June Vigants writes for Bleeding Cool:
Today I got to sit down with comic artist/creator Corin Howell. Howell is a recent SCAD graduate (2013) and a former student of the Sean Murphy Apprenticeship, where she worked on Cafe Racer, described on Kickstarter as a comic "about a WW2 Japanese refugee who goes to England and gets caught up in the Cafe Racer community." Howell has worked with Viz media and has self-published mini comics such as "The Owl's Knight." She is in the process of launching her own webcomic titled "Brushes."
Corin: When I first started working on Brushes, it was actually a cute commission piece – not really like a character piece, my friend just asked me "Can you draw me this celebrity?" and so I started drawing it and realized that he was a little more cartoony and in the end the person got their commission. But at the end of it, I kept the cartoony-er version and went…y'know I'm really having a lot of fun drawing this character and then I've always loved father daughter stories and I started drawing him with this little girl and then I started using him in school projects and people kept saying "Can you please continue drawing him – he's so much fun!" And pretty much I started drawing it as a comedy.
But then didn't it start to take a more psychological thriller turn? I remember talking to you at Heroes Con and you were saying you love stories like Silence of the Lambs and stuff – so how did that element get weaved into it?
I was first writing the story, it was actually really difficult to figure out how to make this more interesting because I really wanted it to take a darker turn. I'm such a horror buff – I love the old EC (Eerie Creepy) comics, Creepshow, Nightmare on Elm Street, Dawn of the Dead, y'know – all of those movies and those stories and comics were always something I enjoyed and putting that into Brushes made it something more interesting then its original intention. And I've been working on it for three or four years now since I was a junior at SCAD and now we've pretty much gotten to the point where the whole rough draft of the script has been made and we're to the point where we're wondering what else we can do with it so now my editor, my friend really, she was my room mate at SCAD and should we make this a psychological thriller or a supernatural thriller – what can we do with this? The characters, Dimitri himself, the main character is going through a massive change. You know it's still him but he's growing up and his design is changing and the characters and stories are becoming so much more.
Definitely from the designs I've seen, it looks very involved. I really like that he has all of these tattoos and you've made a point to design all of his tattoos and I'm wondering: is he ever going to get more tattoos as the story evolves?
Pretty much- I'll give you a little tidbit here, the giant moth on his chest is a huge part of the story that's coming up. It actually used to be owls. The original point was it was going to be owls in the story but we deiced to change that and make it into butterflies and there's some kind of connection between the butterflies on his chest and the major story arc. So we're super excited to get more into the script and start production next year.
It was interesting – it was also kinda weird realizing I was the youngest person there, and also the only person who did digital artwork.
Yeah, I remember seeing you were the only person doing digital. Did being exposed to so many other artists who worked in a traditional method with ink – like Sean does, and so many other great artists – did that kind of affect the way you approach your digital work?
It did. It did actually quite a lot. When we were in production with the Owl's Knight, I realized there was no way I could do this in the same way I've been doing it for a long while. Since the apprenticeship my style has grown and I've gotten into doing more with brushes that I've gotten in photoshop but also working with traditional stuff and I've managed to take techniques and apply them to the digital form.
It's been a lot of fun – and I do a few things traditional here or there but I always try to apply it to my digital pages.
So what about the Owl's Knight? Was it written by you and Marissa [Mozek]?
Yes – she was my roommate and my editor for Brushes. She has a knack for editing. She had an internship for Archaia for a while and she's really good at telling me when something is good and when something isn't and how it could be improved, so she's become my editor for both these projects.
I curated the concept but when I was discussing it with Marissa she really started writing down the basis for the pages and the panels and layouts and pretty much it was left to me for laying down a clean script and doing the drawings. She helped with the major concepts and she really co-wrote the story. I couldn't have done it without her.
Is this a stand-alone piece or are you looking to do more with it?
This is actually going to be a stand-alone comic.
Are you going to post it online as a .pdf or something?
Yes, at some point. I'm planning on making a series of horror/thriller comics because I really want to branch out into that genre. It's so much fun. This is the first of I wanna say three right now. The next one deals with witches and demon cats.
Are you going to put all three stories in something together?
Possibly, I have all sorts of ideas. Pirates and mermaids and…there's so many ideas. If I end up wanting to make it all a giant book, I totally will.
Nice, nice. Now I know you did do a Bravest Warriors story, didn't you?
Yes I did. That was actually a lot of fun. The signing for that is Saturday at 2:00pm at the Viz media booth. They do a lot of short stories with Frederator and Hello Kitty and some stuff for kids. Doing stuff like that was interesting, I keep forgetting it's for kids.
Right, so you gotta kind of tone it down on the darker influences a little bit.
Yeah and it's not a problem for me to draw in a more simplistic style but there's times when I wanna take it further but I have to stick to the script but it's different and a lot of fun and Bravest Warriors is an awesome show it's just great to watch.
Did you ever do a Transformers comic or am I making that up? I see you drawing them a lot.
No I didn't; I really want to. At some point I really want to, it's up and down. Hopefully. I've been talking to IDW about a few projects and we'll see what pans out so cross your fingers.
One day I'll get to work on transformers.
Any final comments you want to add?
I'm working on stuff so keep an eye out!
And we will! You check up on Corin through her twitter @Rin237 and her portfolio website http://rin636.wix.com/rinpin
Pick up Cafe Racer at NYCC this weekend! And stop by the Bravest Warriors signing at the Viz media booth on Saturday at 2pm!