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  1.  (7553.1)
    Paul Duffield, as you all know, is the fine illustrator of FREAKANGELS. He's kindly agreed to do a five-day residency here at the homestead, answering your questions and talking about anything he feels like talking about.

    Say hello to Paul now.

    -- W
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010
    Hello Paul.

    I've noticed that no other illustrator does blood splatter from grievous injury quite like you. Do you have a secret to that?
  2.  (7553.3)
    Hey Paul,

    How long does it usually take you to complete the week's FREAKANGELS? Was it harder in the beginning and have you created a routine, or was it always easy enough for you to make the weekly deadline?
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010
    Hello, Paul!

    Long ago (I forget how long) you posted the steps that go into making pages for FREAKANGELS, and I wanted to thank you retroactively. It's exciting for me as a non-drawer to see exactly how these 2d reality-faking images get assembled. Like exploded pictures of engines. Fish's tiny word-brain can't ordinarily reverse-engineer the things in question.

    It is appreciated. It is adored.
  3.  (7553.5)
    Hey :)
    Thanks to Warren for setting this up!

    There is in fact a secret! I do it the same way video-game texturers do it, by compositing pre-made textures/photos, then there's an extra step for me, where I skew/warp/liquify them into place on photoshop. Sounds straight-forward, but there's an art to doing it well and I love spending time getting just the right type of splatter for the right moment. I think I'd be very happy being a texture artist for a games/animation stuido. I get my splatter textures along with many others from, where I have a membership, but you can get a lot for free if you don't use it that frequently.

    Depends on what sorta period we're looking at. Right at the beginning, I was doing everything from pencils to colours, so it was a big push to get it done in a week and often I didn't manage. Afterwards, I hired a flatter, Alana, and it turned into a more comfortable length: a regular 9-6 sorta job, 7 days a week unless there was a particularly detailed scene to do. Later, Kate also did the bulk of the colouring, and now it technically should be a 3-5 day a week thing, but I'm slowly learning how to use the extra time to actually do more/different work rather than just slow the Freakangels working process down to fit! XD Been doing pretty well this year so far too!

    No problem! Glad it was interesting :) I've been planning to do some more step-by-steps on my blog, so if you're interested keep an eye out.
    • CommentAuthorbtx
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010
    I just wanted to give you, Alana and Kate a bunch of thanks - starting with a thank you for the artwork you've released during off weeks! Was a whole lot nicer than a text message :)

    Not to take anything away from the writing (I love just about anything with Warren's name and Avatar's mark on it) but it just seems like you 3 have the super difficult job :) I have no clue how you (Paul) were able to do everything yourself, but some of the work the 3 of you have done in recent installments really highlights how well your team seems to be working together. The crash scene (helicopter -> roof) was a prime example - would you have done that, knowing you had to color everything too?

    Finally, props to the artist responsible for the smoke & cloud textures :) I love 'em!

  4.  (7553.7)
    Hello Paul, thanks for doing this.

    I really appreciate your work on Freakangels. Has this opened other (lucrative) doors for you? Can you tell us about opportunities you may be pursuing in the future?
  5.  (7553.8)
    Hi Paul!
    Seems like just yesterday you guys were putting up some promo art for FA and we were all waiting for it to start. Man, how time flies.
    What's your favorite part about illustrating freakangels? Do you have any favorite things you like to draw best?
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010
    Hi Paul, excellent work, I enjoy looking forward to each installment, much more than I anticipate episodic TV.

    Do all the buildings and locations in the comic exist in real life or are they just based on the general structure and look of the city? Do you have a different style variation for different projects or is there a signature "Duffield Style" that you like to use on every project? I'm not sure if that makes any sense to you but I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it. I have many artist friends who vary their style with different projects and others who don't. Just wondering...
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010
    Hello, Paul. :)

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your work on Freakangels. I really do look forward to seeing it every week. Could you tell us a little bit about your artistic influences? Who really inspired you to get into art in the first place?
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010
    Hey paul,

    your artwork in FreakAngels is really amazing I like how much detail you put into your buildings and characters and that you do it in a week's time. I just want to know how did you develop your artstyle and does the deadlines affect the quality of your work?
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010 edited
    Hello Mr. Duffield.

