Friday, January 29, 2016

Bacstage Pass January: Pink Pitcher

Come On, Let's Duck Backstage! Here's Our Pass!

We Can Go Meet Pink Pitcher!

Pink Pitcher is the creator of the beautiful and well researched comic

This month, we got the chance to have a chat.

So Pink, tell us a bit about yourself!

I've been making comics since Middle school, but recently engaged in my first long-term project. I live in Denver CO with my lovely fiancee and our two cats.

Main Project 

Root & Branch -
Tumblr -

Other Hobbies and Obsessions

I have a degree in Women and Textile History, thus I spend a lot of time on a variety of fiber arts, and have a great interest in Women's issues. I travel whenever I can. I try to spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking, cycling, camping, skiing etc. All of this cuts into my painting time *boo*

So, tell me about your early experience. How did you fall in love with telling stories in pictures?

Back in middle school a good friend looked over at my doodling and said "Hey, you're pretty good at that. We should make a comic together!" We did, we wrote in all the people we liked as good guys, and all the people we hated as bad guys. We read a lot of Witchblade and for a while I drew all my women with tits bigger than their heads. It was a growing experience.

I worked on two main projects from that age until about 24, which meant going back in to re-write and re-draw sections as my skills improved. Thus, I decided that the only way to get a polished finished product is to start a fresh project. That said, I've had this on the back burner for years as well...

What media and programs do you work in to produce your project?

I work with Canson Multi-media paper, Pelikan Watercolors (which I've had for over a decade!), and student (cheap ass) brushes. I use Nichiban tape for my gutters, and gouache and gel pens for highlites. 

I also run a strict diet of Earl Grey and Scones while painting. I consider it part of the artistic process.

Can you tell me about your typical day or strip-creation session? How does your working process flow?

I have been evolving my process as I've learned what works. I used to just make each page one at a time, storyboard as I go, I wouldn't even write dialog before drawing! It's a bit of a nerve wracking way to work, however...
Now I've been storyboarding, at least an entire scene at a time. I will try to do a whole scene at once, up to four pages at a time. I tape gutters, rough in blocking, and pencil all four pages. Then, all four are inked with ball-point pen (High brow art supplies, I know). The painting process then proceeds, each color used on all the pages, flatted then shaded, before moving on to the next color. This helps to keep colors consistent through scenes. Last, before pulling up the tape, I go in with pen and clean up and thicken outlines as needed.

Everything is then scanned and sent to my digital wizard for lettering. That's all black magic to me and I cannot really explain how it's done...

What’s the most difficult part of your work?

Perhaps the most difficult thing is that once it hits the page, it's permanent! The medium doesn't give me as much of a chance to fix mistakes later. I can do some clean up, and abuse the gouache, but ultimately when I make a mark it's not going to be changed and I have to live with that. Fortunately I'm pretty easy going, and it does serve to keep my process from becoming bogged down with perfection.

Can you tell me about your storytelling process? Do you prefer to script your stories, fly by the seat of your pants, or somewhere in between?

I have lots of big story arc ideas mapped out, and even specific scenes scripted far in advance. But, most of the writing is done as I go, keeping just a little ahead of the curve. I like that it allows me to have details evolve and change the more I think about the story, and keeps me from getting too attached to an idea that needs to be cut.

How much of a buffer do you like to keep?

I have a buffer of 26 pages right now, down from 30 when I started the comic. It's a bit absurd, really. Sometimes I'm so involved with what I'm painting now that I forget about the previous scenes and it's hard to answer questions from my Letterer!

Has anyone told you that you'll never be a successful artist and you'd be better off studying a real field and/or getting a real job?

Strangely enough I have always been encouraged. It helps that my mother owned a gallery and bookstore growing up, when one spends all day selling other folks art it's hard to tell your child that you cannot make a living at it! I also recall teachers suggesting that I ditch academia for art or music, but maybe that's because they were sick of grading snarky homework assignments...

On the other hand, I am in a rather blessed living situation, and I do not have to earn a living from art as a full-time endeavour. I have made plenty of money off of art and craft work over the years, but I am not sure I could survive on creativity alone.

What message do you hope readers take away from your work?

I want my work to have a sense of wonder, that the world is a complex and amazing place. I also want to get away from any black and white morality tales, I want readers to sit back and witness a grey-scale of actions and repercussions. I also want them to laugh, just so we don't take ourselves too seriously!

What keeps you devoted to telling the story you’re telling?

I'm too far in to quit!

You can check out Pink's work at these links. Also note, if you like Root And Branch, she's running a kickstarter to get her first volume printed!

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