Kickstarted: An Interview With Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming has a lot of stuff going on lately and a lot of it has a Kickstarter element. I asked her about her latest projects and about using Kickstarter to fund projects.

For Ship Wrecked, you took over from Triona Farrell for volume 2 and returned after Julie Niculescu for volume 4. Did their styles and / or takes on the characters influence your takes on the characters? The characters’ looks evolved over the volumes.

Hmm yes and no I suppose?  I took over from two different creators so I wanted to honour their styles but inject a bit of my own into the mix.  I’d like to think I improved in my own art between issue 2 and 4 so there’ll also be differences in my own work too!  I think Ship Wrecked is one of those stories where it actually benefits from having so many artists worked on it, it flows really nicely between each issue and gives each arc it’s on distinct look and feel, which I think is awesome!

How was it working with Rebecca Nalty on colours?

Amazing, spectacular, perfect, incredible?  I can’t think of enough adjectives!  I’ve been very lucky to have Rebecca colour a few bits and pieces of mine over the years and it’s been a delight to watch her become better which each series she colours, I hope I can persuade her to colour more stuff of mine in the future!

Aaron Fever has come up with some great characters. Is there one that is a particular favourite for you?

Each of the characters in Ship Wrecked are all really fun to draw for their own reasons, but I get really excited whenever I get to draw Trey and Gar-E together in the same scene.  Since Gar-E is a robot and isn’t that expressive it’s fun to try and think of other ways to get the humour across.  Although he is pretty much Trey’s straight man, I really love drawing them, also robots are just cool.

I have to admit that I know very little about The Black Rubic and am not familiar with Chris Moles’ work. Can you tell us about the book?

Chris is a writer from the UK, he actually approached me about the project.  He’s known for his comic Brigantia (Issue 2’s Kickstarter is coming soon, folks!!)  And when he told me the premise for The Black Rubric I really wanted to get involved!

It’s essentially a comedy/action/musical? adventure with the black metal band called The Black Rubric whose lead man accidentally opens a portal to Hell and they have to save the world.  Y’know, just the usual.

It was a really fun comic to work on because of course, you get to draw cool Hellscapes and giant demons, but I got to work on a lot of technical things that as an artist you want to improve upon.  There were a lot of crowd scenes and people holding instruments, close up of hands etc etc so it was great to be able to challenge myself to make them look good. Let’s just say I can draw an electric guitar with my eyes closed now!

The Kickstarter was a huge success, we had a really lovely reception to it, I’m so happy I was able to be a part of it, it’s definitely a book I’m really proud of, so shoutout to Chris for giving me a chance on it!

Are you a metal fan and do you think it helps if you are a fan when working on a particular subject?

I…. used to be, still am but not the same edgy 16 year old I was?  It was really cool to go back and revisit a lot of bands and actually discover a few new ones when I was researching.  I think it obviously helps to have some kind of background or just passing knowledge of something when you’re signing up to do a book about it.  But at the end of the day I still had to look up what certain clothes/hairstyles/instruments people in the metal scene are into, I did as much research as someone would have to if they didn’t know much about the subject.  I think the importance lies in me just liking the idea and the core story, it made me passionate about it from start to finish.

The Black Rubric is a black and white book. Do you have a preference on whether your work is coloured or not? Which do you think works best for your art?

It’s kinda difficult to say because I think it depends on the book?  With Rubric we intentionally chose black and white because we wanted it to suit the grungy metal vibe of the story and I think it definitely did that.  I can’t picture it in colour.  Whereas with Ship Wrecked, Rebecca’s colours just make everything pop and look so good, all the characters are different species and have awesome colour palettes, I can’t picture that comic being black and white!  So I guess, I like both aspects for my art, I guess my preference moreso lies in ‘what would look better in terms of the tone’ than anything else (if that makes sense?)

You are also working on Glitter Vipers with Joe Glass. How did you get involved with the book?

I pretty much just kept asking Joe can I work on something with him! Ha!  I love Joe as a creator, for me he’s a great representation of what kind of creator we need in indie comics.  Especially as a queer creator myself I think Joe is standing up for people who want to make comics a space where they can express themselves.  

So obviously I really wanted to work with him, he came to me with the idea of Glitter Vipers and instantly loved the script and everything about it and we went from there!

Joe Glass’ books always have great LGBTQ representation. Is that important for you when you take on a project?

Of course it is, for me as a creator it’s something I’m always aware of. I want to make media and stories that weren’t there for me when I was growing up.  I’m very lucky and privileged to be in a place and surrounded by people that support and encourage me to create art for other queer people.  I know there are other people out there who may not be able to do that, so I want to provide comics and art that are there for people to show they’re not alone.

The three books I mentioned all had Kickstarter campaigns (Glitter Vipers’ campaign is ongoing). What do you think of Kickstarter as a way of getting books out there?

Amazing! Kickstarter is a great way for people who don’t have the support of a larger publishing house to get their stuff out there.  I’ve been very fortunate with the books I’ve been involved in on Kickstarter and always had a supportive group of people wanting to see and read those stories.  I really want to take the plunge and run one for my own book soon *gulp*

Do you think you’d ever do a project where you worked with another artist and you as writer?

Maybe, maybe not?  I’m really not a great writer myself, I would probably have to have a co-writer or a very good editor keeping on my butt about things, otherwise, it would never be written!  But I’ve learnt that I really prefer the art side of things rather than the writing side of things.

Do you have any other projects coming up? Maybe some of your own stuff? <cough> gay werewolf <cough>

Ha! Ha!  Unfortunately, I think 100 Times is on indefinite hiatus,  it’s something I had a lot of fun working on but… I don’t know, I don’t want to force another book when I don’t feel like there’s a need to?
Apart from that, myself and Aaron Fever have been working on a book in the background, after Glitter Vipers, I’ll be diving into that and maaayybbee you’ll see a Kickstarter for that soooonnn?

The Glitter Vipers Kickstarter campaign has less than 48 hours to go so you can jump on board here.