RICH INTERVIEWS: Kelly Brown Illustrator for Woe Is Oz

First Comics News: Is your Dorthy at all like Dorthy from the original Oz?

Kelly Brown: When creating Dorothy (and the other well-known characters of oz), I wanted to keep some integrity to the original characters so that people could still recognize them. Our Dorothy looks a little more unstable and disturbed.

1st: Is the Tinman you draw as much a soldier as a woodsman and how do you bring his personality across?

Kelly: I enjoyed Ethan’s version of the Tinman. He’s a stronger more fierce version of the Tinman. So it made for some really fun character designs. I enjoyed making the Tinman a badass within oz, vs the softer woodsman Tinman.

1st: How do you illustrate the Emerald City of Oz?

Kelly: I took a lot of reference form the original emerald city but I chose softer greens for colors. That way our emerald city has its own character.

1st: What is a Winkie and how do you draw one to look?

Kelly: Winkies are the jaded servants of the Wicked Witch of the West. Most of them are taller, yellow, really mean looking. Semi-crazy at times.

1stWill your art bring out the beauty of Glinda and all her goodness?

Kelly: For the short time that I worked on Glinda, I tried to bring out as much goodness as I could. 

Ethan Answer: Yeah, Glinda in this first arc, is a bit preoccupied, this will make perfect sense as the series progresses. But for now, she is a noticeably missing presence (both in person and in the goodness she brought with her). 

1st: What is a Growleywog and how would you describe it’s appearance?

Kelly: In our story, Grolweywogs are really big, kind of lumbering creatures with arms that touch the floor.

1st: What other creatures do you get to illustrate in “Woe Is Oz”?

Kelly: I got to illustrate a Kalidah, a tiger infused bear. The concept alone made for some fun character designs.

Ethan Tarshish: Ha, yeah, there are a few splash pages that I felt so bad for Kelly. There was a flashback sequence that dealt with Ozma and basically had the whole land of Oz there, every quadrant, no matter how obscure the character, I felt really bad about doing that to Kelly, but it turned out really really beautiful.

1st: Why should people pick up the “Woe Is Oz: Adult Coloring Book”?

Kelly: Coloring books, in general, are therapeutic. Plus it would be cool to see how others could color Woe Is Oz. 

Ethan: Personally, I have always felt that the world of Oz naturally lends itself to the Adult coloring book trend that has taken off over the years. The world is so vibrant and intricate (especially with Kelly’s art), that we felt that it would be a natural fit for any fan of adult coloring books or comic books alike. Also, there are some never before released art that fans will get to try their hand at first before eventually seeing them released in future issues.

1st: Which character from “Woe Is Oz” are you most like?

Kelly: The Tinman. I imagine myself as an ax-toting badass. 

Ethan: As a writer, I think I most identify with Dorothy. Largely in the sense that she has just visited a magical world and now is tasked with trying to describe it in a way that makes sense to her, but makes her come off as a raving lunatic to others. This is seemingly the story of my life every time I engage in a new writing project.

1stWhere do you find your inspiration?

Kelly: All over the place. From a comic perspective, I’ve always had an admiration for Ryan Ottley’s comic book style. Ryan Ottley was one of the main pencilers for Image Comic’s “Invincible” series. I always loved how he would capture so much expression in his characters. I really felt like he truly owned his style. 

Ethan Answer: For me, in this series, it’s Kelly’s art. He is fantastic and really brings the story to life. For the story, it was a bunch of items largely taken from history, some of which has yet to be revealed in the series. But Kelly’s illustrations are truly inspiring, when I first saw his character designs on Dorothy and the Witch of the West, I knew this series was going to be something special. 

1st: What else have you been working on and will be in the future?

Kelly: I’ve been developing a character by the name of Rocky. Rocky is a torso character who controls her body with nanotechnology. I have a few comic book series and shorts that will involve her that I will be releasing pretty soon.

1stIf you could visit Oz would you and why?

Kelly: I would love to see a world filled with vibrant colors and creativity. I would like to visit a place that is surreal and not of this world.

1st: How do you spend most of your free time?

Kelly: Drawing and creating.

1st: What do you have to say to fans of your art?

Kelly: Your support is my creative fuel. 

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