with Palle Schmidt
Name: Palle Schmidt
City: Copenhagen, Denmark
Comics: The Devil’s Concubine (IDW), Hard Evidence (Graphicly)
Websites: www.palleschmidt.com, www.devilsconcubine.com, www.comicsforbeginners.com
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
Palle – Probably some superhero book. I remember getting Batman versus Ra’s al Ghul when I was around 8.
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
Palle – Too young! I published a series in a local role-playing game fanzine. Never finished it. Didn’t know what the story was when I started!
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
Palle – No idea. Late eighties, early nineties had The Dark Knight & Watchmen, those books still for me are the cream of the crop.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
Palle – I do both things separately too, as a writer & an illustrator. But combining them in a 100% creator owned form of visual storytelling is for me a privilege & great fun. I tend to think of it as making movies, only without a budget!
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
Palle – Depends on the creator’s ambitions I guess. If you’re ONLY doing it to get to draw Spider-Man one day, then I think you’re doing it wrong.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
Palle – I let my publisher handle that. The Devil’s Concubine is on Comixology, so millions of copies. Theoretically.
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
Palle – As little as possible, but enough that the creator makes a buck.
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
Palle – I would like to be more productive, but drawing pages takes forever. & since no one is really paying me to do it, I have to squeeze it in between other work. I’m also doing more writing now, YA novels & otherwise. As long as I have SOMETHING of my own out every year, I’m a happy camper.
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
Palle – I definitely prefer the complete works, I like to know just how much time & money I’m going to be sinking into a book before I start. The endless repetition, rebooting, & crossovers just annoy me.
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
Palle – Strips can be fun, but I don’t really dig them. I like stories, not punchlines.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
Palle – Anywhere between 1 & 10 years!
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
Palle – Everything! Writing an actual script is something I’ve definitely gotten better at, I used to just start drawing & get to about page three. Now I finish everything I start.
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
Palle – Absolutely. That oversize piece of empty paper scares the crap out of me.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
Palle – I live in Europe, so we have A3 paper, but I usually make the pages to fit the US format. The US is where I’m hoping it will end up eventually anyway.
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
Palle – Markers of any kind. My first book was done with a quill, but I don’t really like the result & my hand never got used to it. Right now I work with watercolor & brushes.
QRD – What does your workstation look like?
Palle – Messy. A lightbox drawing table & a desk with a PC, piles of paper, pens that dried out years ago, & way too many comics & reference books.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
Palle – Depends on the project, but I usually do texting & borders on a scanned rough sketch, to make sure the balloons fit the dialogue. I then print out the pages & sketch on the print outs. Later I do colors or color correcting in Photoshop.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
Palle – I like them a lot better after I got an iPad. Also the quality seems to have gone up, but that might just be because traditional publishing is getting harder to get in to & the money is next to nothing. I’m intrigued by the idea of self-publishing digitally. Watch this space!
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
Palle – Right now I’m coloring my next graphic novel, so this minute I would say black & white! I can definitely get it done faster if I lose the colors, so I might just do that next time.
QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?
Palle – In a perfect world, who knows? In my world, it’s just me. I can’t pay anyone to help out. I do work with a couple of US writers on different projects, so who knows what the future will bring.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
Palle – I met some great people at conventions, but with writers it’s harder to tell the quality of the work just by flipping through a book. So a combination of face-to-face & online research would be my advice.
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
Palle – If the descriptions are too elaborate, I tend to feel constrained. I like the opportunity to throw in an extra panel or change the pacing a bit. Breaking it down is part of the storytelling to me.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
Palle – I get compared to Frank Miller a lot, but recently that’s not so flattering! I’m also a huge fan of Sean Phillips, Ed Brubaker, & Brian Azzarello; so any of those guys.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
Palle – If they have an opinion, they’ve pretty much kept it to themselves. I’m hoping to expose my kids to some of the good stuff when they get a little older. But like any other medium, there’s good & bad. I for one can’t say I love comics in general. Some comics, yeah.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
Palle – Sometimes sublime, most of the time just stupid. I grew up on a diet of X-men & the like, but lately I don’t really follow any of it. I like some of the movies though.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
Palle – DC has Batman, so they win. But almost all the other characters I like (or used to like) are with Marvel.
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
Palle – I think my comics would sell anywhere! I wish there where more places people would get exposed to comics. When I was a kid they sold comics at the supermarket, now you have to go to dingy basement stores or get them online, booksellers have next to nothing. A shame.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
Palle – All of the above. Well, movies mainly. But if I get a percentage, bring it on. Pez dispensers, shampoo bottles, the works!
QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?
Palle – Comixology & other online services. I think we need to place our comics in people’s hands, not hold our breath waiting for them to come to us. Because they won’t! It has to be easily accessible & relatively cheap. If not, there are simply too many other forms of quick fix entertainment that will grab people’s attention.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
Palle – Tell stories that matter, not just nurse the fan base. Push some buttons, rock the boat.
QRD – Anything else?
Palle – If you’re interested in more of what I’m up to, check out my blog. As we speak I am working on my next graphic novel STILETTO. I also just started a series of video tutorials on how to write & draw comics, which you can find at www.comicsforbeginners.com. Thanks!