QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Len O'Grady
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
I’m Len and I’ve been working in comics since 1996.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I’m drawing my webcomic FARSEEKER with Newsarama’s Dirk Manning for www.act-i-vate.comI’m digitally painting Igor Kordej’s art for l’Histoire Secrete (12 books in so far) published by Editions Delcourt in France. I’m colouring two IDW titles (one by our own Stephen Thompson). I’m doing the colour duties for an upcoming 2000AD epic. I’m very tired.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
The people you meet and work with.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
The long hours, crushing deadlines and the blank looks you get when you tell people in Ireland what you do (usually followed by “is that like bugs bunny”?)
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
My Mum used to buy us the Beano, Dandy and Twinkle (I dunno what she was thinking with the latter), but the first impact comics had on me were: Jack Kirby’s 2001 comic (didn’t understand a bit of it, but it was visual crack) Colan’s Dr Strange and a Man-Thing involving undead Pirates. A UK reprint Summer Special of Tomb of Dracula that had a great free poster spread. The 2000AD Prog that featured both Judge Death and the Alien Pit from Nemesis.
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
Probably Mike McMahon, Kevin O’Neill, Joe Madureira, Dave McKean, Harry Clarke
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
A MacBook Pro loaded with Adobe CS4, SketchBook Pro and Manga Studio, all hooked up to a Wacom Cintiq 21UX. I have a 12wx for travel and for the road a sketchbook, a pack of Faber-Castell PITT and a small box of watercolours.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
Truthfully, what I’m doing next, but in terms of having fun, it’d have to be FARSEEKER.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Stop fussing- it’s not like this is the last time you’ll be drawing these characters. Never stop experimenting with media or techniques.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Can’t say I remember any- I think only good advice sticks with me.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
We’re punching well above our weight- Irish Comics are still pretty embryonic, but that’s what makes it so amazing- it’s all to play for.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I’d love to see a monthly Irish Anthology Title and associated web site. I think we’d need to frame our efforts internationally too- looking at not just the English Language Markets.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I’d like to see Comics expand their e-presence even further and for the sales model that is required to make it a going concern be cracked. Right now I think we’re about 75% there.
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Brian Wood’s LOCAL from Oni- an engrossing read.
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START MAKING THEIR OWN COMICS? (And don’t say DON’T 🙂 )
A lot of people get into comics without realising what they are letting themselves in for. The best lesson one can learn is staying power- a combination of straight talking and self discipline. Don’t write cheques with your mouth your arse can’t cash. Just be sure to leaven the sedentary nature of the work with actually living a life.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
Over the past twenty years, Irish comic creators have gone from a handful of talents into a genuine community- I think the next few years could see it coalesce into something really unique.
Len O’Grady is incarcerated in the Garden State of New Jersey, a moniker as ironic as it is depressing. He’s currently weighing his options. www.lenogrady.com www.act-i-vate.com