We thought we'd try something new on Creative Juices—a Q&A format.
Fablevisionary, Tami Wicinas, has been working for the better part of this year on her webcomic Wooden Rose. Here's what she had to say about it:
What inspired you to begin writing a web comic?
I have always enjoyed telling narratives through my illustrations. I had been toying with the idea of drawing a comic for a while, but my friend Martzi planted the idea for Wooden Rose. While wandering around San Francisco we joked about writing a Jane Austen style webcomic together and the idea stuck with me. The Victorian era is a visually beautiful and romantic historical period. I love it for its lavish dress and gothic settings, the repressed emotions and the manners and courtesy with which people addressed each other. I wondered why there were not more Victorian style comics out there and I thought it would be fun to make one myself. After that the story started coming to me. I began it in January and wrote in a kind of frenzy, thinking of little else for two months. Martzi was a huge help to me – serving as my advisor and editor and cheering me on along the way. Once I had the story mapped out the visuals came naturally.
Who are your influences (writers and artists)?
The only other Victorian webcomic I knew about was The Phoenix Requiem by Sarah Ellerton. It is so well done I could not help being influenced by it. I attempted to write my story in the style of a 19th century romance novel. Wooden Rose has a lot in common with Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, which I admit I used as a starting point, but I added some of my own fantastical plots twists. I also drew elements from old Irish folk and fairy tales, and probably some other stories that have become ingrained in my subconscious.
As for the artwork, I am largely influenced by art nouveau, specifically Alfonse Mucha. I think Japanese anime also plays a big role in my style – the flat outlined figures against the painterly backgrounds is a style contrast I borrowed from animation.
Describe your process. Are you writing as you go along, or do you already have the story mapped out?
The story is already completed. The first half of the script is polished and ready to be drawn, but the latter half is still very rough and needs more work. As I slowly work my way through new ideas come to me for the second half that I can add to it.
What tools are you using? Do you work on paper at all, or is everything digital?
Though my story is completed, I do not have it all storyboarded because I know that I will be making changes to the second half of the script. I plan out about three pages at a time. I sketch them out roughly by pencil to figure out the layout, composition and pacing of each page. Sketching by hand for me is faster and more natural than sketching on a computer. I then scan the sketches into photoshop to trace the outline and color.
Could you describe your approach to color? It seems to play a large role in setting the atmosphere and mood of the story.
I pick a dominant color for each scene and work my palette around that color. I try to keep the range of colors to a minimum, sometimes using a complimentary color and light and dark for contrast. I try to capture the dark moody atmosphere I like from the time period – the dark deep colors of the walls and wood of the old houses, lots of candle and firelight for the interiors and filtered forest light for the outdoor scenes.
How many chapters can we expect?
I do not know yet since the second half is not finalized and I do not have it all storyboarded. It completely depends on how much I add to the ending and how I decide to pace the scenes. My rough estimate is about 8 to 10 chapters total.
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You can read more about Tami's work on her blog.
And she's also on Twitter @tamiwicinas.