I spoke to Conner Bartel and Atagun Ilhan–two of the creators behind new comic Grimwood Crossing–about writing, drawing, working together and what it takes to produce an indie comic in 2016.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about your new comic, Grimwood Crossing. So just for people who don’t know much about the comic (yet!), could you maybe give a brief description of what the comic’s about?
C It’s about a large town in the Wild West named Grimwood Crossing, plus their resident monster hunter/ sheriff and his young apprentice.
Can I ask how you both came to be involved with the project?
C: I wrote the script and was searching for an artist. After having some bad luck I came across Atagun’s DeviantArt and it blew me away.
A: Haha thanks. We started off really quickly and happy!
So, what do you think have been the biggest challenges in terms of getting this first issue done? Has a lot changed from the first draft to the final product?
C: For me it was payment. Atagun is doing the hard labor and he deserves to be paid
A: İn terms of my progress with the illustrations: I think my time was tight and it was hard to keep up with doing both classes and comics together. I have also learned a lot about phases of drawing comics…I have found my style actually. That learning part was the biggest challenge for me.
Do you think comics writing/drawing differs from other work in the sense that it really is a collaboration between two or more people?
C: Well comics is one of the only visual storytelling mediums where just two people can bust out a complete work. With that comes a more intimate collaboration.
So you both think it’s important to find an artist/writer who “gets” you?
A: Yes, but I think that it’s hard to find, actually. Two people educated in different art forms combining talents is something new and gorgeous I think.Especially in graphic novels. Teamwork is the first thing we need. After that, hard work and believing in the story.
C: For sure. It’s important for writers to not get bogged down I describing every little detail. Because you have to let the artist put his stamp on it. Some people have told me that I should add more detail to my scripts. But no one talks about lack of detail in the book itself. That’s because Atagun gets the story and does storytelling of his own to complete the vision.
So with this kind of book in particular, are details important to you, even if they’re not in the script?
C: Well I put the essential details in there. I laid out details for [Atagun] plenty of times. But if I tell Atagun everything that’s happening in the background instead of letting him go crazy, then he’s following orders and not creating art. But some things are essential and must be explained. The map layout is very important. Character expressions are laid out. Important elements in the room/ stage. That sort of thing.
A: Yes, for sure. Symbols in the background, characters’ appearances (scars,clothes etc.),special objects etc. are all important details.
Do you think it’s a good time to be an Indie comic creator?
A: Yes I think so. We’ve been seeing that in the film industry for around 10 years.Now, viewers mostly go for movies which come from comics and graphic novels.
Now that the first issue is finished, what are you most excited about in terms of the second issue? What are the plans for the future?
C: Well I’m excited for the character development and the ending. There are lots of good character moments and interactions. You will know everyone much more this time around. And the ending is really fun!
A: We are going to find out more about our villain.And last page will be stunning–can’t wait to draw it!
Thank you to Conner and Atagun for taking the time to talk with me. For more information on Grimwood Crossing, you can check out the comic’s Twitter account and Facebook page. The first issue is currently available to buy on Amazon Kindle.