How do the pros #MakeComics? We’re here to tell you. Every second week, Comicosity is picking the brains of a pro who is killing it in the comics industry, and this week I was lucky enough to talk to Ryan Ferrier!
Tiger Lawyer. That’s where my relationship with the writing of Ryan Ferrier began. Sure, he’s gone on to write the brilliant D4VE, Kennel Block Blues, Hot Damn and some lesser known books like Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Godzilla, and Sons Of Anarchy, but Tiger Lawyer is where I first wondered just how this guy worked. Luckily, Ryan was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his creative process and craft for #MakeComics:
What does a typical day in the life of Ryan look like?
For as remarkable a job as writing comics full-time is, from the outside looking in, my days are fairly unremarkable. I hit the computer around nine, in my apartment, and start with emails and checking out my schedule/to-do list for the day/week. From there it’s work all day with sporadic breaks, on either scripts, script revisions, outlines, or new concepts/pitches. I do a very limited amount of lettering still, so a few days over the course of a month will be spent on that.
What time of day do you do your best work?
I used to be a real night-owl creatively, then switched to an early bird, but now it’s hard to nail down. As long as my head’s in the correct space, I find there’s no difference; especially with actual deadlines, you have no choice—if I’m working I’m trying to do my best.
Comics is a collaborative medium. How do you work with your teammates on your projects?
Collaboration is the best! And everyone works seperately/together differently. Some of my collabs are all done over email, some through messaging, some skype, and on occasion it’s more individual. I always try to work with my artists and get a feel for how we operate together at the start of a project.
How do you manage your to-do list?
I use a very simple app, Wunderlist. It’s very genuinely just a vertical list that you can add, remove, rearrange, and set reminders with. It syncs on multiple platforms, and works really well for me; I don’t like having big calendars or complex schedules, despite my schedule being kind of crazy. This calms the storm, so to speak.
What is your workspace like?
A lot of the time it’s in my small “office” in my apartment (pic attached). Sometimes I bring my laptop to the kitchen table or couch when I’m really into a script and need a change. I’ve recently started writing in a local coffee shop a couple times a week; it’s been surprisingly refreshing and gets me out of the house.
What tools are essential to your creative process?
I’m a pretty simple cat: pen, notebook, laptop, desktop, internet. I will on occasion use a stack of index cards when I’m really overwhelmed with outlining a story.
What do you love most about creating comics?
It’s a medium where I can do anything, with a collaborator, across multiple genres. So far, comics has been the only outlet I have that allows me to tell stories that mean something to me with a degree of success and confidence.
What is your favourite phase of a project?
That’s really difficult as I love most of the process, even when they are challenging. The actual script writing part, after the outline, is remarkable to me, as it feels like a graduation of sorts; all of this effort and power has gone into leading to that moment. It’s watching all the puzzle pieces that you’ve hand-carved come together and fit, which I find satisfying. At the same time there’s a huge level of finesse and craft that still comes into play that is thrilling.
What do you listen to or watch while you work?
If I’m writing at home, I don’t have music on. If I’m writing at a coffee shop, it depends on the type of story. I tend to make playlists for each project I’m on that hones in on the tone of the story; for example it could be more dark and moody, or more thrilling, or more light-hearted, it all depends.
When you aren’t creating comics, how do you like to spend your time?
I typically don’t have a lot of free time or extracurricular hobbies. But if I’m not seeing family or friends, I do enjoy reading, yoga, and enjoying vinyl records.
Networking and meeting other creators is an important part of the business. What is your preferred way to network?
It’s always easier for me to meet people at conventions because you get a more genuine connection and familiarity, but twitter has been really good for a lot of creators.
What comics are you reading right now?
Right now I’ve enjoyed Phoenix Resurrection, Planet of the Apes: Ursus, Deathstroke, Snagglepuss Chronicles, TMNT…there’s a lot to list so those are the most recent ones I’ve read.
What do you hope to see in the industry in the future?
I’d love to see the distribution model be seriously examined and worked in a way that benefits the readers, the retailers, and the creative teams. I’d love to see more financial fairness from publishers. I’d love to see toxic anti-diversity entitled whiny piss baby fringe groups who are spoiling everyone else’s fun read something other than superheroes and maybe move out of their parents basements before they hit fifty.
Check out Ryan’s work here and check back in 2 weeks for a new #MakeComics interview!