Here at Geekery Magazine, we are always on the lookout for next big indie book, whether it be small press or Kickstarter project. Recently we looked at The Space Heists of Vyvy and Qwerty. We were so impressed by this fun space comedy action book, that we decided to catch up with the talented gang of creators as they plan their next “big job” – Issue 2!
Geekery Magazine: The book is quite an international endeavour, with Niall in California, Carlos in Spain, Osmarco in Brazil and Renee in the Philippines. How did you guys all get together?
Carlos Trigo: I think everything started when I replied to a call for artists from Niall. A few years ago we did a few pages of the first issue of Vyvy and Qwerty to see if we could work together, then we used them as pitch for the series and here we are.
Niall Presnall: Did you reply to a call to artists or did I randomly message you on deviant art? I don’t even remember at this point.
GM: How is it working so far apart? I assume that the “digital revolution” helped?
CT: Thanks to internet we’re able to meet each other and work together.
Osmarco Valladao: I started working before the digital revolution, working with partners in the US and Spain, publishing anywhere in the world and receiving likes from India, all of these possibilities still make me dizzy and fascinated.
Renee Arabia: Definitely! These guys would have probably never found me if this were pre-internet as we now know it.
GM: What was the inspiration for the book?
NP: I’m a big fan of duos and odd couples. The comic itself started as a writing exercise, but then I liked it and turned it into a comic.
Obviously we pull inspiration from and pay homage to some classics that set the tone we want, like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but hopefully in a way that works for us.
GM: How did that relationship blossom? Will we get to see how the two became partners?
NP: There may be a flashback issue at some point! Vyvy was abandoned at a young age and survived on her own into her teenage years until she met Qwerty, who would have been a runaway at the time.
GM: Geeks have been getting into quite the debate about pencil art versus digital art. Which do you use and what do you think are the virtues of both?
CT: Right now I’m still more analogical than digital, but I use both of them. I work the layouts and inks on paper, I use the tablet for coloring jobs mostly but I’m thinking on moving to full digital soon.
I think the virtues of digital are you can undo and redo anything you need quite fast and you don’t need to spend tons of paper and materials to get the work done. An since digital platforms are the first publishing way for indie comics you can also see how your work looks in digital while you’re creating it, while you can still include organic elements of your creative process by creating them on paper and scanning them.
Pencils and paper are like the parents of every artist: they will always be there when you want embrace them again.
GM: Your art is quite angular Carlos, if I hadn’t known previously I would have said there was a strong European feel to it. How has your style changed over time?
CT: I think I started doing things the way I do now. I always built the human figure with straight angular lines, which I admit isn’t easy to deal with. The way I do things causes me many problems with editors and publishers around the world LOL.
GM: Osmarco, how are feeling after two eye surgeries?
CT: He’s the man!
OV: I lost sight of the right eye, I am a Cyclops now, but it did not significantly affect my work.
GM: How does the relationship between colourist and artist work? DO you get carte blanche over color schemes for example? Are you able to make suggestions about panel design (I am thinking about how some panels have background art and other just have a color, the latter making the characters stand out)
OV: When I started working there were 3 pages made by another colorist. They were a guide to the colors of the main characters, but in the rest Niall and Carlos give me a lot of freedom, which I appreciate. Vyvy likes colors, her ship is green and her bike is orange. I like it. I try to use a somewhat cartoon style, to match the art of Carlos.
But what is important is the story. I try to use color to enhance the narrative, making it clearer or dramatic. The scheme changes a lot in each environment, like the green light inside Vyvy’s ship, for example, that turns red in an emergency. My biggest reference is movies.
GM: Renee, lettering is a bit of a forgotten art sometimes. How do you stay focused on delivering top notch work, when your work can be taken for granted?
RA: When Niall contacted me, I was pretty nervous because it’s true! Sometimes you read through them and the art takes center stage (as it should!) but we tend to overlook the value of a good letterer.
I basically control where your eyes will go, and that’s fairly easy to mess up! Imagine if your favorite film director hired a shitty sound guy – tiny detail but that would mess it all up. You just have to remember the guys have put out amazing work, and you have to give justice to that.
GM: Can you explain a little about the lettering process please? Do you start from page one and work through or do you complete it out of order? If you get the pages out of order, how do manage with writing things that make no sense?
RA: Luckily, for VnQ they send me really good scripts. They’re very detailed and well-organized. I usually start by reading the script alongside the art, then I annotate so I don’t get lost on each page. We mostly go back and forth on the little details like small typos, changes in the script, and little placement adjustments.
GM: What made your choose lettering as your art form?
RA: Though I’m a graphic designer by profession, I’ve always been drawn to lettering and typography. But this is so different from the lettering work I normally do! I guess I love the challenge of showing your creativity in such a limited space where little details make all the difference.
GM: What are everyone’s inspirations and which books are floating your boats right now?
NP: I’m a big fan of Rick Remender’s body of work, especially Black Science. As far as what’s floating my boat right now… definitely Shirtless Bear Fighter.
CT: Ryan Ottley, Mignola, Humberto Ramos, Olivier Vatine… I can’t wait to put my hands on Batman: White Knight and Batman Noir: The Court of Owls, and we’re also getting a fantastic new black and white edition of Akira in Spain next year which I’m drooling for.
OV: The biggest inspiration for my work is movies, but the professional who most influenced me was David McCaig. But I’m always reading a lot of things.
RA: I’m really into horror, noir and sci-fi, so it’s no surprise I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I also watch a lot of series and film. I still wish Penny Dreadful had a season or two more. That was an amazing show!
GM: I totally agree Renee, I loved that show. You know that Titan have a Penny Dreadful comic book series out at the moment? If either of the Big two knocked on your door and offered you a book of your choice – who would you choose?
RA: Please don’t make me choose HAHA
C: That won’t happen LOL.
NP: I’ll bite! Gimme Cloak & Dagger or Booster Gold.
Kickstarters are a risk; if you could follow Hench-girl from self published web comic into a comic company, where do you think Vyvy and Qwerty would fit?
OV: This is a decision for Captain Niall.
NP: I dunno, probably a smaller publisher. I like what Aftershock and Black Mask Studios are doing. Also, one of my favorite series, Atomic Robo, semi-recently moved to IDW, so they’re on my mind.
GM: What’s next for you all?
OV: Some interesting projects here in Brazil. Maybe another project for David Llloyd’s Aces Weekly, where I’ve published personal projects a few times. Vyvy and Qwerty # 3.
RA: I’m the new girl, so I’m hoping for more work like this! It’s still so new and exciting for me right now.
CT: I always have a few books in the works. I’m finishing one titled Can You Kill Hitler? for a guy in UK about aliens, nazis and reality shows, and working out some pages of dark fantasy about King Arthur for a guy in USA. I also produce a few pages every month for Armor-I, the closest thing to a ongoing series I work in, for Evoluzione Publishing. AND I’m cooking something personal for the next year.
NP: There is no “next,” there is only the here and now! And in the here and now, VnQ #2 is currently LIVE on Kickstarter and everyone should check it out!
Thanks everyone, I appreciate you all taking time out of schedules and of course dealing with the time-zones!