We discuss how his creation has gone from the brain to the page...
Dan:Hi Andrew, thanks for joining us, first off would you like to tell us a little bit about your new project?
Andrew: The Adventurers is a story about 3 unlikely heroes who become friends. Ellie - a dragon, Booster - a robot, and Rocbadger, a well...Rock Badger.
They end up having exciting adventures together!
D: Obviously I've read it, and its a really great story, I love that by making it all ages its also accessible for any one to read.
The art is excellent by the way, there are some similarities to Bone, was this intentional? By the way I meant that as a compliment...
A: Thank you... I love to say that the Adventurers comics is all ages...that means kids can enjoy it as well. My hope is the story can be enjoyed on different levels by children and adults alike. For me good all ages is just that...all ages and to be honest most of my favourite comics are. As for intentionally being similar to Bone no. I'm definitley a Bone fan and Jeff Smith is an amazing story teller so I can say I was inspired by Bone.
D: Can you tell me about your creative process, story wise do you write the whole thing full script?
A: I'm still finding my 'process'. Initially I did start with a full script... but fortunately the final script has been changed from the early version. I basically have a plan for what needs to happen in an issue and on each page and work with that. I find fine tuning dialogue the best after the art is finished..
D: I agree sometimes the characters look like the want to say something else when they get on the page...but you wouldn't change key sentences from the original script would you?
A: Not pivitol ones, no . I pared down a lot of unnecessary dialogue, but some dialogue is necessary to the development of the story.
D: So do you then go to the thumbnailing stage, or do you just put it out on right there on the page as you go?
A: I use thumbnails, usually very loose in order to position panels, characters and to see what works or needs to be reworked.
D: So you go from a loose script to thumbnails, and then pencils? Are you working digital, traditional or a hybrid of both?
A: I guess you could say mostly traditional but we have needed digital to make the final issue print ready. Initially I thought it would only be for lettering but the whole design of the issue from logo, to look, to getting pages the right size for print required digital assistance. A lot of that help came from my letterer Cara(our sister to those not in the family).
D: Yeh we've been to a few of the same parties [they both laugh]
A: Haha! Without her help I doubt there would be an issue 1 out there.
D: Poignant message about working with family, I covered some of my ideas about this in a previous blog here: http://dantribes-process-blog.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/6-time-saving-tips-when-making-comics.html
D: Onto inking,so you're definitely a marker guy, you don't go in for the beautiful mess of ink, brushes etc?
A: No... some people have tried to make me feel like less of an artist [glares at Dan] but I guess it comes down to control... I like to control which lines are thick and thin. Also it's what I'm used to working with.
D: Where was I? That intense glare really threw me for a second there...Oh, you can really see that in The Adventurers art, its very clean, a lot of that would be from a tight rein in the inking stage...speaking of the art, do you think The Adventurers would work better for you in colour?
Or were you a victim of the high printing costs so it never crossed your mind, or did you always envision it would be a black & white book?
A: I'm an absolute fan of black and white art. As far as I'm concerned the readers imagination colours the world effectively. The first question most people asked when they saw the art I was working on was "Are you going to colour it?" I guess it's expected today and some people would consider that a failing of The Adventurers. However a few people have seen the printed copy and actually commented on how the black and white art is just right for it.
D: I totally agree of course (my top 3 all time fave comic series are all black & white - Usagi Yojimbo, Xenozoic tales and TMNT.) However the red cover is kick ass!
A: The Adventurers is a lot less shadowy than my previous art. I drew it with colour in mind. Who knows? maybe one day...
D:One of the trademarks of the art in The Adventurers appear to be the physical 'acting' of the characters, was this intentional when starting out, did you want the story to be told mainly in a visual sense?
A: Yes. I did not want to use a narrator. I was inspired by the fact that Bone and The Batman animated comics didn't require a 'meanwhile...' to tell you what was happening also you could tell what the characters felt by the art ...not by expositional thought bubbles.
D: Yeh, expostional thought bubbles are so 10 minutes ago. As the writer and artist, it must have been difficult to choose who to get editorial advice from, how did you go about that?
A: [laughs]...no I got it from anyone who wanted to see my work! Friends and family were a big encouragement... My friend Mike in particular would put up with me bouncing ideas off him and if I suggested changes that didn't suit The Adventurers he'd tell me...in no uncertain terms.
D: I been to a few parties with him also, he certainly would know what it takes to be an Evil Genius! That would have helped when writing the main bad guy for the series!
A: My sister (& letterer) Cara watched me drawing it for 10 years...she literally grew up with the Adventurers and is the most protective of what I do with them than anybody. Also I think my brother had a thing to say every now and then...
D: It's great that those trusted few actually helped to keep the story on the right track, those trusted few, how much of their feedback changed the finished product vis-a-vis story? Or was it more about minor tweaks here & there? I think any input I had was just as a gushing fan boy though if I remember...
A: Minor tweaks... I guess like me they realised the story has to happen a certain way...I'm just the messenger in a way. I had thought about going a bit more Hollywood with the first issue...jumping straight into a dramatic/action sequence making Ellie more a victim of circumstance than having an adventurous spirit.
D: As the father of a baby girl, I like that Ellie is no-body's victim. Great role model...now onto the visuals of the characters - anyone who has had a go at drawing The Adventurers would agree they are darn hard to get looking right, how did you go about retaining the visual integrity of these deceptively simple looking characters?
A: [laughs] Some would argue I didn't. As with anything you can see the subtle changes in the way the characters are drawn from issue 1 -3. I did create turn-a-rounds for the characters and referenced these. I also referenced each previous panel when necessary.
D: Well that means the guy doing the back up story about Booster (me) can breathe a sigh of relief [laughs]
D: So would you say to people about to embark on something that a good rule of thumb would be to have your character designs down before embarking on your story?
A: Absolutely. Even with the turn-arounds it still made for slow going in some angles to get them to look just right.
D: Great tip there for those keeping score. Ok, now The Adventurers is a 4 part mini series, how much of the series was completed before you sent issue 1 to the printers?
A: I had almost completed all of the issue 3 art. I know I know...I should have had issue 4 finished as well...but
D: So having the first issue under your belt and in print, is there anything you would do differently production wise with issue #2 onwards?
A: Apart from quadruple checking your spelling and grammar? Mostly tweaking the digital processes a bit and having the art the correct size first before lettering etc.
D: So it will still be mainly all done on the page, scanned, and then basically just lettered on computer?
A: Yes. Some minor edits may be done digitally there are some in issue 1. I have only began my journey really so I'm not sure what advice to give. I can say it's been hard work, rewarding and exciting. My advice is if you have a story that will not go away and you really want to tell it - do it!
D: Well thanks so much for being part of the blog, lastly did I hear that The Adventurers ships Australia wide with postage for free?
A: Only til the end of June!!!!
D: Well folks better get on it! you can grab a copy here: http://theadventurers.bigcartel.com/ or you can pick it up in person at Supanova Sydney this weekend 21 and 22 June, table O1 in artists alley.
Note: Andrew has just completed a series of blogs about the character development which are also very cool, go here:
Follow him on Twitter: @Andventures or like the Adventurers facebook page for all the latest:
Next week: Betrayed by one of my own...
Follow Dan on Twitter: @TheDanTribe