I was lucky enough recently to review the first volume of Royden Lepp’s great comic, Rust “A Visitor in the Field.” Here at Panel Bound we loved Rust so much that we decided to reach out to Royden and ask him how he was able to create one of the best all ages titles of 2011.
Royden was an absolute pleasure to speak with. Speaking to him about Rust you can gather the sense that this is a comic creator who has a passion for comics.
In the interview below Royden and I spoke about working with the outstanding publishing house Archaia and how being a multimedia artist has helped his comic career. I hope you enjoy it.
How did you first get started working in comics and graphic novels?
I started writing and drawing a graphic novel shortly after picking up Daisy Kutter by Kazu Kibuishi. His story and art really caught my imagination. I was currently reading a book about the Jewish king, David at the time and I was inspired to write a comic about him. So I did David; The Shepherd’s song. That got the ball rolling and I haven’t quit drawing since then.
Is Rust the first comic that you pitched?
Nope. But it’s the second.
What pitch process did you go through to get picked up by Archaia?
Archaia actually has a really great submissions process. They accept submissions online, and your pitch will get read. They’re swamped with submissions I’m sure, but there are few publishers that will actually accept unsolicited submissions. After submitting I met with Mark Smylie on the floor at SDCC and we talked about the plans for the book.
You have experience as a multimedia artist, why comics?
Video games is my fulltime job. I’m a 3d animator and it’s a ton of fun. One of the best jobs ever really. But it involves collaborating with many people on a daily basis. Collaboration is really fun, but sometimes it’s nice to create something that you can completely own. Comics was something I could come home to after work and apply a different kind of creativity to.
As both a writer and artist did you find one aspect more difficult than the other?
Not really. They’re both difficult I think writers envision the scenes they write as much as artists do. The two things don’t really live separately in my brain, I’m writing while I draw. When I started Rust, I didn’t even know that the art of sequential storytelling was usually split between an artist and a writer. I mean.. I think I knew it, but I just never thought about it as a possibility for my stories.
What comics have inspired you recently?
I loved Jason Brubaker’s reMIND. It was superbly drawn. It’s one of those books that actually depressed me when I first opened it up because it was so good, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to compete with it. I’m also reading PowerNap, written by Maritza Campos and illustrated by Bachan. One of the only comics that can make me laugh out loud. Absolutely stunning artwork and storytelling. Jason’s reMIND is available for order (gorgeous hardcover) and PowerNap is online. http://www.powernapcomic.com/d/20110824.html
Whats next for Rust?
The next volume of Rust comes out later in the summer. If you were a fan of The Visitor in The Field, then the next book is for you. I’ve heard several people at Archaia say they like it better then the first book. You can preorder it now.
Any last minute advice for aspiring comic creators?
Work hard and work like a professional. Make deadlines for yourself. Take art classes or writing classes. Don’t stop learning about your craft and don’t quit your day job. Most people in comics are in it for the passion of it, not the money. Don’t aspire to be a full time comic creator. Aspire to be a full time artist.
Thanks again to Royden for taking the time to speak with us. If you wanna visit his blog or pick up a copy of Rust “A Visitor in the Field” links are below.