Interviews with readers and creators

20

Aug 2014

Creator Spotlight: Aero Zero

Posted by / in Spotlight Interviews / 9 comments

Alright, this week’s Wednesday Spotlight is with my friend and fellow webcomicker Aero Zero, creator of the webcomic Kyria (which I’ll probably do a “Why I Read” review for one of these weeks).

D: Alright, Aero, tell us a bit about yourself.

A: I am a freelance artist who loves fantasy stories, RPGs, video games, monsters, and fantasy RPG video game stories about monsters! I like a lot of animated movies and when I was little, I wanted to write and illustrate books/stories with my own characters, so I’m pretty much where I predicted I would be.

The lizard bird man in the picture isn’t supposed to be my personal character. It’s actually Kotka, one of the characters from a comic I was trying to get going this year called Spathi. That story has nothing to do with Kyria, and is actually sci-fi fantasy, but I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to work on it. When money and time permits, I guess :> Everybody associates him with me because I use his picture as my all-purpose avatar.

D: Any particular reason why you use a pseudonym (and pseudo-avatar?) instead of your real life name and likeness?

A: Good question. The best answer I can give you right now is that I am trying to show my artwork as itself, without ‘the person behind the comic’ getting in the way of how people perceive my stories. There are many other factors, but I don’t want to elaborate. Perhaps in the future.

D: Tell us a bit about Kyria.

A: About KYRIA: My comic, Kyria, is a fun lighthearted fantasy story about adventurers who fight monsters and animal people in a lush, colorful world. I’ve always wanted to tell this story and I am fortunate enough to be able to have this opportunity to create what I love and share it with all kinds of people.

D: What are some of your artistic influences for Kyria?

A: The things that influence the people and landscapes I draw include cartoons from my childhood (Pokemon, Monster Rancher, Digimon) and games I’ve played/enjoyed (Final Fantasy X, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, etc.). Movies and animated films help me with landscape ideas, composition, lighting, and all kinds of technical things – I like to analyze what works and doesn’t work, which helps me with my own artwork.

D: How about for your characters?

A: The characters I make are not based on anyone I know. In fact, my main criteria for characters I create is to make people I’ve never seen in real life. That’s why there are a lot of animal people, I suppose! The situations and possibly the relationships in the comic, however, are probably partially influenced by things that have happened to me. Or things that maybe I wish would happen, haha.

D: Are you willing to pick favorites?

A: I’d say my favorite characters I’ve made are Mordecai, Xerxes, Osric, Stem and Skua. I like the Winged people a lot! There are sure to be more Winged and Demon people as the story goes on.

D: So did you go to school for art magic, or are you self taught? 

A: Haha, art magic. I have been taking classes for traditional art since high school. I went to college for traditional art and earned a BA in Illustration. I had a lot of figure drawing classes.

However, the digital coloring was pretty much self taught, as I had only taken a few basic classes in digital painting and Photoshop. Lighting/ color theory basics were taught in school, but I feel like I got way better at digital art as a whole outside of school.

D: How much time does it take to produce a page of Kyria?

A: Every week, I ink 3-5 pages and I color 2-3 (or more if time permits) pages. It takes me 2-3 days to get a few pages done. So technically I make way more pages than I post, so the buffer, as you can imagine, goes on until at least 3 months ahead of schedule. I’d like to post twice or three times a week, but I’d rather be safe in case I get sick or something unexpected happens.

D: What’s the best and worst things about producing a webcomic?

A: Best: You can pretty much make the story /characters whatever you want and show them to everyone. This power is good and bad, because for anything to be a quality product (in my opinion) the ideas could be better if tempered with a critical eye. So, you might not want to go with the first ideas you think of, since they are not usually the best ideas you can come up with. Although you totally could go with those first ideas, I mean, who is going to stop you? No one.

Worst: Having to advertise/sign up for reviews/ find the people who want to read your comic. Coding can sometimes be frustrating. Deciding on the name for the comic is also difficult, especially if it’s a longform story. Webcomics are a constant test of willpower – would you rather do this, or work on the comic? Do I want to continue working on the comic? Would I continue if no one read it? Questions like that are a special kind of evil which are actually just leading you away from productivity.

D: Any fun stories?

A: I have a lot of terrible, hilarious stories about school. Though I have some funny stories about games, I assume that not everyone will know what I’m talking about so I don’t really get a chance to tell those ones.

