This is a little experiment for a new site feature which I was thinking about posting once or twice a month. It consists of a comic creator answering 50-ish questions about themselves. Questions are optional and any may be skipped. The purpose is to learn more about the comic creators out there and why you might want to read their work.
First in the hot seat, Tait, of Pacifica.
1. Who are you?
Tait, an aspiring artist trying to make a living from my comic and other comic related projects.
2. Where are you from?
Humboldt County, California
3. Introvert or extrovert?
Very introverted. You might say I’m somewhat of a hermit.
4. What’s your sign? (Interpret this however you wish. Any system or a literal sign.)
Virgo on the cusp of Libra, Fire Dragon, or Please Stop. Take your pick.
5. Is the above sign accurate or not? How so?
I’d say I’m a pretty typical Virgo, I try to be kind and intellectual. Not so much a Dragon, though I do want to realize my dreams. Yes, stop. Proceed slowly with me.
6. Pets. Do you have or would you like any?
Currently, the only pet in our house is my wife’s small dog. I could spend quite a while listing all the pets I’ve had over the years though. Dogs, birds, turtles, chipmunks, ferrets. I’m totally okay with just the one dog at this point in my life.
7. What are you currently working on?
Pacifica. A fantasy adventure comic about an anti-social woodsman and two bird-people navigating harsh wilderness, monsters, and society to try and figure out where they belong.
8. What do you call your work and why? (Comic, webcomic, webtoon, graphic novel, etc.)
It’s just a comic to me. I don’t personally see any need to complicate it more than that. The current chapter is leaning more towards a webtoon format, but it’s not a label I’d personally chose.
9. You have three to five words to convince me to read your work. What are they? (Bonus points if you can do it in fewer.*)
Relatable group dynamics.
* Bonus points are completely worthless.
10. Are you working with anyone else on the above project? If so, who?
Nope. It’s just little ol’ me running the whole show.
11. What comics or other projects have you worked on in the past?
I had a sketch blog for a while, but various time issues eventually caused that to fall by the wayside. Happily, I now have much more time to devote to my current projects.
12. Do you have any formal art or writing education?
I have a BA in Art from Humboldt State University and minored in English.
13. Have you had any education that has unexpectedly proved useful in your work?
I’d say that working retail has taught me a lot about people and groups that can be adapted to my characters. Maybe that’s not completely unexpected, but it’s the closest thing I can think of.
14. What do you feel you still need to learn?
I feel like I need to learn a better balance between when to go super detailed and when to simplify. I feel like I lean towards too much detail sometimes.
15. What have you done to educate yourself about art, writing, comics, or life?
I read every book I can get my hands on, search the web for info, and have been trying to reach out to other people in the comics community more. I feel like the outreach to other creators has been especially helpful for me.
16. What is a quote that resonates with you?
“The higher the style we demand of friendship, of course the less easy to establish it with flesh and blood. We walk alone in the world. Friends, such as we desire, are dreams and fables.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship
It may seem a bit bleak, but I think it’s a good reminder to manage our expectations when it comes to other people. Most people try to do the best they can.
17. What genres do you most enjoy when consuming entertainment?
Fantasy and Sci-fi. Preferably with some humor mixed in.
18. What genre/s does your current work fall into?
I want Pacifica to be a genre sandbox for me, but the most applicable ones would be fantasy and weird west. Again, preferably with some humor in the mix.
19. Why did you choose that genre for your project?
I chose fantasy because I love it and felt it fit the setting I wanted to do. The weird west thing came along later on. I didn’t want to do just another medieval fantasy setting, so I started thinking about other time periods that might be interesting and fun. Mountain men and westward expansion in the early 1800s isn’t something I’ve seen covered a lot and has some interesting possibilities.
20. What creators, comic or otherwise, do you draw inspiration from?
Winsor McCay, and Alphonse Mucha for the art nouveau styling. Susan Seddon Boulet for subject matter and colors. TMNT is probably also somewhat evident in certain aspects of my work.
21. What is your favorite comic?
Probably the original Mirage issues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Little Nemo in Slumberland. I like a good dose of whimsy in my comics.
22. Have you tried to adapt some aspect of your favorite comic into your own work?
Absolutely. Pacifica features anthropomorphic fighting animals and unusual situations that are dream like or magical.
23. What tools do you use when making your comic?
It depends on the phase I’m at and what is at hand. I do thumbnails in pencil on paper when I can. The final comic is inked and colored on a PC using Clip Studio Paint.
