Saturday, February 25, 2017

Backstage Pass February: Samantha Davies

Look What We Got For You! A Backstage Pass! 

In This Month Of Love, We'd Love You To Meet Samantha Davies!

Samantha, Why Don't You Tell Us About Yourself?

I’m a UK comics artist who studied animation but is bad at being told what to draw

Main Projects

Stutterhug - an ongoing collection of all ages short silent comics, containing many hugs and awkward looks. Can be found on Twitter, Tumblr and Patreon

The Shape of Things- an upcoming longer comics project, the first and second parts are up.

Other Hobbies, Guilty Pleasures and Obsessions

Reading fantasy, learning weird animal facts, ghost stories, great white sharks and the dumbo octopus.

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

I didn’t have access to print comics in my town as a kid, but I discovered webcomics as a younger teenager and got caught that way.
 I started trying to learn to draw largely because people online showed it was possible to improve over time, before that I assumed it was just a talent you were born with. It took a long time before I found a way of making comics I was comfortable with, and I’m still learning every time I draw one.

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

I thumbnail and sketch with pen on lined paper, then I do all my final work in Manga Studio.

Can you tell me about your typical day or strip-creation session? How does your work process flow from idea to finished page?

Every comic starts with my thoughts wandering about, usually during a walk or on a bus. I’ll have an idea and jot it down in my notebook.Sometimes it’s months before I come to drawing it, sometimes I’ll want to do it straight away, depending on how clearly I can see how it will work as a comic. I sketch very scribbly thumbnails on paper, then sketch and ink the final version in MS.

What’s the most difficult part of your work?

Colouring! even though it’s so minimal, I can sometimes take a long time before I find a colour scheme I like, and will often recolour the first page several times over.

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?

Between, I never draw a final comic without an idea to start from, but I usually only have a few words to a sentence in my notebook describing the comic. Something like ‘Wolves howl to welcome someone home’ or ‘appeasing angry demon rabbit’ The details are all worked out in the sketching.

Where do you draw the inspiration for your skit-like strips?

Animation is a big one, obviously. While studying it at university we would watch lots of 1940s and 50s shorts, I’d find the character designs, posing and draftsmanship beautiful, but the stories didn’t connect.
 I think I tried to do a version of that style if gestural storytelling with the sorts of things I wanted to see. The ‘Infinite Canvas’ approach lots of webcomics folk make use of was the other big one for me, I ditched the idea of pages and just go on and on until the story is done.

Your strips often feel they’re telling readers something important about love and relationships a la Aesop’s Fables. Do you work with a moral lesson in mind?

I think I’m often trying to teach myself a lesson I should already know, but keep forgetting! Or sometimes it’s something I’m trying to work through but don’t have an answer for. All of them feel embarrassingly personal when I read back.

How much of a buffer do you like to keep?

I like to be two strips ahead, but I’ve worked with no buffer a couple of times, which fills me with dread. If I think of a longer idea (15 pages +), that can mess up my schedule completely - and I do that quite a lot :I

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

Something hopeful, or maybe just that moment of ‘I feel this way too’

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

Compulsion! I just keep doing it and start feeling weird if I go a week without working on a comic. Send help, please.

Thanks For All The Sweet Moments Samantha!

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