Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Web Artist Wednesday: Space Base 8 interview

This crash test monkey must be indestructible! Creator David Scott Smith gives us an inside look at his webcomic Space Base 8!

1. For the poor souls not already reading, please give a brief synopsis of your comic.

My comic strip, Space Base 8, is a gag-a-day style webcomic starring Cargo the Rocket Ship Crash Test Monkey. Cargo lives on a space station called, of course, Space Base 8. His best friend is a shy little robot called Lighthouse, whose head is a big light bulb; he serves as SB8's beacon light. Cargo has a crush on Meela, the Space Base 8's administrator and ambassador. It's obvious to everyone Meela returns Cargo's affections… that is, it's obvious to everyone but Meela herself.

There are lots of jokes about jetpacks, ray guns, robots and rocket ships. The universe of Space Base 8 is a crazy place, and Cargo and his friends try to make sense of it. Which is probably impossible.

2. What materials and/or software do you use?

I use a combination of real ink on paper and Photoshop to make Space Base 8. Using my iMac and a Wacom tablet, I write the dialog and draw thumbnail sketches at the same time, directly into a comic strip template I have set up in Photoshop. I print this out on legal sized copy paper and use a lightbox to transfer and refine tight pencils onto Borden & Riley #234 Paris Paper for Pens. Then I ink the comic using Zebra Disposable Brush Pens and a Pentel Pocket Brush. I love both of those tools so-o-o much! Then I scan the inks back into Photoshop, add gray tones and color, and I'm done.

Even though I could do it all on the computer, I like to ink with pen and brush. What's more, it's cool to have a physical piece of original art that I could sell someday.

3. Are there any books, movies, toys, artists, or authors that have inspired or continue to inspire your comic?

I have always been a big Star Trek and Star Wars fan, and find plenty of inspiration there. Visually, I take a lot from Mid Century Modern design. I am a fan of fifties and sixties space toys, and steal a lot of ideas from those. I have even started a toy ray gun collection that I have featured on my blog a couple times.

4. Are any of your characters based on real people in your life?

I originally thought that I was writing Cargo, the main character, as myself, but he quickly evolved into someone very different from myself. After a few years of writing the strip, I think Lighthouse has turned out to be a lot like me. People tell me they think Meela is my wife, but I don't intend to write it that way.

5. Are there any actors you know you would want to play or voice certain characters in a movie of your comic?

I have some friends whose voices I hear when I write the characters, but no celebrities.

6. What songs would you like in a soundtrack of your comic?

I like the soundtracks to the old Laurel and Hardy and Little Rascals films. I'd want to use that music with SB8.

7. What is your overall goal for your comic?

The goal of Space Base 8 is really to give me a creative outlet, and to hone my cartooning skills. I never expect to make any money at it, but if I can that would be nice. Every once in a while I may have an opinion to express, and I'll sneak it in as a joke.

8. How has managing a comic impacted your life?

I spent most of my free time working on Space Base 8. I have gotten burned out on it, and have taken breaks a few times. I am constantly surprised by how much time and effort it takes to make a decent comic strip. I really admire people who can do it well on a regular schedule.

9. What do you do to advertise your work?

I have advertised on The Webcomics List and joined Ink Outbreak. I get some decent traffic from them. I tried Project Wonderful but didn't get very good results from that. Facebook and Twitter work well, but mostly to remind people who already know the strip to go and read it.

10. Web comics can be very time consuming and sometimes expensive to keep up. Often there is little reward in regards to money and sometimes public attention. Why do you do it?

I do SB8 mostly to see what I can do, and to practice doing it. I love comics strips, and I love comedy. I want to be a creator and not just a consumer of comic strips. I want to write jokes and draw funny pictures. I like to make myself laugh.

11. Got any other projects we should know about?

I don't have any other projects. What free time I have goes into Space Base 8.

12. What advice would you give to aspiring creators?

I would tell everyone to keep learning new stuff. Get interested in something you don't already know about. Expand your knowledge base and skill set. I waited way too long to learn how to ink with a brush, and now I love it more than penciling. I waited way too long to learn how to structure a joke, and now I want to write comedy even more than I want to draw (sometimes). This all makes you a better all-around creator. Being interested makes you and your work interesting.  

Thanks so much for taking the time Dave! I'll definitely be picking up Space Base 8 book 1 BLAST OFF!

If you dig Space Base 8 you can show your love by up-voting the submission for this interview at Reddit Webcomics. Up-voting keeps Space Base 8 on the front page of the webcomic category longer which means more people get to see it!

Thanks for reading Folks! Drop us a comment below to let us know what ya' think. Then hitch a simian space flight over to Space Base 8!


If you would like to be interviewed about your web-comic send an email to evanyeti@yahoo.com titled "interview" with a link to your comic.

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