Ferguson’s 7 Questions With… Hayley Mulcahy
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
I self published a dinky little comic back in 2010. It was short, humorous strips about characters from Space Officer Triggs – a sci-fi comic project of mine I’m still working on. I did this the summer before I began 6th year.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
Oh my god, so much! From that dinky comic to what I’ve been working on recently, I realised that if you wanna tell a big story, then plan it carefully! Have a solid plot, fleshed out characaters, essential dialogue, but leave the panels do most of the talking. I’ve attempted to just try and go into telling a serious story on a whim without any full written script or dialogue planned. Of course, it ended up becoming a mess that I myself couldn’t keep up with. I’m still learning more and more about all these things with each project.
What’s your process for drawing a comic book?
It can depend on what type of story I’m illustrating. I prefer drawing pages on big sheets of paper. And in the past, because I didn’t have A3 paper, I’d pencil and ink one full comic page across two A4 sheets of watercolour paper. I’d ink with calligraphy pens, scan the two sheets, and combine all the panels together in Photoshop and clean up any inking errors. What I did for the Cork Sci-Fi Comic was creating character sheets and environment sketches to help me keep them on model. I then roughly sketched out the scenes and panel placement according to the script. I did a few of these to make sure I had each panel nailed in composition. Once the pencils were done, I scanned all those into Photoshop and printed them out in blue onto A3 paper. I then began to ink directly onto the pages using fineliners and calligraphy pens. I scanned the A3 sheets back into Photoshop, and finalised the layouts and edited any errors. When it comes to light-hearted comics, I just go with the flow and sketch and ink the pages as the ideas come to me.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
There’s so many, even in recent times I keep finding new inspirations. As a kid I was inspired by 80s and 90s Japanese video games and cartoons. Many characters so uniquely designed like Sonic The Hedgehog, Samurai Pizza Cats, Mystical Ninja – I always wanted to create fun and exciting characters like those. But it was the beautiful art of Sailor Moon which inspired me to draw in the first place. I adore bande dessinée too, particularly Spirou et Fantasio. My favourite artists and writers from that series are Franquin and Tome & Janry. Other comics I love being Sam & Max by Steve Purcell, and the webcomic Lackadaisy by Tracy Butler. Those people are both are exceptionally great writers just as they are artists. I’m a big fan of Indian cinema too, especially Bollywood. My all-time favourite film is Ra.One, a quirky sci-fi about video game characters entering the real world.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working towards finishing a tribute comic in memory of my dog, Jack, that passed away over 2 years ago. It’s called ‘Das My Bai’. It’s a very emotional project, which is why it’s taking so long… but it’s one from the heart, and it’ll be my proper farewell to one of my most beloved fluffballs. I’m also still very busy getting the first issue of Space Officer Triggs ready, which has proven to be such a big project requiring numerous revisions. I also have a concept from 2008 about a race-car driver that I’m currently revisiting.
What do you out now or coming out next?
What’s coming out next is the Cork Sci-Fi Comic, in which I have illustrated a story called ‘The Invisible Heart’, written by Seán Creagh.
What is your favourite Irish comic?
Finn & Fish and Kiteenies by Leeann Hamilton, and The Earthbound God by Anthea West are absolutely fantastic! I also really like The Whole World by Brian Naughton too!