First Comics News: How was “Void Trip” created?
Plaid Klaus: Ryan and I worked together to create TURNCOAT. We had such a blast we discussed starting another project together. I had been drawing a lot of retro-futuristic 50s style space stuff. Ryan pitched me the idea, after seeing some of my sketches, of doing an “On the Road” style space hobo story. The concept grew and developed from there.
1st: Will you be drawing many aliens in “Void Trip” and how do you come up with their design?
Plaid: There are tons of background aliens, those I tend to design on the fly. Usually, I just play around with quickly scribbled forms and then when I tighten up the drawing I tell myself a little story about the character, where they’re in the location of the scene. Just enough of a background that the character has some life to it.
Another thing I’ll do is build a little history of a species in my mind and then I can draw several characters from that tribe throughout the story. So fans can try to spot the different clans if they are into that. With lead characters, I do a much more elaborate sketching phase before getting to the final page.
1st: What feature or body part best let people know this is an alien character in general when they see a random character?
Plaid: Think of all the animals you’ve seen in your life; there’s a range of forms that read as alive, but not necessarily human. Designing a character to look foreign isn’t the challenge, the challenge is how to balance the anthropomorphism of an alien. It needs to fit into a world where a human could co-exist, yet look foreign enough to feel truly alien. Star Trek aliens, at least in the early days, were just people with facial variations. I wanted the aliens to feel like other evolutionary branches on the tree of life that had evolved towards higher intelligence. The end result is these weird animal looking characters that also use varied cultural embellishments similar to what humans have developed.
1st: What personalities does your art bring out in Ana and Gabe?
Plaid: Well, the characters have a life of their own. I see myself just as a vessel bringing them alive on the page. Their fate has already been written and sealed by the time I’ve received the script. When I read through the story, the characters are already performing and acting in my head with their own life force. My goal is to try to capture those visuals like catching fireflies in a jar.
1st: In drawing Ana how does her clothing make her look to others?
Plaid: I can’t speak for others. Again, Anna dresses herself. As a creator, you download a character into your subconscious and then when you filter the scene in your mind. It’s as if the character had already gone shopping and made an outfit. You just have to be able to enter that creative space, step out of the way and record what’s there. Anna is the symbol for youth and the rebellious act of being free. She dresses however she feels like I guess.
1st: When you draw a froot what do you try to make them look like?
Plaid: I just drew a lot of fruit, searching for some exotic ones, and blended the forms and colors I came across. Ultimately, I narrowed it down to a small handful of froot types so they would quickly become recognizable.
1st: You have worked with Ryan O’Sullivan before on “Turncoat” how did that turnout?
Plaid: It’s a cult classic. We had a really fun web audience that turned out and supported a print version Kickstarter with over $31k backing.
1st: What is the “Glimmer Society” about?
Plaid: You should reach out to James Potter about that one, it’s his baby.
1st: Do you practice drawing every day and what do you draw?
Plaid: Yes. If I’m not sketching new characters and concepts then I’m practicing my weakest skill set with the intention to improve.
1st: Do you enjoy doing commissions, have you had any strange requests?
Plaid: Yeah. At a con, someone asked me to Draw She-Ra in a pinup pose taking off her underwear and I had to refuse. One of the unfortunate elements in the comic community is a misogynistic depiction of women. I think the industry as a whole had a case of fanboy neoteny for a long time. However, The tides are turning with new readers.
1st: From Marvel and DC which comic book would you most like to work on and why?
Plaid: Marvel: SILVER SURFER or GHOST RIDER. I’m into science fiction and occult stuff. I feel also the aesthetic of those two stories are very visually pleasing.
DC: Ryan has mentioned wanting to get his hands on LOBO and I know we could kill that series. FANTASTIC FOUR was the first comic I remember reading with my dad so that one would mean a lot for me.
1st: Which other artists do you admire?
Plaid: I like artists who bend reality, either through forms or color and rendering. Dali, Edgar Degas, Egon Schiele, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Claude Monet, Gustav Klimpt. Inthe comic world: Joe Mad, Gabriel Ba, Skottie Young, Daniel Warren Johnson, James Harren.
1st: How would your art look after you ate a froot and drew?
Plaid: That’s already my current methodology
1st: Would you like to say anything to those who enjoy your art?
Plaid: Live long and prosper and may the force be with you.