The idea of the Issues with Perspective feature is to highlight a more in depth look at the creators who makes comics and the process behind the making of the issues/series. I am terrible at naming things (take the podcast Pages and Panels, holy shit I hate that name) but the idea is that you will get a better perspective of the issue/series by learning more about the process and the actual creator who made it (Issues with Perspective, get it? Nah). I hope with this feature readers will get a further look into the books they love and the amazing people who make them.
For the next installment of Issues with Perspective I was lucky enough to be joined by Ben Sears to talk about his upcoming comic Night Air out this May. Ben discuss the series, his process, influences and his duel process as a comic creator and drummer. Ben has been one of my favorite creators for a long time. He has a unique and striped down style and he is also the drummer in the amazing band Xerxes.
Below you will find the interview with Ben. A huge thanks to Ben for taking the time to talk about Night Air and his process. Be sure to pre-order Night Air at your local shop or online and pick it up in stores this May.
Ben Sears and Night Air
Who is Night Air? (Creative Team)
I write, draw, color, and letter everything.
What is Night Air?
A self contained treasure hunting story featuring the characters from the first Double+ comic.
When/Where/How can readers get Night Air?
You can pick up Night Air at any quality bookstore or comic shop. I'll be at TCAF, Linework, CAKE, and Heroes Con selling copies, as well.
What was a normal workday/writing session like for an issue of Night Air?
Every day was different. I'm always juggling freelance work with comics, so I'll work on one thing until I hit a natural stopping point or an impasse. Most days were spent drawing in the morning, going to work, then coming home at night and drawing or coloring until early in the morning. Not the healthiest work schedule.
What would you say was total time spent for your work on Night Air?
It's hard to say exactly, but I was spending almost every hour I was awake working on this comic. This was the longest comic I've ever made, and I had never colored anything over 8 pages, so I spent a lot of time trying different coloring techniques. The coloring ate up the most time, I think. I started in mid February of 2015 and wrapped up the second week of June.
What is your work space while working on the series?
I had an apartment with an office room while I was working on this, so pretty much everything was done in there. I just have a simple flat desk with my scanner, tv, and stereo receiver.
What are the tools/applications/research you used most in the creation of Night Air?
Paper, pencil, photoshop, manga studio, and a wacom intuos.
What is the situation that gets the most productivity out of you?
Having a clean desk, new music to listen to, no dishes in the sink, and a made bed puts me in the ideal headspace to work. I don't really subscribe to the idea that productivity is related to situation, though. I drew at least a dozen pages either behind the counter at work, or on a plane, or out at a coffee shop. I guess the situation is always ideal when you are operating on a deadline.
What media were you engaged with during the creation of Night Air (music/movies/books/games) that helped the creation process or that you just happened to be into at that time?
I was listening to a lot of Armando Travajoli, Piero Piccioni, and Ennio Morricone soundtracks while drawing this. Movies like Tower of Evil, Cat O Nine Tails, The Long Goodbye, Companeros, and Down By Law all had imagery that really stuck with me. Night Air is a comic for kids, so none of the plot stuff carried over.
For readers who enjoy Night Air what else would you suggest to them that they might enjoy that has a similar tone/style/message of your work?
It'd be nice if my comics read like a mix of Indiana Jones and The Rockford files. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I really like both of those.
What is something you learned about the series/yourself/comics from work on Night Air?
I learned that I can write, draw, and color a 50 page comic in two months if I have to. Having two Double+ comics under my belt made me more comfortable doing side stories set in the same world. I like the idea of doing a series of short stories that are connected to each big Double+ installment, but aren't reliant on it.
With Night Air being a longer more widely published work than most of your previous comics, whats been the biggest lesson you have learned from your start to now with the upcoming release of Night Air?
I learned a lot about the production side of comics. Just about everything I had done up until this was something I could print, fold, and staple myself. I'll be doing a lot more conventions this year to promote it, so I'm sure I'll be learning more about that as well.
Was there anything that you found particularly challenging or blocks you hit in the creation process? On the same note what was the most enjoyable part of your creation experience?
There would be some days when personal life stress would be debilitating, but I was on such a short deadline that I couldn't sulk around for too long. The work actually became a pretty good coping mechanism. The most enjoyable part was looking at a finished page and thinking to myself "Oh wow, this thing I did actually looks like a real comic!". When you're isolated all day with your mind focused on one thing, it's nice to step back and see that it's not just unreadable nonsense.
For anyone that does not know not only do you make great comics but you make some pretty amazing music as well. Is there anything that carries over from creating music to creating comics?
I used to not see many similarities. After I started developed a style, I've noticed a lot of simplification in both my drawing and drumming. It might not be as evident in Night Air, but I'm working on a sequel right now, as well as a new Xerxes LP, and I like to think both of them are very efficient. Flashiness is less attractive to me as I get older. You look at Ernie Bushmiller, Charles Schultz, or early Toriyama drawings, and they really aren't too different from the drumming in a Ramones song. I like the idea of conveying stories or ideas in short, simple bursts that aren't trying to be anything deeper than what they are.