Tag Archives: Interviews

Creator Interview: Stref’

Stref’, aka Stephen White is an edinburgh based  illustrator and comic artist.  His first graphic novel ‘MILK+‘ was published in 2011 with his second book ‘Raising Amy‘ following hot on its heels at the end of the year.  To continue our investigations into the workings of local creators, we sent over some questions for Stref’ to answer…
For up to date info and an interesting insight into his artistic process please check out Stref’s blog.

What are you working on?

I have just finished drawing my latest graphic novel, ” X ” and have just had my first cartoon humour book published, ” RAISING AMY”.

Your graphic novel ‘MILK+’ used a variety of styles and settings, how important is it to your creative process that you be able to use a wide range of approaches?

I like to approach each project with a style that I feel best suits it.  I work on a wide variety of scripts and they demand very different visuals to work properly as individual projects.  Changing styles also constantly challenges me, but I realise that I have no distinguishable look to the body of my work…which could either be seen as a good or a bad thing!

You write, draw, ink, colour and letter your work- is this through necessity or do you like it that way?

It’s a bit of both…I couldn’t afford to pay someone to colour or letter for me…also I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to that stuff!

Is there any difficult stigma you have to put up with trying to make thoughtful comics in the science fiction genre?

I don’t think about that stuff…ideas come to me and I scribble them down regardless of whether people want to look at them or not…like cleaning the cobwebs out of your brain.  I switch styles as much as I switch genres-always trying to be thoughtful and funny-though not always succeeding!

What was the last comic you read and what did you think of it?

The last comic I read was CLiNT,which I enjoyed very much.

Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes?

Calvin and Hobbes.

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Creator Interview: Magda Boreysza

© Magda Boreysza
© Magda Boreysza

Magda Boreysza is a comic artist, animator and illustrator.  She divides her time between Edinburgh, Sweden and New Orleans.  Magda’s comic series ‘Toastycats’ is soon to reach its sixth issue, for more info check out Magda’s blog and website.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m putting together the 6th issue of Toastycats, which will have more pages and more colour than previous ones. I’m also developing ideas for graphic novels. I’m generating a lot of ideas in general, and trying to organize myself so as to actually get those projects done.

Some people feel that the word ‘comics’ comes with some unfortunate stigma they would rather be without and prefer terms such as ‘sequential art’ or narrative ‘illustration’- where do you stand on that debate?

I’m often hesitant to use the word ‘comic’ when I describe what I do to people who have little contact with the form. But I’m equally uncomfortable with ‘sequential art’ or ‘narrative illustration’. Those are incredibly dry terms and make comics sound like a total drag. So I do say comics. It’s short and it has a good ring to it. We need to use the word until it looses its association with comedy and funny papers.

Do you have a specific grand plan in mind for Toastycats or do you just work on it as and when it seems appropriate?

It’s certainly something that I plan to continue for a long time, and I would like to publish it more consistently than I do now. I think that it improves with each issue. When I first started, there was no plan at all. I didn’t think that there would be more than one issue. Then I made another one, and another… with each, I’m getting a better idea of what I want to do. There’s been a lot of experimentation, and some things worked while some didn’t. I think that I painted myself into a corner, somewhat, with The Seed, because it just keeps expanding and I feel like I need to continue it in each issue, when I would actually much prefer to have all the issues be self-contained. So, I’m contemplating whether I should remove The Seed and just publish it separately as a graphic novel.

I also try to improve the print quality. I think that I’ve hit a point at which it makes more sense to have Toastycats printed lithographically, which has given the whole endeavour a real boost. At some point I might start experimenting with the form a little more. We’ll see.

What was the last comic you read and what did you think of it?

I recently read ‘Laika’ by Nick Abadzis. It’s such a well crafted story, and very moving. I was floored.

Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes? Discuss

Both. They are both great.

Creator Interview: Malcy Duff

Excerpt from 'The Weather and The Weather Forecast' (c) Malcy Duff

Malcy Duff is a comix creator, artist and musician currently working from edinburgh.  We recently sent a few questions his way via email to catch up on what he is up to- enjoy!

If you want to find out more about Malcy’s past and future work please check out his blog.  His new comix ‘The Weather and The Weather Forecast’, ‘Faded Book Spine’, and ‘Writing Postcards in the Visitor Centre’ can all be obtained by emailing the contact details on his website

What are you working on at the moment?

I have this rule where by I don’t tell anyone the project I’m working on because if I do it will never get finished, so….

In the past you have exhibited your work in a gallery setting as well as through publications- where, if anywhere do you see your non-printed work developing in the future?

I’ve had an idea but again I better not say.


What degree of similarity is there between the way you create your music and your comics?
I think a massive degree.  I’ve often thought one way people could read my comix is as if they are music.  My favourite artists who work in a number of mediums, you can tell it’s them when you look at their art, whatever the medium.  Maybe they made a painting.  Then a bike wheel.  Then a remote control.  Then a cake.  And you know by looking at each piece of work that it’s them.  It’s hard to understand what it is about the work, but it’s definitely them.  These are intuitive emissions and shouldn’t be overanalyzed.  I think when you do overanalyze these things you can start to create parodies. I hope if you listen to my music you can hear, if you wish, the connections yourself.  The process is probably similar in the way that I form ideas and develop or improvise on top of them.  The major difference is that mostly I will work collaboratively on music and that changes things slightly.  Control is easier to lose when you work with someone else, and that’s a guid thing to lose.

What do you feel the differences are between comics and comix?
If you dig under the last letter of comix you will find some treasure.

Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes? Discuss

If you’re asking me to choose one I would choose Peanuts.  I have a nostalgia for Calvin and Hobbes but only because my brother read it when we were growing up and Calvin really reminds me of him.  I never really liked it very much.  I like pictures of snow so it coaxed me in sometimes, but the snow seemed to be the only thing I could relate to.  I’m looking at the light from this computer screen light up my hands and I can see all the wrinkles, crosses, pimples, lines going through my nails, jim henson rocks, wisps… clearly, all over my hands as they age.  There are 60s compilations of Peanuts with these really clunky Ben-Day dots for shading which they themselves become characters and abstract forms in the strips.  They make it look like the book has acne.  That’s why I choose Peanuts.

Gill Hatcher on Comics: “There’s Still So Much Unexplored Territory.”

We had a chat with Glasgow’s Gill Hatcher, cartoonist and co-creator of Team Girl Comic.  Here she discusses her work, her influences, and the state of comics today.

What kind of comics did you grow up reading?  What has most influenced your work, and what kind of work do you aspire to?


My first comic was DC Thomson’s Twinkle (“specially for little girls”), full of lovely stories about teddy bears and kittens. I then moved on to The Beano (The Bunty was way too boring), and when I discovered my local library had all the Tintin books they were all I wanted to read. And like everyone else in Scotland, The Broons and Oor Wullie annuals made an appearance every Christmas.

Although I mainly create short comic stories rather than strips, I’m influenced by Peanuts by Charles Schultz and Amy and Jordan by Mark Beyer: Schultz’s perfect simplicity and Beyer’s far from perfect attention to detail. I’m also a great admirer of Peter Bagge. A lot of my stories are influenced by wildlife, growing up and, if I’m being honest ‘The Sooty Show’- I still find a lot of things I laughed at as a kid funny today.
I guess I aspire to develop my own unique style- still working on that!

Continue reading Gill Hatcher on Comics: “There’s Still So Much Unexplored Territory.”

From Scotland to Japan – An Interview With Sean Michael Wilson

Sean Michael Wilson is a manga and comics writer who grew up in Edinburgh, and made the move to Japan where he has made it big in the manga world.  He is the writer of a number of successful manga including ‘Yakuza Moon’ and ‘Hagakure’.  He is the editor of the Harvey Award nominated anthology ‘AX: Alternative Manga’.  We got in touch to ask him about his experiences as an international writer and editor.  Here he discusses his work, and also announces a very exciting opportunity for Scotland based artists.  Read on!

What comics did you grow up reading, and what has influenced you work most?

Like most kids in Scotland and the rest of the UK I grew up reading comics as a matter of course. It was Whizzer and Chips and Victor, ones like that at the start. Then, like a whole generation, I got the 2000AD benders! It was 2000AD that plunged me into the deep well of comics that I am yet to crawl back out of. And I don’t want to, there are many great wonders in it. But I also quickly got into even more mature comics, like Warrior and Escape. Interest in Superheroes was only a short concern for me, because the more indie stuff seemed so much more vital and moving. Of course Alan Moore, and also Eddie Campbell, Grant Morrison, Harvey Pekar, Joe Sacco. This is nothing new but Moore has deeply influenced me, as with many others. Not so much that you can see it in my writing, but in the stance of wanting to do work that matters to you, that has a high level of sophistication. The love of the medium as an artistic form of expression and exploration. Cheers big Al!

What was the draw of Japan for a Scottish born comic creator?  How important is where you live and where you come from in making comics?

The draw of Japan is still a mystery to me in one way, although in another way it’s very simple: the lovely women! I came here with a Japanese girlfriend and settled. Apart from that I also thought it would be useful to be in Japan to make an effort to get into working in the manga industry. Which has proven to be the case, through giving it a good go in approaching editors and publishers here, and a bit of luck.  But I often need to make it clear that I’m not an expert in manga, or in fact such a big fan. That sounds odd coming from someone who lives in Japan, works with Japanese artists and publishers everyday, and is the editor of one of the most respected manga anthologies yet to come out (AX), but its true! I’m too busy actually getting on with MAKING my books to have time to become an expert about manga in general. Paul Gravett is an expert. Ryan Holmsberg (who did the Ax bio section for us) is an expert. The only area of manga I am knowledgable in is the gekiga type, the mature, indie style. And even that is mostly because the Ax Japan editor, Asakawa-san, has told me about it.

YAKUZA MOON manga edition, art by Michiru Morikawa

Continue reading From Scotland to Japan – An Interview With Sean Michael Wilson

War & Comics – An Interview With Rodge Glass.

Rodge Glass is the Glasgow based author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Dougie’s War, which deals with a Scottish soldier returning from Afghanistan who faces his own very personal battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  With his upcoming Edinburgh Book Festival discussion about War and Comics, I thought I’d catch up with him and discuss the making of Dougie’s War.

The cover of Dougie's War

Dougie’s War’ is your first graphic novel.  How did the project come about, and why did you decide to use the comics form?

Adrian Searle approached me with the idea. He is Head of Freight, a really smart graphic design company who have moved into publishing recently with Freight Books. Adrian gave me my first publication in 2004 and he’s supported my work ever since. He was working with various charities to build awareness of issues to do with PTSD and noticed that in my second novel, Hope for Newborns, the main characters were three generations of an army family where there was a great deal of inner mental conflict. In that book there was an unclear sense of who the goodies and the baddies were. Also, a struggle which was really more about the war after the war, rather than the war itself. So he asked me to write Dougie. At the time I’d just finished a huge draining project, Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography and wanted a complete change. Also, I wanted an excuse to read comics and throw myself into another world. I’m glad I did.

Continue reading War & Comics – An Interview With Rodge Glass.