Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Questions 14: Jonathan Case

Jonathan Case is an illustrator in Portland Oregon. He is a member of Periscope Studios. Check out his book Dear Creature about an 1963 Atomic sea mutant. He also has been creating some great paintings for the brew pub, McMenamins.  He is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design.

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?

Earlier in 2010 I finished a graphic novel called Dear Creature (formerly Sea Freak) which is now waiting in the wings with a publisher. It's a 1960s story about an atomic sea mutant whose poet soul is at odds with his compulsion to eat people. One part Hitchock, one part Fellini- a little romance, a little comedy and horror. This year I'm doing the art for a true crime/detective story GN for Dark Horse and developing my next original work, which will be a kid-friendly, full color sort of thing.

DD:   What is your artistic Process?
I spend a lot of time doing research and conceptualization, writing and rewriting before I commit to drawing comics pages. With Dear Creature, I had a complete script and thumbnails for the book before I set in on the final pages. I add in rough dialogue to the thumbnails so I can be sure the story works. Once I'm happy, I draw the final pages in large batches- a batch of rough pencils, a batch of tightened pencils, a batch of inks. Working that way keeps me efficient and happier with my results.

DD:   When you are story illustrator, how involved are you in the writing?

When I'm working from someone else's script, my role is firmly in visual storytelling. I may suggest changing up some panels to better express the writer's intention. If editorial likes it, we go with it. I'm picky/fortunate with the stories I commit to though, so I haven't felt obliged to suggest a lot of rewrites.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
If I had to shout out just one, I'd say Gipi's work (Garage Band)- his visuals and storytelling are great.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?

I think Gene Yang (American Born Chinese) and Derek Kirk Kim (Same Difference) both do work that's really appealing to a lot of people, including me. Great visuals and stories.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?

DD:   What's the most important thing you've learned?
To not work in a vacuum. Being able to ask for help, get feedback and assist others in the common cause of storytelling makes you better/happier.

DD:   Do you have a collection? If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?

I don't really collect, but I love the Calvin and Hobbes books I grew up with.

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?

I don't have a favorite genre. I like things that have a sense of humor or whimsy, even if the subject matter is serious overall.

DD:   Do you have an Ipad? If so what do use it for the most.

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?

Some movies I've seen about fifty times, like Ghostbusters, but the one I've only seen once and would call my favorite is 'Army of Shadows' (not to be confused with Army of Darkness... I'm talking underground French resistance in WW2, not chainsaw vs. the undead, though that has its place).

DD:   How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work

I work five days a week in the middle of Portland comics culture at Periscope Studio, so it mostly influences my desire to keep working in comics because the people are great and the creative energy is exciting. It's also nice to have other pros looking over your shoulder to let you know when your work looks great, or not so great.

DD:   What was your first comic convention?

I think it might have been Stumptown Comics Fest, here in Portland.

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Meeting likeminded folks and grabbing dinner with friends. At San Diego, it's escaping the horde to catch some theater at the Old Globe. I've started taking other comics people now- it's like an oasis in the pop media overload.

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?

I'd probably be on stage at the Old Globe. It's my experience that most comics artists are actors/performers, but they choose to act on paper.

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?

There's a breakfast cart called The Big Egg here in Portland on Mississippi and Skidmore that does great breakfast. The Arbor Lodge sandwich is killer.

DD:   How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I've been here about 5 years, and I moved here for the comics community.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?
Lunch carts.

Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
I've never been to Southeast Oregon, and I hear the desert is beautiful out there. Very few people, beautiful vistas... The occasional drug-laden plane landing in the desert... but hey. Adventure!

DD:   Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media? or conversely, how would you feel about writing a comic of a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond? What would you explore?

I wouldn't mind writing for stage/film, but I would want to be able to perform at some level, since the character work is what I really like. Film, comics, whatever, I think I enter in at the same place for all of them. I have thought about radio/voice work. Get my poor-man's Orson Welles on... That would be fun!

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