Caught up with local surfer and cartoon artist Andre Clarke, to find out a bit more about the Grom Reaper:
"Everyone knows you as a bit of a Rincon regular, but probably didn’t know you were such a rad artist until that Grom Reaper comic strip you did that’s just featured on the back page of the latest edition of the Boardtalk magazine.
Is art what you do for a living?
Yep indeed. I have my own little agency - Synergy Solutions; specialising in graphic design (print, multimedia etc), copywriting, digital art and illustration - the works. And a bit of lecturing on the side - in above disciplines.
How did you get into cartooning and graphic art?
As a lightie I was as much into art of the sci fi, horror, fantasy kind as I was into the beach, and being a creative little bastard, I always hoped I'd be doing something along those lines for a living. Although you often spend tons of time behind a computer, you have certain freedoms (ahem... seeing the locals down at Millers during average Joe working hours!) A more regular desk job would've killed me off long ago!
Have you done the graphics on any of your own boards?
Fer sure! Check out my Poseidon art for my current board. As surfers our boards are our tools/paintbrushes - customising them is a way of making them personal!
How long does it take to put something like that comic strip together? Take us through the process.
Admittedly, my pesky perfectionist streak slows the process down often! But in a nutshell, Grom Reaper started off like this:
1. After a very basic brief; I started brainstorming: story ideas and concept; what each character should look like; the look of the town, scenery and the environment - all based on the kind of tale I wanted to tell. Everything was just in my head at this stage.
2. After that, it was pencil to paper; lots and lots of roughs, trying to draw the guys I saw in my head before trying to get the character models correct.
3. Then - character model time. These are basically unique to comics - you gotta draw your characters from varying angles and with different expressions, so when you draw the comics for real you have reference for consistency and accuracy. Notice, at this point, I haven't even started on the comics proper yet!
4. Which leads into step 4 - the actual comics! There are basically two aspects here - the story - and the illustrations. Most important is the story - that needs to be sorted before you start drawing (some ou's are really pedantic here and have planned it out to the last detail, other guys shoot from the hip and are more loose with their planning - I fall somewhere in the middle I guess). So assuming story is sorted - rough layouts of each comic panel first.
5. After your roughs - time to draw the final panels. For Grom Reaper; I drew in soft pencil first, then finished off and polished with a harder drafts-pencil :). No ink for me this time!
6. Then, scan them in - (groms, for those thinking about doing graphic design, photography etc - scan at 300dpi and actual current size!) in grayscale.
7. Then - take out a bank loan for Photoshop! Yes, PS is the best - for a reason! Open your scans in Photoshop, create new layers for your airbrushing; make sure you have converted the file to colour - and start painting away! (Hint: I use pencil/airbrush, and layer transparency to create the clouds/water effects.) Use special filters sparingly with actual art.
8. Tear hair out and swear constantly because it's taking so long and you have other work to do.
9. Finish off, flatten each panel, and place them in sequence in InDesign. (Bank loan required again haha!) Smile because you're almost done! Frown because you're beginning to agonise over font, legibility and fitting everything in.
10. Tear hair out and swear constantly because it's taking so long and you have other work to do.
11. Finally finish, and send off to printers with a big grin!
12. Tear hair out and swear constantly because printers require another format.
13. Reformat, then send off to printers again. Rejoice because they are happy with the technical aspects, great success!
14. Go for a celebratory surf!
15. Tear hair out and swear constantly because it's PE and it's pretty damn flat and gutless for your celebratory surf...
What will we be seeing the Grom Reaper get up to in future?
Hell yeah - time permitting haha! If the name "Grom Reaper" wasn't hint enough, Ben's nickname "Bones" should also hint at what's to come! Basically, our young grom will be getting his dark powers properly soon, all because of an accidental Faustian pact he signs up for! (google Faustian kids, it ain't a happy ending kinda story)"
Anyone need some kiff design or artwork done? Give Andre a holler on firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you buy the next copy of Boardtalk magazine to see what the Grom Reaper gets up to.