Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Yasmin Liang Talks About Her Web Comic Saint's Way

What was the inspiration for creating Saint's Way?

Saint’s Way went through a lot of transformation when I first started brainstorming. It was about video games at one point and based in the future – just a lot of different ideas I couldn’t seem to settle on. The majority of my inspiration comes from just reading comics. After that comes gaming, TV shows, movies, music … the list goes on. I devour most anything.

Eventually though, what seemed to come up over and over again was that I wanted to read and make comics that reflected the diversity of people in my own life. I couldn't seem to find enough of this in mainstream comics or in any of my other interests.

Oh, and superheroes! I really wanted to write about superheroes.

At 55 pages, Saint's Way has one major mystery (Vivian Saint, her mother, and her somewhat anonymous father) as well as a few other mysteries that have sprung up in the background.  Do you meticulously plot out Saint's Way, or do you write it more organically and let these various mystery threads unravel without a strict outline?

A little of column A and a little of column B.

Saint’s Way has been plotted out from beginning to end but the script doesn’t go from beginning to end just yet. That mystery and more will be solved eventually! I write a few pages ahead of myself drawing them (which means, I have months to rewrite if I want to).

I have gone so far as to draw out timelines of each character’s story on transparent paper, so I can lay them on top of each other and see where they intersect. It helped me figure out a lot of the story and things that didn’t work for whatever reason. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take a picture of it and it got thrown away accidentally!

How long do you ultimately think Saint's Way will be?  Do you have a pretty good idea of what the endgame for the series will be?

I have resigned myself to the idea that I will be drawing Saint’s Way for years to come. If my track record of hiatuses and updates are any indication, anyway. There’s still so much story I want to tell and I refuse to rush it for the sake of getting through the story quicker and finishing it. I see the page count numbering in the hundreds eventually.

Do you conceive Saint's Way as one long form  graphic novel, published one page at a time, or do you think it could theoretically be published in single issues?

Originally, Saint’s Way was going to be published and printed to be sold at conventions or online but the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. It’s online, it’s free and people are reading it so why bother? This is essentially why there’s a part of the comic that ends a bit like a chapter – since that was going to be the first issue of the series. It’s not like a comic book series with characters tackling different storylines though every couple of months. There’s only one big storyline to follow here, so I suppose a graphic novel would be the best way to describe it.

Something that I particularly liked about Saint's Way was the designs of the characters, their clothes, and the backgrounds, such as the United Heroes headquarters which is this Olympus-like place.  How do you feel about design in relation to building the world of Saint's Way, and comics in general?

I won’t lie, I struggled with the United Heroes headquarters because I wanted to convey a certain atmosphere but also did had some pretty unfortunate time constraints at the time that didn’t let me draw everything I wanted. It’s pretty plain at the moment!

The most time I’ve spent on design has been with the characters themselves. Function and reasoning concerning costume design and appearance is extremely important to me. Vivian’s little hat and the Citizen III’s gold decorations have their own back-stories  A lot of my design choices probably aren't even that important or obvious to anyone else, but it helps me and reminds me what kind of person I’m writing. I think design is as important as anything else that goes into the production of a comic. If it doesn’t make sense to me, it won’t make sense to my readers.

Do you have any other projects you want to talk about?

It’s been a year of firsts concerning projects for me. I drew a short comic written by Joy Osmanski for Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology which you can buy online now. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever been published in print. At the same time, I wrote and drew another short comic for Before, After and In Between, another anthology which just got fully funded and more on Kickstarter.

The one project I’m really excited to work on right now is Saint’s Way – I’ve been away from it for too long and have started work on it again. Hopefully, it’ll be back some time before the end of this year!

No comments:

Post a Comment