Ferguson’s 7 Questions With… Amanda De Oliveira Spitzner
Time for another 7 Questions. Up this time is an artist who gave some interesting answers (I like long answers, they tend to be interesting). It’s 7 Questions with… Amanda De Oliveira Spitzner
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
4 years ago I published a silly comic on the humor website 9gag, which hit 40 thousand likes. I was already an illustrator and had been working with theoretical research in the comics medium during my undergrad and masters degree, but that was the first time I actually thought “Uhh, I could do comics, I guess?”, so I decided to put up Exploding Comics and started publishing weekly strips. When people from my hometown heard about it they invited me to publish weekly on their local newspaper and that was my first official publication.
My first printed booklet was a collection of the strips I had been publishing on Exploding Comics, which I took to Arcade Con, Gael Con, Dublin Zine Fair and some art markets in 2012.
My first actual comic publication and biggest one so far has been High Fantasy, a project conceptualized and written by Hugo Boylan, lettered by Kerrie Smith and coloured by Frank de Paula. High Fantasy is my favorite child (shhh don’t tell the others). But, jokes apart, this was my first experience with drawing a comic book from scratch.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
That when you are about to publish a book, drawing is the least you have to do. Having a comic printed requires hours and hours of editing, formatting, phone calls and emails.
On a more technical side, I learned to use an artboard, which will give you freedom to play with the panels but keep the format of the pages steady and neat.
What’s your process for drawing a comic book?
I do as much as I can digitally, but the process will always start on paper. We usually have a meeting before the work starts. We read the script, talk about it, check if all is understood. Then I move on to the storyboard, still done on paper. The storyboard is the longest and most difficult part of creating a comic book for me. It has to be perfect before you start.
Once the storyboard is exactly the way I want it to be and approved by Hugo, I’ll move on to the computer.
Sketches are still a very meticulous part of it, with the artboard to guide me, I will establish panels and position everything. After this, the work will go to the letterer so we are all 100% there is enough space for the dialogues (commonly, it doesn’t, but as it’s the sketch phase, it’s easy and quick to resize everything).
Inking is the fun bit. Everything that you suffered through the sketches, like defining a good anatomy, positioning the characters, placing the background, is done. I absolutely love adding details and making facial expressions!
Flats and colors are done in Photoshop, where I have a bigger range of brushes and textures.
Biggest I think I’d say Mafalda, by Quino, because I grew up reading that and even did research in College about it. I like the kind of humor where funny things are happening but the characters are not overreacting to it. I try to bring a lot of that into my strips.
But since I started working with comics so many good things started making part of my reference repertoire. From the top of my head I’d name Rat Queens, Princess Ugg and Cam Kendell’s work for the art style. Oh, I used to read a lot of Manga when I was a kid, but I think the influence never actually stuck to my style.
I really love fantasy art, Todd Lockwood has been one of my favorite artist for quite some time now, along with Eva Widermann (imagine my heart rate when I discovered she would be on a table by my side at Gael Con in 2012!). I also like the subtle, delicate fantasy style of Charles Vess, and have more than once studied his work to add elements to my own style.
Comic wise, Will Eisner does things with pages and panels that I only dream of.
I love Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. I will read everything that you throw at me from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I am really fond of Gabriel García Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa. Absolutely adore José Saramago. Super fan of Anne Rice and Stephen King.
I am a series maniac, once the intellectual part of drawing a comic is gone (storyboard and sketch), I usually draw with something on the TV on the background. My favorite series are Game of Thrones, Avatar, Fringe, Bob’s Burgers, BoJack Horseman, Futurama. Adventure Time, Archer and Rocko’s Modern Life.
For movies, I really like old stuff. My favorite movies are, no question, all the old samurai movies by Kurosawa. Toshiro Mifune is one of my favorite actors of all time. Yojimbo and Seven Samurai are my favorites. I also love westerns, Yul Brynner and Clint are two absolute legends. Love space things as well, I was jaw dropped by Insterstellar.
Other favorites are: Predators, Aliens(I actually like the third one, don’t judge me!), Godzilla, Trollhunter, and all the Ghibli stuff.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I am working full time on comics, so I have a lot of time to grab projects.
Exploding Comics is always there, so I am working on it to make sure I have weekly strips to publish until the end of the year.
Of course, my dear baby High Fantasy Issue #4.
I’m working on a ten pager along with the amazing Kerrie Smith.
And I’m working on a fourth secret project that I can’t yet tell anyone about it, but we will make a big thing on the next couple of weeks.
What do you out now or coming out next?
Before the end of the year, probably one, hopefully two more issues of High Fantasy will be released. The project was delayed a lot because of my personal life. While I had plans to stay in Ireland, my visa expired this year and I will have to go back to Brazil. So from May to now I have been re planning my life and organizing that. The wonderful thing about the internet and working digitally is that I will be able to keep these projects, even being 20.000 kms away. I will always consider myself an Irish Comic Creator and coming back to Ireland is on the top of my plans.
The High Fantasy website will also be available soon and once it’s up I plan to do sporadic strips for it.
Exploding Comics will be coming out every Monday from now to the end of the year.
In October the ten pager that I’m doing with Kerrie is going to be published.
And then… then there is the fourth mysterious project! Haha, I hate having to hold back on these things, but I promise in the next couple of weeks it will all be out there!
What is your favourite Irish comic?
Uhhh tough one. First, can I say how completely astonished I was with the comic medium when I came to Ireland? First because you have so many good people here. Second, because everyone is so nice! Since I started doing Cons here I felt so welcomed and happy with this market. There are a lot of people to look up to here, and I will never forget the advice I took from P.J. Holden, Stephen Mooney and Ruth Redmond. Actually, I would have to pinch myself to believe I was even talking to them!