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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Process: Featuring Onezumi

by Peter Hammarberg

How would you describe your style of art/writing?

I guess "cute and scary" would be a good way to describe my Illustrations. They can be adorable, but I'm too cynical to just let that happen by itself. It's kind of like what would happen if an elf crapped in your spaghetti. The humor of Stupid and Insane Defenders Against Chaos is inspired by pop culture, horror films, H.P. Lovecraft, and my own bizarre thoughts. My Annoying Life is inspired by various office jobs I've had over the years. It's kind of like Dilbert with Tentacles.

When I blog, I just blog as if I'm talking to my friends. I'm really grateful to be able to do what I do, so I think of my readers that way anyhow.

Could you tell me the secret origin of your comic-creator persona? What transformed you into ONEZUMI-AWESOME-COMIC-CREATOR? A radioactive web-comic bite?

One day I got tired of feeling sorry for myself and made a conscious decision to do something so that I could do what I wanted to do - help other people. I was actually abandoned by my birth mother when I was not even 1 year old. It was annoying. I know what it's like to not be able to afford basics. I managed to pay my way through college, but I still had no idea what I wanted to do when I was a Junior.

A few friends suggested that maybe I should do a comic. I had always wanted to make comics, but I had written it off because I never thought I would have the money and connections to get involved in the industry. I started Onezumi.com in 2003 and never looked back.

The overall goal is to be able to get enough revenue going that I can start some programs to teach art and Real Life survival. I know I sure could have used the help when I was 17. So far I've done really well. The best thing is that it also translated into skills that I've been able to use during the day at my office job. I work in Management [for a company] before 5. After 5 I work in Management for my own company.

What the inspiration for your characters and stories?

A lot of it comes from real life things that Harknell and I do. Some of it comes from our desire to poke fun at things. Sometimes it is just a day for a lot of funny monkeys and his Horned Pixie with Pink Manties. I really do think of these things all the time. You have no idea how much stuff *doesn't* make it in the comic. You can thank Harknell for editing some of those out.

What other creative outlets do you...let...out?

I'm a Black Belt in a mixture of Okinawan Kempo, Thai Kickboxing, and police self defense. Before the comic I was planning on being a Pro Boxer or Pro Wrestler. Now I just exercise every day and call it even.

I also sing. I have studied Opera technique since High School, but I usually sing in a Pop or Broadway style.

I realize that "Amusement Parks" is not exactly an art, but trust me, I'm so into them that it qualifies. Hee hee.

What's the process you go through to create “STUPID & INSANE DEFENDERS AGAINST CHAOS” and “MY ANNOYING LIFE”?

The scripts are written in Google Documents. Harknell will look them over and let me know if something looks really wrong. He also suggests bits from the news that I may want to write about. SaIDAC is drawn directly into the computer with a Wacom Intuous tablet. I then digitally ink over it with the Photoshop Pen Tool. I actually just made a tutorial here about how that is done on my new art tutorial site. For the Deathside "watercolor" art, I just use a hard brush on a 15% opacity and build up the colors. I also have a library of stock images that I have created that I can draw from. I learned this technique when I worked for The Disney Channel.

My Annoying Life follows the same process, except that I reuse all of the character artwork and just change the expressions. It's supposed to be a quick bonus comic, so I had to keep it simple in order to meet all of my deadlines.

Does the "idea well" ever dry? What do you do when you

Oh yeah, all the time. When it gets to that point I just have to get up, walk away, and go out somewhere or watch something on TV. The more pressure I feel to finish something, the less it will happen.

Any new works in the works?

Actually yes, something really huge is going to be announced in the next several weeks. Unfortunately, NDAs are involved and I can't talk about it yet. 2010 is going to be the best year yet.

If I wanted to start making web comics, what advice could you give me?

That depends on if you want art advice or business advice. It also depends on if it were just for fun or as a professional business.

For art advice I'd point you toward Drawpocalypse, ConceptArt.org and Computer Arts.co.uk to start.

Business is a bit more ethereal. Success is learning how to not take things personally. Everyone gets rejected regardless of talent, trade, or social position. The Beatles got rejected many times if you can believe that. The winner is the person who can get through those first few thousand rejections and still keep going. It's kind of like Douchebag Surfing You have to get through those dumbass waves to find the people who are your target market. Not everyone will like you. Be OK and cowabunga with that.

Network with others in the field as a friend - not as a competitor. You are only as strong as your network, so don't treat other comics like enemies. I really can't stand it when comics do that. It's a surefire way to kill your career. Comics are like apples and oranges. No one is going to read my comic and decide that they no longer have to read Penny Arcade. We aren't selling Big Macs here.

The most important piece of advice is to stay true to what you believe in. I don't think I could do what I do if I didn't love it. I consider myself very lucky to know all of the comic creators that I do and I really love hanging out at conventions with comics fans, too.

Are you a “journey” or a “destination” kinda person?

I should be a "journey" person. It's a lot healthier way to think and probably easier. Sadly, I am not like that. I can be impatient. I drink a lot of coffee. Once I wrote a marriage proposal to Starbucks and sent it to them via email. They replied thanking me for my email. A year later I emailed because I got a bad scone and was disappointed. I found out that they actually have a file on me in their office somewhere. I don't know if this was good or bad, but they were able to send me my free drink coupons faster than I could reply with my address.

Random question: What style of martial arts do you practice? I Heart Martial Arts.

Oops! I didn't realize you were going to ask this, so I answered above. I'll turn it into a question about what I'd like to do in the future.

I'd like to try Kung Fu because it's so different from the brutal police style I learned. I'm not practicing anything now because New Jersey law makes it very hard for schools to operate in this state. The ones that do operate don't usually do contact sparring. Contact sparring is a necessity for me, so I never was able to study very long in NJ.

Speaking of opening cans of whoop-ass, who would win in a throw-down
no-holds-barred engagement of fisticuffs:

H.P Lovecraft or Steven King?

It depends on if they can invoke monsters from their books or not.

John Stamos or Sailor Moon? (trick question)

Rebecca Romijin.

Cthulhu or Nyarlathotep? (mind you, the former was taken down by a boat


Shameless Plug Time:


Art Tutorials: @ Drawpocalypse
Oni's Personal Blog: @ Onezumiverse

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