The story of And They Call us Monsters Explores the Bias that humanity has on people they don’t understand or fit the idea of what normally is, what ever that means these days. It also shows us that we might be paying attention to the wrong things in life, and making monsters out of innocent people.
CGhirardo talks about
How did you become involved with this project?
-I had Rob Andersin on FB and saw a posting he had that he was looking for artists to work on various projects. Being an independent comic artist, I am always on the lookout for projects to work on. I contacted him and linked him to my monthly webcomic. Rob liked what he saw and forwarded me a script he had in mind. My art style wasn’t a really good fit for this story but afterwards Rob mentioned how he had a story in mind about people with disabilities who were seen as monsters and it was a commentary on what really makes a monster. I was intrigued by it and read the story he had written. I liked what I read but the real draw was that Rob Andersin was willing to take a big chance with me and my art style. He gave me full creative license and I love a challenge. So I began work on it and the rest is history.
Why is this project important to you?
-Because I use a very experimental style of comic art, having to find the right project and finding someone who is willing to take a chance on me is very important. Rob gave me that support and also took a risk. When someone is willing to do that, I will make sure to put my best in each and every page. Comics to me in an art-form and pushing those limits are what art asks of the artist, it is important to take comics to another level and to prove to the viewers that comics are more than a form of entertainment, it is art and that the artist and writer are working towards that goal.
How much back and forth was there between you and the writer to bring this world to life?
-In the case of this project, it was 50/50 but only because of Rob Andersin. Since this is his story, I try to make sure I capture and enhance his story and want to make sure he is happy with the results but Rob gave me a lot, and I do mean A Lot, of creative freedom which allowed me to push my own personal boundaries and that of the story. I did make sure to show Rob the pencils to make sure I kept the story clear and not miss anything and since Rob is the writer, I would go over the script quite often and asked Rob any questions I wasn’t sure about as I did want to make sure the story flowed properly. I believe trust and support on both parts is essential to make a strong comic.
What was your favorite part of the project?
-The creative freedom! Being able to really experiment with the imagery and character designs and being given that much independence from Rob was fantastic!!
How did you go about creating the art? Is it digital art or hand drawn?
-I prefer to do it by hand for two reasons: (1) I find I am much faster by hand than digital. Working on the computer takes me a lot of time to just do one image, having to go back and forth to get the right brush, thickness, color, and so on. In Photoshop I find takes so much time. If I do it by hand, all I need to do is grab a brush, dip it in the color, slap it on and within a minute, the image is done. (2) I find I cannot get the right textures by computer wereas by hand, I can get the feel and texture I need for each image. It has a more organic quality and feels it helps to enhance the story I am working on. It feels “real” rather than sterile. The first step is to do small thumbnails so I can get the flow of the story right and while I do the thumbnails, I never see it as “set in stone”, each step can always be improved so when I get to penciling the story, I will make changes that I believe will help strengthen the imagery and story and also think what medium would each image would work best: should I do the image in pencils? Should I ink and then color it? Should I stick with straight painting? Each decision is about what helps enhance the story, especially to the reader. I then lightly erase the pencils with a kneaded eraser and begin to finish the pages as needed. When someone says “The art should be the last thing to think about when doing a comic.” I cringe and shudder! That is crap! The art should be one of the most important decisions the help enhance the comic! They seem to forget that comics is a visual medium, if the only focus is the story, then it is a novel or a book. This is a comic book/graphic novel, the images are extremely important and necessary to consider!
How Long did this project take to complete?
-Quite a while since I am painting the comic: watercolor is an unforgiving medium, one mistake and the rest goes to crap. So I need to begin putting the first layer down, give it time to dry so I work on another page, then put another layer on, let it dry and so on. Luckily I am naturally fast and have some experience working with watercolors so that helps. I would say I do one page a day.
Will this be an ongoing series?
-Well, we will see. Right now I was told by Rob Andersin that many people love it and want to see more. But the other thing will depend on money. Another reason I love working with Rob is that he understands that artists need to get paid for their work, that they need to be treated as professionals and Rob truly understands that! He works really hard to make sure I get paid and supported for my work and I truly appreciate that! So I will say is that if people love the comic, please understand that the best way you can support the artist and writer is to pay for the comic and when the writer and artist see that, it pushes them to continue doing great work.
What is your next project now that this is headed to Kickstarter?
-First is to pray that people show their love and support this comic. That they love the art and writing and give what they can to make sure the next issue gets done. Right now I am working on a personal project I call “SuperFight #2” which is a follow up to a graphic novel I did two years ago. It is a parody of the super hero comics of the 60’s/70’s, more humor and I get to try another style that is black and white with a very simplified drawing style. I need to finish off 40 pages. I have applied to some comic cons and hopefully will get in. I plan to have some issues of “And They Call Us Monsters” available and will exhibit the artwork and work on getting more notice for the comic.
A graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Inc., artist CGhirardo sees comics as art and looks to experiment and push the boundaries and limits of the medium to its full potential. Inspired by super hero comics in the 60’s/70’s, European comics, alternative comics and modern art, CGhirardo blends his Neo-Humanism figurative painting style with sequential storytelling. He has been published in various anthologies including Red Stylo’s 2016 Harvey Nominated anthology “The 27 Club” http://redstylo.com/product/life-is-like-a-painting-15-of-24-from-the-27-club/. CGhirardo continues to self-publish his own zines and comics and enjoys working on independent comics such as Rob Andersin’s “And They Call Us Monsters” to continue taking comics to the next level.
To read reviews on CGhirardo and see his monthly webcomic, go to:
http://pipedreamcomics.co.uk/digital-indie-comics-round-up-september-2015/ (scroll to the bottom)