One of my favorite traditionally-colored webcomics is Dawn Chapel by B. Root. Brian has a gift with watercolors, and I decide to ask him if he would be willing to do an interview with me. Dawn Chapel is a series of eloquently rendered short stories in comic-form. Each story consists of detailed panels and beautiful illustrations that could easily stand on their own. I strongly suggest going and reading some of Brian’s stories. My favorites are A Fine Day Out, Firefox has Crashed, and They Sit So Still.

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Have Some Questions

When did you start drawing comics and what inspired you to?

I started doing The Dawn Chapel in October of 2009, but I’ve fooled around with comics a few times before then. I did a few comics for the university newspaper when I was in school, and attempted a webcomic called Rabicano about a year before my current one that I stalled out on as soon as I started.

I’ve been wanting to get started on a comic for something on the order of ten years now, and I had these big obnoxious plans about these awesome stories I wanted to tell and kept not ever getting started because I didn’t really feel like my art abilities were at the point where they’d do any justice to the stories; until finally I decided that the time when I was ‘good enough’ just wasn’t ever to come and I was wasting my life not doing this thing I wanted to do.

So with The Dawn Chapel I threw out any big stupid ambitious plans about epic, sweeping stories and just gave myself a homework assignment of one page a week, doing little short stories that I wouldn’t have to commit years of time to, and put the comic work itself first and foremost. I didn’t fuss over the web page layout (right now it’s still the barebones Comicpress theme, now that I’ve been at it for almost a year, I should probably take the time to do something with it) and used a domain name I’d registered for another project I meant to do and never got around to, and just started throwing comics at it.

There were a couple of specific things that gave me the boot in the pants to get started on the comic, though: one was a contest called the Sequential Endurance Competition, where all the participants were required to draw and post a page of comics every day, that I thought would be pretty good practice but then missed the entry deadline. The other was seeing my friend Beckey do her comic String Theory, which she started at around the same time I started Rabicano, but she actually stuck with her project and seeing her successes was hugely motivating to me.

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Today’s Webcomic Wednesday is one from the FUEL archives – we’re going back in time for an interview with E.K. Weaver of The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal fame, a (more than epic & NSFW) comic about two guys who throw caution to the wind, and take off on a cross-country road trip. As the author puts it, “”This is the story of two dudes who drive from Berkeley to Providence, take multiple detours, smoke too much weed, eat terrible Chinese food, sleep in seedy motels, get kicked out of a Goodwill, contemplate fate versus chance, piss into the sunset, start a brawl in a Waffle House, and fall in love.”

On with the Interview!

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What started you down the road of comics?

I wouldn’t really say I’m “on the road of comics”… maybe on a smaller frontage road, or in the bike lane. I’ve always liked drawing quick sequentials, but never really identified as a Comic Book Artist – partly because it’s not how I make a living; partly because I’m still a very green amateur. Honestly, what got me started working on a comic book was realizing the story I had in mind was best told in that medium. That’s it. I’ve come to love it, though – the craft of comics, I mean. Scripting, pacing, timing, layout. It still blows me away that when you make a comic, you manipulate time with art. How cool is that?
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Who was your biggest inspiration in the field of comics or cartoons?

Oh gosh, um. There are so many amazing artists (many my age and younger) who are continually evolving inspirations, but if we’re going with the past tense, I’d have to say Al Hirschfeld and Kyle Baker.

I’ve always admired Hirschfeld’s knack for distilling a person’s likeness down to its essential forms – not just facial resemblance but style of motion and posture as well. He depicts someone’s essence clearly even while rendering it in impossible ways – placing the eyes below the mouth, say, or drawing tight spirals for eyes. Not only that, but watching the documentary The Line King and seeing how instead of just flinging out these effortless curves and perfectly placed lines (as I’d previously thought), that he took each drawing through a painstaking sketching and refining process… it was like a beam of light out of the blue. I saw that pouring effort and time into artwork showed dedication, not inability to “get it right the first time”. That artists aren’t gods but people who work really damn hard.

As for Kyle Baker: His comics showed me the importance of acting. Characters don’t just move through a scene, they live it – they act it. Just read the first 10 or 15 pages of I Die At Midnight and you’ll see what I mean. His work is incredibly cinematic. Also, Baker’s books Why I Hate Saturn and Undercover Genie – and more recently, How to Draw Stupid – have been huge inspirations. There’s a LOT of Saturn influence in TJ and Amal – building characters through conversation and facial expression, setting the story in its place and period rather than trying to make it ‘timeless’, telling the story in ordered vignettes rather than one continuous arc…

What were some early creations – and what do you think of them now?

Comics-wise? I don’t really have much to speak of. Most of my creative projects before TJ and Amal were commercial illustration and design, or fandom stuff I did just for fun. Nothing I could call a truly original creation.
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What is your favorite medium to work with?

Plain old mechanical pencil.

Regarding your process of creating a finished panel, what is your favorite part? Sketching, lineart, or the color?

Probably the first passes in pencil and ink. That’s when things really start to solidify, and when the emotion starts to show clearly. It gets me pretty pumped to see everything finally taking shape.
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How long does it take you to create a final, fully-detailed comic?

We’ll find out. Three years, at least. *haha* A single page takes between 6 and 15 hours, and a 10-page segment usually will take between 3 and 6 weeks. (I have a day job, so comicking happens on weekends and at night. )

Who is your favorite – TJ or Amal?