24. Can you walk us through your creative process?
It typically starts with me figuring out what needs to happen next in the story. Once I have some idea of that I’ll start doodling thumbnails and working out dialog in my head. Once I feel somewhat confident about where it’s going I’ll scan the thumbnails and digitally rearrange them to come up with my page layout. Then I do inking, sometimes jumping ahead to flatting colors if I need a break from inking. I go back and forth until the basics are done and then I’ll add in details until I feel it’s finished.
25. Do you listen to music at any point in your creative process? What kind and why?
If I’m drawing or coloring I’ll listen to music. It’s usually just a random mix of everything I have on my hard-drive. Dance, techno, pre-2000s country, classical music, video game soundtracks, it’s pretty eclectic. BT and Moby are my favorites though.
If I’m working on plot or dialog then I prefer silence or white-noise.
26. What is the best beverage and/or snack while working on your comic?
I tend to drink slightly watered down juice or Gatorade these days. I’m also trying to snack a bit healthier, so I go with fruit or nuts.
27. How long did you spend planning your project? Is this normal for you?
Several years. I spent a lot of time flip-flopping back and forth on where things should go and generally doubting myself. This is completely characteristic of me. I’m working on it. Things are getting much better.
28. What is your favorite part of your comic?
My favorite thing is that it’s just a big playground where I can drop in my favorite things and see how they mix together.
29. What do you feel your strengths are as an artist?
Backgrounds if my feedback is anything to go by. I also think my overall presentation is pretty good.
30. What do you think your strengths as a writer are?
I feel that my strong points are dialog and setting a scene.
31. What do you want people to get from your work?
I hope they get a strong sense of the setting and perhaps a bit of escapism for a few moments. I hope that people are excited by the world and want to spend time in it.
32. How do you decompress when you need a break?
Video games mostly. I play on PC and Switch. RPGs are my favorites, but I enjoy a wide variety of games. I’ve also been trying to set aside more time for reading again.
33. How do you define success for yourself? What is your goal? (This may or may not be related to the previous question.)
I think this has two parts for me. The first is that I can make a decent living off of my work. The second is that people enjoy the stories I’m telling and want to tell their own stories in the same world.
34. What is your favorite dynamic between two or more characters in your story? Describe it briefly.
My favorite dynamic so far is the one between Zephyr and Gale. I haven’t gotten to show much of it yet. They are a brother/sister pair that are pretty opposite in personality, but share a close bond. It’s kind of a squabbling sibling thing, but they have each other’s best interest at heart and help even each other out.
35. Why does the above dynamic appeal to you?
I think the contrast in their viewpoints will be interesting and provide a lot of story opportunities. Working out how Gavin affects the dynamic between the two of them will also be fun.
36. Who do you think your audience is in no more than ten words?
Fantasy fans who want a different setting.
37. What, if anything, would you like to get from the/a comics community?
I would like to meet other people that are trying to do new things and to give or receive support from them.
38. What is the most important thing you’ve learned? (Comics related or otherwise.)
Be kind to yourself.
39. You can choose one person to be your mentor for a day. Who do you pick and why?
I’d be interested to work with Winsor McCay and see what kind of references and tools he used. The art for Little Nemo was absolutely amazing.
40. You can hire anyone in the world to create an original soundtrack for your project. Who do you pick and why?
BT. His music has such a range of emotions and always pulls me in. Lifeline would be one of my first choices for a Pacifica theme.
41. Early bird or night owl. Why?
I wish I could be more of an early bird because the morning hours can be very peaceful and you haven’t spent your energy yet, but night owl is just much easier for me to do.
42. Pick a card. Any card. (Standard playing card, Tarot, Pokemon. I don’t care.) Why that card?
Assemble the Legion (Magic: the Gathering) We could all use a few friends, right?
43. What is your favorite tabletop/board game?
Although I haven’t played one in years, I really like tabletop RPGs. I’m the kind of person who enjoys reading the rule books and finding out how everything works. I’m not a min-maxer or rules lawyer though, I just enjoy seeing what kinds of systems people use to solve problems.
44. What is your favorite video game?
Etrian Odyssey is one of my favorite game series. I’m hoping they bring it back soon. Out of the existing games, Etrian Odyssey III is probably my favorite. Mega Man 2 also has a fond place in my heart.
45. Do you have any hobbies that have worked their way into your comic?
All of them in one form or another. I think tabletop RPGs have had the largest influence though. When trying to figure out how the world works I often try to describe it to myself in terms akin to game rules.
46. If you were going to recommend one comic aside from your own for us to read, what would it be and why?
I’d probably recommend The Meek, because the art is flipping fantastic. The story also seems to be setting up some interesting conflicts and the world seems pretty unique.
49. If it has not already been revealed, what is the most important thing we should know about you?
I want everyone to be happy and successful.
50. What, if anything, would you like to ask me?
This just got too meta. 🤯