We continue our conversation with Vivek!!..
Lets talk a little about the art itself. Can you share the process of your artwork with us?
Artwise, my style is somewhat dark as I work in a lot of darker tones and cross hatching. I mostly got influenced by the new school of art and American comic artists and have been improving my linework as per their influence. The legendary creator Sir Michael Turner is my mentor, although he is no longer between us but he has left a rich legacy for me to draw inspiration from
Ravanayan is going to be very different artistically as it is drawn in the western style of art, with heavy character and background details, a lot of dynamic angles and widescreen storytelling.
I draw on super white cartridge sheets with normal HB pencils. Since I don’t have an inker, I use a technique called as tight pencilling where I do pencils dark enough so that they can directly go for digital colouring.
I get monthly scripts from Vijayendra and I then read it thoroughly to get a clear picture of the complete chapter in my mind, then I sit down and start making thumbnails of each page thereby visualising each panel with the best possible angle and look so as to suit the scenario of the panel.(NOTE : There are endless possibilities of drawing/showing a visual in a panel but it becomes an artist’s duty to pick the best possible angle for every panel depending upon its requirement, we need to move our eyes like a camera so as to decide for either a long shot, a mid shot, a close up or an extreme close up again depending upon the story and page’s requirement, it takes time and practice to get better in it, the more you practice, the more u get experience and the better you become.
I then e mail the thumbnails to Vijayendra for his approval, I consider him my editor and most of the time take his approval over thumbnails so that his thinking gels with mine and happily do the changes he requests for some scenes and then when the thumbnail gets fully approved I proceed for the final pages (NOTE : It is again very important for an artist to work under editorial as it improves him a lot, 2 minds are always better than one resulting into better product.
When drawing totally on our own we often oversee our artistic weaknesses and do only what we want to do but working under editorial makes us draw things we never even imagined we could do when pushed which surprisingly we are capable of doing artistically through proper patience and dedication, it also reduces the chances of drawing the final panels again or any corrections.
When the pages are drawn, I then again show them to Mohanty for his final approval, the pages then go for digital colouring.
Do you use any references?
I hardly take any references nowdays, have been drawing for a very long time now, I mostly do stuff from memory but happily take references for objects and animals when required.
How long does it take to produce a comic page for you?
Depends upon the details and the no. of panels on a single page which again depends upon the requirements of the script and your own artistic limitations/experiences. It usually takes me 3-7 hours on a single page. I maintain a speed of drawing 1 page a day since I don’t cut on the detailing part.
Our last question to you Vivek: What do you feel about the current Indian comic scene.?
Very important and interesting question, I would love to answer that. Indian comic scene is very stable at the moment and we are witnessing a rise but at a very slow pace. The industry is highly disorganised, we need to understand that it’s a full circle, if we are to survive then we need to back each other up.
Comic making is a team effort and no single person can rule this world. People do not trust individuals here. Initial exploitations, family pressures, bad experiences and big ups/downs in careers make the freelance creators really picky. Lot of new ventures come and go, they start up with a lot of vigour, new writers and artists join them and gave their best but most of these ventures couldn’t keep up and were shut down. The work does not shows up and the creators lose their morals in the process, then follows the classic family pressure of securing a stable job and getting a house.
Mark my words, there is no shortage of talent here and we have the perfect people to compete with our western counterparts but this is a long race and requires a lot of patience and hardwork to be in mainstream comics. I have seen a lot of promising talent diverting into gaming, concept art and animation due to family responsibilities.
But coming back to the current scenario, it’s looking good, although we just have about 4-5 mainstream comic publishing houses in India and just about approx. 25 pencillers working into comics, it is still looking stable for now.
A lot of my peers have published internationally and the American comic market is noticing us. I personally feel that the market/readers have evolved, we need some new stuff now, something fresh, something detailed, we need quality product instead of quantity.
Thanks for your time Vivek. It was great chatting with you and getting a sneak peak into your creative process!