I can honestly say I do not favor one over the other. Amal’s easier for me to relate to, but TJ’s dialogue is much easier to write.
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If TJ and Amal were stranded in a rainforest, do you think they’d survive? (And who would crack first?)

Probably. TJ’s appetite might have him end up eating some nasty mushroom, though. (Amal would crack first, just because of all the bugs.)

Annnndddd…. What is your favorite webcomic?

Oh man, that’s like setting me loose in a cheesemonger’s and telling me I can only pick one! Erm, so I won’t.
For strips, probably either Nedroid, Hark! A Vagrant, Girls With Slingshots, or Something Positive. I’ve been following those last two for a long time. Long-form webcomics I like include Hanna is not a Boy’s Name, Templar, AZ, The Meek, Octopus Pie… I don’t think I can go on without leaving someone important out, but there are way more than this! There’s so much love, enthusiasm, and talent out there in the webcomics world. It’s really exciting.
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You can find more about E.K. Weaver and her art here:

Or just monsters. And girls. Whatevs. Two of my favorite topics in one Webcomic Wednesday. Because this is what Wednesdays were made for, right? Right. Any excuse to stop what you’re doing and read some webcomics. We need more days that start with W.

Monster Pulse

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Monster Pulse, Magnolia Porter
Updated: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Monster Pulse is an all-ages adventure story about kids whose body parts transform into fighting monsters.

Morning to Moon

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Morning to Moon, Meghan Penton
Updated: Usually Tuesdays
Samaire is an ex-body guard whose existence is turned upside-down by an accident. She finds soon that rebuilding her life is a lot more interesting than she thought it would be — and a lot more dangerous.

Amya Chronicles

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Amya Chronicles, Savannah Houston-McIntyre, Andrew Hewitt, & Rebecca Gunter
Updated: Normally Wednesday (Right now sporadically)
Amya is a high-fantasy graphic novel following the travels of a mute spell-touched and her unlikely companions as they are dragged into an adventure that is a little beyond them. Ultimately Amya is a story about self sacrifice for the greater good. It is also a story of how far one will go to obtain unearthly power; even if it includes throwing the world into a mythical war between fate and chaos.

Enjoy!

Missed other #WW? Find them here:
Webcomic Wednesday Numero 25: Everblue, Machine Flower, The Intrepid Girlbot
Webcomic Wednesday Hourly Comic Special: Emily Carroll, Dani Jones, Jess Fink
Webcomic Wednesday 24: Wondermark, Stuff No One Told Me, A Softer World
Webcomic Wednesday 23: One Swoop Fell, Savage Chickens, Sinfest
Webcomic Wednesday #22: Housepets!, Gronk, Copper
Check out the Archives for more comics!

Haven’t done one of these in so long but I rediscovered my love for illustrative storytelling and have resumed my hunt for awesome webcomics. So without further ado. Today’s webcomics!

Everblue

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Everblue, Michael Sexton
Updated: Usually Sundays
Everblue is a story about adventure, camaraderie and exploration in a world with a potentially bleak fate. In a world of endless ocean, a young shipwright named Luna meets an odd and cheerful drifter when he crashes his flying boat on her city’s dock. When strange circumstances force Luna to leave her home, her once quiet life quickly takes a turn for the unpredictable. In an instant she is swept up in an adventure that will take her beyond the bounds of the charted world and into the Everblue, following the path of an ancient legend with the potential to change the world forever.

Machine Flower

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Machine Flower, Pana Stamos
Updated: Fridays
The children who reside in the Facility don’t have names, they have numbers. They don’t have parents, they have doctors. They don’t have dreams, they have assignments. And yet, one child among them wonders about the family she was snatched away from, about the name they surely gave her… And she dreams. She dreams about an ordinary life and what’s waiting for her on the other side of the wall that imprisons her. Fresh air, freedom… delicious food. Machine Flower follows 9-01’s struggle to claim the human identity that was denied her by the scientists, who see her as nothing more than a weapon to be used in the righteous battle against the villains who would terrorize their nation. But is the selfish need for personal freedom worth sacrificing the safety of millions?

The Intrepid Girlbot

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The Intrepid Girlbot, Diana Nock
Updated: Tuesdays & Fridays
Girlbot lives in a big house in a world with no people, just forest critters and other robots. But she’s unique, and therefore, alone. She’s on a constant quest to be a ‘good girl’ whatever that really means. Despite living with a few other robotic companions, she’s still isolated and reaches out to others in her own awkward way.

Missed other #WW? Find them here:
Webcomic Wednesday Hourly Comic Special: Emily Carroll, Dani Jones, Jess Fink
Webcomic Wednesday 24: Wondermark, Stuff No One Told Me, A Softer World
Webcomic Wednesday 23: One Swoop Fell, Savage Chickens, Sinfest
Webcomic Wednesday #22: Housepets!, Gronk, Copper
Webcomic Wednesday #21: Lesbian Pirates, Bug Comic, Dicebox
Check out the Archives for more comics!

Webcomic Wednesday: The Hourly Comic Day Special!

Webcomic Wednesday is back folks! And today we have a special feature – today I am showing off some of the comic artists that took part in Hourly Comic Day on February 1st. While I was at work and couldn’t participate myself, I still enjoyed watching what other artists came up with, and I’m sure you will to!

Emily Carroll

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Hourly Comic: Em Carroll Blog
Website: www
Twitter: @emilyterrible

Dani Jones

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Hourly Comic: Dani Draws
Website: www
Twitter: @danidraws

Jess Fink

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Hourly Comic: finkenstein
Website: www
Twitter: @jessfink

Enjoy!