GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Illustrator Bre Indigo (The Dog Knight graphic novel) | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Interview: Illustrator Bre Indigo (The Dog Knight graphic novel)

Welcome comic artist Bre Indigo. They share what they've learned in the comic industry and most pics!

Sharon: Do you have a favorite dog in The Dog Knight?
Bre: Oh, that’s hard. I would enjoy all their company for different moods. Keeping up with Terror would be great for a workout, and snuggling up with Loyalist, Dane, and Legal would be a wonderful end to a day. I could even imagine I’d have a good time binge-watching tv shows with Dowg. But… I have a soft spot in my heart for The Omnidog. They’re so mysterious and wise. I feel like I could learn a lot from them and their calm nature.

Sharon: What sold you on the idea of illustrating The Dog Knight?
Bre: It wasn’t a hard sell at all. Reading the script was elating and my imagination got carried away from the jump. I know this sounds so cheesy, but the idea of getting to illustrate their story felt in some way like reconnecting with my inner child. The story reminded me to be kinder to myself, to allow myself to feel more confident in my individuality, and to show more appreciation to those I love in my life. I’m such a sucker for kids’ stories. They remind me of the basics of what it means to be a human on this little planet. I’m so happy that The Dog Knight found me at the stage of my life that it did.

Sharon: What tools do you use when drawing?
Bre: I do all of my work digitally, either on a Cintiq or iPad. Some sketches might find my sketchbook, but they’re super rough.

Sharon: How did you and Jeremy end up working together?
Bre: My agent Brent Taylor brought the project up and I enthusiastically said yes, haha. His side of the story might be more interesting.
Sharon: At what point in your career did you find an agent and why?
: Brent approached me shortly after my work with Rey Terciero ended on Meg Jo Beth and Amy. I signed with Brent because doing all the job search work by myself was way too hard. With his help I don't have to break as much focus from the artwork, and I can be more productive.

Representation might not be for everyone, but his expertise is valuable to me. I'm so happy to have him in my corner and to create art he appreciates too :)

: Besides Frankie, what character was the most fun to draw?
Bre: You’re gonna hate me, but they’re all fun to draw, because I make it fun. My favorite thing to draw are expressions though. Frankie’s so unintentionally silly, and the bratty expressions on Dallas and Austin’s faces were fun to emulate while I drew them. I think Diane’s mom-expressions were my favorite though. I hope that the characters' individuality shone through with their expressions and body language. It’s something I hope to get a lot better at. That and drawing animals.

Oh, oh. The Shadow creatures were cool. I am really proud of their designs. They’re simple, but I think they’d probably make a background static noise in your head and warm the air around you because they’re, like, ripping through dimensions or something… yeah that was really cool to think about. I wish that I could convey those feelings more with my drawings… Maybe I’ll do even better when I get to draw them next ;)

Sharon: As part of the queer community, were you able to offer insight into Frankie’s experiences?
Bre: I jumped in when the script was already completed, so not too much. I only found one or two moments where my critique was even necessary and Jeremy adopted them immediately.

: Chapter 9: The Trial of Smell was my favorite (Chapter 8 Trial of Justice was a close second!) I loved the outfits Frankie tried on, looking for their style. Do you have a favorite chapter? And Why?
Bre: Ahh, thank you! Deciding which outfits Frankie would wear was soooo hard. But I put together a little Pinterest closet for them and figured it out. I still struggle with outfit issues myself at 29, haha.

As for my favorite… gosh this is hard, and I don't wanna be too spoilery.

But in Chapter 3, when it all starts, and Frankie is thrown into the deep end even though they don’t know if they want to be or deserves to be The Dog Knight. I could relate to the imposter syndrome Frankie might have felt there. I know that kind of sounds dark as an answer, but sometimes heroes have to be put on the spot to learn their self-worth!

: How do you deal with imposter syndrome…pull yourself out of it?
Bre: It might be different for others, but working on my confidence by practicing healthier self-talk was a big foundational change. I'm learning to appreciate and treat myself how I treat others. It also helped me to take a step back and acknowledge that I'm doing my personal best, that I need to stop taking everything so seriously, and to give myself credit when I achieve a goal.

In the end, nothing is 100% earned or 100% chance, so if something great lands in your lap, you don't run away from it. You positioned yourself in life for those things to come your way. So, handle it the best way you can and know that even if you fumble it, it's not the end of the world...

