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QRD #58 - Indie Comic Interview Series Part IV
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Indie Comic Creator Interviews:
Heather Nunnelly
Jeremy Baum
Graeme McNee
Michael Neno
Cihan Sesen
Shana Cleveland
Jeremy The Artist
Andrew Taylor
Simon Moreton
GMB Chomichuk
Virginia Shields
Mulele Jarvis
Lars Kramhøft
Josie Pi Grant
Palle Schmidt
Shawn Atkins
Tom Kristensen
Francesca Urbinati
Harold Dean Cupec
Adam Black
Daniel McCloskey
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Indie Comic Creator Interview with Virginia Shields
February 2013
Virginia Shields
Name: Virginia Shields
City: Pittsburgh,
Comics: The Orbs of Power
Websites: www.shieldsink.com

QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?

Virginia – I got really into comic strips when I was 5 or 6. I started obsessively drawing my own for a few years, then I switched to drawing people from pictures to improve my abilities. When I was 12 I started making Xena comic books & eventually made the first version of The Orbs of Power, which I am redoing now. College kind of killed my productivity, but boring office jobs brought it back. I started drawing in my cubicles & on the bus. I was hooked again after that.

QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?

Virginia – It was a Xena comic called The Temple of the Dragon God drawn by Aaron Lopresti. I loved it.

QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?

Virginia – I completed my first 20-page comic book at age 12, but the only person who read it was my mom. I was 26 when I self-published my first comic for reals.

QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?

Virginia – I have no clue.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Virginia – I like to tell stories, but I always hated writing descriptions. I would much rather draw them! Plus I really love to draw.

QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?

Virginia – Not necessarily. I like indie comics & if I could make a living at them I would. When I hear “mainstream comics” I automatically think of super hero comics, but I think in reality it just refers to how popular a comic is. Mini-comics are pretty unique though, because they seem to be mostly self-published & unfiltered.

QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?

Virginia – Around 30.

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

Virginia – As much or as little as the creators choose.

QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?

Virginia – Only 1-2 per year, but I would like to make 3 or 4.

QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?

Virginia – Both. I like it when they are serialized at first, but then collected in a complete volume later.

QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?

Virginia – I prefer comic books, but I think the difference is only in form. You can tell any kind of story you want with either; it just looks a little different.

QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?

Virginia – A month to a year.

QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?

Virginia – Just about everything. I’ve learned a lot since I started self-publishing, from reading other comics to talking with other creators.

QRD – Do you do thumbnails?

Virginia – Yes, but I just started using them in the past year. I noticed a friend who draws really nice layouts using thumbnails to plan them out & a little light went on. They have helped me make my pages flow better.

QRD – At what size do you draw?

Virginia – I draw in a 9X12 sketchbook.

QRD – What kind of pens do you use?

Virginia – A brush pen or the digital equivalent.

QRD – What does your workstation look like?

Virginia – I have a grey drafting table with a floral dinner chair, a short filing cabinet filled with action figures all over it, stacks of paper on the floor, some speakers for music, & a couple bookshelves.

QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?

Virginia – At the inking stage.

QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?

Virginia – We cool.

QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?

Virginia – Black & white.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

Virginia – They usually find me.

QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?

Virginia – I think as long as your expectations are clear, they can be a tight or loose as you want them to be.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?

Virginia – Craig Thompson.

QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?

Virginia – They like them, I think. At least that’s what they tell me….

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

Virginia – I wish I was one.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

Virginia – No preference.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

Virginia – Not really. Self-publishing is really fulfilling, but I would love for someone to pay me to publish my comics.

QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?

Virginia – Any in the Pittsburgh area, because I’m lazy.

QRD – What do you do to promote your books?

Virginia – I post them online & try to get them in local comic shops.

QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?

Virginia – My comics are pretty normal for comic book shops, as long as they accept self-published works.

QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?

Virginia – I would love to see the Orbs series as all of the above! But if I had to choose, I’d go with video games.

QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?

Virginia – Definitely more of a creator, but I’ve been trying to be a better reader as of late.

QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?

Virginia – Probably digital, but I think hard copy volumes of comics will always be in style.

QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?

Virginia – I’d like to see more people come out with awesome comics that stand up to literature. Comics can be beautiful expressions & are such a great medium. I really want them to keep garnering the respect they deserve.

QRD – Anything else?

Virginia – Cheers & thanks!