Ghostboy Q&A With Jason James – Part 2

This final part of my Q & A with Jason James of Ghostboy – Part 1 can be found here.

Remember to check out Ghostboy

We finished yesterday with “..and the rest is history” with Jason getting into digital comics – let’s look at the history!

 

  • How has working with Robot Media been?
Working with Robot Media has always been a great experience, right from the very start.  There has been so much that I have learnt, as both an artist and writer.  They have been very supportive and inspirational as a publisher.

Writing and developing the interactive children’s book, was an amazing experience.  The book, was co-written by Robot Media’s CEO, Hermes Pique.

  • How did Ghostboy orginally come about?
It was early 2009, and I had been going through some old sketches.  I found one that I had done whilst on a lunch break, when I worked at a design studio.  The sketch was of a kid with an over-sized head, which looked like an American football with ears.  The sketch was done back in 2006, so it took a good three years before anything came of it.  That’s how things happen sometimes:  You get a spark of  inspiration, sketch it or write it down, and then, it wont be until, months or years later you do something with it.

Anyway, I took the sketch and played around with the character, trying to give him a personality.  I spent a good few weeks messing around, where he went through some big changes.  The shape of his head being the most notable change.

Whilst I worked on the character I did have a rough idea in the back of my mind, about who he was and what I wanted to do with him.  Although a rough idea, it gave me something to work to.

… Eventually I ended up with a character I was happy with.  I then, gave him the name, Tristan.  I don’t have any particular reason for calling him, Tristan, I just liked the sound of it.

I then, fleshed out a story, with the intention of putting it into print as an illustrated children’s book.  In regards to the narrative, and the world, I have drawn inspiration from my experiences as a former Paranormal Investigator and fascination with hunting’s.  The visual style is influenced by the German Expressionist Films of the 1920’s and the Hammer Films of the 40’s and 50’s.  I also liked the idea of having this cartoon-esque character living within a dark, haunting environment.

  • What drew you to work on the Kindle?
It was the Spring of 2011, when Hermes, my editor approached me with the question: How did I feel about creating the First Interactive Children’s Book for the Amazon Kindle, and base the story on the mobile device comic.  I thought It would be a great idea, so we put together a treatment, which was then sent over to Amazon.  They loved the concept, and we were given the Green Light to move forward.  And that’s where the irony comes in: ghostboy was originally intended as an illustrated children’s book; only this was to be in a digital format, and had the involvement of one of the biggest online companies in the world.

With the Kindle keyboard having a monochrome screen, ghostboy’s art seemed to fit the Kindle like a glove.  It was the perfect marriage of technology and art.

  • Do you have any sales numbers yet? 🙂
Now, that would be telling! : )
  • Do you know when it will be available in the UK?
There is a simple answer to that, NO!  I wish I did.  As soon as I know, I will let you know.  It all comes down to when Amazon make Active Content available here in the UK.
  • Where is Ghostboy moving forward?
I have a number of exciting things planned for ghostboy.

I see the past two years working on ghostboy, as my sketchbook years.  Now, I’m ready to take ghostboy forward in a more focused and meaningful direction.  I have the comic, and I have the interactive children’s book.  The next step is to create ghostboy|inter@ctive, and I have plans to adapt the mobile device comic into a printed format.

This next year, will see ghostboy grow, not only as a character, but as a brand.  I am excited, and I cannot wait to share the next part of my journey with you guys.

  • How did the Ghostboy interactive process go?
Ghostboy interactive ( ghostboy|inter@ctive ) is an idea I had back in 2010.  As, a creator, working in the digital comics industry, you have to keep up to speed with what’s going on in the world of technology and comics.  Technology changes at such a rapid rate, which has a knock-on effect to the content.  If you want to stand out from the crowd, then you need to create something different and unique.  And, this is what I plan to do with ghostboy|inter@ctive: create something unique and cutting-edge.

I had an idea in my head, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  So, I set about putting a written plan together, which included; a project treatment, a production schedule, and budget.  The first draft was a basic skeleton of the idea.  Since then, I have written three further drafts, with a forth being worked on as I write this interview.  This is the result of the market, it is time sensitive.

Until quiet recently, I had put the project on hold, due to my commitments to Ghostboy and the Nameless Grave.

Now, the project is again in motion, I have put together an amended production schedule, which commences in January 2012, with the second stage of development.  By development, I mean the pre-production stage of the project, to include; user interface concepts, layouts, colour swatches, navigation maps etc.  This will take around three months.  Then the production stage will begin; which is when, it’s all put together.

ghostboy|inter@ctive  is being crowd-funded, which allows me to maintain complete creative control of the project.

  • How has the reception been to Ghostboy Interactive?
INCREDIBLE!  Absolutely INCREDIBLE!

The reach that twitter and facebook can provide, is so valuable.  Especially to artists like myself.  These social networks have enabled me to reach out to a global audience at the click of a button.  The support I have had from people is phenomenal.  I am so grateful to all my twitter and facebook followers who are showing their belief in my projects.

As I mentioned before, ghostboy|inter@ctive is being completely crowd-funded.  This means that members of the public can donate an X amount of money, in return for rewards.  The more the public donate, the higher the reward.  Again, I haven’t had the time to put one-hundred percent into this recently.  I will however, be doing a three week crowd-funding promotion, commencing towards the end of January.

  • How is the funding going?
The funding for ghostboy|inter@ctive is doing okay.  I haven’t put much effort into promoting the funding side of things recently, due to my schedule.  Setting up a good funding proposal and then keeping the momentum of the funding stage to its maximum potential is hard work and requires 110 percent attention.  So I am waiting until early 2012, when will be approaching dedicated crowd-funding sites to help obtain the funding needed.
  • Where do you see digital comics going?
In the past two years digital comics have come a long way.  As technology gets more advanced, so too will the comic.  There will not only be transition options and effects, the reader will also be able to interact with characters and locations within the comics.  This is evident in some books, that are available on mobile devices and smart-phones.  I believe this kind of interactivity will find its way into the comic market also.

The digital platform opens up a whole new world, creating many opportunities, and allows for huge amounts of creativity and innovation.

  • What are your likes/dislikes about digital comics?
There is only one small thing, that I’m not so keen on, regarding digital comics, and that is the blurred image you get when zooming in to panels during the transitions.  It may seem petty, but that’s just my opinion.  I do respect the file-size issues, but I wanna see crisp sharp, rich artwork.  Even when zoomed in to a face, or expression.

Now for the likes.  Well, I must say when I first discovered mobile device comics, two years ago, I did expect the market to grow in the way it has.  The colours you can get on an iPad or iPhone are stunning.  Perfect for comics.   I like the way that digital comics allow for the use of sound, and, on the Android devices; vibration.  It’s another way to experience a comic.  It doesn’t mean that they will take over, or replace the printed formats, like some people thought, or still think could happen.  I think that is nonsense.  Just like ebooks and printed books, there’s always going to be a market for both.

  • Is there anything you’d like to add?
There is one thing that I would like to add, before we end this interview, and that is: If you are starting out as a writer, artist or any other creative, stay focused and believe in yourself and your ideas.  Use technology to your advantage, but don’t dismiss traditional methods.  And remember dreams can come true if you believe.

Thank you for your time.

And there we go – an innovative title with a dedicated creator with vision. I hope you will checkout Ghostboy and donate to the interactive cause – I did!


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