“ApocalyptiGirl” (excerpt), Andrew MacLean
ANDREW MACLEAN is a Salem, MA-based comic creator. He has worked for Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, and No Brow Press, among others. Andrew is the creator of Head Lopper and SNIP SNIP, and he’s lent his art to KINO (Lion Forge) and Department O (Monkey Pipe). He tweets @Andrew_Maclean, and his debut graphic novel ApocalyptiGirl will be released through Dark Horse in May 2015.
ON SCHOOLING AND NAIVETÉ
I’m from Massachusetts but I went to Berkeley for songwriting. By the time I got out I was burnt out on music. I’d always drawn since I was little, and I was drawing a lot and messed around with making a comic, and it quickly became more exciting to make comics than music. I have four guitars and they collect dust.
I’d wanted to be a comic artist always, but I was 16 when i picked up a guitar. It was so much fun playing music and playing in a band, but in my head I wanted art school or comics. I was playing metal, but the people were the toughest thing. Keeping a band together is literally the hardest thing about making music.
When I graduated from Berkeley I looked for music jobs, but I also designed posters at for the school’s design office. I was a star artist at Wholefoods. I started wanting to do my own work. My wife got a job in New York, so I started applying for graphic design jobs there and didn’t get ANYTHING. Like nothing. I was just sitting in the apartment. So I stopped looking for a real job, and started aiming for comics.
I think a lot of kids, if they go to one of those specialized schools, they have these fantasies and they don’t get out of them. I had a job at Berkeley where I had to call alumni and ask for money — they were so pissed at the school because their lives didn’t turn out the way they wanted. I was like, “Listen to yourself! Listen to how naive you are!”
ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND GOING HARD
I do go hard. I can’t stop. If i had free time, I would be making comics. I was always going full blast.
My first stuff was drawing comics in an effort to pitch them, and I started working with writers to draw their pitches too. I was drawing four or five books at once, but no one could afford to do more than a few pages at a time. But then Kickstarter was becoming a thing — I did a couple successful Kickstarters with writers, and then decided to do my own. I decided I had to push to do comics as a real job, so I just branched out. I couldn’t sit around and not utilize free resources. I didn’t really feel like doing social media, but I’m a huge fan of looking at artwork and stuff. It’s all about being nice and actively searching for things to being inspired. You just say nice things to people if you like their stuff. Then things just happen.
ON COLORS AND VOICES
Generally when I’m really cooking, I’ll average a page a day, or a day and a half. But ApocalyptiGirl was a much slower thing. I toned it all with inkwash, penciling on watercolor, which I would never do again. It was supposed to feel grimy, but I got carried away coloring. I worked without a colorist, but it wasn’t even a control freak thing, it was “Let’s do it as cheap as possible!”
My editor was actually okay with doing a black and white book, but I don’t think it sells. I’ve seen people at cons just pick up a book and say, “Whoa, black and white?” and just throw the book back down on the table while the artist is standing there. They don’t understand that artists are people. They’re just dicks. But that’s all it took for me to do color books.
Head Lopper and ApocalyptiGirl are my two main projects, but they’re polar opposites. The main character in Head Lopper is this very metal giant masculine badass inspired by Conan.
ApocalyptiGirl is inspired by Tekkonkinkreet, it has this vague manga influence. Their ultraviolence and my hand are the only things that connect them.
But I try not to think about what my voice is. If there’s any branding that’s going to be done, it’s because it’s from my mind. I just want it to feel fresh, spontaneous. I want it to just show up where it shows up.
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