QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Celine Kiernan
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
My name is Celine Kiernan. I’m putting out a webcomic at the moment based on my fantasy novels The Moorehawke Trilogy. I hadn’t really intended to put it up so soon, but I started sharing the early roughs, thinking I’d just post a bit up here and there, but folks seemed to love them so now I’m just putting the whole thing up as it happens. It’s a bit fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants art wise. I’ll go back at the end and clean up the messier bits.
There’s also some early stage talk of serialising my sci-fi doorstopper, Thomas Clarke Goes to War, as an i-phone ap. I’ve only done experimental work on Thomas so far and learnt a lot from the mistakes I made there. I’m thinking, if the ap thing gets off the ground, I’d very much like to revamp it in the same pencil and colour wash style as the Moorehawke roughs.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
The Moorehawke webcomic is it for me at the moment. I’ve just finished my latest novel and I’m shattered. I started the comic as a bit of craic. Being the obsessive compulsive I am, though, it started to take over and I found myself spending 11 hours a day at the desk again. I’ve managed to pull back and I’m forcing myself to only do a page a week for the next while. The health really won’t stand up to another six months of my usual intensity.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
Bloody everything, man. The writing. The drawing. I love it all. The only thing I have a real problem with is the colour. I’ve been trained all my life in B&W, so colour is not something I’ve any experience or confidence with. The web comic has really helped me find my feet colour-wise though. I feel like I’ve finally found a technique that works for me.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
Realising you’ve spent yet another day sitting at a desk. The world passes you by as your arse gets slowly larger.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
I’ve loved the artwork-story combo since I was a titchy kidlet reading the Twinkle and Roundabout comics on my Mam’s knee. As soon as I got sense, I began collecting the 2000AD, the Battle, and, for its short glorious lifespan, The Misty. Nothing has ever topped those three for sheer force of story telling and quality of artwork. Glory days.
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
Art wise I’m a big big fan of Milo Manara, Berni Wrightson, Brian Boland, Bilal, all those old school guys. In terms of what works have moved me, there are so many and they’re such a varied lot that I hardly know what to single out! I love a combination of strong story and knock out graphics so we’re talking the really amazing stuff like: The Killing Joke,The Nocturnals,Blankets, Night Fisher
Argh … too many wonderful works to list!
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
For the webcomic: a great big fat graphite pencil, a blunt 5B and a moderately sharp 4B, A3 sized animation paper, an A3 flatbed scanner and the oldest version of photoshop known to dog nor man ( seriously – it’s so old I need to run it on Win95 which is on an ancient laptop of mine, held together with gaffer tape. The day that laptop finally gives up the ghost I will be screwed.) If I’m doing my cleaner work I’ll then go on to another level using animation blue pencil, Japanese brush pens ( love them!) and fine felt tipped marker.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
Ah I’m always nitpicking my own stuff so I do more wincing than self congratulation. But I do love the script for Thomas Clarke, its very old fashion, startrek type sci-fi and a team story which always appeals to me. I’m enjoying the artwork for Moorehawke, I think because I treated it as just roughs to start with it has a nice looseness and vibrancy that I’d like to retain even if I go back and clean up slightly.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Arse in the chair, pencil to the drawing board. It’s the only way to get stuff finished.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Why would I remember it? Bad advice is not worth keeping hold of.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
I’m not much in touch with any scene to be honest. I think I’m a bit of a hermit.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
The same thing I’d like to see happen for Irish genre writers. Better access to global distribution and more respect on home soil.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Well like I said, hermit here, so God knows if anything I have to say is accurate. It would be awesome if folks started buying serialised anthologies on a grand scale again – something other than horror and superheroes that is. I think the industry is fairly healthy creativity wise, there are a lot of folks online doing very interesting stuff and I think that’s probably where most of the life will be in the next decade or so. It would be nice to see creator owned projects get more shelf space in bookshops though – I’m a sucker for hardcopy, give me a graphic novel I can hold in my sticky little paws over one I scroll through on the screen any day. Caveman mentality? Maybe. I am an old fart.
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Doug Tennepel’s Monster Zoo. My son brought it home recently and I thought it was beautifully fresh and lively.
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 🙂 )
Don’t expect to make a living from creating your own stuff; do it for the love of it. Forget about the market; write the stories you’d want to read and draw them in the style you’d want to look at. Don’t be half arsed, if you’re going to do it, do it well. And finish the damned thing; graphic novels are hard hard work, they take forever – most folks give up before the end.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
Not really, but thanks for inviting me here!
Celine Kiernan is the author of the award winning and critically acclaimed The Moorehawke Trilogy, a dark, complex trilogy of fantasy YA books set in an alternative renaissance
Europe. First published in Celine’s native Ireland in 2008, the trilogy has since been published in 15 different territories, and as of this typing has been translated to 10 different languages. Celine’s forth book, Taken Away (aka Into The Grey) – a YA ghost story set in 1970′s Ireland – is due for publication in September 2011.
Celine lives in rural Ireland with her husband and two teenage children. She is currently polishing the first draft of her next novel. A supernatural/sc-fi horror/romance set in 1890′s Ireland and working on a Moorehawke webomic.