FERGUSON’S 7 QUESTIONS WITH… UNA GALLAGHER
Another 7 questions this week and another creator that you can meet at this weekend’s MCM Expo. Writer/artist Una Gallagher answers this time. Read on, like her Facebook page, check out her Tumblir and then get some of stuff this weekend.
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
I guess that depends on how you define “published”. I did comics and animation in a company called Pearlmoon Productions before the venture folded. Before that, the very, very first comic I had online was called “A Moment”. It was a four page story about a woman who, in a moment of introspection, envisions meeting with her childhood self. I made as part of a college project at the time – the comic acted as an aid to some storyboards I was building. It wasn’t much back then and it was badly done (because I had no idea about comics back then haha!) but it’s an idea I’d like to revisit at some point, as I think the experience I have now would really make the project stand out more.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
Um, probably everything! “Moment” was a silent comic as the animation it was meant help with was also silent. So I really learned a lot about the importance of drawing characters with …well, with character! I spent a long time after that learning about body language and subtleties in facial expressions and the like. It was literally the first time I’d even thought of doing comic work to accompany animation work, so I didn’t really know what I was doing with it. Needless to say I’ve learned a ton about comics in general since.
What’s your process for writing/drawing a comic book?
I start off with a story idea, sometimes it might just be a particular scene I want to do or maybe an emotion I want to convey and I kind of go from there. For me, characters are one of the most important part of any story so I usually spend a lot of time fleshing them out. Once I have an idea of story and I know my characters better than I know myself I nail down the details of the story. And from there it’s just a matter of turning that story then into comic pages. I start with messy little thumbnails and build up from there.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
Thematically; probably the plethora of fantasy and sci-fi that I grew up with. I grew up in the 90s a house full of VHS tapes of 80s movies like Willow, Robocop and Flight of the Navigator. I inherited my dad’s love of spaghetti westerns also, particularly Sergio Leone’s work and the penchant his movies have for showing a lot but saying very little and I think that really helped shape the way I tell stories. In terms of art I don’t think I have a “style” exactly – the way I draw characters varies on the kind of themes and stories that they appear in. I’ve been told my drawing work tends to reflect what I’m actually interested in or what I am reading myself at the time I’m drawing it. I’m also a traditional crafts person and I make a lot of things like jewelry and accessories – initially I didn’t feel like this had much of an influence on my illustration work but as time passed, this changed and my work started tending towards a slightly more ornate feeling.
What are you working on right now?
This year is pretty busy for me as I’m attending more and more conventions around the country. I’m currently splitting my time between preparing for those and working on my next comic projects.
What do you have out now or coming out next?
I currently have out a short comic called “Something in the Tae” which is a fun little story about how an artist gets her ideas from a cup of tea. I’m also currently working on a graphic novel called “An Brúid on the Moors” which I plan to have released later this year. “An Brúid” is a bi-lingual story (English / Irish) about a girl called Kathleen who must to discover the mystery behind the monster an brúid and the mythical Folk in order to stop a sickness from spreading.
What is your favourite Irish comic?
For a long time the Irish comic scene wasn’t really producing content that appealed to me personally or maybe it’s just that I started looking in the right places only relatively recently. Over the last two years a lot of quality work as been produced. I’m a big fan of Leeann Hamilton’s “Finn & Fish” as well as Anthea West’s “The Earthbound God.” I’m also very fond of Atomic Diner’s Jennifer Wilde. I think the Irish scene is still very much in it’s infancy so I’m very excited to see what will be produced as it matures.