This week, Loser City is unveiling a new column called Questionable Comics, wherein editor supreme Dan Hill and writer Ryan K. Lindsay survey other creators about their work, their process and the industry at large. Up first is Elsa Charretier, co-creator of the IDW miniseries The Infinite Loop and an incredible up-and-coming talent in comics.
What current projects are you working on?
I just finished working on The Infinite Loop, the mini-series Pierrick Colinet and I did at IDW Publishing. And right now, I’m working with George RR Martin and Lisa Tuttle on a graphic novel for Random House. It’s called Windhaven, and it’s an adaptation of a novel they wrote back in the ’70s. I’m having a really good time drawing this book!
Use one word to describe how you work.
What’s your workspace like?
I work digitally, so, pretty simple: my Cintiq is in a small desk in my living room. Since I’m working all day long, I thought it might be better to be in the biggest, nicest room of the house. And it’s closest to the kitchen 😉
What do you listen to when you work?
TV shows (basically all the Law and Order) mostly. Also, loud music, when I feel I’m about to fall asleep… But I have to admit I like silence because I can get distracted very easily.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Draw what feels natural to you, and not what you think is expected of you. Charlie Adlard gave me this advice when I was starting out and wasn’t sure I should go for the cartoony style I had been experimenting. And it’s really the best advice he could have given me. I switched from an almost realistic style to my actual style, and it felt way more natural.
How do you get into art mode?
If I want to be really efficient and fast, my mornings have to be organized, otherwise I just get lost in details and house stuff. So basically I wake up, work out, shower, eat. By then I’m super awake and ready to nail my work day.
Is your work paper or digital based?
I switched to digital last year, and it works very well for me. I’m faster, looser, and enjoying working even more.
What’s the one thing you wish you could improve about your work?
Well, there are lots of things I’d like to improve, but for now, the main thing I’m focusing on is getting even looser. I’m also focusing on shapes, making my the character poses be as charismatic and visual as possible.
When’s the best time to work?
Morning, and after 4:00 PM. I tend to feel sleepy during the afternoon.
Who do you consider to be inspirational creators in your field (classic and modern)?
I am, and have always been a great fan of animation. I didn’t know it back then, but all the Disney/Pixar movies I watched when I was a kid clearly shaped my actual style. I came to comics rather late and just started drawing three years ago, so I never went to an animation school. I didn’t have anyone to teach me the basics, so I learned how to draw by observing animated movies I liked, reading books about them… I know animation is not the same as comicbook storytelling, but in terms of pure drawing, movement, anatomy, it helped me a lot. So basically, I have tons and tons of inspirations. As for storytelling, I’m really in awe at Tim Sale’s work. He managed to create a unique kind of panel breakdown that perfectly fits his artwork. That’s what I’m aiming for, finding my own touch.