Thursday, May 2, 2013

Artist Interview!--Dana Moscariello and On The Bright Side

Not too long ago I reviewed a webcomic entitled On The Bright Side by Dana Moscariello. Recently I've had the pleasure of interviewing her about her comic and the process she goes through to create it.

Me: For how long have you been an artist?
DM: I'm not sure exactly what age I started, but my grandmother has my old drawings stored in a folder. They were mostly filled with crayon drawings of My Little Ponies and princesses surrounded by all kinds of flying animals. Even turtles and squirrels had wings. I barely remember drawing these so I must have been very young, and apparently I had quite the imagination.

Me: Did you go to school for art? What school did you attend?
DM: I went to a community college for graphic design. I had a handful of basic drawing and painting courses that helped me. One drawing class, I had a great instructor who I learned more about perspective and anatomy than from any other teacher I've had.

Me: What software do you use to create your comic?
DM: Inking is done by hand. But I use Photoshop CS5 mostly for coloring, toning, editing and lettering pages.

Me: I've noticed that your art has improved a lot while creating On The Bright Side. What has helped you?
DM: Thank you for noticing! Feedback from readers helps a great deal. When I get constructive criticism it's sometimes difficult seeing my own art from their point of view. After I step back from my drawings for a bit, they start to look a little awkward and I can't pinpoint why. Many of the comments I received were right, even though it took a while to see it for myself. Also drawing from real life has helped a bunch. Draw people and objects from real life! It helps a lot!

Me: Another question about On the Bright Side: the characters are very relatable. What inspired you to create Jacob and Kaylee?
DM: From what I have read, there are not many romantic comedies from a guy's point of view. Men are
usually confident and the women are shy and the ones who get cold feet. I created Jacob because there are guys like him who are more timid. I don't see many main characters in a romantic story like him. I've had friends who seem like they make friends wherever they go, which is where Kaylee comes from. She has a bit of my grandmother in her, always knows the right things to say to make someone feel better and give others encouragement. That's the kind of person I admire and the kind of person Jacob needs to break out of his shell. They are also both parts of myself. Jacob is shy like I am at times, he goes through some of the same situations and experiences the emotions as I've had. Kaylee is my optimistic side and has a touch of my goofiness.

Me: Many find it difficult to write and draw their comic at the same time. How do you balance out the two roles?
DM: It was especially difficult for me starting out since I'm not a natural writer and drawing was challenging for me. I still enjoyed both drawing and writing. After a lot of practice, drawing out scenes becomes second nature. Sometimes I will write while I am on my breaks at work and draw when I get home. Sometimes I will schedule a day, maybe a Saturday to focus on writing and scripting. Then Sunday I will draw out the thumbnails and adjust the dialogue as I need to.

Me: What types of stories would you like to create in the future?
DM: Future stories I would like to create will be very different from On the Bright Side. The next comic I want to work on is an action/fantasy type. I'd like to try other types like horror or action/adventure. I am also in process of making a short comic trying out a new style, no dialogue, and I plan to make in in full color. It should be interesting.

Me: When it comes to creating comics, do you have any goals?
DM: My main goal is to finish On the Bright Side. It'll be my longest comic, and it may be several more years before I complete it. Years ago, my goal was to get my comic as I saw it in my head down on paper. Now my goal is to share this story with as many people as I can. Many of the emotions I have experienced are in this comic and it's a great feeling to have others read, understand and be able to relate. I also want to try out drawing in other styles and different genres, and of course keep improving.

Me: To anyone who's starting out in creating their own comics, what advice would you give them?
DM: My advice is to research and learn as much as you can. It can be overwhelming at first because you're learning how to draw everything. Every object, each person and at all different angles. Practicing drawing people and objects in different angles will help. If you have ideas for your comic already written down, just jump into it and draw it out. You will learn along the way. Even if you love drawing, there may be some things that you will dislike drawing. For me it's backgrounds, but even backgrounds aren't so bad after a lot of practice. The toughest part of comic making is figuring out how and where to begin drawing it. Drawing two people in the same panel was challenging for me. After a while, you will get faster and it gets easier. Most people get discouraged from criticism and don't feel like they are improving fast enough. Take criticism with a grain of salt, and keep going. It can be a lot of work, but it should be fun too.
Thanks Dana for the interview!

If you would like to read her comic, check it out here.

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