Over the last few weeks I have written a few posts about different designers personal design projects and so was interested to see that Amanda Vlahakis from Truly Ace (great blog check it out) had just created her first self initiated comic strip. I asked Amanda if she would consider answering a few questions and happily she agreed:

Ruby Comic Strip illustration

1. What inspired you to create your Ruby Rainbow comic strip? Where did the idea come from?

I was inspired by meeting and getting to know a comic artist who showed me some different comic strips of extremely high quality by some great artists.

I have barely laid eyes on a comic outside of a gothic style (Marvel for instance) for a good 15 years and was impressed by the modern comic strips I had never really seen before, some of them are sheer brilliance. Then one day I was struck by a sudden urge to have a go at creating a comic strip myself.

That’s also how my business started – a sudden urge to offer a design service despite a complete absence of skill or experience (I’m self taught). So here I go again, doing things that I have no skills or experience in …just randomly, because I felt like it :-))

The character idea came to mind (pretty much instantly actually) because she is in fact a self mocking parody of my own character πŸ™‚ She could be called ‘Amanda Rainbow’, but it doesn’t rhyme. They do say you should write about what you know!

2. have you ever designed a comic strip before? What was your process from the idea in Your head to the finished comic strip?

No, never before. It never occurred to me to try one before I was shown the modern comics I’ve been admiring. The process went pretty much like this:

Step 1 – Think up character in my head, chuckle to myself about how funny she sounds (well, to me anyway).

Step 2 – Draw character properly all pretty like in the first box (image on my blog)

Step 3 – Quickly sketch badly drawn, barely readable storyboard like some some of crazed mad professor (image on my blog also)

Step 4 – Look at storyboard and feel like crying that you actually have to draw it all properly.

Step 5 – Draw it all properly over the course of a few days, whilst constantly changing your original planned scenes.

Step 6 – Sit back after a few days fevered drawing and go … oh I like that, and my wrist isn’t hurting AT ALL.

That was also the process for the second strip I’m half way through drawing up right now.

3. Is this the start of a regular comic strip?

I hope not because they take hours to draw and I’m not paid for it! (She says having fevered away at the second strip for the last few days). Errrm I can’t seem to stop myself right at the moment. I think I may come to my senses soon though and stop.

This image below is the first panel for the new story … soon you will find out what happens for the rest of her evening. Only the oldies amongst us will appreciate the bar name :-)) I know it clashes with the colour scheme, but I could not resist.

ruby comic

You can see the rest of the new comic strip here

4. Are there any other comic strip designers that you like and why?

I’ve only been shown a few, but I absolutely love Jamie Smart because his character ideas are extremely original (surely out of the mind of a madman actually), hilariously funny, and beautifully drawn.

Of course I must also mention what a great artist/writer Andy Fanton is, as he is the person that inspired me in the first place. Also if I don’t mention him, I think he might beat me. His most fabulous work (in my opinion) is to be found at the awe inspiring (and naughty) www.lordlikely.com

5. You say you haven’t done any personal projects for 5 years (she says tutting like a teacher), are there any other personal design projects you would like to do?

I literally haven’t the one I did five years ago was just one illustrated character. That’s it. It’s a good un though! (Feeble excuses).

If I had all the time in the world I’d like to do another comic strip, but a different character. I have also always wanted to write and illustrate a modern colourful children’s story book. I will probably do that one day and get a few printed, to gift to children in my family for instance.

6. Do you think the comic strip style might influence your freelance work?

Not likely. I design to meet business needs for my clients, very few businesses needs are met by designs that are ‘comic art’ or ‘comic strip’ influenced :-))