Interviews with readers and creators

16

Sep 2015

Creator Spotlight: Cyndi Foster and Jeramy Hobz

Posted by / in Spotlight Interviews / 6 comments

Today I’m happy to share an interview I conducted with Cyndi Foster and Jeramy Hobz, the creators of of Oops Comic Adventure, a cute family friendly comic.

Oops

 

D: Alright, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourselves and your project?

C: I’m Cyndi Foster, co-creator of Oops Comic Adventure with my husband Jeramy Hobz, the other better half of the creative force. We both work in tandem on Oops, with Jeramy knocking out the layouts, backgrounds, and more serious dramatic scenes, and I handle drawing the main characters, the cartoony scenes, writing, internet PR, and the self publishing business side. Jeramy and I met in college, 2004, and have been inseparable ever since. We went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where we both earned BS degrees in Animation.

Currently, we just have the one creative project together, Oops Comic Adventure. Jeramy has a few side projects, however, I’ve been glued to building Oops into a success. Our goal with Oops is to create a unique story that hopefully helps inspires kids into comics. We also try to deal with tough questions/heavy topics like what makes a family, and Oops figuring out where he belongs and who he is, as an individual. With these topics we hope kids and/or adults can draw their own conclusions from it and apply it in their own life.

Originally, Oops was the brainchild of my friend Justin Courtney and I coming up with possible ideas for an animated series we could launch on youtube. It was called Oops and Alchemy, and was about a mute accident prone apprentice and a flamboyant short fused Alchemist. Much like Disney’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice meets Animaniacs. However, animation is a heavy workload and eventually Justin had to leave the project. After that, Jeramy and I finally decided to unit our artistic abilities and work on a project together, that project being Oops. He brought the heart to the series, and spun it from being a slap stick animated series to a story driven comic series since comics is where his passions lie.

 

D: That’s so cool that you and your husband are able to work on this together!  What have been some of the best and worst parts of working on it together?

J: It’s all Pros on my side. The good thing about having a partner in any creative project is that you don’t have to hold up the whole thing. In my case, I am not the best at putting myself out there, and Cyndi can engage the audience way better than I can. Artistically, it also lets me go all out on creating scenes and fleshing out the world. The good thing about working with my wife is being able to turn around and get instant feedback.

The closest thing to a Con is just when we don’t agree on a story point, however that just shows we care about making Oops the best we can.

C: I’ll try my best not to echo what Jeramy says, but no guarantee. We’re at “disgustingly cute finishing each other’s sentences” levels of close.

In the 3 years we’ve been working on Oops together, there hasn’t been much negativity to it. The worst part is that it took us so long to finally think about working together, as cheesy as that might sound. We’re both artists, and we choose an industry where trying to go it alone is a lot to take on, and near impossible with day jobs and other responsibilities competing for time.

The best part of working together is definitely being able to rely on each other’s strengths. I rely on Jeramy’s strong sense of sequential composition, backgrounds, and inking. And in return, I handle adding energy to a page, characters, writing, and all internet stuff. There are times where we disagree on something story wise, however it never destroys what we have and the outcome is always for the best.

 

D: Are you able to do this full time, or what other jobs/careers are you pursuing?

J: Part time at the moment. The hope is that it can be our career in the future. We both juggle regular day jobs with drawing comics as a second. I’m also a freelance comic artist working, for a local publisher, and I have my own web comic called Seed (Radix Vita) that I try to get to as often as I can on top of working on Oops.

C: Oops is the career I’m currently trying to eke out for us. I work full time as an animator for a driver safety training company, then I also have an occasional freelance project that I squeeze in, and whatever time is left, I work on Oops.

Haha We might be workaholics. We’ve given up cable tv and video games for this career we love.

 

D: How goes the balance of working and finding time to produce your own comic?

J: Basically when I’m not at work… I am at home working. I love to draw and so it doesn’t really feel like work a lot of times. Or I am so used to it that I can’t really see myself not working. On occasion, I get burned out or my hand or eyes are just done, then I crash in front of the Netflix but only after I have earned it by getting enough work done to not feel guilty. But the hardest part is other people, friends and family that don’t see or hear from you enough. But that is kinda part of it too.

C: Hmmm… The balance is that about 9 hours of each weekday is spoken for, and the other hours in a day are for Oops and sleep gets what’s left. Even my lunch break at work is Oops time.

I second what Jeramy mentioned, finding time for friends and family is the biggest challenge, which maybe ironic since Oops is about friends/family. However, we do find time to play an occational board game with friends, and time for family over the holidays.

 

D: Tell me a bit more about Oops.  The con table pitch, if you would.

C: haha I see Jeramy left this one for me. Alright :cracks knuckles: I got this.

Oops is our medieval fantasy, about an orphaned street rat’s quest to find his family and where he belongs, in a very lonely and dangerous life. Things take a crazy turn when Oops steps in to save a small rat from death. A powerful magic awakens inside him that revives the rat, granting him size and speech, however such a spell comes at the cost of Oops’ own voice. Now muted with a talking rat companion, named Plague, they set out to find answers stemming from an old broken family crested watch lid serving as a clue to his past. However, his magical outburst hasn’t gone unnoticed and the feared King Hectric Tepper won’t show mercy even to a child…

 

D: Care to dive more into those themes you’re trying to convey?