Well... In Frankie's case, it might have been, haha! But that's why it's also good not to tackle huge things alone. Frankie has a great community and support group, which makes it a lot easier to learn these lessons. Asking for help isn't a weakness.

: What kind of music does Frankie like to listen to?
Bre: Being a drummer with a smart and creative mom like Diane, I’m sure Frankie has very diverse listening tastes. But they’d probably like something with fun lyrics, creative beats to finger drum to, and bonus if the bass makes their brain tickle.

Sharon: What kind of music do you listen to?
Bre: I listen to everything. You put it on, I’ll give it a chance. My mom and dad raised me on stuff like Elton John, Def Leppard, Madonna, Prince, Tupac, TLC, and Missy Elliott. My grandparents introduced me to Barry white, Donna Summers, Bob Seger, and Genesis. When I was a teenager, friends introduced me to Asian Kung Fu Generation, STRFKR, Daft Punk, Radiohead, Cibo Matto, SOAD and Death Cab for Cutie. Then I ventured into Tierra Whack, M83, Brockhampton, and Tame Impala in the last few years... Only to name a few. Sharing music is like a love language to me. I only wish I had the time to deep dive into every genre all over the world.

Sharon: How long have you been making comics? 
Bre: I’ve been drawing comics since I was around 19. But I’ve been drawing generally since I was about the age of 6. I started to take it seriously as a way to make money around the age of 16 and began doing character illustration commissions for people on deviantART and Tumblr. I originally wanted to get into animation but didn't have the direction and education to get into that industry. I started my first comic, Jamie, for fun in my last year of college and then it just kind of became a passion. I’m glad that things turned out this way. My art style has changed so much over the years. Here is a snippet of the first version of Jamie, maybe from around 2017?
2023 Jamie

Sharon: What other projects are you working on?
Bre: I’ve got a million and one projects going on in my head, but my priority outside of contractual work is my free webcomic Jamie. I want to finish it and wrap up that part of my own growth and development to move on to stories that are challenging in different ways.

I have a soft sci-fi in mind that follows 3 aliens that are outsiders in their respective worlds and they find support and comfort together on their little ship by sharing their cultural, social, and physical differences. I wanna balance a cute colorful style with heavy themes surrounding the idea of understanding one's place in the vastness that is the universe. I have drawn inspiration from the anime Kaiba, and the movie 5th Element, as well as the series Star Trek, specifically Deep Space Nine.

Another story follows two young men from drastically different backgrounds, who think they want dramatically different things out of life, and who find themself in the same correctional facility in the middle of nowhere. With everything and everyone around them a threat, can they find commonality, tenderness, healing, and belonging with one another? This isn't going to be wildly original, but telling the story will do something for me. It'll be more mature than other stuff you might have seen from me.

There’s also a fantasy I’d like to start following a prince, a magician, an actual wizard, and an alternate dimension. The concept is just vibes and character designs right now.

Other graphic novels illustrated by Bre

Sharon: A prince, a magician, and a wizard walk into a bar in an alternate dimension…lol, sorry, I had to say it.
Bre: It was the perfect setup. I don't blame you haha.

But yeah...if anyone wants to make sure they happen I got a Patreon you can support. I got… uh, stickers and postcards ;) haha.
Sharon: Patreon is a fabulous way to support your favorite creators.

Sharon: Pros and cons of collaborating on a comic vs. doing one by yourself (like with Jamie).
Bre: It’s not efficient, but I have been writing Jamie as I go for a while. So, getting a completed script with a goal in mind from the jump was so liberating! I just got to go wild with my imagination and everything is really linear when working with a writer. There had to be something about getting a fresh idea in my hands for the first time in a while that helped too. Not to mention the flexibility that I had with the art and the excitement to show Jeremy what I did with his story really motivated me.

While every project has its own unique challenges, that’s just a part of life. I think it’s been great for me to work with a team because it has taught me to trust and adjust, prioritize and appreciate. Besides, it does feel great to have a finished book in hand after 3 years while I’m still looking at another 5 years for my independent project. Don't cry for me :’)

Sharon: What was the best decision you made in regard to making comics?
Bre: That I started, took myself seriously, and urged myself out of my comfort zone whenever possible.

Sharon: For any aspiring artists out there, what is something you wish someone had warned you about in the webcomic business?
Bre: Well, some of this might be obvious to others, but for me, a few of these things took a lot for me to finally get.