    This is a question from myself and a bunch of art school friends - it's pretty widely accepted that a strong background in traditional art will, amongst other benefits, improve any work that is done digitally, as a result of understanding concepts and principles better than someone who's only used digital media. However, do you think having a background in digital work, whether it's start-to-finish or just in certain practices like coloring or lettering, can have a positive effect on an artist's traditional work?

    Also: What is your favorite break-from-work activity?
  6.  (7553.13)
    Many thanks in return! :) I think it went something like this:
    editor: so, how much work can you handle?
    me: oh, 2 pages a day or so (true, when I was working on The Tempest, in black and white at a lower page size and dpi, in a manga style with minimal backgrounds, oh how naive of me)
    editor: great, here's loads of work!
    me: excellent, I'll get on with this then, and oh... colour takes a while... my, these backgrounds need to be awfully detailed... umm... (shit)

    I think I just learnt to deal with it, and fell back on the work ethic I used back in Uni doing animation: if you can't work anymore, work some more! It helped to have William as an example (publisher of Avatar): he's an incredible powerhouse of work. I don't think he sleeps, and seems to power himself on energy drinks and a voracious love for his work.

    So, no without my awesome team I couldn't be doing anything like the sorts of things I am with volume 4 and the latter half of 3. The crash scene is a perfect example, I spent ages on those pencils, and caused no end of pain for Kate and Alana, which they handled more than admirably.

    @Sigrid Ellis
    No probs! Since until very recently, Freakangels had been full time, there hasn't been any chance to go through any doors it may have opened, so the answer is I'm really not sure. I've certainly been treated like royalty by avatar, who have taken me to conventions in America, and offered me further projects for when I can handle them, so expect to see new things in the future there.
    In terms of things I can talk directly about, I'd like to slowly explore working as my own writer (which I've done before a number of times, but not had a chance to develop), and I've been doing a short experimental piece that I'll be self-publishing. Details emerging here.

    It does only seem like yesterday in many respects, the last few years have flown by!
    My favourite part has been using and developing my observational drawing. In uni I used to really enjoy drawing on location, and the extensive real-life backgrounds in Freakangels have given me the chance to use that in the comic and develop on it.
    In terms of stuff I like to draw best, it's more the atmosphere and tone of a drawing that I'm attracted to rather than literal objects. I try to inject a little bit of that into anything I need to draw, but when it comes down to it I think I just like nice stuff best. Something awe-inspiring with a tinge of sadness. Something beautiful with just a tinge of repulsion or unease. I love urban decay.

    A bit of both. Some are heavily referenced, others are made up out of necessity (lack of reference or convenience of scene). Since google streetview London, a lot more has been directly referenced. The Freakwiki that Whitechapel user Purple Wyrm put up is good at keeping track of referenced locations.
    Is there a signature style? Hard to tell. I've heard people say all my work looks similar, but I try to vary it for each project. Even within the continuum of Freakangels, it's varied a lot as I've tried to "find my style" (which I still don't think I have). It was very very different for The Tempest and I think where it varies most is in page layout. Freakangels remains very formal in terms of layout by necessity of good web design, but my personal style revolves around making each whole double-page-spread an illustration in its own right as well as each individual panel.

    I think my artistic influences would be too diverse to list properly. I've been interested in art, and doing it ever since I can remember, and since then my influences and inspirations have gone through serious shifts and changes. In terms of people who currently influence me:
    Jiro Taniguchi, Miou Takaya, Joshua Middleton, Koji Morimoto, Taiyo Matsumoto, Tatsuyuki Tanaka, Naoki Urasawa, Katsuhiro Otomo, Kay Nielsen, Edmund Dulac, The Pre-Raphaelite movement, The early Silent Hill creators and some of their influences, Hans Bellmer, Francis Bacon. I could go on, the list includes novelists, film makers, any medium in which narrative is the core.

    Thanks! My art style developed very slowly. The key events were 1) getting into anime, then manga and creating my own influenced webcomic when I was younger 2) getting ridiculed by all my art teachers and being told that manga wasn't real art, learning how to accept their criticism and develop a more diversely influenced style, whilst staying true to an aesthetic that I love and yelling stubbornly back at anyone who was blind enough to reject it because of personal distaste.

