FERGUSON’S 7 QUESTIONS WITH… GARETH GOWRAN
Up this time we have co-creator of a webcomic series I have been enjoying lately Splitting Borders. He has provided an episode for you to enjoy at the end. Answering 7 questions is Gareth Gowran.
What was the first comic you did that was published?
The first comic I had published was Formation 7 in 2010. It’s a ten page comic written by Robert Curley, published by Atomic Diner and it was released for Free Comic Book Day that year. It’s a team book set during the 1980’s and it was equal parts fun and challenging trying to capture the ragtag group and the varying set-pieces.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned since that book?
The biggest thing, and it’s something I still struggle with, would be learning when to get up and walk away from a drawing. Whether that’s because it’s not going right and tightening frustration is mounting or because, for me, the work can take over and it’s good to remember that the world won’t end if I don’t finish that page or that panel or that minute rendering of a characters left earlobe in that moment.
What’s your process for writing/drawing a comic book?
For writing, which I’ve only done in collaboration with my partner Sadhbh Lawlor on our webcomic Splitting Borders, we sit down on a Sunday and talk about ideas we have for that weeks strips. We talk them out and then write them down, laying out each panel in words and then thumbnails if we need to. We try and get the subject, joke or feel of the strip reading as well as it can before going on to the drawing stage. For the webcomic I use regular card stock to draw on, draw up the panels first, then pencil with a 3H pencil, using reference if I need it. I ink the webcomic in pen, but have used a combination of pen and brush in my other work, then erase the underlying pencil before scanning in. I letter Splitting Borders in Photoshop and I’ve done colouring in Photoshop for the Collider comic.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
In terms of influence being able to talk to another artist about art or film or books, basically anything creative is extremely beneficial. And when they’ve worked in different media it can help me to approach my own work in ways I wouldn’t normally think of. I also love animation; I studied it at Ballyfermot College, Studio Ghibli would be a consistent source of nourishment. I try to read as diverse a range of comics as is humanly possible. I would also have to mention John Berger and his essays on art; they’ve lodged in my brain.
What are you working on right now?
Splitting Borders, the webcomic I mentioned above. It’s a strip we’ve been posting Monday through Friday since mid-April, apart from a couple of weeks off. Sadhbh and I write it together, mining our daily experiences, our imagination and the dark corners of our brains. We try not to limit the themes or subject matter so the strips have contained diverse stories, from cooking to what might live at the bottom of a swimming pool.
What do you have out now or coming out next?
I have work in the Collider graphic novel by Beactive, it’s available online and in shops. The first fifty strips of Splitting Borders in 2 volumes which myself and Sadhbh DIY printed with their own customised lino-printed envelopes are available in Sub-City, Dublin. We hope to print more volumes and have them more widely available online and in other shops in the future.
What is your favourite Irish comic?
I’m a big fan of Barry Quinn’s work and I like Roisin Dubh and online I read loads like The Superhero Help Desk, Between Worlds and I’ve started following Leeann Hamilton’s Things Happened, her process videos have been great watching.