📌On the creative side
👉One thing I really felt unprepared for was nasty or rude comments. It’s good to have a strong sense of self-worth before drawing attention to your art on the internet. I had to remember that some people never grow out of being bullies. I think most people are better at taking that stuff in stride than me, but for those that have a hard time, try to trust yourself a bit more. You’re not going to please everyone, so make sure you’re enjoying yourself while you create.

📌Regarding business
👉If you want to make money with your comic, there are a lot more ways to make money off your comics online without signing away your IP nowadays, so don’t go signing the first contract that comes your way without really thinking about it and what your goals are. If you can, get representation, and if you can’t but want to move forward, ask a lot of questions and do research. Make sure you understand what you’re signing. Every moment is a learning opportunity but that doesn't mean you have to stumble.

👉Another thing is you should mirror your comics on multiple websites/apps if you’re not under contract. Sometimes readers are willing to migrate to follow your story, but a lot like to get cozy on their favorite website or app and very little will encourage them to transfer to another, and that's perfectly fine. But if you want your stories read by more people and you want to try to make this a sustainable hobby or career, you’ll have to diversify when you’re able to.

👉Do not be afraid to say no and draw boundaries in what you’ll do for work. Other opportunities will show up if you keep at doing what you love.

👉Invest time and energy into your relationships with other artists.

👉I guess last, stretch. Seriously. Do some sort of daily movement if you can. Don’t take your body for granted. Don’t work through hand and wrist pain, take a break. Drink water, and get some fresh air. I used to be stubborn, but you’re actually more productive at art when you’re feeling good anyway! So win-win <3

Sharon: Do you have any pets? Can we see a pic?
Bre: We have two cats, one is a calico named Riley (6 years), and the other is a Russian blue named Griselda aka Zelda (3 years). They’re my daughters and I would die for them.

Sharon: Do you have a favorite celestial body/wonder?
Bre: Impossible!! Space is literally mind-blowing!! When we look into space, we’re staring at creation itself. Just thinking about all that we don’t know makes me terrified and thrilled. I wish I could fly through a nebula or see a black hole with the glow of another star behind it, or witness a pulsar spinning unimaginably fast. I wish I could touch Neptune’s atmosphere and soar over Saturn’s rings. I wanna see a star go supernova!! …Obviously, that would all kill me, but it would be cool. I haven’t even had a chance to see the full, raw night sky from Earth’s surface without light pollution. I gotta get out to the desert sometime. If I wasn’t so poor at math and prone to daydreaming, I would have loved to have gone into Astronomy.

The Dog Knight (The Dog Knight, 1)
by Jeremy Whitley (Author), Bre Indigo (Illustrator), Melissa Capriglione (colorist)
May 16, 2023
Genre: graphic novel, middle-grade, fantasy, superhero, Children's Animal Comics , Children's Fantasy Comics, comics
Publisher: Macmillian
A nonbinary middle schooler saves a dog from bullies and is offered the chance to become the Dog Knight, protector of a magical pact between humans and dogs, in the first book of this humorous and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel series from Jeremy Whitely, author of Princeless, and Bre Indigo, illustrator of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel.

Frankie knows who they are. They’re a drummer, they’re nonbinary, and they’re… the Dog Knight?

One day Frankie is a relatively normal middle schooler, with relatively normal challenges, like finding the perfect outfit to wear during their drum solo during the upcoming band concert. The next, they save a friendly golden retriever from bullies and suddenly find themselves in a giant magical doghouse, with a funny looking helmet, talking to a group of dog superheroes called the Pawtheon about a job offer.

If Frankie can prove that they possess the six dog virtues of loyalty, kindness, honesty, justice, stubbornness, and smell, they will be named the Dog Knight and be given the power to fight alongside the Pawtheon and save the world from the forces of chaos.

Maybe there is more to Frankie than they thought?

Bre Indigo
Greetings! I'm Bre Indigo! It's lovely to have you here, thanks for visiting. 

 I'm a queer black artist based in SoCal. As someone who identifies as Agender, you may use any pronouns when addressing me. I'm a lover of salmon sashimi, astronomy, good coffee, Star Trek, face kisses, sun naps as well as my partner Tami, and fur babies Riley and Zelda.

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The purpose of my creative career is to bring people together and nurture a healthy community around my creations. I love to tell stories of gentle boys, strong girls, the great folk in between and those outside completely. I want to bring attention to the humanity and different forms of love we have in us as human beings. 

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