Running an Indiegogo campaign (like The Chronicles of Era: Book 2) isn’t just about an endless stream of self promotion….
…hmm…well, I guess it is…
Sometimes you find your audience through others.
So, today I present Scott A. Ford, local illustrator to talk about comics and what makes them special!
What inspired you to make comics?
I’ve been interested in art and storytelling for as long as I can remember. In high school I really started exploring creative writing more seriously. At this time, I was also developing my art and illustration skills. I was really enjoying creating stories, but I struggled with the level of detail I was putting into every scene. I desperately wanted my readers to envision each scene in the same cinematic way that I saw it in my head. That’s when I realized that I could tell the stories I wanted to tell with pictures instead of words. In my first year of Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba I was introduced to a whole breadth of comics and graphic novels: Scott Pilgrim, Asterios Polyp, as well as the works of Paul Pope, Scott McCloud, and Dave McKean (to name a few). For me, this is what truly solidified comics as a limitless artistic medium and this is when I started my first comic project Romulus + Remus.
What did you learn from making comics?
Honestly, making comics has taught me so many things about art, illustration, anatomy, composition, atmosphere, and pacing of a visual story. When making a comic, you really feel like a director with a unlimited budget and complete control over every line of dialogue, every actor, set design, costume design, and special effect. Needless to say, this is often a lot of pressure to get all of these elements just right, but when you’re doing it all yourself it allows for a lot of experimentation. As long as I can write it or draw it, I can make it happen. Of course, it’s easy to let that “unlimited budget” go to your head. Just because I can make it happen, doesn’t mean I should. It’s a push/pull relationship; not always about adding to the story, but also about subtracting, focusing, to let the most important elements shine through.
But what I have found most interesting is that, despite often being criticized for its literary value, making comics has actually taught me to be a better writer. Because every description or line of dialogue has to physically fit inside a tiny word balloon, inside a tiny panel, and still leave room for the images, I find that I have to choose my words very carefully.
What/who inspires you in your life and/or your work?
My girlfriend Sam is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. We share a lot of the same artistic and narrative interests, which is what led the development of my current graphic novel project, Ark Land. I wanted to make something that, if it already existed by some other creator and we had discovered it at the library or in a bookstore, we would both want to read it and share in its weird, fun adventure. But personal interests aside, Sam has always been the most encouraging and supportive in all my creative endeavours. She is always willing to help troubleshoot plot holes, help fix a drawing, or pose for a quick reference.
In life I’m inspired by the everyday urban environments of Winnipeg. I’ve always liked the idea of fleshing out fictional/fantastic environments with real-world flaws; urban decay, strange architecture, pipes, wiring, etc. I love seeing the aesthetics in things that weren’t planned, or things created for purely utilitarian purposes. On the flip side, however, I love geometry and the aesthetics of precise planning. These two elements actually often work together more often than you’d think. A recent month-long trip to Vietnam certainly helped feed these two interests.
What can comics do that other mediums can’t do?
I’ve always felt that comics are a unique combination of many other mediums, including: writing, illustration, film, graphic design, and even architecture. Not many mediums combine elements from other mediums as fluidly as comics. Comics also have a unique take on linear storytelling. Creators like Chris Ware have certainly experimented with non-linear storytelling in comics, but even the most traditionally structured comics are not perfectly linear. I often think of reading comics akin to experiencing a memory. One can read at their own pace, speeding up or slowing down time, and even reverse time by rereading portions, all without ever getting lost (as one might by flipping back a few pages in a novel) or interrupting the experience (like rewinding a movie).
What are you working on now?
My current big project is Ark Land, a sci-fi/fantasy graphic novel. My elevator pitch for this is it’s The Legend of Zelda meets District 9; fantasy meets aliens. The story starts roughly 100 years after the first contact and we see how the two worlds have meshed over the decades. My previous comic project, Romulus + Remus, was divided into smaller issues, so this is my first full-length one-off graphic novel. I’m hard at work on it, but right now I can’t say for certain when it will be out. It’s still early in development, but you can see some preliminary concept art on my website, scottaford.wordpress.com, and stay up to date on Ark Land developments (and all my creative endeavours) on my Facebook, Instagram @ScottAFord1, and Twitter @ScottA_Ford (linked on my site). I’ve also got a number of other smaller comic projects on my back burner that I’m eager to reveal more about soon.
I’m also constantly working on new illustration projects, which you can also see on my site and social media pages. I recently signed up for Society6, where you can purchase most of my work (including some Ark Land concept art) as prints, shirts, mugs, phone cases, and just about anything else you could possibly want my art on.
Scott A. Ford is an artist, designer, and storyteller from Winnipeg, MB, Canada. His work is primarily composed of comics, illustration, graphic design, and typography. Scott has written, illustrated, and published the first two issues of his independent comic series, Romulus + Remus of which Issue 1 was nominated for the 2012 Manitoba Book Awards: Best Illustrated Book of the Year. In April 2014, Scott graduated from the U of M with an Honours Degree in Fine Arts. Since graduating, he has worked on a number of new illustration and comic projects including a full-length sci-fi/fantasy graphic novel, Ark Land. Scott has also created an illustration series for the At Bay Press Fiction Annual: Dreams and Nightmares that will launch at McNally Robinson Booksellers on April 5th.
Aaaannnddd….Back to me!
(The Other) Scott does amazing work, so you should definitely check out his stuff.
In addition, you can contribute to my Chronicles of Era: Book 2 crowdfunding campaign, where if I reach the minimum goal, I unlock a special perk where Scott Ford creates a variant cover! I was privileged to read and give feedback to his Ark Land graphic novel–so many familiar themes–and I think his variant would be spectacular and fit well within my own epic world.
Join Scott and I in the fight to make comics!