Thursday, July 24, 2008

GOOF Interview - Artist for Penance: Trial of the Century

Gian Fernando was kind enough to allow us to subject himself to one of our interviews. The best part of these interviews is getting to know a little bit about the creators and who they are and how they work. GOOF is a very nice guy and based on his art could be more recognized name in the comic world in a couple of years. Medicine's lost could be our gain.

Jim: Who is Gian Fernando? What is your secret origin?
Gian: Well I'm a 29 year old artist based in the Philippines. I actually graduated from Med school a couple of years ago, but right after I passed the board exams I decided to take a year off to see if I could do anything about my dream of working in comics. I was always interested in stories as a kid, and I started reading a lot books, and my first dreams were of being a writer. I discovered comics when I started collecting the G.I.Joe series by Larry Hama and M.D. Bright and never looked back. Ever since those days I've been alternating between writing and drawing. I never had the time to do both and come up with my own comic until recently, and when I decided to be serious about the whole thing I thought I'd have a better chance breaking in as a artist.

Jim: Now the big question. GOOF? How did you end up calling yourself GOOF?
Gian/GOOF.: Ha, it's kind of dumb, but my initials are G-C-C-F, and since I was a kid I'd always sign my drawings with them (I'd sign it all over the place actually, school books, carve 'em into my desks, etc). I realized early on that close together they looked a lot like GOOF. and I've been using it ever since. (so that's GOOF. with the "." - the period's important, otherwise it's just silly, heh).

Jim: How did you end up with this job? Is this a labor of love, paying job or both?
Gian: In the year I took off from med, I just started drawing, something I didn't have a lot of time to do in college and med school as you can imagine. I managed to do a 12-page ashcan with a friend for a local comic con, and then my own 12-page comic for a Neil Gaiman sponsored contest (which I lost...heh), but finishing each one (the first sequential pages I had ever done) encouraged me and I started to think I might actually have a shot. So 1 year turned into 2, and I completed my first submission to Marvel, and a bunch of other companies, there was some interest from another small company that didn't really go anywhere, but Sean O' Reilly at Arcana seemed ready to offer me a project and after a couple of sample pages for Penance, I got the job :)

As for the second part of that question, it's a little bit of both actually, if you know what I mean :)
Jim: Did you do all of the art? The first three pages are in a very different stlye.
GOOF.: Funny you should notice that. When I first started, there was never any clear plan as to whether my pencils would be inked and how they would be colored. I was worried about it, but just went and did my thing. By the time I was into the second issue, it was decided to go straight to colors, and when we got the first color samples back it was obvious my "sketchier" style just looked messy without inks. My fault really, I should have just kept it neat instead of hoping an inker could clean it up. So around halfway through the 2nd issue I adjusted my style and kept it clean and simple for the colorist. Then while doing the 3rd or 4th issue, I was asked to redo the first few pages of issue 1. If you compare the old and new versions, they're pretty much the same, just cleaned up. If I could I would redo the whole issue. Still some of those "messy" pages are some of my favorites.

Jim: Are you working from a full script or just a plot outline? I'm always curious as to how the pages are designed and laid out. The story telling was very good in this book, all yours or did the scripter give you direction?
Gian: Full script. Ryan Foley, who re-wrote the original script has to be given a lot of credit for that. His panel descriptions were very detailed and he had a lot of ideas for panel-to-panel and scene transitions. The designs and layouts were mostly mine, but they were pretty much dictated by the script.

Jim: What is your process in working on a book? Do you do thumbnails of the whole book first or jump in and do it page by page?
GOOF.: This is my first book, so my process was pretty much evolving throughout the project. I started by doing thumbnails for pages with the same scenes, but a made few mistakes when the story returns to that scene, and I realized I should have established something in an earlier page for the later pages to make sense. Sometimes not every single thing is pointed out in the script.

In the later issues I started thumbnails for the entire issue and then adjust as I go along.

Jim: Are you doing pencil and inks or is this being shot directly from the pencils?
Gian: I cannot ink at all...hehe. It's something I plan to work on as knowing how to ink my own work is essential to developing my pencils and my style. So pencils are scanned, I do some minor cleanup and adjustment with Photoshop, and email them off to EvE our colorist.

Jim: Did you have any input into character designs?
GOOF.: I actually designed or re-designed all of the characters based on some pretty detailed character descriptions. Most of the core characters had detailed bios, and original designs. I re-designed all of them to suit my style and tastes and to give them a more updated look. Some of the secondary characters and background characters I designed on my own. In fact the character designs are probably one of the things I'm most proud of.

Jim: What is your favorite part about this job?
Gian:I get a lot of satisfaction when I complete even just a batch of pages and even more so after each series (it lasts a while before I look back and see all the mistakes...heh). Aside from that the collaboration with the others was great too. I don't have a lot of friends who are still into comics, and even less who are into making comics, so it was fun to work with the team, even if it was just through emails and stuff. Still the best part was sitting alone working on my drawing table all those days and nights :)

Jim: What are your short term goals?
GOOF.: I really just want to keep on learning, build up as much experience and skill as I can. Hopefully I'll keep on finding projects to do, right now I'm doing 1 issue of Arcana's GAUZE, and dare I say I'm getting better with each issue. If I ever run out of work I'll have to go back to being Dr.GOOF but I would really rather NOT :) I think I may have another project with Arcana, so fingers crossed.

Jim: Would you like to work for the big two one day? If yes, what character would you want to do?
Gian: Definitely. I'm more of a Marvel fan more than anything, and my favorite character has always been the Silver Surfer, and I always considered myself a sci-fi/fantasy artist, which is pretty close to the Surfer's kind of stories, so I hope I get the chance someday to do that. And for better or worse, I've always been a fan of the X-Men books so...:)

Jim: Any dream projects where GOOF is writer/artist or just a dream job to illustrate?
GOOF.: Yeah, I've my own bunch of stories I love to do someday, Mostly sci-fi and fantasy. I'm a big Asimov/Tolkien fan. Basically my ongoing daydream is to do a lot of good indie work, eventually do the superhero thing with one or both of the big two, then go back to doing my own stories. When I'm feeling a bit pessimistic about the future I settle for skipping the whole superhero thing and going straight to creator-owned work.

Jim: Do you have a website for yourself?
Gian: Not really no, but if anyone's interested I have a comicspace page ( with links to some online galleries I have, or if you're lazy here's a link to one of them You can see the kind of stuff I wish I were doing, and my submissions as well.

Jim: Who would you name as artistic influences?
Gian:Lots. M.D. Bright was my first favorite artist, and the likes of Jim Lee quickly joined that list. When I got older I started to appreciate a lot of different artists styles. These days I wish I could draw like Hitch, Immonen, McNiven....and for the longest time Charest was and still is at the top of my list. I can't say my art is directly influenced by them, but they're pretty big inspiration.

Jim: What should we know next about Penance?
GOOF.: There's lot in store for Penance, and beyond the series there are plans to continue the story of this world that Sean Wise and Paul Gilligan created so stay tuned.

Gian thanks again for all your help and cooperation. I think we will see your name in a lot more books in the near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment