Ploughman Kickstarter, more – Aaron Losty Interview

Aaron Losty has just launched a Kickstarter for his book Ploughman, with Becca Carey and JP Jordan. I thought it was a good time to catch up with him about some of his recent projects including that Kickstarter.

I have to start with your unique art style. I was wondering where it comes from. Was there a particular artist or artists you liked that influenced you?

I generally tend to approach each book as differently as I can. And I fear falling into a “style”. Although I’m sure there’s a common through line between all my projects Ploughman was specifically inspired by Darwin Cooke’s Parker and Catwoman, Javier Pulido work on Catwoman and David Mazzucelli’s Big Man. I referenced other stuff but those were the books I’d use to ground my approach to Ploughman. Bigger, Bolder, Simpler.

I wanted to ask you about “Blaze Beyond The Pale”, which I loved. I called it Fear and Loathing In Finglas but I was actually wondering what your inspirations were for that story.

Blaze was in the works for a long time actually. I’m a huge fan of the slacker and coming-of-age genre. This “last day of highschool” adventure vibe and I always wanted to tell a tale like that set in Finglas. But also (and this spoils an element of Blaze Beyond The Pale if you’re yet to read it) in 2018 there was asylum seeker accommodation burned down in Donegal and then a subsequent wave of similar attacks across Ireland. Witnessing how a lot of people bound themselves to their “Irishness” yet had no room for those in need seemed like a massive contradiction given Ireland’s long history with being forced from our homes. So in many ways Blaze was a very reactionary tale in some regards. Just a few weeks ago asylum seekers were forced out of emergency accommodation in Finglas. By local “patriots” I’m sure. The whole book highlights the privilege of Willo and Harry. They’re named after the English princes and even walk out of a castle in the opening pages.

Blaze Beyond The Pale cover by Aaron Losty and Becca Carey

You’re doing a webcomic at the moment, called Clearwater, what made you decide to do it as a webcomic and did it change your approach to the story?

The decision to do a webcomic came during the pandemic. I wanted to change my approach to making a living as an artist. To make my work as accessible as possible so putting it online for free seemed like the way to go. Most of my solo work going forward will be free online. Being a webcomic didn’t change my approach too much, though. I’m using CW as a playground for storytelling and style. It was greatly inspired by Japanese men’s magazine’s which would feature 8-12 page comics with mature and adult themes. Such as those by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

Both those stories and the Kickstarter book, Ploughman, are set in Dublin. Is that something that is important to you? As an Irish reader, I’ve always appreciated when a creator decides to choose an Irish setting and your stories feel so authentically Dublin to me.

Honestly I’m just sick of the rhetoric of having to bend your stories to appeal to an American market. Ireland is an incredibly storied place in the present and historically and I think stories set on the island have obvious mass appeal and a unique lens to them. Often Irish set stories are relegated to humorous crime capers that don’t really say or shed light on any of the issues in Ireland and the humour is often drab point and laugh humour and I’m just very tired of it (of course there are exceptions).

Ploughman has an Irish fantasy element to it. Can you tell us a little about the story?

To my previous point. Myself and JP just wanted to write a tale set in Ireland that we don’t see too much of. A fantasy infused noir set in rural Ireland was our constant through line we kept coming back to. JP’s initial concept was a vigilante story but the more we spoke about it the more the fantasy elements seemed like an obvious addition.

As you said you’re working with JP Jordan on the book. Becca Carey is working on the book too. Can you tell me about working with them? I know JP is a relatively new creator and I’m a big fan of Becca’s covers.

I’ve known JP for about five years and he’s always been writing and we’ve talked for a long time about collaborating. Co-writing a story which I drew and he coloured just seemed like the perfect fit. Coming off the back of a 120 page OGN like Blaze it was nice to let loose with something shorter like Ploughman. And what can I say about Becca without twisting your ear all day? She’s the crown jewel of any project, an incredible voice as a letterer with a keen eye for design. Without a doubt the hardest worker I know and possibly the most modest too. She’d be on top of the world if she spoke about herself on social media. I don’t a lot of people know how prolific she is as a letterer and how many books and covers she has coming out monthly. A true inspiration.

The bookplate by Dan Schkade

The Kickstarter is a great chance to pick up a couple of your books. I’ve mentioned Blaze Beyond The Pale. There’s also the wonderful “The Last Scarecrow”. Any other Kickstarter extras that people should know about?

We honestly took a punt asking all the incredible artists to be involved. We asked Dan Schakde to do a bookplate for us and honestly have you seen it? Its incredible to have an artist I’ve greatly admired for years draw a character you’ve designed? It’d make you weep. Not to mention the all start sticker pack we did with Adam Gorham, Dani, Liana Kangas, Artyom Trakhanov and Chris Sheean. I’m pumped to get these rewards myself. We also have some big ticket items such as commissioning me to draw a four page comic or a cover for you. And you can also commission JP to colour your comic too.

Thanks to everyone who backed the book or simply spread the word.

Ploughman on Kickstarter: