year, and met Stephen Downey, of Cancertown. He gave me the email address for Insomnias submissions. Nic Wilkinson (Creative Director) at Insomnia got back to me. I was given the choice to either work on a short script, or a graphic novel, so being a complete fecking idiot I choose the graphic novel, with no concept of how time consuming it would be, but ultimately one of the most fulfilling and satisfying jobs I have ever had.

I jumped at the chance to work on a Cy Dethan script, after getting a copy of Cancertown at the 2D festival, I knew that this guy could write. I even agreed to The Indifference Engine before reading a script, the synopsis was more than enough to win me over.

Q: Tell us about how you approached the script, and how you work with the rest of the team

A: When I first read the script I burst out laughing. I could not believe that I had been given a chance to illustrate something this awesome.

I kind of jumped into it a little to quickly, and started without doing much in the way of thumbnails, designs etc. The first page I sent needed some adjustments, so I said fuck it, ill just start from scratch.

My advice to anyone starting a book, or any kind of script, is preparation. Thumbnail the shit out of it before you start detailing it. And read the script. And reread it. It can be very easy to omit a necessary element of the script by accident. From there the pages started to fly out.

I was very fortunate that Melanie Cook who colored Cancertown was brought on board. She is so professional, and has done such fantastic work to make my line art look somewhat presentable. Nic Wilkinson is lettering, which I am dying to see the final pages.

Q: What is your process when drawing. How long does it take, and tell us about getting up at unearthly hours in the morning.

My process for drawing is constantly evolving. At the moment, my process involves providing clean finished pencils. I start with thumbnails, which I like to do for an entire chapter before starting the pencils.

I then build the environment of the story, each location in a 3D modeling program. This is used mostly for perspective. Then I will take photo reference (if needed), the compile them on to a A3 page in photoshop, this way the actual page layout and perspective are as accurate as I can get them.

I then rough out the lineart with a mechanical pencil, using a red carbon nib, I prefer the red to the blue as I find it much easier to clean up in photoshop. Then I go over the red lines with a HB 0.03 nib, leaving the black areas to be filled in with the paint bucket tool in Photoshop.
It takes anywhere between 3 to 12 hours to complete a page.

I draw when ever I get a chance, and when a full day is free, I like to get up as early as possible, mostly around 4ish, and bang out as mush as possible. I can get a page, sometimes 2 finished in a day. But these are long ass days. People say the aren't enough hours in the day, well ill tell them there are, you just have to look for them.

Q: Do you find inspiration in other media while drawing.

A: When I draw I love to listen to music, any music, except ska punk. Cause its shit.

I sometimes watch a movie, or a tv show, but these mostly need to be dramas, or comedy, because if its action heavy, ill get distracted to easily, so they need to be talkies.
Reading comics usually gets me in the mood.

And I am so god damned lucky that my mate opened a comic shop, Dublin City Comics, fuck it a little plug. But the best part is he frigging delivers to me, which is easily comparable to a crackwhore having her dealer show up, with comics. Filled with crack.

Q:Are there any particular ideas or techniques you wanted to explore in doing the art for this book?

I just wanted to get better, and no better way than trial by fire. I did discover that traditional inking was not for me, not when quality and deadlines were an issue.

I did want to get faster, and I achieved that.

Q: What are your favorite comics and why?

The Authority, hands down is my favorite comic of all time. When Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch did their run, it was outstanding, but what made me fall in love with it was the The Millar/Quitely run. The Nativity storyline was one of the best comics I have ever read. There have been some spin offs and one offs and jerk offs, but the best by far was the Kev series by Garth Ennis. They were hilarious.

The Ultimates vol 1 and 2. Not vol 3. That was the worst comic of all time.

Black Summer, by Warren Ellis. The story was great, but the art was mind blowing, Juan Jose Ryp is such a awesome artist.

Q:If you had to recommend a lesser known book, writer or artist for readers to check out what would it be?

Golly, by Phil Hester, published through Image, was a good read. Funny as hell.

Irredeemable, by Boom studios is enjoyable.

But I think that I am the wrong person for recommending anything comic wise, my overall knowledge and exposure to the medium, especially towards indie and small press, is embarrassing for someone claiming to be an artist. But this is being rectified, I am reading and buying so many comics now its ridiculous.

Q:Who are your main artistic influences?

Brett Booth, on WildCore, was my favorite book, in my mid-teens. Its what got me seriously thinking about becoming an artist. But time changes opinions and perspectives, and looking back at the art now, I have a somewhat different opinion of it.

But these days the artist that really inspire me, easily have to be Steve McNiven, Shawn Gordan Murphy and Ryan Ottley. Again there are to many amazing artists out there, Bryan Hitch, Gene Ha and Tony Harris.

My mates Cormac Hughes and CiarĂ¡n Finnegan, who participate with me on our sketch blog, Sketch Paddys, they not only influence me, but inspire me to become a better artist. Cormac especially, now that he is working on an incredible script form my brother Stephen, who if there is any justice in this world or the next, will be a big name in comics writing someday. His scripts are savage.

Q: This is a tricky question because of spoilers, but, very carefully, what were your favourite things to work on in this book?

A: Since the book revolves around the character of Alan Blake, and the many variations of himself, my favorite character is probably the main Alan Blake.

Cy has written a very believable loser. I think I like Alan the best, because there is no one who can honestly say there hasn't been a time in their lives when they should have stood up to someone, but didn't, something that afterwards they wish they had had the courage to stand and fight. Alan's initial introduction to his daily life, shows a person that is in a little way identifiable in all of us. Alan's, how should I put this, so its spoiler free, progressing through the story, is unique.
I wont detail to much about the scenes I liked the most to illustrate, but the falling fight and the double page spreads, where tons of fun.

Q: If you could work on any character in the world of comics who would it be and why?

A: Deadpool, cause he is fucking awesome. I love his costume design, his dialogue.

The Authority would be a dream come through. But I would love to work on a character book as opposed to a team book, someone like the punisher, cause I like to draw guns and violence, in a postmodernist deconstruction of course, so its ironic and not just a guy getting his rocks off to some gorenography.

Q: What words of wisdom do you have for other people embarking on their first full length project?

A: Don't do it unless you love it. And beware of your other responsibilities. Only take on a project that you are 100% sure you can commit to and complete.

Make sure if you have a partner, that they at least believe that they have a say in your decision, I have been very fortunate that I have a wonderful girlfriend that fully supports my decision.

You have to be prepared to give up a lot of sleep.

Get online, set up a portfolio and start a dialogue with other artists. Twitter is great, Deviant art, Penciljack are good places to start. Other artists will be more than happy to critique or give advice.

So there you have it.

Burke and Hare at the Edinburgh Dungeon

Last week the Burke and Hare boys were at an event hosted by the Edinburgh Dungeon. You can read all about it in this article from the Scottish Herald

Until next week, when we'll have some info on some recent signings.

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