FERGUSON’S 7 QUESTIONS WITH… KEVIN KEANE
Welcome to another edition of 7 questions. This time we have an creator who provided art for the recent I’m Awake, I’m Alive. It is artist Kevin Keane.
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
The first comic work I did that was published online was “Cubicle” written by Darrin O’Toole and coloured by Eoin Hurrell. My first comic work that was published to print was the story “The Devil’s Right Hand” written by Colin O’Mahoney and coloured by Billy Browne as part of anthology graphic novel I’m Awake I’m Alive with Turncoat Press in Cork.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
Since I’m Awake I’m Alive, I’ve learned to loosen up every aspect of my approach to a new story. I now try to keep every stage of my process as open and clear as possible so I don’t end up labouring over a certain section of a page or panel for too long. I found that it showed in my artwork when I was tired or frustrated doing it. When I saw how “The Devil’s Right Hand” came out in print I was really pleased with it but I could also see what needed to be ironed out and changed. Now I’ve realised that I was too rigid in my approach. It’s probably the best thing about working in comics, it’s a constant challenge. No matter what, there is always room for improvement and I’m always learning new tricks and methods. One quote I always think of after I finish on a project and start looking back over it is, “Be happy but never satisfied”- Bruce Lee.
What’s your process for drawing a comic book?
My process for drawing a comic book is pretty straight forward, first I do a read through of the story and try to visualise it exactly as it’s written, like a film, I try to imagine all the movements of the figures and the viewing angles surrounding the scenes. From there I try to figure out what will work and what won’t work in the panels throughout the story.
Then I read each page individually and sketch out the panel breakdown and work out the creative side, like the size of the gutters and where I can break panel boarders in order to aid the pages overall flow depending on the page and how to make it look it’s best. Then it’s time to draw once I’m confident I have a solid layout for each page.
Once the drawing starts, it’s the long haul. Every day for 8 – 12 hours. Once the pages are pencilled fully I then send them back to the writer for their input and edits. After edits are made and I’m given the all clear from the writer I start the inking process, which I love because it’s the most definite part of the process. I’m seeing what I imagined in my head take shape and become solid. It’s hard to explain how good a feeling it is when you’re at that stage of the project when everything is coming together. From there it’s sent to the colour artist where I give guide lines alongside the writer of the story so they have all they need to do their part of the process.
What do you have out now or coming out next?
What is the biggest influence on your work?
My biggest influences in comic book art would be Greg Capullo, Joe Madureira, Todd McFarlane and Ryan Ottley. As a storyteller my main influences would be Frank Miller, Hideo Kojima and Bruno Heller. I find to really progress in your chosen area as an artist, it’s essential to have influences outside of your preferred genre, so I also look at tattoo artist’s for inspiration, such as Dimitri HK, Scotty Munster and Robert Hernandez. After that I feel Yoji Shinkawa needs to be mentioned as his style has inspired me since I was very young. Seriously his work is incredible.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I’m working on 2 comic book scripts and a logo for a game company. My deadlines at the moment are very flexible so it’s easy to have multiple projects going at once. I usually try to keep it one at a time but depending on how much time I’m given with each project the time management gets easier and working on 2 or 3 at a time becomes pretty regular.
Right now, I’m Awake I’m Alive is on sale all over Cork and online with Turncoat Press. Cubicle is a free webcomic and can be viewed on Scribd. As for what’s coming next, I’m a part of 2 books at this years Arcade Con, one is I’m Awake I’m Alive and the other is with Lightning Strike! and Dublin Comic Con have an exclusive book coming out this year which features a story from Stephen Carey, myself and Eoin Hurrell.
What is your favourite Irish comic?
Lady Babylon. Alan Hurley’s artwork is simply outstanding.