While all books have some collaboration with editors, doing the artwork for The Prince of Artemis V was a different experience all together. In fact, I consider The Prince of Artemis V my first true collaboration.
Here’s why: My novels and short stories were all edited and editing is a type of collaboration. I’ve worked with different people to bring a book to market, but the difference is that the author always has the last say. On the same token, my first comic books—Faminelands, Lure and Out for Souls & Cookies—were created with Maria Masterson. She acted as my sounding board and editor. She helped me with selling my books and acted as my convention handler. Though she did all of that, as the writer and artist, I had the ultimate control.
However, working as the illustrator for The Prince of Artemis V, while I controlled the artwork, I was following the script, but most of all, I felt I had to honor the spirit of a beloved story with every panel.
I am very proud of the artwork and collaborating with Jennifer Brozek was a fantastic experience.
This collaboration came about after Jennifer Brozek approached me about a “graphic novel project” after we had some panels together at Norwescon. She had a script ready for The Prince of Artemis V and had been looking for an artist for some time.
There are many reasons this was an awesome collaboration, but I think one of the most important reasons is that long before I was on board, she already started thinking about the differences between the written medium of her short story and the visual media of a graphic novel and her script indicated that.
After reading her script, (and I agreed to do the project) I asked for the original story. She was great at listening to my concerns about pacing and took a few of suggestions where I wanted to put more aspects of the original story back into the graphic novel. There are also a few places in the backgrounds where I felt I was able to add some of my own ideas about the world such as Hedari Protein Puffs Cereal with a maze on the back of the box. It took me awhile to get the foundation artwork done since I had to get to know Jennifer’s characters, but once I was done with character and room sketches, I drew like a caffeine-fueled turbo-boosted artist.
The hardest part, honestly, was how petrified I felt when I sent in any artwork to Jennifer. I also got nervous speaking to Jennifer’s business manager. (Like many creative folks, I suffer from imposter syndrome at times.)
Still, this was a great experience. So great in fact--we will be collaborating again on another project, but more information about that later....
Next week, I'll be writing some tips for authors and artists who want to enter into a collaboration agreement.