If you haven't followed our reviews for the second volume of Princeless then you're not only missing out on great reviews, but a great all-ages series as well. The second volume adds Emily C. Martin as the illustrator and it just recently wrapped. The trade is actually already available for the highly successful Action Lab series and so we took a moment to talk to Martin about her art, the series and what's to expect next. Dustin) I’ve often compared your style to anime/animation, but could you tell us in your own words what some of your influences are and how you developed your style?
Emily) I can't deny that anime and animation has a lot to do with my development of style. I spent many years of my youth thinking I was going to be an animator, but the freedom that creator-owned comics provides has been a lot more rewarding. My main influences come from the realms of manga, independent comics and European comics. I draw from an eclectic mix, from Tezuka's wide variety of work, Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita and Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma to J. O'Barr's The Crow, Wendy and Richard Pini's Elf Quest (I remember you calling that one quite well) to René Goscinny/Albert Uderzo's Asterix. I also think that Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes is a HUGE influence, since I saturated myself in those books since I was very young, and they taught me lot about comic storytelling and adaptability of style.
D) Were there any challenges in taking over as the main artist on Princeless, such as matching styles or character designs?
E) It was a little challenging, yes, however it was more helpful to have a jumping-off point than to start from scratch. Consistency of style is pretty important to me, since I did not want to deter readers with the sudden change, however my style is pretty different from that of M. Goodwin. I have a pretty elaborate style to my illustration, printmaking and "Otherkinds" work, so I think the biggest challenge was "simplifying" and streamlining the character designs so they read better on the comic page, and making them easier for the colorists to manage. Some of the designs are still evolving, but now that Vol. 2 is done, I feel that most of the main cast are pretty solid.
D) How has the fan base responded to your work on the series? And do you have any great fan stories?
E) We have had a really awesome fan response. Jeremy keeps better tabs on Princelesscomic.tumblr.com than I do, but I see a lot of great comments and contributions from fans. Jeremy also goes to more conventions, so he was lucky enough to find a Princeless cosplayer (http://princelesscomic.tumblr.com/post/52563179271/bedelia-smith-comes-to-heroescon) at Heroes Con. I will admit, when I found out about that, it brought a tear to my eye.
My favorite personal fan story comes from this year at Denver Comic Con (which is a fantastic convention, by the way). I was in line for coffee at the hotel, and a woman walked up to me and said, "My kids love Princeless!" I had never met her before, but she explained that she was one of the organizers of the convention's "Kids Corral" area, which is where we had our Princeless booth. It was a moment I will never forget, since it was the first time a stranger walked up to me and told me how much they appreciated my work. I still feel simultaneously humbled, grateful and motivated by the memory, and I really hope people continue to love the book!
D) What’s the thing you liked the most about working on the second volume of Princeless and will you be back for the third volume? (Please say that you will be)
E) I think issues 3 and 4 were my favorite part of working on volume 2. That, and some of the design work I did for the hunters and the wolf people. I really enjoy drawing action scenes, and monsters, so issues 2 and 3 were a lot of fun. And yes, I will be back for the next volume of Princeless. We are working on it now, and I will say: it is even more fun!
D) Do you have a favorite character in the series, one that you enjoy drawing more than the others?
E) Honestly, my favorite character to draw is Bedelia. I love drawing Adrienne too, but I don't have quite the range of exaggeration with her as I do with Bedelia. I also like drawing the wolf people, especially Kira. And then there's King Ashe. I don't know why I like drawing him so much... it might be because I can indulge in some pretty classic comic book design, i.e. gritted teeth and furrowed brows. I do enjoy his character too, and providing him a lot of pathos, since he is a bit of a complex antagonist.
What’s your process after you receive the script for the issue? How to do you go about breaking down the story visually so that you can bring the script to life and tell the story visually?
After Jeremy sends me a script file, I print it out and start making notes on it. Generally, Jeremy and I have a little bit of Q&A if necessary, and I draw very rough thumbnails and design doodles directly on the printout, as the images come to me while I am reading. Every so often, I'll do this on skype or in person, and I can show Jeremy my ideas in real-time--but usually this is a long, secluded and meditative process. These sketches are later modified into fully-fledged designs and thumbnails, which I then upload and send to Jeremy for approval. Adjustments are made if necessary, then I pencil and ink pages, scan them for processing and coloring, and then send them off to be lettered.
Anything else that you’re working on or that we should look forward to in the future either Princeless related or not?
I am working on a couple of side projects at the moment, one being my fledgeling webcomic, "Otherkinds," the other something that I am not ready to announce quite yet. I plan to have the complete first issue of "Otherkinds" available at A.P.E., and the comic online at the beginning of the month.
Other than that, work is well underway for the next volume of Princeless, this time featuring a new Princess, Angoisse the Middle Sister. I am pretty excited about this volume. So please stay tuned!
We'll definitely stay tuned to everything happening with Princeless and if you've yet to check out the series you can grab the first two volumes at your local comic shop or an online retailer. I'd like to thank Emily for taking the time to talk to us and will be looking forward to the third volume of Princeless. Also a special thank you to Jeremy Whitley for setting things up.