May 14th, 2020
Artist Madelyn Olson has recently created her first comic book - Soul In Sight. It seemed like the perfect natural growth for her work. Her pieces frequently featured her characters with word bubbles or thought bubbles to give more context to her work. This comic expands on that. Creating a fun and wicked story and expanding it further.
How long have you wanted to make your own comic?
Making a comic was actually never something that was heavily on my mind until about a year and a half ago when this idea first came to fruition. I got really into comics and graphic novels for a while and consumed them obsessively. Recently, it occurred to me that maybe the reason I was so bent on consuming them was because my brain was turning its gears towards creating one before I even knew it was happening!
Is this a story you’ve had in your mind for awhile?
Similarly to the other answer, it was about 1.5 years ago that this story first occurred to me! I had drawn a girl (as I always am) and remember somehow being very compelled to tell her story. It all came pouring out after that. Was very weird and kinda magical feeling.
How long have you been writing for?
In general, I've been writing for forever. It's been a hobby of mine since I was a kid. That's part of what was so exciting to me about combining my story-telling with my art.
What was your process for creating the comic?
I actually started drawing the comic on this big 11x17 pad of paper. The story really poured out at first. Then I stopped for a few months and when I eventually revisited it, I decided it might be worth trying to draw it on my iPad since I'd recently gotten into using the app Procreate. I figured with something like a comic it could really be useful/efficient and it definitely has been. It took me about 4 months to translate everything over to the iPad and then another month-ish to figure out printing and getting my website up.
Were there any challenges that you didn’t expect?
I think the biggest challenge was with printing but I might've been overcomplicating it. I've never gotten something printed in bulk like that, so I'm glad I understand how it works a little better now. Plus waves of inspiration are always challenging — those moments where I'm feeling uninspired and like I hate everything I've done thus far — but to be fair, that is not unexpected. Pretty typical for me actually.
How many will be in the series?
Right now I'm planning on 5! But I'm also the kind of person that is always just winging it and figuring it out as I go. The story as I have outlined right now should span between 4-6 issues. I think 5 sounds like a good number, though.
How many drafts did you make before the final?
For issue one, there was the sketched draft on paper and then the Procreate version. With doing it in Procreate, there aren't really 'drafts' for me, personally, since it's digital. My process is that I sketch up the page on layer one, go over darker and more precise in layer two and then add color + shading + etc in their own layers. Many of the layers I'll redo or tweak as I go. It's a weird process that is different from what I'm used to, but I think I'm getting the hang of it!
How long did the whole process take from the start to print?
From the very first draft of the comic to print, it took a year and some months.
Your work before usually had your characters with word bubbles. Now you’ve put it in a comic. Was that a natural progression?
It was! I've always been into telling stories with my art which is why I did use words + speech bubbles in a lot of my stuff - the earlier stuff especially. Then I became so interested in comics
and thought 'I can do this, too!' So I did.
Will you try to just write a book without art? Or are the two vital to each other in your work?
Not vital really! I definitely enjoy writing, but I give up on ideas a lot so I tend to write short stories more often. I think that's why the comic was a nice idea, because I knew the story wouldn't have to be super long and intricate and easy enough for others to consume, too. Sometimes I feel limited in having the art be a part of it because I really do enjoy using my words to describe things and get into details. With a comic I've been having to learn the skill of what to draw vs. what to write, and the skill of conveying things with fewer words.
What is your favourite comic series?
Oh jeez, this question is hard! I consume a lot of alternative comics/graphic novels than the more popular ones. I'm going to say my favorite comic artists instead. I LOVE Charles Burns (rec: Black Hole) and Tommi Parrish is great, too (rec: The Lie and How We Told It). I'm currently reading a graphic novel called Upgrade Soul by Ezra Claytan Daniels and it's AMAZING.