Kieron Gillen

The comic ex­pert re­veals his tips for de­vis­ing your own ti­tle

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation - Kieron is a jour­nal­ist and comic au­thor. He co-cre­ated Phono­gram with artist Jamie McKelvie for Im­age Comics.

What does an in­die comic of­fer that a main­stream one doesn’t?

Con­trol. You have a vi­sion. You can ac­tu­alise your vi­sion, as you in­tend. The joy of work­ing in comics is that the play­ing field is rel­a­tively equal com­pared to fields like an­i­ma­tion or film, where money is a huge thing. Here’s 22 pages. Fill them. Paper, ink, ideas and the in­side of your head. It’s the most demo­cratic vis­ual sto­ry­telling form on Earth.

What are the ben­e­fits of cre­at­ing comics col­lab­o­ra­tively?

Col­lab­o­rat­ing is an in­ter­est­ing one. As a writer, I’d cer­tainly like to en­cour­age all artists to col­lab­o­rate with writ­ers – ideally me. But in re­al­ity that’s a ques­tion you have to ask yourself: do you want to just tell your own sto­ries? If so, you may still want a writer along if you’re not sure of your abil­i­ties in var­i­ous ar­eas; not least the or­gan­i­sa­tion side. In most writer-artist teams I know, the writer takes on a lot of the ad­min work be­cause, in terms of pure hours, the artist nor­mally puts in much more.

What’s the most chal­leng­ing thing about cre­at­ing comics?

Artists with enor­mous ex­pe­ri­ence in cre­at­ing sin­gle im­ages can have a ten­dency to un­der­es­ti­mate the dif­fi­cul­ties in cre­at­ing comics. There’s a dif­fer­ent lan­guage there, and there are things that make you per­fect for cre­at­ing a sin­gle im­age which can ac­tively work against you when cre­at­ing an ef­fec­tive comic. Luck­ily, there are a lot of re­sources on comic cre­at­ing now – plenty of tu­to­rial or the­ory-lead things, which I’d en­cour­age you to de­vour – as well as re­verse analysing comics you like, to see ex­actly how they cre­ate those mag­i­cal ef­fects that leave you all a-quiver.

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