Thursday, March 8, 2012

AN INTERVIEW WITH ROSS CAMPBELL

Interview by A. 'Kav' Kaviraj

Ross Campbell is an indie comics artist and writer and some of his best known works are Wet Moon and Shadoweyes. He describes Wet Moon as, "A drama/romance/comedy/mystery thing, sort of teen drama meets Twin Peaks, set in the fictional city of Wet Moon, and features primarily teenage girls and ambiguous supernatural elements in a decompressed, plotless slice-of-life type set up." Ross Campbell was kind enough to answer some questions via email. Thanks, Ross.


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Your dialogue in Wet Moon is SO realistic-I have known goths who talk and act like this. How much of the dialogue is stuff you actually heard?

Thanks! There are a few scenes that are inspired by real life events, but most of the actual dialogue is made up from scratch. With the dialogue that's based on something that was actually said, I still retool it and rewrite it so it fits the context in the story and fits the character.

How did you come up with the name Wet Moon for the setting?

A wet moon is when a crescent moon is on its side with the points going upward, like the shape of a bowl or a smile. The term 'wet moon' is Hawaiian in origin and comes from the idea that the bowl-shaped moon would fill up with rain. I thought it fit well as a name for the fictional city in the comic.


How long does it take you to do a page?

It really varies depending on how complex the page is. Pages with elaborate backgrounds or larger groups of characters interacting take me the longest, maybe several hours from start to finish, while simpler pages can take as little as 2 or 3 hours.

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If Trilby dies in Wet Moon 6 I will be so disappointed. She is the most lively character of the series. If she is dead, can you at least bring her back as a zombie?

Haha. I think you've got the wrong comic if you're asking for zombies!


What artistic impulse made you start up a whole new series, Shadoweyes...was Wet Moon getting boring or something?

It's not that Wet Moon got boring, no, it's that I really love the Shadoweyes characters and had to do something with them, I had to get them out there. I've always alternated Wet Moon volumes with other books, though, so it's nothing new; after I did Wet Moon 1 I did The Abandoned, after Wet Moon 2 I did Water Baby, and during the period I did Wet Moon volumes 3-5 I was also doing issues of Mountain Girl and some stuff for DC/Vertigo. I just have a lot of ideas and I like doing different things.


I have several pages of your great original art. Where can others go to purchase such future-valuable pieces?

Thank you for the purchases! Anyone who's interested in artwork can contact me directly at mooncalfe@greenoblivion.com.

Can you go over your process from a blank sheet of paper to a finished page?

I start with thumbnails, which are about 2.5 x 3.5 inches, I thumbnail the whole book before any "actual" drawing. After that I take the thumbnails and blow them up to a bigger size, I used to work really big but these days my pages are small, about 7 x 11 inches, and then with pencil I lightbox over the thumbnail on a piece of bristol paper. Then depending on the book I tighten up the pencils, which is what I usually do now, Wet Moon has been pencil since volume 3, and the pencil serves as the final linework and I scan it in and throw greytones on it and then lettering. If I'm inking, I keep the pencilwork looser and then ink over that. Then for Shadoweyes which is all digitally-drawn, I scan the thumbnails into the computer and trace over them right in Photoshop. For stuff I'm not lettering or coloring myself, the process stops there and somebody else does the rest.


Do you write a whole book before you start drawing it?

Yeah, definitely. I used to write while thumbnailing but as my stuff got more complex and more focused on the dialogue and conversations, I started doing scripts first. It really helps me, knowing how the dialogue is going to go, what the characters are talking about and framing everything around that, making sure there's enough room on each page for what's being said, and I like rearranging scenes in the script stage and knowing how long the book will be. Things still change after scripting, though, a script isn't set in stone and I change how scenes flow or delete or add new ones during thumbnailing.

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You can visit Ross Campbell's web page here


A. Kaviraj is an artist and writer at Champion City Comics. His works include Dr Death vs The Vampire, Doctor Death vs The Zombie, and The End of Paradise

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