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Today I am interviewing the two members of the art team for Princeless Volume 3: Ted Brant and Rosy Higgins. Princeless Volume 3 is their first step into the comic book industry. Let’s see how they feel about their first official comic book project! I also interviewed the writer of Princeless Volume 3, Jeremy Whitley, which you can check out here.
Nicole D’Andria: As half of the art team for Princeless Volume 3, what specifically are you doing artwork-wise?
Ted Brandt: It’s funny, but we started out with these completely delineated roles that divided the work evenly; I would do the layouts, Rosy the pencils, I the inks, Rosy the colours, and then I would letter the pages and prep for print. It sounded clean in theory, but the reality hasn’t quite been that neat.
Rosy Higgins: So yeah, when it came round to actually doing the work, I’d look at Ted’s layouts, and I’d have to change the angle slightly, or change the layout a bit in order to set up a story point down the line. Or when it came to Ted doing the inks he’d notice that I hadn’t got the anatomy quite right (it happens far more often than it should probably; Ted is very diligent on that, which is really good for me). Ted helps with the blocking of colours as well. Really there’s very little that is only a job for one person, and that’s Ted doing the lettering. I’m not good at lettering.
Nicole: How did you become a part of Princeless?
Rosy: Honestly, I did very little, it was all Ted. He was the one who followed Jeremy and Princeless on Tumblr, and so he was the one who saw the post looking for artists to work on the current volume. He was very enthusiastic, all “WE SHOULD TRY OUT FOR THIS!” I had only briefly heard about Princeless from Ted. He was definitely the driving force behind us getting involved.
Ted: It was complete chance that I saw the post looking for a new artist/team. Of course we had to apply, even though I didn’t think we’d get that far in the process, as we had no professionally published work to our names. Happily, that didn’t seem to be a problem! The thing that really seemed to help was our willingness – in addition to sending samples of what we had already done, we were the only ones who requested a sample script to show what we could do with the Princeless characters. That gave us the edge we needed.
Nicole: How would you say your style differs from people who previously worked on Princeless?
Rosy: On a personal level, I’d say my work is more influenced by Western animation rather than actual comics or manga. I can’t really say anything for sure about previous artists influences, though, as I don’t really know them. I guess, that because of the animation influence, I’m less big on adding in the little details on things – for example, I’m really bad at remembering to put in the patterns on Adrienne’s armour. Funnily enough, it’s probably also the reason why I get so enthusiastic about designing the environments in the comics. I need to know where everything around them is going to be. I might be a little bit overzealous on that account.
Ted: For myself, I’ve been very conscious of a quote Comics Alliance said about the first volume, which was something along the lines of “the story Disney should have been telling for the last 20 years;” it stuck with me, and I’ve tried to make it feel like something they might have made.
Nicole: What do you like most about Princeless?
Ted: In general, it’s a lot of fun. In specific, it’s light-hearted adventuring with a strong message at the core. I love superhero books, but a lot of them are quite complex (not to conflate complexity with competency or, indeed, worth); it’s nice to have an adventure book that sticks to its core principles and just tells a straightforward, engaging story.
Rosy: I think what I like best is that it’s a story that really shows that no matter what the world around you tells you to be, you can just go out and be yourself. Plus you can be a hero and a female AND a complete dork at the same time; I don’t think I’ve seen a comic where a female lead pulls as many dumb expressions as in this volume of Princeless.
Nicole: What is your favorite part of the artistic process?
Ted: Finishing! I kid, I kid. It’s the collaboration; coming together with other people and building this incredible world where previously there was nothing but blank canvas. What’s not to love?
Rosy: My favourite part has to be when things are actually working. As anyone who has ever tried to do it seriously knows, art is hard. It’s frustrating and make you want to pull your hair out, but it’s also really rewarding. Particularly on the occasions when things just seems to click and everything is sunshine and daisies for a few hours. I also really enjoy being able to put in little details that just make me laugh, be it a daft expression or just accidentally turning something into a running gag that doesn’t really have any effect on the story but just gives me a bit of a giggle.
Nicole: Do you have a favorite character you like to draw?
Ted: In Princeless? I can’t say who just yet. He’s the villain of the volume. You’ll see why he’s my favourite to draw when we meet him.
Rosy: I was going to say the same as Ted, but honestly, most of the background guys are really fun to draw – because they’re not integral to the story in terms of being individual people, I can just go a bit crazy sometimes when designing them. In the first issue, for example there’s a guy covered in tattoos of fish. He was really fun to make up, though having to redraw the tattoos a few times got a bit overwhelming. There was a lot of fish!
Nicole: What other projects have you done and what are you currently working on?
Ted: Nothing yet, really – this is our first comics job since our graduation, so it’s all a bit new. Hopefully we should be working with Jeremy for a while yet, though.
Rosy: That’s not entirely true; this is our first comics job, but between us we’ve had a couple of really small illustration jobs for educational boards. Though, I have no idea if those things are even out in the world right now, so I don’t think we can really count them. This is our first proper step into the industry. It’s both nerve-wracking and very exciting.
Nicole: What advice do you have for aspiring comic book artists?
Ted: It’s all about work. I don’t just mean polishing your craft, though that’s vital. Start seeing the networking, the community-building and the maintaining of relationships as part of the work. They may not feel like it at the time, but they’ll be invaluable when you have something worth showing off.
Rosy: Listen to people who know what they’re talking about. During my time in university, I came across a couple of people who were so into their own way of doing things, their own “style,” that they weren’t open to learning. Arrogance kills growth. Arrogance kills opportunities, because no one wants to work with someone who won’t listen or compromise. Be humble, find motivation from your mistakes and learn from them. It’s the way forward.
Nicole: Thank you for your time Ted and Rosy! I’m looking forward to seeing Princeless Volume 3 in action. I previously interviewed the artist for Princeless Volume 2, Emily Martin. You can check out her interview here.