What was your art process for your FLIGHT contribution? What’s really striking about your story, aside from your pen skills that is, is the colour process. Was this a mix of paint and computer or all in one medium?
Actually, this was all done in Photoshop. Originally I was determined to do it in gouache or watercolors, but due to the limited time and space I had to work on it, a digital medium was a better choice this time around. One comment I often get is how my digital stuff often resembles traditional media, which isn't something I intentionally set out to do, but I do treat "painting" in Photoshop much like I would regular paint on paper, mostly in how I use specific brushes for specific purposes and so on. So the end result sometimes has a pleasantly organic feel that kind of shows up by surprise.
Tell us about Wyit and Sidna, right now are there merely the characters for which to tell the stories you want when the need arises or do you currently have plans to explore them in length, whether it be a series or graphic novel?
Wyit and Sidna are something that've been in my head for a few years ago. I think it was a good three or four years ago when I came up with the first idea that eventually evolved into Wyit and Sidna. It was a fairly simple painting of an early version of Borislav (a character who we'll see in a future volume
), a single dark figure contrasted against a vast frozen forest and mountain range. That was the start of an extremely long process of narrowing down what I wanted to do with these vague ideas of characters and plot that I had. I got a lot of storytelling help from friends like Matt Rhodes and Doug TenNapel there, and eventually came up with what is now Wyit and Sidna.
So, no, Wyit and Sidna are a little more than something I use when I need to tell a quick story. I do have a much, much larger story in the works, which I plan to be a full-length graphic novel in the future. But for now, I'm getting things started by introducing the characters through Flight by a small 'episode' for each volume possible, which has been a really great time for me.
Looking at your influences I’d have to say you’re drawn to the majestic. Not just magic and warriors but also characters with a greater sense of something beyond them. Something worth fighting for. Would you say this appeal rings true?
It's a good thing you said that, because that's exactly what I try to convey with Wyit and Sidna's journey. One of my big things with this tale is that I want to tell a story that's more than just a series of fun events or cool pictures. This world I'm sharing through Flight is the product of so many dreams and daydreams I had as a kid yet had no idea how to share them, so when I set out to write this story over time, I wanted it to have some kind of message or meaning that people remember when they put it down. So to answer your question, yeah, the impression of characters with a sense of fighting for something greater than themselves would be very accurate, and I'm glad you got that vibe from it.
To give a glimpse of the larger story behind what we see in my Flight 3 piece, the main conflict facing Wyit and Sidna is their tiny nation of scattered peoples being threatened by a much more powerful beast empire from across the eastern sea. But while the background of the story involves a lot of war and politics, the focus is primarily on Sidna's personal servant and squire - none other than Wyit. It's mainly about his struggles and personal conflict as a character while serving Sidna on this journey as she wages an utterly hopeless war to save her people from this huge enemy.
Do you often feel like the odd man out, while other artists have a completed education and jump for project to project, you’ve got a steady employer and jump for school to school?
Sometimes, yeah, but it doesn't bother me. Right now I'm trying yet again to get into art school, but I'm not worried. Despite having little professional education, I learned an awful lot by simply teaching myself and listening to more experienced artists, as well as learned lots of stuff from my time working for Armor Holdings Inc. My boss Rod Dornsife has been an excellent on-the-job teacher for me, showing me the do's and don't's of good visual communication in the corporate world. So I don't feel like I'm that out of place when I'm hanging around the rest of the Flight crowd. Still, I do want to go to school! The more experience, the better.
Do you have an ultimate goal for your art career? Meaning, are you looking to breaking into animation, illustration, sequential art, storyboarding films, all of the above?
At the moment, my main goal is to get into art school, so my original plans to go straight into visual development or sequential art are on the backburner for now. But aside from that, my big plan is to get a graphic novel published sometime in the next few years, and to continue doing stuff with Flight.