    @Alan Tyson
    Interesting question! Since I came through the standard art-education route, I went through the the usual use of traditional media and ended up in digital media.
    I think the important thing to remember is that they're both tools, and different tools suit different people. It's almost as if you asked me "is sculpture a necessary pre-requisite of drawing?" Well, no not technically, but it really helps! You could choose to see the loss of a dimension when moving from 3D to 2D (an analogue for the loss of a particular type of spacial solidity and tactile feedback from trad to digi) as an inferiority of medium, but anyone who's mastered both knows that's not the case: each requires a different skill-set and each is useful and empowering in its own right. You can go from sculpture to drawing, or vice-versa, but when you can do both, why only do one? The pitfall here is to treat digital creation as something totally apart from all other potential art-based skills, rather than just one in a diverse set.

    So, I think that once you see it like that, it's self evident that mastering digital creation will have a positive effect on your other work just as learning any other medium will.

    As far as I'm concerned, the things that are unique in digital creation are a peculiar work flow (you learn to be less precious about having a single canvas that "is the work", since there's no physical product), a totally different attitude to colour (I was useless at colour when I worked traditionally, but few years working digitally and now I find it easy whenever I go back to the traditional, and I think about colour *completely* differently), and most importantly, it's designed for and tailored to print, which is vital for illustration and comics, and any mass-produced form of art (the idea of "resolution" and how it applies to/limits reproduced art is something you can grasp a lot quicker and arguably in a deeper way working digitally).

    In terms of your second question: As a specific break-from-work-just-for-me-and-how-i-work, walking is perfect! Gentle physical activity, a change of space, being outdoors, revitalising my visual imagination.
    • CommentAuthorCarlGlover
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010
    Hello Paul.

    Your portfolio site has a really neat animated short from a few years back, "Rolighed". I was just curious, is animation a medium you plan on revisiting and doing more with? Also, have you made anything else?
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2010
    Dear paul - why are you so awesome? And can I keep Blankets? XD
  7.  (7553.16)
    I'd love to do more animation! It's so terribly time consuming though, and I'm awful at working within a formal hierarchy, so I'd not want to be involved in a large production unless I got to be director/producer (haha, fat chance). Maybe I'll get the time to do another self-produced short in the future, but that would require a lot of saved money, which I really don't have.

    I was dipped in a vat of Marmite when I was young. My left heel isn't awesome as a consequence though, so feel free to deride it XD And NOOOOOO It's my favourite comic O.O (wow, I didn't realise that until I felt it might never come back). Glad you liked it though! :D
    EDIT: Kate also wants it back very much. We should do more swapsies!
  8.  (7553.17)
    @Paul Thank you, and I wish you the best!
  9.  (7553.18)
    Holy Shit. It's hard to look at the expanse of your brilliant work, the beautiful images, the incredible visual narratives you create and come up with a question that doesn't make me sound like a complete tool.
    That aside...
    Was there a point at which you looked at your illustrations and thought "this is no longer what I do - this is who I am."
    Did you reach a point where your illustrations stopped being something you did when you had free time from everything else, and started being the thing that defined who you are?
    What was that like? When did that happen?
    Very nice work on FA, and I've really enjoyed browsing your work on Spoonbard as well.
  10.  (7553.19)
    Mr Duffield your work is amazing, I've been completely blown away by the art on Freak Angels several times, which is several times more than I have on almost anything else recently.

    My question: are you still working on/thinking of working on the How To Draw book? Because that thing looked amazing.
  11.  (7553.20)
    Wow, interesting question! It's not really something I think about, since I've always been "that guy who draws" (constantly). Everything from doodling in school all the time to choosing art as an education and then a profession has made it an inseparable part of me. Art is never been something I've just done in my free time. It's not just my illustration though, regardless of how good/bad I am at anything, I just love being creative: music, film, animation, modelling, painting, writing, each have been a passion of mine and I wish I had 400% time in my life to pursue it all.

    Thanks ^_^ I'm glad to hear someone's interested in my writing! I am, but very slowly, since it keeps being trumped by more short-term priorities. I have a big list of revisions written on my whiteboard that I keep meaning to get around to doing. I'm also slowed down a little by the fact that I'm having trouble developing it much beyond its current length, I'm not entirely sure what final form it's going to take on.