Published on May 14th, 2015 | by Fee McBee0
Ten Questions With… Ted Brandt
The wonderful all-ages comic Princeless has returned with a brand new adventure story! Princeless: The Pirate Princess sees writer Jeremy Whitley collaborating with a new artistic team, Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt. Ted kindly agreed to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for Need to Consume.
You and Rosy Higgins are currently working with Jeremy Whitley on the new Princeless: The Pirate Princess series. How did that come about?
It was a lot of right-place-right-time, at least at first. Literally the same month we decided it was time to get serious about making comics, Jeremy posted on the Princeless tumblr that volume three would be delayed as the artist had been forced by personal circumstances to leave the book. He wasn’t explicitly calling for artists, but we decided to chance it anyway! We made it down to final selection, but we were the only ones to ask for script pages, so we could send some project-specific samples. That obviously tipped the balance, as not long after we were invited aboard!
From there, we all enjoyed working together, Princeless is a great idea, and both Rosy and I loved Raven specifically, so when Jeremy mentioned a spinoff, we were on board!
Sell us Princeless: The Pirate Princess in five words.
Badass lady pirates with agency.
How do you and Rosy work together? Talk us through your process.
It’s still very much an evolving process, really – we’ve only done 7 complete issues of comics together! We’re definitely still finding our feet, but I think we’re kind of getting there. I do layouts, Rosy pencils, I ink, Rosy colours, and I letter. It’s not quite that neat – Rosy helps fix some layouts, I tweak some anatomy, maybe help with some flatting when I can. But it’s a pretty neat process that allows us to get an efficient workflow going! (Theoretically.)
What is it like inking other people’s pencils? Is this something that you had done before?
I never had! We both met at university in Wrexham, studying Illustration for Graphic Novels; the course was designed to help you become the complete cartoonist, so most of us only ever worked solo, outside of maybe a couple jam sketches here and there. It’s been an odd transition to regularly inking someone else’s pencils, but I’m finding it to be a rewarding challenge. It forces you to let go of your own preconceptions of what things *ought* to look like, any doubt of how you would have done it, and just lose yourself in the flow.
As an inker, how much influence do you have on the overall look and feel of the book?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but in my case, definitely more influence than I realised inkers had. It’s all subtle, of course, I’m never contradicting the pencils. Rosy’s real strengths are body language and facial expression, so I do my best to enhance their impact without deviating too far from the original image. That said, I’d say having control of the layouts maybe gives me a little more control, as I get to do all the choreography, which is especially fun (and impactful) during fight scenes.
Do you work mostly digital or on paper and do you have a preference for one above the other?
Entirely digitally! Outside of con sketching and the occasional impulse, we both work exclusively digitally, on Wacom Cintiq Companions. I think we’re both definitely happier working this way, especially as it’s a collaborative work – it makes passing work backwards and forwards between stages incredibly easy. Plus I’ve become addicted to my undo button.
Are there any characters from any other publishers that you would particularly love to work on?
If I ever thought I could do him justice, it’d have to be Superman. I’m clearly not at the right point in my life, though, and not just from an experience point of view. I don’t know what it’s like for everyone else, but I can only draw a character and be happy when I really feel a moment of connection with them. I love Superman, but I’ve never felt that with him yet.
Are there any current comic book artists whose work you particularly admire?
Oh, Jesus, how long have you got? Stuart Immonen is my biggest influence and inspiration, and has been as long as I can remember. I’m slowly tracking down every creator-owned thing he’s done; what they show even more than his mainstream work is his phenomenal versatility. Cameron Stewart’s another; his sense of pacing, and incredible ability to capture people and places so acutely has always been a source of amazement. David Aja has possibly the smartest layouts in the business, as well as killer lines. Finally, just to keep it brief, Darwyn Cooke, Jamie McKelvie, Michael Lark, John Paul Leon – they’re all artists who completely own and exemplify the style they work in.
Do you have any plans for any creator-owned comics in the future?
Yes! I can’t go into specifics yet; not only do we not have a publisher, we don’t even have a full agreement on the specifics of the first arc. But Rosy and I definitely intend to get our own stuff out into the world over the next year or two. Why not, right?
Who is your favourite Ninja Turtle and why?
Tough call, as I know relatively little about the Turtles. If I’m going on the broad strokes I know about their characters, then probably Leo, for his unflinching loyalty and honour. Probably not Donatello, as I hear he does machines.
Many thanks to Ted for answering our questions! You can find him on Twitter @ten_bandits
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