I met Russell recently at C4 (central coast comic con), we got to talking about his new kickstarter and his comic books. One thing led to another and here we are we got an interview, more about the kickstarter in the interview.
G33k-hq: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Russell: I started writing many eons ago, but I started in comics and novels in 2010 with an ashcan called THE WANNABES, which I took to SDCC 2010 and became the name of my company Wannabe Press (www.wannabepress.com). Since then I’ve done a one off called Paradise, a web comic called Gherkin Boy, a graphic novel we Kickstarted in 2014 called Ichabod Jones Monster Hunter, and Katrina Hates the Dead, which we are kickstarting right now.
I’ve also written a Middle grade fiction novel and a children’s book, and have finished three more novels. I also directed, produced, and wrote a web series called Connections.
There’s more, but I think that’s enough for the moment, don’t you 🙂
G33k-hq: When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics as a career?
Russell: I was working in movies and tv, getting nowhere fast. People said my ideas were too abstract, and couldn’t be filmed. I wanted to do my own thing. I always want to do my own thing, and find my own audience. I knew they were out there. I knew them. Heck, I used to be them. I am one of them.
So I went about making comics. It was one of the best career decisions I ever made.
G33k-hq: Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?
Russell: Is it too corny to say my wife? I mean none of this would be possible without her support. She’s wayy too supportive of all my decisions.
G33k-hq: Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?
Russell: My old manager Sammy Montana is the one who really pushed me into it. I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t sure. He worked with Devil’s Due for a while, so he had some insight.
G33k-hq: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
Russell: Usually I don’t need to recharge. Every time I decide to take some time off I come up with another project. I just finished editing one of my books, and was going to take some time off until my editor got back to me with the revisions for my third book, but instead I decided to draw a new comic book…because I’m crazy.
But also because I have so many different things that I do when I get sick of drawing I can paint, or write, or outline a novel. I can bop around to anything.
G33k-hq: Describe your typical work routine.
Russell: I’m up at 6am. I update the website, check emails, push out content, then I work on either writing or drawing until 10am, when I break to do other things. Then I come back from about 2-4 to do social media. By that time I’m drained until the next day. Maybe I paint after that for a bit.
G33k-hq: What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?
Russell: I use Word to write. For drawing, I use sketch books for very rough character sketches, then I scan them into photoshop for finishing. I used to do 80-90% on the sketch book. Now I do 10-20% on the sketch book and 80-90% in photoshop.
G33k-hq: What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
Russell: People responding to my art. I love writing, but I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was a kid. The idea that people actually like my crappy drawings is the greatest thrill of my professional life.
G33k-hq: What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?
Russell: Gherkin Boy, because I drew and wrote everything from beginning to end. That people respond to that is very rewarding. I find them all rewarding in their own way though. Working with other artists on Ichabod and Katrina and being able to formulate a cohesive vision is incredibly rewarding in a different way.
Russell: Build an audience NOW. You’re not going to have a huge audience, maybe ever, but you have to grow it over time. You need to do small projects to get a good name for yourself, build and build until you have something that people will buy, and keep delivering so your fans can trust you. Put out a webcomic, do short stories, anything to find your fans.
G33k-hq: I hear you have a kickstarter coming soon. tell us a bit about it?
Russell: The book is Katrina Hates the Dead. We’ve been working on it since 2011. It’s completely done right now. All we’re trying to do is finance a print run. I think the most effective use of Kickstarter is as a preorder campaign. We also just delivered a book for our first Kickstarter, so not only is the book done, but you can confidently believe we’re going to deliver on our books as well.
The book is about a woman that gets sick of living during the Apocalypse so she sets out to Hell to confront the Devil and get some peace and quiet. It’s sacrilegious as heck. I’m going to Hell for it for SURE.
You can check out a preview @ www.wannabepress.com/katrina. We’re launching on September 8th. Anybody that donates at the book level ($20) on the first day will get the PDF and the first 10 inked pages of my new book How Not to Invade Earth. HNTIE won’t be out until late 2016, and the PDF won’t be sent out until October.
It was also drawn by the Juan Frigeri, who drew the Darth Maul book Son of Dathomir for Dark Horse among others. This was his first book though. It’s incredible art.
G33k-hq: What does geek mean to you?
Russell: The ability to love anything you want with relish and not have to worry about being judged. Whether you’re a star wars geeks, or a comics geek, or a sewing geek, or a football geek, you just love something so much that it becomes a part of you and you have to espouse that love everywhere.
Being geek is awesome!
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