In school, one of the older teachers used to send kids to the counselor’s office all the time. Every week someone would get sent to the office for disrupting the class, or passing notes [not me, I was too shy/not inclined to do things that would get me in trouble]. There was this kid who used to say SCORE! real loud for no reason and finally one day the teacher went ‘Go SCORE with your counselor!!’ oh man, it was hilarious.

D: Any good advice for readers and/or creators of webcomics?

A: Creators: Please don’t beat yourself up if your art isn’t up to your standards. You have a few options if you aren’t as technically skilled as you’d like to be – teach yourself via tutorials, videos, whatever it takes and build upon what you know. Or, punch up the writing to compensate. Or find a way to be okay with what you’re making, if you’re doing it for fun! Though writing and art don’t really exist in a vacuum in comics, so be aware of your final product at all times.

Either be proud of the progress you’ve shown from beginning to latest page, or be willing to make everything look like it was supposed to fit together since the start. (The latter is infinitely more important if you’re printing your comic)

Tell the story you want to tell, with the characters you want to use. Because no one else will do it for you. (Except if you pay them.)

Don’t use colorless grey for shading. Unless it’s a greyscale comic!

Aim for visual clarity above all else. If people know what’s going on, you’ve succeeded in the ‘communicating’ part of the comic.

Consider painting backgrounds. Especially if your comic takes place in a special world of some sort, like fantasy, sci-fi, or post-apocalyptic. Don’t just tell us we’re in a special place, show us.

If you like Bleach, Rave Master, or some other anime/cartoon (or comic! Or webcomic!) with a distinct style, please consider not copying that style symbol-for-symbol. It’ll look like ‘the copycat’ to the people who recognize the style and you don’t want that. Stylization comes after you know what the structure is underneath, because you’re abbreviating it.

Readers: even if the art is the most prevalent part of the webcomic, consider commenting on the story. Sometimes a comment can make a creator’s day :>

To everyone: Remember, you can always edit.

D: Awesome, thanks so much for being willing share with all of us!  To everyone reading this, you can find all the links to Aero and to Kyria below :)

Where to find Aero Zero:
Twitter: @Aero_Zero
Tumblr: aero-zero.tumblr.com
Tumblr (Portfolio): aero-zero-art.tumblr.com
E-mail: [email protected]
Deviantart [may not update too often]: http://aero-zero-x.deviantart.com/
Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/aerozero/shop

This page isn’t complete yet, but here’s the link I’ll always use with my commission info:
http://aero-zero.tumblr.com/commissions

KYRIA links:
Smackjeeves: http://kyria.smackjeeves.com/
RSS feed for latest comic pages: http://kyria.smackjeeves.com/rss/
ComicFury: http://kyria.webcomic.ws/
Tapastic: http://tapastic.com/series/KYRIA
Comic-Rocket: https://www.comic-rocket.com/explore/kyria/
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/AeroZero

  • Haha, look at those silly responses.
    Now that I’m revamping Chapter 1 (AKA deleting 15 pages!) that last point is more important than ever. Edit as much as you can and tell few so it’ll look like that was always the intention.

  • Pingback: Chapter 4: Page 42 - A Good Brawl |()

  • Huge props on choosing to maintain as big a buffer as possible. Some crazy stuff can happen in life, and preparation like that shows you’re really thinking about your audience as much as you are your work.

  • Delta-v

    I wholeheartedly agree with your emphasis on telling the story. Even though your artwork is great, the story is what keeps me reading ,i>Kyria. It’s good to hear your other opinions, too–it gives me a greater appreciation for your work. :)

    • It’s the story that makes me go back and make changes most of the time, haha. I’m glad to hear that you read it, let alone like it :> Thanks, guy.

      • Delta-v

        I’ve been reading, liking, and voting, and now that i’ve finished the Archives, I’m planning on commenting, too. :)

  • Excellent artistic advice, Aero-Zero. And I didn’t know you had a Bachelor’s in illustration, but seeing just how skilled you are, it doesn’t surprise me one iota. I swear, just looking at your backgrounds makes me want to push myself even further. Of course, the story itself is also enjoyable. Mordecai is still my favorite character, but the rest of the cast is growing on me and the villains sure are entertaining to watch.

  • I absolutely love Kyria, so I am very glad to read this article. Great responses Aero!

  • Pingback: Why I Read: Kyria |()