Ferguson’s 7 Questions With… Barry Keegan


Time again for 7 questions. This time we the artist on League of Volunteers and webcomic We Can Be Heroes… Barry Keegan.

What was the first comic work you did that was published?

The original League of Volunteers three part story arc for Atomic Diner.

What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?

What I found in the past was at the final stage of my process I was filled with dread trying to tackle the large blank page. After doing all the preliminary work I felt intimidated and pressure to do something perfect. Now I realise by spending most of my work time on that blank page it is helping me improve and makes me more comfortable in a once uncomfortable situation. I now realize that by going from small thumbnail straight onto the Bristol board, in a kind of “fly by the seat of my pants” approach it helps emulate the buzz of sketching. This keeps me interested, enthusiastic, and speeds things up massively, I recommend all artists give it a try!

What’s your process for writing / drawing a comic book?

After writing the rough script focusing on key dialogue I thumbnail a bunch of pages. Sometimes I thumbnail before the script, for example an action sequence where less dialogue is needed. Then I just whip out the blank comic page and get sketching on it, embracing the energy. I keep it loose so that at the inking stage there is some interest for me on how I’m going to light the panel. This results in mistakes but the more I do it the less they will occur, I hope!

What is the biggest influence on your work?

‘Time’ is the biggest influence on my work! I struggle with ‘drawing endurance’. When sitting at the board for an hour or more I feel the need to get away from it, so time is crucial for me. I feel this factor has affected my style the most as I want to be able to create a story as quickly as possible! Artists like Gabriel Hardman, Tommy Lee Edwards, Sean Murphy, and John Paul Leon come to mind as influences, they have strong black and white theory and by the looks of it they’re quick, so I try and push myself in that direction.
The actual books I’m finding inspiring right now are East of West, Saga, and Lazarus. I think I get a lot from these as they’re fresh new worlds to be explored with some killer art to back them up.

As far as the other medias I would say TV is more of an influence over cinema on me, I like the longer format of storytelling similar to comics, it helps develop memorable characters. So any show with great characters I’ll fall in love with and be influenced on how these characters are developed.

What are you working on right now?

After shelving a much larger project I’m now working on my first creator owned book called ‘The Bog Road’. It’s a ‘Rural Irish Dark Fantasy’ influenced by Portarlington Co.Laois and the surrounding areas where I moved to a year ago. The book I’m hoping will have a fine balance of serious stuff happening in Ireland, with plenty of fantasy and some action. Dee Cunniffe is doing the colouring on the project so I’m hoping together we can produce something fitting to sit there with the rest of the great Irish Comic works!

What do you have out now or coming out next?

I have the League of Volunteers out now, which Rob Curley plans on collecting into a trade at some point, so I’m looking forward to that. Also last year I worked with Darrin O’Toole and Dee Cunniffe on a short story “We Can Be Heroes” which is free online at http://www.darrinotoole.com/

What is your favourite Irish comic?

Of what I have read I really enjoyed Jennifer Wilde the most, conceptually I thought it was very clever, artistically it was strong and the writing was great! I loved the idea of mixing Irish History with some fantasy and am still surprised it wasn’t turned into a TV show! I also got a lot of enjoyment from reading Tales from the Void, it had a great format and good art, where’s issue 2 Darrin! 😀 Finally Lighting Strike are doing another interesting format that keeps me coming back, they’re all having a lot of fun on that book and they’re definitely future stars in the making if they keep at it! Beyond that there are loads more I am meaning to pick up (like The Hound and Granuaile: Queen of Storms) so my choice is open to change.

Barry Keegan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barry.keegan.75?fref=ts
Barry Keegan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Barrykeegan