Two Tom Nguyens For The Price Of One

Running a kickstarter campaign is a grueling process. How grueling? We checked in with the artist Tom Nguyen who, along with Keith Champagne, are currently crowdfunding their creator-owned graphic novel The Switch to find out.

Somehow, we got two Tom Nguyens–and a Keith Champagne–for the price of one. We think.

Keith: How are you feeling after three weeks of Kickstarting madness? If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently?

Real Tom: I wouldn’t do it.  What a drain, and I’ve gained even more gray hair.

Fake Tom: Being this is our first Kickstarter and that we’re near achieving our second stretch goal into Week 3, everything has been overwhelming and eye-opening.  I’m not sure what I’d change differently as of yet since I feel that–as a first-time Kickstarter–we’ve done pretty much everything as right as we could up to this point.  We researched and studied other Kickstarter techniques, and I feel we’re doing alright.  Technically, we haven’t failed to know instantly what needs to be reworked.  I’m sure after the campaign ends, we can sit back, relax, and better assess what we could do differently for the next one, if we decide to do another.  But for now, we have achieved our initial goal and are just riding the wave until then.

Keith: What do you enjoy more, drawing or photographing beautiful naked women?

Real Tom: TAKING PICTURES, DUH! ARE YOU STUPID?!

Fake Tom: Taking pictures of them, duh!!  Are you stupid?!

Keith: Are you able to take anything from your photography work and apply it to your artwork?

Real Tom: Draw naked ladies from them.

Fake Tom: There are a couple things that I can take from my photography (or photography in general).  Obviously the first point is using my photos as reference, which is not a secret technique to artists.  I have always encouraged it to aspiring artists when they’re stuck and don’t know how to draw something.  So yes it can be convenient to photograph my own models and scenes for reference when needed, and not need to rely on doing internet searches for the perfect lighting/photo.  Even before I did professional photography, I took simple reference photos of models and did paintings from them.

The second point is that photographers focus more on certain things like the lighting quality and composition.  I mean really, it’s all they got.  All the elements are there.  They just have to compose it, and under their ideal lighting conditions.  So years of photography has helped me see different types of lighting, different types of shading, explore color temperatures/palettes/theory a lot more.

Keith: What was it about the concept of The Switch that appealed to you?

Real Tom: Hot chick lead character to draw.

Fake Tom: That my pal Keith Champagne was writing it!  Ha!  But technically true: I think we work well together as a team, evidenced by multiple cases such as Ghostbusters, WWE Heroes, and Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.  If I hated your writing and working with you, then why do we keep doing projects? ::Bizarro Tom: DESPERATION!!!:: With The Switch (and here is the pitch), the premise you gave me was simple, but profound: what if you grew apart from certain friends?  Why does that happen in life?  What is the result of this?  This is something everybody can relate to.  Well, everyone except for my own brother–he has no friends to begin with lol  But I digress…. Our main character is a gal named Electricia, who is part of the worst super villain gang in the world. Over time she slowly has a change of heart, and wants to leave the super villain lifestyle.  But it’s not easy to just “switch” sides; she has to do it secretly because there are major consequences if she simply just came out.  So that premise was really intriguing to me, and I think it will be interesting to our readers to follow along.  Plus, knowing you, you’re going to put some great humor in it.  I’ve always been a fan of your humor writing.  Humor in comics is fun, which is why I always have fond memories of my first gig with John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke on a book called Major Bummer.  The Switch will showcase that without censorship or editorial interference–which is another huge draw for taking this project on.  We’re putting out the book exactly the way we want to.  Drawing a fun, sexy female lead is merely bonus.

Keith: Why are you the perfect artist for The Switch?

Real Tom: Because you’re desperate!!!

Fake Tom: Having worked together a few times in the past, I think we know exactly what we can expect from each other.  You know how to write for me.  And I know what I can expect in your scripts, and what I can/can’t get away with.  And it’s worked somehow.  So why not another time?  Plus, as we both know, I do enjoy drawing pretty female art, so The Switch is a good way to show that off.  Why do it if I can’t have fun?  Otherwise it becomes work.  And if I can have fun creatively and genuinely enjoy the project, you’ll get my best work.  That’s why I’m the perfect artist for The Switch!

Keith: What are readers going to get from The Switch that they can’t get from any other comic out there?

Real Tom: ORIGINAL ART!!!

Fake Tom: Well, that’s partly true: if we hit our stretch goal of $24,000 (and it looks like we’re well on our way), then all physical reward backers will receive a free head sketch!  Which comic shop does that??  :)  Other than that, expect unfiltered action, drama, adventure, and sexy hijinks.  This is very much a fun comic to pick up that will also make you think and imagine.  Again, no editorial interference!  We are truly making this for the fans.

Keith: Any last words about The Switch?

Real Tom: It’s the best graphic novel you haven’t read.

Fake Tom: I encourage everyone to check it out and back it on Kickstarter!   At the lowest pledge it’s only 5 US dollars just to be able to read the PDF of the original graphic novel!  $5 for a friggin’ graphic novel!!  Also, your name will be listed on our ‘Page Of Gratitude” in the back of the book.  It’s not like we’re asking for handout money; essentially, you’re preordering the book.  This is money you will have spent anyway at a comic book store if you are followers of our work.  We’re just skipping the middle man.  And if you pledge more, then we reward you accordingly.  It’s as simple as that.  So we hope you give The Switch Kickstarter campaign a look to see what we’re all about.  Again, I think the premise is very interesting in that it really does explore relationships and consequences that we’re all familiar with.  Throw in some action, humor, drama, and sex appeal and I think we’re going to deliver a winner.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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