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QRD #74
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
about this issue
Featured Band Interview:
Bass Player Interviews:
Tony Zanella of  +/-
Channing Azure of Alpha Cop
Eric Baldoni of Colt Vista
Jeanne Kennedy Crosby
Rob Kohler
Derek M. Poteat
Guitarist interviews:
Campbell Kneale
Antony Milton of PseudoArcana
Nevada Hill of Bludded Head
Malcolm Brickhouse
Chvad SB
Scott Endres of Make
Label Owner Interviews:
Russian Winter Records
Moving Furniture
Basses Frequences
Saxwand Records
Comic Creator Interviews:
Richard Van Ingram
Tyler Sowles
JB Sapienza
Troy Vevasis
Victor Couwenbergh
Terry Hooper
Travis Hymel
Robert Hendricks
Dirk Manning
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Silber Records
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Tyler Sowles
Tyler Sowles
Tyler Sowles
Tyler Sowles
Indie Comic Creator interview with Tyler Sowles
July 2015
Tyler Sowles
Name: Tyler Sowles
City: Grand Rapids, MI
Comics: The Numbered (Arcana Studio), Durontus: The Lost Serpent (Self Published), Hank Steiner: Monster Detective (Self Published), Fallstreak, Renegade
Websites: Killustrationstudios.com, thekillustrator.com, durontus.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?

Tyler – I was into reading whatever was on magazine stands as a kid -- mostly a lot of Spider-Man & Spawn.  I lost interest in comics in middle school thanks to video games, but then got back into them in college.  By that time comics were no longer just DC or Marvel & new & interesting titles from Dark Horse, Image, & IDW made me want to read comics again.

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

Tyler – As a kid, I’m not sure, probably Spider-Man.  Anything with Lizard or Venom in it.  As an adult, it was Hellboy & Invincible.

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

Tyler – I put out a mini comic in my early 20s, I think 22 or 23.  I did my first full length comic when I was 27.

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

Tyler – This one.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Tyler – Comics come naturally to me -- the idea of movement based scenes, sequential work, is something that’s easy & fun for me to wrap my head around.  There IS a way to make a living in comics, too.  It’s just not easy.  Making a living drawing or writing seems... even more difficult.

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

Tyler – Both.  It depends on what the creators’ goals are.  I’ve personally seen friends go either direction as they take off.

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

Tyler – 100?  I think.

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

Tyler – This is tough.  Overseas large print runs basically run the media.  It’s hard for a small publisher/indie creator to match those prices.  I find that $5 or $6 is pretty standard for smaller print runs.  Even then, creators make very little back.

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

Tyler – Right now, I produce between 5-10 books a year.  I wish I could do a book a month.

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

Tyler – Again, I think it’s up to the creator.  I really don’t think there’s a right or a wrong in this regard.

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

Tyler – It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about this.  It seems to me that comic strips are simpler in presentation -- usually only a few panels to convey a message, which seems even more difficult.  I feel that strips have to be sharp & to the point.  The art is often highly stylized.  I guess I prefer comics, simply because it’s more of what I grew up with.

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

Tyler – This depends on who’s printing the book.  Your “team” plays a big factor when it comes down to printing & distribution.  For self-publishing, it could be next day (once the files are prepped) or a month later. It sorta depends on who’s printing the material, too.  It usually takes me a month or two to complete the art for a standard 22-24 page comic.

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

Tyler – Hopefully everything.  I feel like every time I draw a page, I learn something.  I’ve learned a lot about finalizing things, inking & making the art look dynamic.  At least, I’d like to think so, anyhow.

QRD – Do you do thumbnails?

Tyler – Sometimes, especially if the writer wants it, or I’m having a hard time figuring out a page.  Typically though, I prefer to rough stuff straight to the page.

QRD – At what size do you draw?

Tyler – 11x17 comic board.

QRD – What kind of pens do you use?

Tyler – I don’t.  I typically ink in Photoshop with a med sized Intuos Pro. If I ink traditionally, I use a brush & liquid ink.

QRD – What does your workstation look like?

Tyler – A disaster.

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

Tyler – Depends on the book.  I still like to do pencils traditionally, but I LOVE inking digitally.

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

Tyler – I dig them, too.

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

Tyler – I typically do pencils & inks.  My wife (& art partner) Sara Sowles, usually handles the color.

QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?

Tyler – Typically, it’s a small team of 3 to 6.  You have a writer, penciller, inker, colorist, letterer, & sometimes an editor.  A lot of the time, the penciller also inks, unless there’s a tight deadline & a big budget.  Sometimes folks are just able to handle more than one job.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

Tyler – Conventions!  Online helps sometimes, too.  Pencil Jack & Digital Webbing are good resources, but the forums can be... annoying.  I prefer meeting people in person at conventions.

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

Tyler – This depends on the team & your goals.  Lazy writing is a bad thing, but leaving some things open to interpretation for the artist can be rewarding.  Writers & artists should come to some sort of agreement ahead of time of what they need from each other.  I prefer reasonable direction, as long as I can make changes to make things more interesting or dynamic as they come up.

QRD – Do you think it’s important to have a full story arc completely written before starting to draw?

Tyler – Maybe?  I think it’s a good idea to have a general objective in mind in the very least.  Perhaps you might not have every issue written, but you DO have a skeleton of the next 4 issues.  That works.

QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?

Tyler – I’ve been compared to both Mike Mignola & Tony Moore.  I’m not nearly as talented as those guys.  It’s immensely flattering.

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

Tyler – A plethora of feelings.  I think most of them are supportive -- friends think it’s cool.  I have a LOT of friends who DO comics now.  My family thinks it’s weird, I think, & they don’t get it, but they’re still supportive.

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

Tyler – They’re the comic standard.  There are good superhero stories out there. They used to monopolize the industry, but there’s a growing interest in different kinds of stories & small publishing.  Thankfully.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

Tyler – Dark Horse.

QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?

Tyler – I’d love to do a Hellboy pinup.  Or Godzilla.  For sure.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

Tyler – I take what comes.  I have a couple great comics that I’m passionate about, but if a large offer comes through, I would pursue that, too.

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

Tyler – Midwest area.  Try not to fly -- it’s too expensive unless you’re a guest.

QRD – How do you feel about doing work for anthologies?

Tyler – I like helping out.

QRD – What do you do to promote your books?

Tyler – Twitter, conventions, signings.

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

Tyler – Comic shops for sure.  Indie & small press!

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

Tyler – Any.  Maybe?  I don’t know.  A Hank Steiner toy or movie would be dope.

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

Tyler – I’m definitely a reader & creator.  I don’t collect.  Most of my comics are destroyed due to misuse & tons of reading.  Coffee stains, bent all to hell from travel, rips.

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

Tyler – The internet.  Print is slowly dying.  Comics are one of the few mediums left.

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

Tyler – Reading & supporting indie & small press.  We all love Batman, but seriously, give something different a try.  There’s a lot of passionate, talented folks making comics in YOUR neighborhood.  You just have to look for them.

QRD – Anything else?

Tyler – Nope.  Thanks for the interview!