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Six Questions with Noel

Noel is the very definition of a man of few words. But, I figured I’d been hogging the spotlight long enough, and forced him to answer these questions six. If you have more questions for the Man in Can(ada) feel free to post in the comments, and I’ll make sure he sees ’em.

1) So, back with me again, eh? How’s that? Like an old pair of pants?
As Larry David would say: “Pretty, pretty, pretty good” and, yeah, like an old pair of corduroys.

2) You’ve done an amazing job conveying L.A. in the book. How hard is it to capture the look and feel of Los Angeles using just my scripts and the scant reference photos I send over?

Thanks. I didn’t know I’d captured the look & feel of L.A. but I guess it helps referring to Jaime Hernandez’s work. I’ve also been looking at Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s treatment of his buildings & backgrounds. Have you finished his ginormous “Drifting Life” book yet?

I’m about 1/2 way through, and it’s freaking amazing. For anybody reading this who’s a fan of our work, or great comics in general, go check out the work of Tatsumi here.

3) Probably your biggest strength as an artist as far as I’m concerned is your ability to control the character’s ‘acting.’ Everyone feels so real and alive. What’s your secret?
Working in an animation studio (doing storyboard revisions) helps since you had to draw the characters feelings and moods to match the script’s descriptions. Plus having a mirror nearby is a good aid.

4) Because of your loose art style, there’s this really nice balance you have to have between too much and not enough.When do you know that a page is done?
Hmm…well, the best way I can answer that question is describing the way I tackle a page. I’ll do the line work first and from there it’s a matter of clarifying each panel with, say, dark figures or objects in the foreground and adding less detail on the background as it recedes. Of course, I can always look back at “Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work” as a guide.

5) After doing Elk’s Run with Scott Keating on colors, how hard was it to move over to doing black and white
It wasn’t too difficult since Elk’s Run is the only comic I’ve drawn that’s been colored. Prior to ER and, so far, afterwards I’ve always drawn my comics in b & w.

6) What haven’t I given you a chance to draw that you desperately want to draw?
An EC/pre-code horror and/or sci-fi epic! Hey, I’ll even take a series of short stories since I love those comic book horror anthologies. I was looking at that Steve Niles/Kelley Jones Batman series and wishing so badly I was given a chance to draw those stories in the style of a Grahan Ingels or early Bernie Wrightson.

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