Monday, 20 December 2010

One Question Interview #21: Luke Pearson

'The Egg', Pearson's contribution to 'Solipsistic Pop 3'

What can be said about Luke Pearson that hasn't already been done so? People love his work, and it seems to be fairly unanimous that he's one of the most promising up-and-coming talents in British comics. He was one of our absolute faves during our Solipsistic Pop 2 coverage, and he's only continued to impress us (along with the rest of the internet) in the time since. 

In addition to having new work in Solipsistic Pop 3, most excellent publisher Nobrow have just released Pearson's latest comic, Hildafolk. Understandably, we had high hopes for this One Question Interview, and we certainly weren't disappointed, with Luke giving us a detailed insight into his style, visual interests, and what separates his taste in illustration from his taste in comics.

Q: Through your comics and illustration, it's clear that you have an interest in geometry and/or patterns. What can you tell us about this and how it relates to your work?

"I think the geometric thing comes from the interest I developed in angular, mid century illustrations while doing my illustration course. I'd take a lot of inspiration from poster art, old book covers and 50's animation design and I started making illustrations using just the polygon lasso tool in photoshop, which is when the triangles began to appear. I like illustrations that are built up of strong, readable shapes and often boiling things down to their simplest geometric forms is the best way of doing that.

I would say that my taste in illustration and my taste in comics are not the same. With comics I'm generally drawn to inked lines and circular, cartoony forms which makes my aims quite different. So I direct those illustrative influences at the page compositions and titles and such instead. I really love the diagrammatic nature of the comics page. When planning out a page you're essentially arranging geometric shapes in various patterns and there's unlimited potential for what that pattern could be and what it could mean for the reading experience. I think the patterns I actually include in the imagery are a reflection of that (I also just like knitted jumper patterns).

When I'm thumbnailing my layouts, I kind of get a kick out of looking at the pages and pages of various combinations of sketched out squares and triangles within rectangles. It's like I'm writing and experimenting with this bizarre, esoteric set of symbols that only I can understand and I find it totally cool. Because of this strange joy I think I often try to draw attention to the design of the page, rather than allowing it to discreetly do its job. I'm hoping in the future I can master that without compromising on the actual storytelling.

If you check out my tumblr I sometimes post the kind of inspiration I'm talking about and you can sort of piece together how my influences combine."

We're very grateful that Luke gave up some of his time to answer this question for us, and we hope the rest of you won't hate us for momentarily slowing his mighty pencil. In addition to his excellent above-linked tumblr page, you should absolutely positively go slam your eyeballs against his blog, which contains all manner of wonderful examples of his work. We've just ordered our copy of Hildafolk, have you?

Monday, 13 December 2010

One Question Interview #20: Lizz Lunney

Lizz Lunney's 'The Magical Unicorns of Keith the Wizard' from Solipsistic Pop 3

We're big fans of Lizz Lunney's lo-fi laughs at ATF, so we were absolutely thrilled when she accepted our offer to be the next person to sit in our Solipsistic Pop 3-themed One Question Interview hot-seat. Showcasing her signature humour and visual style, The Magical Unicorns of Keith the Wizard is one of our absolute favourite strips from the anthology. Curious to uncover all of her magical secrets, we decided to pick her brain about the subject of comedy. Scalpel, please! 

From a cartoonist's perspective, what do you consider the building blocks of successful comedy to be?

"I'm really interested in what makes something funny to one person and not funny to someone else and it's something I'd constantly trying to work out. In my comics I guess a lot of the jokes are based on personality traits of the characters that people might see in themselves or in people they know. But generally I think comedy is about something unexpected or that you haven't thought of yourself (or something you have thought of and you thought you were the only one thinking it) whether this is in cartoon form, stand up comedy or in a sitcom. Although- there is a fine line between something being funny because you don't expect it and it being so shocking that it is just traumatic.

I always test out my own comics out on my Brother before anyone else gets to see them because he seems to know what makes something laugh out loud (LOL) compared to something I've written that is obviously only funny to me (AWOL) If I think about the funniest comic I've ever read I immediately think of David Shrigley's cartoons or Kate Beaton's historical comics. Both quite different but both able to give me stitch from laughing which I don't get very often. Maybe it's not something that can be explained because people laugh at different things but for something to be universally funny I have figured out the following formula:

LOL² = AWOL - NO
                            π             " 

Our thanks go to Lizz for taking the time to answer our question with such mathematical precision. Intrepid unicorn lovers should head over to her website or marvellous blog for more magical action. Lovers of all varieties are required by law to visit the recently-redesigned Solipsistic Pop website. If you don't, you'll find out why unicorns have those horns in the first place. Believe us, you won't like it.

Monday, 6 December 2010

One Question Interview #19: Joe Decie

Ooh! A barbed-wire door! Soon enough, the ATF budget nuclear shelter will be complete. Then we'll see who's crazy.

Next up in our Solipsistic Pop 3 themed One Question Interview series is Joe Decie, the creator behind web-series What I Drew. Known for his detailed isolations of everyday life, and jaunty ink-washed illustration, his SP3 contribution, The Fabulous Find, expands his style over several pages, creating one of the highlights of the anthology.  Without spoiling too much, the strip sees Decie trawling for treasure at the local dump, constructing some wondrous new technology from his findings, which is, of course, fabulous.

Many of your comics focus on everyday objects, something which The Fabulous Find seems to expand upon. Visually and thematically, what attracts you to objects as a storyteller?

"Hmmm. Well my comics don't always focus on objects, but I guess, always details; everyday details. That said, I love stuff. I'm a hoarder and a collector. I'll always be able to find a way to keep something, place some kind of emotional attachment on it. The stories are always rooted in reality; but from there things sometimes grow and change. You know when children tell little lies that snowball into big lies, with the story becoming more fantastical with every pause for breath? I never really grew out of that phase.

So inside those inky panels I've found a brilliant place to tell lies, and lovely place to keep my stuff."

Our gratitude goes to Joe for taking the time to answer. If you want to to aid us in our thanks, we're positive that buying a copy of Solipsistic Pop 3 will put a smile on his face; you like making people smile, right? Decie has a sizeable amount of work to view over at the aforementioned What I Drew website, and patient readers can expect some all-new work from him as part of Blank Slate Books' upcoming Chalk Marks series. We can't wait!