04 April 2011

Q&A with Dan McGuiness

Dan McGuiness, the comic genius behind Pilot & Huxley (1, 2 and 3), shares some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of creating a comic book slash graphic novel. 

How long did it take you to write and illustrate Pilot & Huxley?
Each time I wrote and illustrated a Pilot & Huxley book I got more efficient. The first one took around a year to do, while the latest one took around three months from start to finish. I now work on a Wacom Cintiq (an LCD tablet) to do the drawings and colouring. Being able to draw straight onto digital paper cuts out a lot of time-consuming steps.

Do you procrastinate? Are you an early-morning or late-at-night writer?
When I have a deadline I treat it as a nine to five job. I set an amount that I have to do every day. For example, if I am writing a script I say to myself that I have to write fifteen pages a day. This is the best way I have found for me to work. In between books I treat that time as like a holiday or work on other projects. Sometimes it's hard for me to get back into it after a break, but I'm not a procrastinator in general.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
I can remember quite vividly the sort of things that I used to love when I was younger. I was a reluctant reader, so now I put stuff into my books that I would have liked to read about when I was a kid. That's probably why children love my books but some adults have a hard time accepting them! I also get a lot of inspiration from the movies I watch, video games I play and comics I read.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started writing and drawing my own independent comics when I was about 26. I would just draw them up on A4 paper, take them down to the newsagent, photocopy them and staple them at home. From there I would sell them at comic conventions around Australia. I'm 33 now, so a lot has happened in the last seven years.

What does your family think of your writing?
My parents love my books. I have to get them like 40 copies of a book when it comes out to send to all my relations and their friends. My parents have always supported me in everything I have done, from running a skateboard company to working in the film industry. I could not have asked for better parents.

What are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading a manga (Japanese graphic novel) series called Bakuman, which is about two kids trying to become professional manga artists in Japan. I'm also reading a western comic called Invincible which is about a boy whose dad is basically Superman. It's about him growing up and dealing with the problems that arise when his powers kick in at puberty.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have a website where kids can leave me comments and I have a Dan McGuiness Facebook fan page as well. I pretty much hear from kids every day asking me questions like, When is the next book coming out? Is there going to be a TV show? Is there going to be a movie? Are there going to be toys? I love reading and answering all of them.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A dinosaur. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to play video games. I have an Xbox 360 and a PS3. I also help run a retro gaming website called Retrospekt. I love reading comics and manga as well. But my favourite thing is eating. I'm so into going out to dinner with my girlfriend, Clare.

When was the last time you went on a bus?
I live so close to the city that I just ride my bike everywhere. It's way easier than paying for a ticket, so I don't catch the bus at all. Sorry, that was a bit of a boring answer 0_0. Maybe I could make up an answer like, "The last bus I caught was when I got stuck on the back of a giant blue super worm. It was so big that I had to catch a bus to get to its tail. When I got to the tail I shot a flare into the sky and my personal helicopter came to pick me up to take me home."

Pilot & Huxley 3 out now!

2 comments:

  1. The author's son has autism too so it rings true. Definitely worth a read. It's a fabulous book and I'm not just saying that because the author is my friend - it's the book that led me to her.
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    I read that, gosh, six or seven years ago. It was really good, too.

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