I’m starting a new feature on my website called Artist Crush where I will interview an artist I love, and draw a Fan Art of them! I want to really engage with the other artists and have some interesting conversations about their art and the creative process.
My first Interview is with the Illustrator and Comic Artist Gabby Good, from Denver, Colorado. She has recently launched her webcomic Die Erste Leibe, which is a beautifully rendered dark tale of Love and War.
Hi Gabby, thanks again for letting me interview you. I’d love if you could start by telling us a little bit about yourself, and what got you interested in art.
My never ending love affair with art began when I first laid eyes on the strange animated style of Pokemon and Sailor Moon at 8 years old. I had been obsessed with American cartoons from the 1930s and up, but it was when I discovered Japanese Anime that I truly began my obsession with creating art. It’s literally all I do. In my free time I write and attempt to read and game when time allows. I study different mythologies and religions to incorporate into my world as well. My life is built around building my outrageous imaginary universe!
What is your preferred medium and why?
I actually don’t have a preferred medium! I love working in all sorts. I’ve dabbled in the ever so difficult mediums of oils, acrylics and pastels. I started with colored pencils and have a fondness for them. For the longest time digital was my choice until I started to realize I wasn’t growing with experimentation. After that I went with ballpoint pen, inks and pencils and have switched around a lot since. Ultimately I love to paint digitally since I have endless colors to blend and work with, but nothing replaces the feeling of putting the pen to paper and having that personal connection.
Growing up, who were your biggest artistic influences? Both in and outside of comics.
Sometimes I find this kind of awkward to admit. I was never big into comics until I got into TPB’s and graphic novels in my early twenties. But the comics that really inspired me were Sandman, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Tank Girl and of course lots of manga and anime as a teenager.
However my biggest influence was actually the video game series Final Fantasy. It was everything about it that inspired me to write the comic I’m currently making. From the story, to the art, to the music itself, FF is the main reason I write and create. Hayao Miyazaki is the reason I want to get into animation and make my own hand drawn films. Surprisingly enough, growing up in a very strict Christian household in turn influenced my work though not in a way most would expect.
Tell us more about your comic. Feel free to share as much or as little as you want to give away.
I won’t give away much, since this is just the very beginning of a very dark, convoluted series. But Die Erste Liebe is my attempt of showing a surreal world I’ve been building since I was 9. Despite my own personal protest, it is a love story, yet not the kind most people see. I do my best to show the very innocent love between the sweet,romantic Nephilim Makenshi, who dreams of becoming a hero of legend, and the cold, abrasive and extremely violent daughter of Death Night, who knows nothing of dreams or living a life of her own choosing.
I feel with most love stories the dynamics between male and female always seem to be the same, so I wanted to show the story mostly from Makenshi’s perspective and how he falls so madly for Night. He’s not meant to be a big macho hero or fall under typical male archetypes. He’s just a kid who’s literally found the girl of his dreams under horrendous circumstances. The development of their love is as sweet as sugar, but of course, there is a horrible price to pay for loving the child of a God, so don’t expect things to be happy for long.
The protagonists of Gabby’s comic, Night and Makenshi Gautheir
Art by Gabby Good
Who is your intended audience and why will they love your comic?
Fun fact, I don’t have an intended audience. Okay that’s not entirely true, but since this is my first endeavor, my main concern is proving to myself that I CAN do comics, that I can commit to this.
Outside of that selfish motive I suppose my audience will be geared towards the current female market that is hungry for comics where the women hold a greater stance than the men. My comic is filled with women of all types that are strong powerful figures that girls can admire and aspire to be. In all honesty, anyone who loves a deep convoluted story, absurd yet depth-filled characters and lots of violence will enjoy my comic. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those looking for the same troupes and same crap. Its for the reader who seeks something strange and unusual.
Art by Gabby Good
How did you come up with the title of your comic?
When writing this I wanted something simple since the love between the characters is that way. The First Love seemed to be the best choice for a fairytale, since it does depict these two children experiencing what could be known as love for the first time, but I figured in English it seemed pretty cheesy. So I went through a few different languages including, French, Japanese, Arabic, Russian and Latin before landing on German. It felt best, and although I don’t have German in my comic I like the way it rolls off the tongue. I like making my titles in different languages. I’ve found it certainly piques the interest of most.
Art by Gabby Good
What was your biggest struggle in creating and launching this comic? You had a set launch date, did any challenges stand in your way?
The biggest struggle in making this comic was myself. Back in August of 2014 when I first moved to Denver I had made a new commitment to improve my art and write again. I had just written the follow up story to this comic and had a few people read it with mixed reviews. Many also misconstrued a lot of my intentions, including the romance between Night and Makenshi. Upset at that, I set up in October to finally tell the tale I had been writing since I was a wee lass in a more proper format: a web comic.
I had no bloody clue what I was doing.
Ultimately frustration at myself and what I wasn’t able to draw was what really set me back. That and seeing my peers so far ahead of me was nerve wracking. A lot of times I had to take a step back and SEE what I had accomplished. In less than a month I wrote six scripts, in another I finalized concept art but when I got to my pages my self doubt crept up and I began to question all of my intentions and motivations. But through the assistance of the friends I made in the online web comic community and their constant support during my weakest moments allowed me to push forward with no regrets. Looking at it now I feel silly for ever doubting myself and what I know is good work, but as artists we are our own worst enemies.
Art by Gabby Good
I love how the color treatment in your comic compliments the dark themes. It is fundamentally a black and white comic, in which you very effectively use white space and flashes of color in the hair/eyes and blood on your characters. Did you plan this from the beginning or did the color treatment evolve as you were drawing concept art and characters?
Thank you~! This was something I had wanted to do for years but had no clue if it would fit the mood of the comic or anything initially. I was reading a lot of Frank Miller (obviously) when doing the initial concept art, and his mastery of black and white work really influenced my work as well. I wanted to capture the same use of negative space but give it a more paintery feel.
My attempts with cel-shading were far too time consuming and not fun at all, and traditional inking proved far too costly. But once I started to loosen up and not go for a more perfected look I began to enjoy my results. I wanted certain colors to really pop and help set the mood and create proper emotion, as well make certain characters stand out too. Adding those splashes of color for every characters personality is just so enjoyable to me since colors are very symbolic, especially with the eyes.
I think going this route has in turn allowed me to stand out amongst the crowd as well. I will never deny the obvious influences Miller has given me, (hell I hope one day I can shake his hand and tell him thanks) but I think I’ve been able to shape it in a way to make it my own. It’s a style I never thought I can do but now cannot live without. It’s so fun~!!
Art by Gabby Good
Where can people find you online? Feel free to include all your social networking and website links.
I’m pretty elusive however you can find me at the following from most active to least active :
My comic links~
Comic Fury: http://dieersteliebe.thecomicseries.com/