This interview is part of Up Up Down Down’s Associates series. There are a lot of awesome webcomics out there and these are some of the ones we love. You’ve probably seen their banners on our site. Check out the full list of comics in our Associates tab. The next webcomic in our series is Space Avalanche by Eoin Ryan.

Eoin Ryan is my webcomic hero. I’ve talked before about how his style directly inspired a few of our comics. But truthfully it’s more than that — reading Space Avalanche has changed the way I think about comic script creation in general. There’s a subtle patience and presentation in his panels that I like to attribute to his skill at storyboarding. He’s done everything from illustrating children’s books to writing and directing short films.

You can can see his ability for yourself by reading Space Avalanche. Click any of the thumbnails above for some of my favourite Space Avalanche comics, then keep up with his comics by liking his Facebook page.

Where do your ideas for comics come from? If you have multiple drafts, how do you pick? How do you know a comic is “done?”

I like to kind of ‘farm’ ideas, like have a few ideas to mull over – work on them for a bit then move on to the next because I have no attention span. The best technique for this stuff is really two things: one, just to walk away for a bit and then come back and see it with fresh eyes – or two, just as good, get a pair or a few pairs of fresh eyes to look at it for you. I have a mates, family that I often run ideas or rough strips past, it’s actually essential to have this outside feedback for the comic. You can very easily disappear up your own ass.

How do you draw your comics? Tell us a bit about the process and what tools you use to create.

Lots of really really rough thumbnails in the beginning, then draft it up on photoshop, it’s easier on photoshop to move panels around and experiment with the pacing – though I like to resolve as much as possible on the thumbnails – I don’t like spending too much time at a computer, it’s not healthy … But there’s no way to perfectly plan a strip – it’s impossible – as the panels become more detailed, new problems and new solutions present themselves so you’re constantly reworking – which is why I like photoshop – because I’m a terrible (painfully slow) draftsman. And it’s easy to scale and copy things. The part I enjoy most is colouring. All the hard work is done and you get to make it look shiny and get all cinematic with it :)

I heard a previous interview with you and laughed and laughed at your crude comic ideas from your youth. Do you think webcomic creators or comedians have a moral responsibility?

:) I don’t think so. Maybe in so far as good comedy is honest comedy. I think good comedy in of itself performs an important function in society in that it pushes boundaries, pisses on stupid conventions – maybe that’s its essential function. But at the end of the day you just want to make people laugh – and there are different paths to that goal – some are about psychology, morality or philosophy – others are just great dick jokes. It’s really just the end result that matters – Laughter.

You’re a gifted storyteller. Where did that skill begin?

Thanks. I guess just watching loads and loads and loads of movies. And some books. And some comics. And practicing my own storytelling from a youngish age. I’m a frustrated film-maker and have storyboarded lots of movie ideas that will never come to exist (well maybe one or two still can).

Steven Spielberg thinks all directors should be animators first because you really can take the imagination and make it something tangible. How has storyboarding helped your work?

Hmm, I’m not sure I’d like to see all movies made in this way – but I appreciate what he’s saying. It’s maybe a nerdy controlling way of making a film. There are a lot of directors like Nicolas Winding Refn who abhor storyboarding. And these days I’m kinda loving this style of directing. I guess it’s like preferring photography to drawing – and I’m more into photography in terms of what I gravitate towards visually. But obviously the strips are completely about storyboarding and it’s a medium I love. But there’s something more attractive visually about discovering and building from found reality rather than building it from scratch – the real world and the chances it provides will always be outside the limits of what you can make up. Hmm, that sounds kind of wanky …

There’s often a medium where creators fit best. How does a creator know, “this is it?”

This is a question that really interests me, something I ask myself a lot. Half the battle for the artist is finding their right medium and by medium I mean a specific style that they are best suited to. Bukowski didn’t start writing poetry ’til he was 35 and he was a lot older when he started performing it. Nobody can tell you how to do your own thing or recognize this, you’re on your own always.

Most webcomics don’t pay the bills, but for all the time creators invest, eventually “value” is going to run into “monetary value.” How does one navigate that journey?

Wish I knew! I’m getting a tiny bit of money now for each new strip that people respond to – but nothing even approaching a minimum wage for the time I invest. But I am at least getting something. It’s taken a while to get to this point. Maybe it’ll pay off in the long term. I think the main thing is just keep the quality as high as you can – otherwise people tune out and forget to come back. There’s a lot of stuff out there in the internet.

Who inspires you, either creators or just in your life? (or both)

Right now it’s Bukowski, but I’m trying not to read too much of his stuff – it’s so fucking good, but such a bad inspiring influence – a guy who works shitty menial jobs by day and drinks & writes by night. I love his prolific work ethic, it makes me feel ashamed …

What advice would you give an up and coming webcomic creator?

Try to keep it really good and enjoyable and don’t expect to make any money.

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