As you know, I love supporting projects on Kickstarter to help indie writers and artists bring their creations to life. Today, not only did I back a really exciting campaign, but I also got the chance to talk to the creator and ask a few questions of my own! Allow me to introduce you to “Velthaneus Issue 01” by the incredibly creative and talented, Ashley West.
Velthaneus is a beautifully drawn epic sci-fi adventure where the id, ego, and superego come to life. As best described on the campaign page:
It is a sci-fi comic with an homage to classic black and white manga interiors including quips of novella to complement energetic sequential art.
Thane, our main man, a prisoner fettered by the constraints of Terapin, a towering stronghold, dwells in the bottomless Karstian Cavern teeming with monstrous trogs. When he escapes purgatory with the power of raw id, the source of impulse within all verthians, will Thane liven up the streets of Karst with a new party trick, or lose his mind to the same destiny that swallowed the city nearly three decades prior.
Id. Ego. Superego. The trinity.
Being a huge fan of psychology, and also comics, I was already speed-clicking to pledge. I love the aspect of bringing something new and fresh into this industry, so seeing this concept, in addition to the gorgeous artwork, was definitely a must have for me. I got the chance to ask the storytelling artist some questions to get to know her, and her work, better too! Check out her answers:
Comics and Cashmere: On your video, you’ve mentioned that this is a project you’ve been working on for years. How did the original idea/concept come to be?
Ashley West: Drawing begets most of my ideas. I’ll draw a character in the act of something, and I’ll say, “Hey, that’s kinda fun. I wanna include this in the story, or I want to include a scenario where this has to take place! So, it kinda of gives life to the whole scene and what can happen before and after that initial idea. Now, plug that process into larger scale, that’s the way Velthaneus formed.
CC: I love the aspect of psychology and Freudian studies in this issue. What fascinates you about psychology to want to use it in your work?
AW: I first learned about the id, ego and super-ego in a psychology class. I was immediately intrigued. A metaphorical representation of the mind. A breeding ground for abstract thoughts and phantasmagoric imagery. All of it ended up meshing well with my manic drawing style.
CC: Your artwork is incredible! What are some of your earliest influences in art and comics/manga?
AW: My earliest influences would have to be Disney and Don Bluth films. They’re kind of shoved into your face as a kid, so it’s almost impossible not to be influenced by them. When video games in the early 2000’s like Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper and Ratchet and Clank came out, I was mesmerized by environments and character design. Any video game that were cel shaded was an instant attention grabber. My drawings are cel shaded wether through digital coloring or traditionally with graphite pencil. I also love the amount of attention given to the anatomy and environmental art design in European cartoons and anime.
CC: For those that are just beginning to dream about a future in graphic novels and comics, what advice could you give that you’ve learned along the way?
AW: Practice as much as you can. Set aside at least 30 minutes doing something that defuses the built up tension from drawing (because sometimes it’s just freakin’ frustrating). Draw from real life. Don’t draw what you think you know because, chances are, you don’t. Eventually, you can draw from memory, but it takes years to remember all the go-to poses. I’m totally still learning. I learn something new everyday. That’s the way it should be. It’s an itch you gotta scratch!
CC: What would you say the most exciting part about this process is?
AW: It’s exciting when I surprise myself. For example, I’ve got a scene in my head, and for months i’ll picture it to look a certain way. When it’s time to draw the scene, it can come out looking much different! It’s refreshing because I get to experience it almost like new again. Also, I love sharing each new page with everyone and hearing their feed back! Moreover, it’s just exciting in general, because I’m like, “Hey, all this planning, hard work, and trial and error is coming together and starting to look like a legit story!”
CC: And a fun question I love to ask to get to know you, if you could become any fictional character, who would it be and why?
AW: Any character, huh? I guess it would be Nico Robin from One Piece. 1) I mean, how cool would it be to disarm and smack ten thugs at once with dozens of hands? (She ate the flower flower fruit which gave her the ability to bloom clones of her hands anywhere she wants like flower petals.) 2) She’s a night owl, like me. 3) She does well alone. I’m a loner, and rather enjoy working alone or swimming through my day dreams uninterrupted. AND 4) Robin gets to be close to Franky and Franky’s my cartoon crush. To be on the Thousand Sunny, y’know close quarters and all. He might even show off his NIPPLE LIGHT SPECIAL!! PEW!!! Sigh, he’s so SUUUPER! *Hearts for eyes*
CC: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or your project?
AW: Ugh…IF you like big dudes with guns, shit eating grins, and harry pits, IF you like sexy, cartoons ladies with mech suits and cute sidekicks, IF you like grizzly monsters with big teeth and sickles for appendages, IF you like strange, Velthaneus belongs in your life!
Funding this project is allowing a mega talented storyteller to bring this issue to life, and helps bring indie comics to more readers! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this campaign and the future of Velthaneus! The perks are fantastic and range anywhere from just a dollar all the way up to $250 and more. Get your hands on a pdf or print copy, some signed original art, or even pencil commissions and panel artwork! This is definitely an opportunity you don’t want to miss, so jump on over to the campaign now and pledge!