Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why MY BLADE QUEST now looks like a thrilling Serbian graphic novel

We're really excited about the new cover concept for our My Blade Quest adventure series, which you can check out on our Super Cool Books iPad app. My Blade Quest is about two siblings, Jay and Shu, who inherited the Blade Quest Industries empire after their parents were killed in an accident. But an evil mastermind is determined to destroy the business, and the two kids are forced to enter a world of danger and magic in order to protect what they have.

This exciting new comic book style really captures all the action and suspense that drive the story. It was created by Milan Mišic from Serbia. Milan read the book and came up with his own vision of how the story could be presented. Just from this cover alone you can see the range of his illustration skills, from captivating close ups to dynamic action poses to cool character designs.

We've invited Milan to introduce himself, explain his creative process as well as share some insights that might inspire any budding comic book artists reading this. Enjoy this interview and do remember to follow My Blade Quest on our iPad app!

Here's Milan posing with his own comic book creations.

Meet Milan Mišic

Please tell us about yourself!
I am a professional comic book artist and illustrator, and also part of comic and illustration group called "Djordje Lobacev". I am from Smederevo, Serbia, and currently living in Belgrade where I've graduated in Graphic Design.

Milan's magical tools for getting the job done.

How did you develop your skills as an illustrator?
I've been drawing since I was a kid. I was inspired by the Italian comics published by Sergio Bonelli Editore (such as Tex Willer, Mister No, Dylan Dog, Martin Mystère, Zagor, etc), Serbian comics especially the ones done by Bane Kerac (Tarzan, Cat Claw, Kobra, etc) and of course American superheroes (Superman most of all). Later I discovered the French comic scene and my everlasting inspiration Jean Giraud, also known as Moebius. I also read comics by Harold Foster (Prince Valiant), Sy Barry (Phantom), John Buscema (Conan) and Serbian artists such as Milan Jovanovic, Darko Perovic, and R. M. Guera.

I decided to totally devote myself to comic art after meeting Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl, Judge Dredd) at the 7th International Comics Festival in Belgrade. Today I am pretty much inspired by the work of Nicola Mari, Jordi Bernet, Joe Kubert and Goran Parlov.

How the cover illustration developed over time, 
with the final layout by Milan's friend Miloš. We'll
be using this for our promotion materials.

Your cover art for My Blade Quest is amazing! Can you share with us your illustration process? 
When Don hired me to work on this illustration I read his book first and realised that it has a lot of potential for visual adaptation. There were ninjas, a wizard, people transforming into animals, etc. I chose the scene that I found the most attractive for the cover and made the sketch. After Don saw this he suggested that we should try to do it like a collage, which I liked. I made another sketch and we were satisfied with that one.

I did the rest of the illustration the way I usually work: I printed out the sketch, resized this to a larger format (A3) and did the final pencil work by following the sketch closely. I did the inking using pen and brush, and added the colors digitally in Photoshop. I like to keep the colours simple and as flat as I can, without unnecessary shading.

When I finished the illustration I asked Miloš Trajkovic, a friend of mine and a great designer, to design the cover and he did an amazing job. You can see his work here: http://loshmi.deviantart.com.

Milan's working space. Note the digital tools on the lower left.
And the beautiful guitar too!

Any advice for young illustrators and comic book artists?
I think it's important to be confident and to bring your own vision to life when you draw something. You don't have to do it the way your favorite artists do. Even if you like somebody's work, it doesn't mean that it fits your sensibility and your nature. It's OK to be under somebody's influence and to practice drawing from models and pictures, but when you're working on a project the final work should be your own creation. I try not to push myself too hard and to draw the way I did when I was a kid, only with much more experience. Take it easy, be confident and your authentic style will develop spontaneously.

Check out more of Milan's work here: http://sismisic.deviantart.com/