I had the opportunity this last weekend to walk the Long Beach Comic & Horror Con. The past 3 years I have attended as a budding young (well old) artist and enjoyed my time in the Artist Alley. From the veteran creators of the comic industry to the new faces looking to tell their own stories, there is an overall drive of creativity, energy and passion for the comic medium. The diversity of styles, content, ages and viewpoints just show how much people love comics. I took this time walking the isle of the Artist Alley to interview a wide range of creators, all of whom are very driventhughtful and extremely passionate.
Tell me a little about yourself:
My name is Gerimi Burleigh. I am writer, artist, & graphic designer in Los Angeles. I work mostly in the toy industry as a product/packaging designer, but after dark, I sweat and bleed comic books.
In 2005 I co-created an animated series called Alien Racers for MGA entertainment, and co-wrote a ninety minute special for Cartoon Network.
In 2009 I self-published my first graphic novel, Eye of the Gods, a psychological thriller about a man cursed with the ability of remote viewing.
I’m currently working on a new comic book series, Morningstar, about Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, told as a Western.
My favorite thing is the amount of individual control over the creative process that I have. As a self-publishing writer/artist, my only limits are those imposed by my creative abilities and the time I have to commit to a project. For better or worse, the comics I create are 100% my own vision. Even in collaborative projects, a very small team of individuals are responsible for crafting the story you experience.
My least favorite thing is that I’m not able to afford to do it full time. Making comics is extremely fulfilling, but it frequently takes years of honing your craft and building an audience before it actually becomes a profitable venture, if ever. Well-established creators frequently have to take jobs outside of the comic industry to pay the bills. If you’re going to do it, do it because you love making comics. I would definitely produce far more work if I could afford to put 100% of my time into it.
It took about five years to finish Eye of the Gods. I wrote and drew the first chapter, which was a bit longer than the traditional 22 page comic. When I began the second chapter, I realized there were some story problems I needed to work out that severely impacted the rest of the story. I scrapped the first chapter I had completed and spend a year thumb-nailing and lettering the entire graphic novel, so I could send it to trusted creators/friends for feedback and edit it as a complete story.
The process probably would have gone quicker, but I was working on it in my spare time, around my day job. I took about a year and a half to pencil 140 pages, another year and a half to ink it, then 6-8 months to photoshop the graytones and prep the files for print.
What does success mean to you in regards to creating comics?
Selling out to Hollywood and rolling my wheelbarrels of money to a huge bank vault, Scrooge McDuck –style. Just kidding. Success means being able to sustain myself financially doing comics/illustration work full time. It may take years to get there or I may never get there, but I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of trying.
I lean toward dark weird stories with a sci-fi or supernatural twist. Fans of Stephen King, Warren Ellis, David Cronenberg, and James O’Barr would probably dig my stuff.
My comics, graphic novel, and sketch blog are all available at http://optichouse.com
Chris Waterman lives in Southern California. He is a life long comicbook fan and artist. You can check out some of his work at: http://radixrising.deviantart.com/