Director’s Commentary art student special: Andrew Thomas
Dan Berry is a comics creator and artist we’ve long admired here on the blog, but he is also a lecturer at the North Wales School of Art & Design at Glyndwr University(where he is the Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication, lecturing on the BA (hons) Illustration, Graphic Novels and Children’s Books degree), helping the next generation of creators to hone their skills and find their voice in the medium. Any artform needs not only established, experienced creators, it requires a constant infusion of new talent, fresh blood, to keep the medium invigorated, and one of the pleasures of working on this blog isn’t just looking forward to new work from the writers and artists we know and love already, it’s coming across interesting new talent. To that end Dan has been kind enough to collaborate with us on a very special themed set of Director’s Commentary guest posts; we put a set of questions to Dan’s students, and over the next few days they will be talking to us about their work, and hopefully this will be just the first time we hear from some of these creators, and we’ll see them back in the future with more work. You can read the first guest post in the series with Tom Harley here. Today we welcome Andrew Thomas:
FPI: What drew you to wanting to make comics?
Andrew: Narration and storytelling. I’ve always felt the need to try and create something, which other people would enjoy and be immersed in. I think this comes from reading comics and watching a lot of Saturday morning cartoons. Ever since I could hold a pencil I have drawn characters and created story’s and comics was the natural fit.
FPI: What was your experience of the course?
Andrew: I really enjoyed the course and learned so much. It has helped me improve so much in every aspect of making comics. Especially with pacing and where your focus should be when creating a comic. It sounds obvious but it taught me that above all else the story has got to be good. As no matter how good the art is if the story is awful then its just not going to work. The advice and guidance given was always to help you try and improve and work in a professional manner.
FPI: What are you working on now?
Andrew: Right now I am working on a couple of 1 page strips showing transformations and cityscape’s. I am also working on getting my portfolio up to scratch ready to send of to hopefully get employed. Also I am making small amendments to a comic called spot, which I created for the last semester of uni.
FPI: What are your ambitions?
Andrew: I want to keep on creating comics and hopefully fingers crossed get something published. Whether that be my own story or illustrating someone else’s. Although my own would definitely be the preference. I would also like to branch into concept art and storyboarding for games, films, tv and adverts, Im pretty ambitious.
FPI: Explain your working process
Andrew: I start with very loose roughs, which only I can understand really. Once I have plotted the story and done a rough script. Then I work on the finished pencils.
I say finished but they are not as neat as some as I am not to precious with the pencils as the last step for the artwork is done digitally on my Cintiq. Once I am happy with these pencils I re work the script and re fine it to make sure its all working.
Then I ink and colour the pages completely digitally. I have two distinct ways of colouring. I either use black and white with no shades of grey, or I use a variety of different line colours coupled with bright matching colours. I want each page to have a unique yet unified look.