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  1.  (8327.21)
    lovelovelove that underwater elder variant...the whales give it a TERRIBLE DOOM feeling in the serenity and scale.

    other than that, i dont really have a question. with the artists side of things, i like to think the work pretty much speaks for itself. (and thats not a slight on artists, you guys do the work that makes comics work like they are should!)
  2.  (8327.22)
    Ooh, ooh! I finally thought of a question-

    Any plans to illustrate a story of your own at any point? Although you do seem kind of swamped at the moment.
    • CommentAuthorales kot
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     (8327.23)
    That's some awesome work, Jacen! Congratulations on making your dreams come true.

    What are your favorite comics?

    Most beloved film directors?

    Where do you want to be in five years, creatively?

    ...aaaaannndddd...Do you believe in anything? If so, what/who/etc. ?
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      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     (8327.24)
    JAMES CUNNINGHAM- Not plans per se, but certainly I like the idea. You never know when opportunity might strike so I always keep a notebook full of concepts and notes but even if I did my own thing it would likely be a collaboration with a writer. I know my strengths and more importantly, I know my weaknesses. I'd rather rely on an expert for things like dialog and plot flow. But I have some crazy imagery in me that isn't going to get out until I have a venue for it and all kinds of crazy paneling ideas to really experiment with storytelling. That kind of stuff simply isn't an option when you are working on something like CROSSED.
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      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     (8327.25)
    ALES KOT- Favorite currently running books these days are Scalped, Northlanders, the Sword, Joe the Barbarian, Locke and Key, the Walking Dead, Conan, Blade of the Immortal, The Stand, and Criminal. Of all time, well, that list would get ridiculously long in a hurry. My top most influential books are Miller's Daredevil and Give me Liberty, Akira, The Scorpion (an amazing European series drawn by Enrico Marini, one of my favorite artists), Preacher, Scout and Grendel.

    Directors- Miyazaki, Romero, Cronenberg, Kubrick, Lynch, Aronofsky, Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Mike Hodges, the Coen bros., Raimi in his Evil Dead days, Gus Van Sant, Miike, Jeunet & Caro, Kieslowski, Kurosawa, Park Chan-wook, the Borthers Quay (I could do this all day). I also have a lot of love for bad horror, particularly 60's/70's stuff.

    5 years from now...I'll be watching CROSSED sweep the Oscars from my opium fueled, otter shaped pleasure-zeppelin. I have no doubt about this.

    Oh wait, CREATIVELY. Right now my main focus for improvement is in figuring out a way to better incorporate blacks and mid tones with my style, loosening up my figure work (which I am starting to see happen in more in recent pages) and continuing to improve my eye for composition. And speeding up! There are so many amazing people working in the industry these days that there is no shortage of inspiration to improve and stay relevant and I am one of those people that always believes the competition is 10 steps ahead.

    I believe in the power of the human imagination to turn just about any belief system into a nearly tangible reality for the individual, but I don't really see religion as anything more than a way for some people to dominate some other people and make money while standing in the way of progress. But I also acknowledge that at their best they feed the poor and help the needy so they aren't all bad. I keep a pretty agnostic perspective myself. I can't shake the sense that there is something beyond human perception and current theories of reality despite my atheistic tendencies.
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      CommentAuthorsdinma
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2010 edited
     (8327.26)
    @Jacen: Thanks so much for doing this. It's always a treat to read/listen to artists taking the time to explain their craft:

    - About how long would you say it takes you to complete a page from initial thumbnail to finished product, and how much does the looseness of the script (or lack thereof) factor into the turnaround time?

    - As an artist who does a fair amount of gory violence (of which I am a big fan!), did you ever take a course on anatomy or read books on the subject so that you could render such things more realistically?

    - It seems like you tend to ink yourself the majority of the time: do you prefer it this way and/or would you be open to collaborating with an inker? Would you rather it be someone who blends in with your style as seamlessly as possible, or more of an "embellisher"?

    - If you could choose any collaborator to do a long-form series with, who would it be and why?
    • CommentAuthorneftones
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2010
     (8327.27)
    Hey Jacen, love your work. Crossed is incredible.

    Of all the demented things you've drawn in your career, what is the one thing that stands out as having really disturbed/affected you?

    I realize Avatar is structured around miniseries, but do you have any plans/desire to be on a long-term monthly (or as close to it as possible) project?

    You and Warren got anything in the works?
    •  
      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2010
     (8327.28)
    SDINMA- I'm not the fastest guy, mainly because I'm doing finishes on the pages, but I can push myself to a page a day. Even a page and a half a day if I forgo sustenance, sleep and sanity. My natural pace is 2 days per page to keep up my quality levels. I don't think the tightness of the script really plays a factor so much as whatever the big scene of an issue is. Doing the 2 page spread of the highway in Crossed 3 took the better part of a week but it was a pretty loose description.