J: The themes of Oops are friendship and family, or better yet, friendship IS family. There is also an underlying theme of redemption. For one character, in particular, of having their beliefs tested, how they handle that, and what happens when their core values are in opposition to their orders. But we haven’t got too far into that yet.

C: The concept of family is a very wide topic, and everyone has their own idea of what family is. In a way, our comic is Oops discovering “what is family?” So throughout the series, I try to explore different family types and let Oops figure it out for himself. I think a lot of people that come from troubled families/lack of family go through this journey too. Both the theme of family and the redemption themes are our internal dialogue in comic form. Both Jeramy and I are trying to answer these questions for ourselves as well.

 

D: Are you two working on any other story ideas for the future?

C: No.

J: Wait, I thought we had that other thing.

C: We’ll get to that after the last issue of Oops. Around issue 12. haha

 

D: What are your short and long term goals for Oops?

J: Goals for Oops- What she said

C: I got this. As far as goals for creating the series, I can’t see a difference between short and long term goals. Short term goals eventually get achieved and become a part of the long term goal. For example, we will complete at least 1 new issue a year, group it into volumes, print them into graphic novels, and reach a climactic ending at about issue 12. We’re even currently working with a colorist to color all of Oops. These creations goals aren’t hopes to achieve; they’re goals that will definitely be achieved. So instead, I’ll tell you about some other goals that we’re hoping we can achieve.

On the fun side, we hope to attend more conventions/shows with Oops and interact with comic enthusiast face to face. At conventions we offer free sketch cards to kids and get them to sketch one back, we hope to expand on that. Moving forward we’d love to do more school events to help encourage kids to draw and think about storytelling.

On the business side, our short term goals for Oops is to build an audience and become full time comic makers. That way we can put all our focus into achieving our long term goal, which is to polishing /editing the series to make it presentable for approaching publishers and landing that big time deal with a major publisher.

 

D: Cyndi, I know you’re pretty involved in the webcomic creator community.  How has that been?

C: I love it. Honestly, webcomic/comic creators are some of the craziest, most overworked, fun and supportive communities I’ve ever seen. It is added work to keep up with the different online communities, and even missing one day away from the community can knock you out of the loop a bit. It probably takes away more time from actually working on comics then I’d like to admit, however it’s well worth it, and networking is a part of being a comic maker. I’m currently a part of communities on Tapastic, Twitter, Deviant Art and a little bit on Reddit.

And not just webcomic communities, I also try to participate in fantasy communities and niche subjects that also pertain to Oops, for networking, storytelling tips/tricks, marketing purposes, and keeping up with what’s already out there.

 

D: What has the been the most difficult and the most rewarding things about producing Oops?

C: Hm, the most difficult thing for me at least is my spelling/grammar, and to keep bettering my art. I’m not the best when it comes to words, that’s why I communicate through drawings instead. However, very oddly enough and to the great rage of my grammar loving friend, I won the English Award in high school and not the Art Award.

The most rewarding part of making Oops are the reader interactions, seeing them in person at conventions, and that special unboxing of a new issue back from the printers. Nothing inspires me to create more than coming back home from a fun comic convention of meeting readers in person, or chatting with a reader online.

J: I am doing the work that is generally the part people hate doing, the backgrounds. The hard part of that is when its a wide shot of the city, or something like that. Lots of perspective and ruling things out. One of the interesting things about that is that depending on the shot or scene a panel can be a lot of work and struggle for one of us, while not the other. The most rewarding thing about that is seeing our work combined and being really happy with the result.

 

D: What are some lessons you’ve learned that you wish you would have known starting out?

C: The business side of comics; promoting, advertising, networking, how to be professional, printing, self-publishing, website analytic side of comics. If I knew all of that before starting, I’d probably know 10x’s more about it than I do now. haha

J: Art wise, I have learned so many tricks and methods to expedite the process. But more in general, I wish I would have gotten serious about producing comics at an earlier age. I was drawing comics my entire life, but every project was shelved or forgotten. I was 27 before I finished a full issue of anything or went to my first convention. Also I would have have started producing with Cyndi a lot sooner. I was making comics alone for a long time before we decided to work together on something.

 

D: If you could tell comic readers 1 thing about being a comic creator, what would it be?

C: Creators don’t choose to make comics to be famous, it takes years to achieve internet fame and fortune with comics. Creator make comics for the love of the craft, a story that needs to be told, and there’s nothing else they’d rather be doing with their time.

J: What she said.

 

D: Any final thoughts?

C: Being a webcomic creator is like documenting your artistic growth and posting it online each week . Aside from all the thought and story/layout planning to goes into each page, it’s also a glimpse at the artist’s current ability with the series as a portfolio of their growth as a whole. That’s really what makes webcomics special and great.

J: I don’t reply much, but I read almost every comment. She is better at having an online presence than me, but I am absolutely grateful for all the love and support we get for Oops. Thanks guys!

 

D: Thanks to you both for sharing, and I encourage readers to check out Oops and reach out to talk to the creators :D

  • Hey, cool! I know these guys. That means I’m famous now too, right?

    • By association, definitely ;)

    • What!? You haven’t achieved that yet?
      What hope do I have, if you haven’t?! ;D

  • Maikel Verkoelen

    Great read! Comic creators at heart, hard at work. :)

  • Thanks again for this awesome opportunity to share a piece of our crazy life as creators. I’m making sure I help spread the love by sharing your site across my different online profiles. Thank you! <3