HYPED UP! An interview with artist George Amaru
Q: Please share with us a snapshot of your background and the type of stories/assignments that appeal to you most from a creative perspective?
George: I've been working in small-press comics for about ten years now, with some years being busier than others, of course. I'm also a graphic/web designer, which is my main career at the moment.
While superhero stories are what brought me to comics, I find that I'm often better suited to more personal, dramatic stories. I enjoy drawing faces and expressions just as much, if not more than the big action scenes. I like being able to really move the "camera" in close to detail the emotion on a characters face, and/or in their body language. When that can be achieved in a superhero or sci-fi story, so much the better!
Q: Can you describe your creative process and perhaps share with us the type of workflow you go through? Does it vary based on the types of illustrations or designs you're asked to deliver?
George: My workflow can vary from project to project, but the basics stay pretty much the same. I start with the script/brief/request, etc. and try to understand what it is I need to communicate in the piece. In the case of comics, I'll read the entire script a few times, first for the enjoyment of the story and then to really understand what is going on and what I'll be drawing. From there, I start on rough sketches/thumbnails for each page of the script, one page at a time. If a scene lasts for several pages, I'll keep them together, to make sure things like the design of the environment, position of the characters, etc. makes sense from page to page and will work for the entire scene.
I then pencil each page the old fashioned way, with a graphite pencil on bristol board. I then scan the work into the computer and "ink" in illustrator. If I'm coloring I'll use either Illustrator or Photoshop, depending on the complexity of the piece. Generally, I can do simple, flat, and/or "cartoony" colors in Illustrator, while I'll work on more rendered pieces in Photoshop.
Q: What are some of the aspects about E.T. ER that you enjoyed most? Also, speak to the challenge of bringing a 3 page story to life from the artist's perspective where space is so valuable.
George: E.T. ER was great for many reasons. I really enjoyed the opportunity to use the style I developed for the webcomic New Comic Day on a different project. I always enjoy sci-fi stories and I enjoyed the rather dark humor of the "punchline." As soon as I read the last line of the script, I knew this was going to be a fun piece.
Telling a story in three pages can be difficult in that every panel has to count, and you really need to make sure that you have enough information in each panel to really keep the story moving forward in a way that's easy to follow. A great script makes all the difference. Some writers really have a hard time telling a full story in so few pages, but I think Thomas did a great job on this. I've been really blessed to work with some great writers over the years that really understand the short-story format.
Q: Let us know where we can find you online, and of any projects of yours we should keep an eye out for.
George: You can find me online at my website, www.georgeamaru.com, as well as on Instagram (instagram.com/georgeamaru) and Facebook (facebook.com/AmaruStudios). From there, you'll find links to my other social media accounts and websites. I'm the lead artist on the webcomic I mentioned before. It can be found at www.newcomicday.net (or facebook.com/NewComicDay). We just returned from a hiatus with two new fantastic artists who are helping keep us on track! I also have a few things pending that I can't talk about yet, so keep an eye on social media for more. Those in the South Florida area will next be able to find me in person the weekend of March 2nd, at Comic Con Revolution–West Palm Beach, so stay tuned to my social media for table number and panel info!