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. Â There has been so much that I have learnt, as both an artist and writer. Â They have been very supportive and inspirational as a publisher.
Writing and developing the interactive childrenâ€™s book, was an amazing experience. Â The book, was co-written by Robot Mediaâ€™s CEO, Hermes Pique.
- How did Ghostboy orginally come about?
It was early 2009, and I had been going through some old sketches. Â I found one that I had done whilst on a lunch break, when I worked at a design studio. Â The sketch was of a kid with an over-sized head, which looked like an American football with ears. Â The sketch was done back in 2006, so it took a good three years before anything came of it. Â Thatâ€™s how things happen sometimes: Â You get a spark of Â 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. Â I spent a good few weeks messing around, where he went through some big changes. Â 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. Â Although a rough idea, it gave me something to work to.
â€¦ Eventually I ended up with a character I was happy with. Â I then, gave him the name, Tristan. Â I donâ€™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 childrenâ€™s book. Â 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. Â The visual style is influenced by the German Expressionist Films of the 1920â€™s and the Hammer Films of the 40â€™s and 50â€™s. Â 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 Childrenâ€™s Book for the Amazon Kindle, and base the story on the mobile device comic. Â I thought It would be a great idea, so we put together a treatment, which was then sent over to Amazon. Â They loved the concept, and we were given the Green Light to move forward. Â And thatâ€™s where the irony comes in: ghostboy was originally intended as an illustrated childrenâ€™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, ghostboyâ€™s art seemed to fit the Kindle like a glove. Â 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! Â I wish I did. Â As soon as I know, I will let you know. Â 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. Â Now, Iâ€™m ready to take ghostboy forward in a more focused and meaningful direction. Â I have the comic, and I have the interactive childrenâ€™s book. Â 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. Â 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. Â As, a creator, working in the digital comics industry, you have to keep up to speed with whatâ€™s going on in the world of technology and comics. Â Technology changes at such a rapid rate, which has a knock-on effect to the content. Â If you want to stand out from the crowd, then you need to create something different and unique. Â 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. Â So, I set about putting a written plan together, which included; a project treatment, a production schedule, and budget. Â The first draft was a basic skeleton of the idea. Â Since then, I have written three further drafts, with a forth being worked on as I write this interview. Â 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. Â By development, I mean the pre-production stage of the project, to include; user interface concepts, layouts, colour swatches, navigation maps etc. Â This will take around three months. Â Then the production stage will begin; which is when, itâ€™s all put together.
ghostboy|inter@ctive Â is being crowd-funded, which allows me to maintain complete creative control of the project.
- How has the reception been to Ghostboy Interactive?
INCREDIBLE! Â Absolutely INCREDIBLE!
The reach that twitter and facebook can provide, is so valuable. Â Especially to artists like myself. Â These social networks have enabled me to reach out to a global audience at the click of a button. Â The support I have had from people is phenomenal. Â 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. Â This means that members of the public can donate an X amount of money, in return for rewards. Â The more the public donate, the higher the reward. Â Again, I havenâ€™t had the time to put one-hundred percent into this recently. Â 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. Â I havenâ€™t put much effort into promoting the funding side of things recently, due to my schedule. Â 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. Â 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. Â As technology gets more advanced, so too will the comic. Â There will not only be transition options and effects, the reader will also be able to interact with characters and locations within the comics. Â This is evident in some books, that are available on mobile devices and smart-phones. Â 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 Iâ€™m not so keen on, regarding digital comics, and that is the blurred image you get when zooming in to panels during the transitions. Â It may seem petty, but thatâ€™s just my opinion. Â I do respect the file-size issues, but I wanna see crisp sharp, rich artwork. Â Even when zoomed in to a face, or expression.
Now for the likes. Â 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. Â The colours you can get on an iPad or iPhone are stunning. Â Perfect for comics. Â Â I like the way that digital comics allow for the use of sound, and, on the Android devices; vibration. Â Itâ€™s another way to experience a comic. Â It doesnâ€™t mean that they will take over, or replace the printed formats, like some people thought, or still think could happen. Â I think that is nonsense. Â Just like ebooks and printed books, thereâ€™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. Â Use technology to your advantage, but donâ€™t dismiss traditional methods. Â 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!