Showing posts with label charles burns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charles burns. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 in Review: Damon Keen

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?

Helping to get New Zealand's first crowd funded comic, Faction, out into the world! 

Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?

I made some great discoveries this year, so that's a tricky one. Finally got around to reading Charles Burns - and in particular Black Hole. It's always great when the storytelling and art come together so seamlessly, and Black Hole is beautiful and disturbing. I love stories that manage to include the surreal and dreamlike, but without becoming self indulgent and nonsensical, and Black Hole pulls it off brilliantly. Loving his new stuff too - the Hive is great.

Also finally read Dharma Punks by Ant Sang! Embarrassingly late I know - but well worth the wait. I think that it may just have catapulted straight to the top of my all-time favourite NZ comics. 

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?

Freaking LOVED the Mars landing by the Curiosity rover in August. We watched it live on NASA TV. It's what I imagine sport fans must feel like when their team wins something. What a bloody awesome achievement, One of those rare moments it felt good to be a human being. The Higgs Boson discovery was also mind-numbingly awesome. 

Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?

It's my first year of being freelance - so I've had to do lots of boring changes - like figuring out how to do my taxes and invoicing. Blergh. More interestingly, my drawing and comic creation has gone nearly entirely digital, from sketches through to the final work - a fun experiment, but I think the results have been promising so far. I still thumbnail the story outline first in a notebook though, so not quite there yet!

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Rocket boots. Better instant meals. Otherwise, continuing to grow Faction, I think. It's an exciting challenge. Nationally, it'd be nice to see the disgusting government we've got crash and burn, and globally, it'd be good to see some action on climate change. Anything. Anything at all. But I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Inherent Vice: Michael Hawkins

 At the recent Inherent Vice Residency I spoke briefly with Michael Hawkins.

What is the average day like at Inherent Vice?

I try to make it in as much as possible, usually I come in around 10am or 11am. I settle in, say hi to everyone, and decide what I want to do for the day. I've got a major project I'm working on which is a series of inter-connected stories. I try and set some sort of goal ahead like today I've penciled up a couple of pages which was my goal to at least get done. I've got that done now and I'll see how much I can ink and so forth. The rest of the day consists of just drawing comics, chatting to the public if they pass my desk, and usual stuff like eating, sometimes going out for a beer with the guys, or whatever happens.

What has it been like having the general public walking through your studio?

It can be a little distracting from time to time. The flip-side is the fact you have people seeing what you're doing as you're doing it and appreciating your work which is very encouraging and very motivating. As you probably know from drawing comics at home it can get a bit tedious. You get sick of doing it and you just want to go do something else. You know you're not going to get that positive feedback or validation until weeks or months down the track so having that instant feedback from the public can help you keep going.

What are some of the artists and comics that interested you in making your own comics?

I got into comics when I was about fifteen. I had always been an artist and I drew cartoons as a kid but decided I wanted to be a more serious artist. When I was in high school I was really into films 'cause I had that narrative impulse and I wanted to do something like that. Thought maybe I'd be a film maker then I discovered what was coming out of Fantagraphics at the time, Dan Clowes, Charles Burns, Jim Woodring, and so forth and that's when things clicked for me and I decided I wanted to be a cartoonist. 

More recently I've gotten really into the Kramer's Ergot stuff, artist's like C.F. and Dash Shaw that have more a lo-fi look and a certain kind of crazy trippy fantasy vibe. My friend Simon Hanselman is a constant source of inspiration. He's probably my favourite cartoonist out of anyone. He does the best comics I've ever seen and is always an inspiration to work harder.

What tools do you use to make comics?

I use a pacer to pencil with and for outlines I've got a special fountain pen for drawing from a Japanese site called Jetpens, fine point Manga illustration. Most people think I'm doing my comics in watercolour but usually it's with grey felt tip pens. I've got a couple of Copics which give a good flat gray. A couple shades with those and a couple with Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens which are a kind of a warm fuzzy grey. They're warmer in tone and the texture is softer and fuzzier. They last a little while but they don't keep their point for as long as you'd want them to. I use a little bit of grey water colour as well. I have another pen from Jetpens,  a brush pen that is refillable, it's like working with brush and ink except you don't have to dip. I use that for blacks and some of the stronger outlines.

Hawkin's Corey the Dweller in the Hollow has been released in a limited release run and will have a wider launch through Blood and Thunder.