    When I was in the sequential art department at the Savannah College of Art and Design they had a really great anatomy class that included a visit to the local Med School's cadaver lab. That taught me an awful lot. But when it came to violence in my work, I think it was around the time I did SCARS that I decided I needed to figure out a more realistic way to do it. It seemed to me it was almost disrespectful of the seriousness of violence in the real world to use a cartoonish or lazy approach in a realistic story. Violence should be disturbing if it is going to have the intended affect. I like to think my stuff has more of an edge because it is somewhat accurate. I have done my research with crime scene and war photography, I just hope it brings something to the work.

    I don't actually do inks generally. My work is all scanned pencils. I think it would be nice to work with a good inker just to see what they'd do with my stuff but it is unlikely. It would be costly and slower and might take a long time to find a good match. I think a good inker would bring a lot out though by playing with the very thing that scanned pencils have kind of stuck me with. Namely thin line work and minimal line weight variation.

    I assume you mean other than those I have already worked with because they would all make fine picks. I would have to say Neil Gaiman or Frank Miller for having the biggest effect on me as a reader. If you are going to go fishing you might as well go for the biggest fishes, right?
    •  
      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2010
     (8327.29)
    NEFTONES- I still think the most hardcore thing I've worked on is SCARS. It feels like something all too possible.

    No plans right now to do anything long form. Crossed was 10 issues and that was pretty difficult. Right now minis just work better for my schedule. Particularly when a big portion of every month is eaten up drawing various covers. It makes a monthly schedule pretty hard and you can only start out with so much lead time. Someday, yes. I want to do an Akira or Preacher length thing.

    Nothing scheduled with Warren right now but it is always a possibility. it is a timing issue more than anything but there is a strategy to how Avatar utilizes me and there is no telling what sort of thing they'll come up with for me next.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSJD
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2010
     (8327.30)
    Jacen -

    Love your stuff and Crossed really was wonderfully unsettling while giving a new twist to survival horror, one of my favorite genres.

    I read the preview for the new book with Moore and I honestly can't wait. I know you aren't interesting in the Big Two past a mini here or there and that Avatar utilizes you well, but I was wondering what other types of comics you might like to try your hand at? Different genres, etc. And is there anything you'd like to do as the sole writer/artist? Just curious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2010 edited
     (8327.31)
    SJD- I really love the idea of trying almost every genre eventually. That is far more exciting to me than working on specific corporate characters. I think anything I work on will always have a bit of a horror edge but I have always wanted to do Space Opera, Medieval Fantasy and near-future-sci-fi stuff. I'm always excited when I get a chance to design something no one else has ever seen before. Nothing drives me nuts like uncreative art direction when you have an opportunity to do something totally new. I really want a chance to dig as deeply into my imagination as I can.
  3.  (8327.32)
    I'll release Jacen from his bonds on Sunday. Last call.
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      CommentAuthorSJD
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2010
     (8327.33)
    Jacen - If you do a Space Opera, Medieval fantasy, or any future stuff, I promise to pick it up. I can't imagine it not being ridiculous fun. Thanks for the answer, we appreciate you doing this. I know you've probably got deadlines and all. :P

    Just curious. When you draw do you have music playing? Movies? Anything else as far as stimulation? I'm curious what your working procedures are and if they change project to project.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2010
     (8327.34)
    I don't have a rigid system, really. Generally I like to start the work day in silence or with music till I get a good pace. Then I switch to DVR'd tv/movies or audiobooks for some background noise. I have a roommate so I've become pretty good about working through random noise and distractions but I always get the bulk of my work done late at night when I'm alone. And I'm a big believer in surrounding myself with material in the vein of what I'm working on. I make MP3 playlists, I hunt down just about every movie in the genre that I have access to, I listen to audiobooks in the genre, etc. These projects generally take so long that I work my way through an abundance of stuff by the end of a projects. Thanks to comics, I am an expert on the Spetsnaz, the Antichrist, the apocalypse and Lovecraft!
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2010
     (8327.35)
    ^ Oooh, which makes me need to ask what was on your Crossed MP3 playlist?

    Cheers for doing this, too. It's been a fun and informative read.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2010
     (8327.36)
    Final note, I wanted to mention that as of now it looks like the only conventions I'll be at this year are San Diego and New York but I may be doing some store signings in the early Fall. I'll be sure to make announcements if I do. Other shows may be added toward the end of the year. Any retailers interested in arranging signings and the like, all of that is handled through Avatar as part of my exclusive so throw William an email.

    Looks like that'll just about do it. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for new questions posted here and when NEONOMICON hits shelves we'll be sure to start up a discussion thread. Lord knows, that one is going to generate some comments and questions! Thanks one and all.

    Iä! Iä! C'thulhu Fhtagn!
    •  
      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2010
     (8327.37)
    My Crossed playlist had a lot of Dark Ambient (Inade, Dead Voices on Air, Lab Report, etc) punched up with the occasional gloomy indie song I'd stumble across (like DeVotchka or Coeur De Pirate), Bluesy stuff (the Black Keys, Robert Johnson, etc) and some heavy stuff (like Devildriver,God Forbid, Tool, etc). It is always a work in progress. The Neonomicon one has a lot more creepy stuff like bits from movie and game soundtracks (I love the Silent Hill OSTs from Japan in particular), psychedelic electronic stuff and stoner rock. I'm sure the neighbors have no idea what to think of me!