WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
I be Leeann Hamilton and after some time of small and big press comics work, storyboarding, college and procrastination, I am currently making my own self-published works.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
My comic is called Finn and Fish, where a certain Irish Legend is turned on its head.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
It’s when good ideas get better as you draw them out, and you’re doing it in your own voice/style(?).
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
The fact that no-one else will make your stories for you and the sheer amount of (self-funded) dedication needed.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
I discovered them as a pre-schooler, via copies of the Dandy and Beano, but also comic annuals from the 70’s that my mother and my uncles owned as children, which have played a role in my style today.
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
There are so, so many but I’ll whittle them down to a few…
From those old annuals from the 70’s, John Geering. From more recent British comics, maybe Richard Elson and Jon Haward, as I was exposed to their work in Sonic the Comic. From manga – of which I’ve been influenced a LOT – Leiji Matsumoto and Mamoru Nagano for their wonderful universes and unique styles. And last but not least, Colleen Doran, for her beautiful realistic style and her determination in supporting comics creators. Whew!
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
Thanks to my exposure of manga, I often use a dip pen and G-Nibs with ink. I have however been making a long time transition to digital, thanks to Photoshop and more recently Paint Tool SAI.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
Maybe Finn and Fish so far – it’s garnered a small but enthusiastic fanbase and gotten me some exposure. It has yet to fail me as badly as my previous work!
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
You know what? Read any of the articles on Colleen Doran’s A Distant Soil website. Everything she’s written about reflected a certain crappy slump I was stuck in for years; but her articles have pulled me to my feet and enabled me to make Finn and Fish.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Anything that involves working for free or for pittance. NO, JUST NOOOOOO!!
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
We have a sweet little niche here, but I’d like to see a little more mainstream exposure and a fresh wave of new books, just to keep us interesting and connected.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I would like to see at least one dedicated native comic publisher spring up and completely dedicate itself to printing comics/graphic novels on a regular basis. And that we get more support for home grown talents, including more academic courses here for illustration and comic art.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
In general? Perhaps more girls creating graphic novels. Even if they are chick-lit, they’re bound to have an audience.
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Sorry if I get any haters for this, but the webcomic Homestuck – after reading it with a LOT of iron willed dedication! – is a stroke of genius. Not only is the story very complex but addictive and hilarious, the MUSIC is incredible too. Pity every other webcomic isn’t as well presented, in my opinion.
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START MAKING THEIR OWN COMICS? (And don’t say DON’T :) )
Alright then, hah! Be sure to have a good solid but great idea (of course!) and after you get your first book out, commit to it. No one else will make it for you after that initial passion wanes – if that’s the case, imbue your future work with even fresher ideas and keep LEARNING as you work.
And network with other creators too – I’ve found great art materials and a decently cheap printers by making connections, as well as meeting awesome people and fans.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
In comics, step outside the medium and look at fine art, books, music, movies and your social life to help you experiment and grow as you create your work.
In life – never short sell yourself!
Leeann Hamilton is a freelance comic artist based in County Meath. A former animation student and Rising Stars of Manga winner, she now self-publishes Finn and Fish in-between commissions and hosting talks and workshops about manga. Outside of comics, she enjoys travelling, fresh air, having more of her hair cut off and a glass of Baileys/plum wine every so often.