Image Comics: Believable settings are a vital part of comics storytelling. For you, as a storyteller, what are the most important marks to hit? How can you tell when something you've drawn feels real?
Simon Gane: It's less about it feeling real and more about it feeling lived-in. That it feels authentic within the visual world of the story. I'm always attracted to novels, movies, or comics where the setting is a character, and so try to treat these exteriors as such. It's trickier with geometric, modern buildings like this one, but an organic line quality can help, I hope.
IC: Process-wise, what lines are you laying down on the page first? Do you start with the figures, and build the space around them, or is it more of a case-by-case basis?
SG: Building the space around them is a pretty fair description for the most part. I'll usually start with the figures because they tend to be the main point, and then add props to show where they are or for decorative reasons. I'll pencil pretty tightly so that the inking is more relaxing, more about mark-making. Well, that's the theory, anyway!
IC: Visual continuity is important, but can be tricky. There's a nice effect on this page, where you set the stage with an establishing shot and then move in closer while still retaining a few notable features of the first shot—the pole covered in clutter, the gnarled trees, all the good stuff. How much of this is in the forefront of your mind while drawing? Is it a conscious effort, or simply the way the page has to be in order to feel real?
SG: Yeah, I love drawing all that stuff, luckily. It was required here because you've got the two groups of characters converging. They have to be grounded and we need to know where they are in relation to each other, so it's not the time to, say, drop out the background. It's a weird mixture. All the flyers were just a last minute way of bringing a bit of character to an otherwise boring ol' telegraph pole, so the continuity is something of a by-product. The speech balloons help the flow here too. Likewise the consistent color scheme, for that matter.
IC: You're working with Jordie Bellaire on colors, and this page is a pretty good example of what she does. What's your communication with her like on a page like this? Do you lay down rough colors, or is it all in her hands?
SG: Those bedroom scenes are beautifully colored and amongst my favorites, so I'm happy you should note them too. It's all Jordie. I'll provide some reference here and there but beyond that I'm hands-off. It's a luxury you have when your collaborator is an artist of her caliber.
IC: When depicting a real place, do you try to get things exactly how they are in real life, or are you looking more toward mood?
SG: I'm not going to pretend I'm not a bit obsessive about this side of things, but it is indeed a mixture of the two. As much as I enjoy trying to capture buildings, it's more about the crowds here. Everyone can relate to those whether they're familiar with the exact place or not.
From THEY'RE NOT LIKE US #9: