Category: Super Creatives series

Daryl Lindquist studied Fine Art more years ago than he cares to remember. He worked in comics for Inkspots (oz comic publication), then on and off doing graphics of various kinds for more than  25 years, including a number of covers and illustrations for books and magazines (mainly SF). He started to get into computer graphics around 15 years ago and has worked with various 3D and 2D programs ever since. Daryl made his first book trailer 10 years ago for the T’En trilogy. Daryl says, he’s still having fun!

Can you tell us about the history of R & D Studios?

R&D Studios has been around for around 12 years. It is basically an elaborate front that allows me to indulge myself in fun projects. I actually started out doing comics way back when for a local publication in Melbourne called “Inkspots” in 1982. It contained several ‘up and coming’ young artists from Melbourne at the time, including Fil Barlow, Chris Johnston, Stephen Campbell, and others. My wife was a partner in GASPP (a graphics studio in St Kilda in Melbourne in ’83 through to ’90). I was involved in the periphery of that. When we moved to Brisbane we set up R&D Studios as a side project from our main income streams. So it is basically me with some input from Rowena when she gets a chance. Now that I have retired from my day job, I’ll get a chance to devote more time doing the things I really enjoy.

Are you specialising in book trailers or is that one of the many services you offer?

Book trailers are one of our many services, although a major one. I’ve just completed a series of six book covers for example for crime writer, Sandy Curtis and ClanDestine Press. So our work covers the whole range of graphics. I actually started doing book trailers back in 2002 for the third book of Rowena’s trilogy. The digital revolution has certaintly come a long way since then.

What projects have you most enjoyed working on?

The King Rolen’s Kin trailer for Rowena, Death Most Definite for Trent Jamieson, and Angel Arias of course, which is the first time we’ve ventured into
filming, rather than 3D animation and animatics. Bascially the projects where the clients trust you to do a good job and gives you complete artistic freedom are the most fun.

Where would you like your skill base to take you?

I don’t have any lofty ambitions. I would just like to potter away doing the projects I enjoy, but always trying to push the boundaries of my ability. I guess I’m in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose what projects I decide to do.

What are your thoughts on the New Media/Trans Media revolution?

The lines are getting very blurry. There is a voracious appetite for content out there, which will be filled but quality will always stand out. We live in a time where money is no longer the barrier that it used to be. For example, it is now possible to put together a feature length film for under $50K. Now that is a lot of money, but it is not out of the reach of a great many people who have the drive, the vision, the talent and the inspiration to do it. You can record your own album at home. You can do your own graphic novel and publish it. Write your own book and publish it. We are in the middle of a creative explosion where a great number of people can now realise their vision from their own desktops. The fact that all of this is being made possible by the web and computers means that the distinctions between media are disappearing. They are all using the same tool, so it can only converge.

Where can people contact you?

Email is good – daryl at rdstudios dot com dot au

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U5uZbt052w

 

Queenie Chan was born in 1980 in Hong Kong, and migrated to Australia when she was six years old. In 2004, she began drawing a 3-volume mystery-horror series called “The Dreaming” for LA-based manga publisher TOKYOPOP. To date, it has been translated into multiple languages.

She has since collaborated on several single-volume graphic novels with best-selling author Dean Koontz. As prequels to his “Odd Thomas” series of novels, they are called “In Odd We Trust” and “Odd Is On Our Side”, the latter becoming #1 on the New York Times best-seller list the week it came out. A third book, “House of Odd”, is coming in April 2012. In 2009, she also provided art for the “Boys Book of Positive Quotations”, by best-selling inspirational author Steve Deger.

Currently, she is working on “Small Shen”, a prequel to Kylie Chan’s best-selling “White Tiger” fantasy series. Apart from her professional work, she also draws a number of online comic strips on her personal site: http://www.queeniechan.com/

1. What is it that appeals to you about manga over other forms of storytelling?

Manga is a very visual form of story-telling, and being a big fan of cinema, I found the cinematic nature of the pacing to be quite appealing. As a child, I read a lot, watched a fair number of movies, and played a lot of video games… but as a teenager, it was really manga that captured my attention, and showed me that it’s a medium where anything is possible. You can take a blank piece of paper, draw anything on it, and it will be completely from your own imagination. The freedom and possibilities offered was very attractive.

Being able to read a lot of translated manga in Chinese was also a blessing, because at the time, a lot of the work wasn’t yet available in English (and many still aren’t). Compared to mainstream American comics, manga offered a great deal of diversity in its subject matter, and I learned a fair amount about other walks of life that I otherwise wouldn’t have had an interest in. There was manga about surgery, about fire-fighting… and so on, and so forth. Again, the visual aspects of the medium made it easy for me to understand what was going on, moreso than if it was in prose.


2. What was it like working with TokyoPop on The Dreaming graphic novels?

“The Dreaming” was an unusual project for me, because I was rejected multiple times when I first submitted to TOKYOPOP. Eventually, they asked me to do a “haunted school” story. While I wasn’t too thrilled at that possibility at first, when I sat down and had a think about it, I realised that there is potential in this particular (narrow) genre. I wanted to do something that would showcase Australian culture, and therefore be appealing to anyone who isn’t from Australia (especially to Americans, which was the target market at the time). When I explained my idea to the editors at TOKYOPOP, they gave me their blessing, especially since one of them was a big fan of the “Picnic at Hanging Rock” movie from the 80s.

“The Dreaming” is only very loosely inspired by “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, but I like to mention it when I talk about the series’ influences. Perhaps because of the “foreign” nature of the story to the American editors, they largely left me alone to work on it. I had editors and copy-editors who helped me from time to time, but apart from that, I was given a great deal of freedom. I’m not sure how normal that is for a series from TOKYOPOP, but “The Dreaming” was quite successful, so I know that the story and the characters must have resonated with the readers, no matter where they’re from (and I got a fair amount of fanmail from it too!).

3. You’ve just finished the third manga adaptation of Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas novels. Can you share some of that journey with us?

Firstly, the “Odd Thomas” graphic novels aren’t adaptations of the original novels. They are original, stand-alone stories, with the story summaries written by Dean Koontz, and a comic book writer hired to flesh the story out and turn it into a comic book script for me to draw from. They star the same cast of characters from the novels, which is why they’re popular. When I was doing “House of Odd” (book 3 of the series), the second book “Odd Is On Our Side” was a #1 best-selling graphic novel on the New York Times best-seller list. Hopefully the third book is as popular as the second book was. Certainly the development process was almost entirely the same, though the comic book writers were different.

“House of Odd” was adapted from Dean’s story summary by Landry Walker, and his writing style was different to that of Fred Van Lente (writer for “Odd Is On Our Side”, whereas I wrote the first manga “In Odd We Trust”). It was interesting to compare and contrast the two writers, but as the illustrator, my job is to tell the story in as best a way as it can be told, so I did just that. Sometimes this means not following the script, because while the story was complete when I received the script, Dean tends to go through the comic book script and sometimes rewrite the character’s lines in order to fit his vision more. This can make for some odd moments, so it’s my job to smooth over these situations and make sure that the pictures correspond with the dialogue.

Dean is very easy to work with, and he’s never had a problem with the way I interprete the script. So I must say that despite having to keep an eye on the dialogue VS. the panel descriptions at times, the overall experience was quite rewarding and not at all difficult.

4. Can you tell us about your next project with Kylie Chan?

Kylie has written a best-selling series of Chinese fantasy novels called “White Tiger” (the first book). When she approached me, I found the story setting quite appealing, which is why I became interested in doing the prequel for the series – called “Small Shen”. The fact that it’s a prequel gives me some space to do interesting things with it, especially since the prose already exists, and I’m working from what is literally a finished (though yet unpublished) book. I can’t give away any details at this time, but I can tell you that it won’t be a straight-forward graphic novel. It’ll be a blend of prose and comics, which for me, is quite fun to attempt.

The book is due to be completed in July next year, in time for a Christmas release. I believe both Kylie and me will talk more about it when the release date approaches. So far, she’s been very satisfied with how it’s going, so I hope everyone will like the final product.

5. What would you like to be doing in ten years?

Probably doing the same thing as I am now, or at least that’s what I hope. Given the way life tends to pan out, it’s hard to say what I’ll be doing in 5 year’s time, let alone 10 years. Technology has changed the entertainment landscape a lot, so I’ll be interested in seeing how distribution models will change over the next few years. Like it or not, these kinds of outside forces are really what shape an industry, so I will be keeping a close eye on how things go in that field.

Hi everyone! As part of MDWeb’s mission to support great emerging Australia creative talent, here is an interview conducted by Cels Jansink with up and coming Aussie game developer Garth Pendergrast from Stirfire Studios.

CJ: Hi Garth, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us about your new exciting venture, Stirfire Studios. Can you tell us a bit about the concept behind Stirfire Studios and what has led you into this field?

GP:  Stirfire Studios was born out of a need to give a platform for talented, independent game production in Perth and Australia.  There’s a lot of talent in this country that gets ignored because simply they don’t have the voice that a larger company can provide.  Our other aim is to give resources to game developers that might have a great idea, but cannot execute it as they lack the financial or skills base required.

CJ: The first game you have coming out is Orbeats. So just what is Orbeats about?

GP: Orbeats was developed by the supreme-beat-guru, Jason Wong.  It’s a music-rhythm game based on making you excited to use a touch-screen device and with a retro feel to it.

CJ: So what kind of “Rhythms” can we expect to pop up during the game? Are they tunes we will recognise or brand new music developed for the game?

GP:  You’ll see some of our own in-house tunes, but we are working on bringing you recognisable artists that you’re likely to see at music festivals or performing at your favourite venue.  We are currently in talks with several major acts and we love our independent artists as well.

CJ: Are there any plans to develop it onto Android systems for those that don’t have an iPhone?

GP:  Sure are.  We would love to migrate it to Android and WP7, but we need to have some success on Apple iOS first to make this a reality.

CJ: Games designed for smart phones certainly seem to be a booming business. Not only are some games becoming water cooler conversations and totally addictive, but some like Angry Birds even have a merchandise range. Is this something you’re aiming for?

GP:  Yes, we can’t wait to see the T-shirts!  We have created a culture with Orbeats as much as a game.  As we aim to grow the game and add sequels, we will be aiming for it to become its own ecosystem of titles.  Unlike Angry Birds, the game itself grows via downloadable content, but we can’t wait to hit with our own take of music genres or artists.  This really gives us a chance to play with the art and feel of the game.

CJ: You’re based in Perth and it’s fantastic to see another Aussie enter the industry. Do you think it’s harder for non-American based companies to gain notice?

GP:  Not at all.  This is a global industry and you find hotspots all over.  Eve Online comes out of Iceland and Korea is the Starcraft capital of the universe, which proves anyone, anywhere can make it successful, provided you have something that is just a little cooler than normal.

CJ: Can you give us a little sneak peek at what else you have coming up?

GP:  Hahaha!  We will be dipping into a little bit of post-apocalyptic weirdness and also into some post-punk-feminist-burlesque action soon.  We are very much looking at the social network space as our next platforms to focus on.

CJ: And I guess the most important question. When and how can we get our hands on Orbeats?

GP:  We aim to have it on the iTunes Appstore in October.  Look out for updates on www.facebook.com/orbeats game, www.stirfirestudios.com or @orbeatsgame on Twitter

CJ: Well it certainly sounds like something new and no doubt a lot of addictive fun!. Thanks so much for stopping by Garth, and all the best with Orbeats release.

 

You can see Garth interviewed below (begins at 3min 13 secs).

 

And below is the newly released game trailer:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyM24sDXUGE

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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