FERGUSON’S 7 QUESTIONS WITH… LEEANN HAMILTON
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
The very first comic I ever got published was a competition entry – I think an Irish newspaper was running a comic contest back when I was seven or eight years old. My prize was a large packet of water soluble colouring pencils which I loved dearly. Outisde of that (and a couple more unfinished strips that were printed in another local newspaper), my first step into published work was being a ‘manga style’ artist for a certain small press company based in Dublin, when I was just nineteen. The next strip I worked on was later printed by Tokyopop as part of another contest.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
No matter what agreement or contract you enter into, always maintain control of the editing of your work and your rights to payment etc. No matter how many people ‘mean well’. Your instincts are usually proven right later down the line. At least when self publishing I can keep an eye on my own progress, as well as keep up important correspondence without going through other people.
What’s your process for writing/drawing a comic book?
I think of an idea, soon jotting and sketching some characters and notes down. After spending a year or more at this – in the meantime changing up the entire plot and culling boring characters – I then set to work by thumbnailing my pages and writing the script then and there. When I have my thumbnails done, the final page art can begin. I then whizz through inking and toning and lettering, and soon afterwards I hop to my computer and paint a cover. I throw a final PDF together for print and hope for the best.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
Some of my earliest influences were British comic book artists, actually. John Geering was probably the earliest one, followed by Nigel Dobbyn and Richard Elson, whose work appeared in Sonic The Comic for many years. Then soon afterwards I discovered manga shortly before the ‘wave’ struck, with the works of Leiji Matsumoto and Hayao Mizazaki adorning my bookshelves. A lot of video game art injected its way into my stylistic choices until I started animation at Ballyfermot. Currently, a lot of current Japanese anime art and European comics fascinate me.
I read a lot of books when I was younger, so it’s hard to pinpoint who inspired me. Myths and Legends from Around The World by Sandy Shepard helped me ground a lot of inspiration for Finn & Fish later on down the line. I also adored the Windlord series by Michael Scott as a preteen and they would inspire a lot of unfinished epics I drew when I was a little older.
I remember plenty of 90’s blockbusters that I would have seen as a kid, but the most vivid memory that my parents have of myself watching movies is when I was two years old, sitting up after midnight in a pram, watching Blazing Saddles and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ad infinitum. So those two perhaps.
What are you working on right now?
After a three year stint on Finn & Fish in between studio jobs I took up, I’m now currently making my webcomic ‘Things Happened’ and currently running it on my website The Cool Bean. It’s full colour, science fiction, and taking a different direction than what Finn & Fish ever did. I’m also working on a variant cover for a major Irish comic company too, as well as putting the finishing touches to a badly-kept secret project for Sonic the Comic Online.
What do you out now or coming out next?
Right now, Finn & Fish: The Wash Cycle and Finn & Fish: The Rinse Cycle #1 are in several comic stores in Dublin. Things Happened‘s Prologue has just begun over on The Cool Bean and will settle into an update schedule soon. And if I have time between college projects (I recently went back to study) I might print another Finn & Fish issue during 2014 before convention season rolls in again.
What is your favourite Irish comic?
My favourites right now are Big Bastard, The Wren, Knocked Up Nikki, and Jennifer Wilde for good measure – it’s nice to enjoy something without waving a critical eye over it! But honestly, my favourite Irish made comics would have to be the projects that my friends are working on. You’re going to see a LOT of stuff from them in 2014! Wahey!
Leeann Hamilton’s website www.thecoolbean.net
Leeann Hamilton on Irish Comic Wiki http://http://irishcomics.wikia.com/wiki/Leeann_Hamilton