Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Interview With An Illustrator

What’s up, Readers?

I’ll tell you what’s up here at Carly Reads … an interview with James Barry!

Carly Reads: According to your website, you illustrate a variety of mediums (comics like “The Warrior” series, textbooks, posters).  How does your creative process differ depending on what medium you are illustrating?
James Barry: I really enjoy working on comics because of the creative process involved in storytelling. When illustrating comics, multiple drawings are used to tell the story, and I get to consider the dramatic aspects like pacing and character, as well as the artistic elements like panel design and setting. The words are integrated into the drawing as opposed to a poster or textbook, where the art is separate and supports the writing.  Drawing a comic is a lot like directing a movie.

CR: Do you have a favorite character from “The Warriors” series? Is there one character or scene that was harder to draw than the rest?
JB: So far, I would say Ravenpaw is my favorite character because I identified with a lot of his personality traits. He was also the hardest to draw because I had to ink in all that black fur!  Scenes with cars are sometimes difficult to illustrate because I want the automobiles to seem threatening, like "monsters" to the cats

CR: What is the process of illustrating a book in “The Warriors” series like?
JB: When I receive the script, I start sketching out a rough draft of each page on cheap paper – these are called thumbnail drawings. I send scans to my editor who looks over the drawings and gives any suggestions to make the story more clear Since each page is only a rough sketch, it is easy to make changes at this stage. Once everything is agreed upon, I print out the revised thumbnails at 150% the final print size. Illustrators almost always make drawings larger than the final print because it is easier to add little details as well as cover mistakes. Using a pencil, I trace these thumbnails onto another sheet paper and start refining the drawing.  Inking the comic takes the most time. Some artists ink digitally but I still do this stage by hand. I use a dip pen and bottled ink to go over the pencil drawing, adding depth and more details. It can seem daunting, making each un-erasable line, but with practice it can be a lot of fun. When finished inking, the pencil lines are erased and the page is scanned into the computer where tones or color are added. The digital files are sent to my editor where the word balloons are placed, based on the design in my thumbnail drawings.

CR: What was the last book that you read for pleasure?
JB: I am currently reading "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman.

CR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
JB: I look forward to meeting Melissa de la Cruz and reading some of her novels. They sound quite exciting!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these interview questions for us, James. We’re looking forward to meeting you in May at TBF 2011!

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