Kids Comics Q&A Blog Tour: Eric Orchard

Posted 05/08/2015 by alicemarvels in Author Interview

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This week we’re celebrating Children’s Book Week along with MacKids and First Second Books with a fun Q&A blog tour! Today we’re pleased to share Rafael Rosado (Dragons Beware!) and Jorge Aguirre’s Q&A with Eric Orchard! For more information on Children’s Book Week, head over here.


RAFAEL/JORGE: Hi, Eric, great to meet cyber-meet you.  Thanks so much for answering our questions.

Great to meet you both as well! Thank you for speaking with me about Bera The One Headed Troll and my other work.


RAFAEL/JORGE:  Your work has a lovely, picture-book look to it. Can you describe your process, what materials you use? Is it all analog, or a combination of analog and digital?

I really enjoy using multiple media in my work, but always like to have an ink drawing at the heart of it. It also depends on the story. I like the media I use to suit the story. With Bera The One Headed Troll I wanted to reference traditional fairy tale illustration, like Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac. These are artists from the Edwardian era and possibly the highest point in children’s book art. So I went with a washy watercolor and gouache style over my inks. I hope this gives it a hint of a traditional fairy tale illustration look that people can identify with. I also use a lot of digital software. I use Photoshop, this is mostly to edit and improve the artwork. So I use pen and ink, watercolor, gouache and Photoshop.


Eric.OrchardFor process, I start with an outline and from there a full thumbnail layout of the book. Then I do pencils, inks and paint. Finally, I scan the pages and finish the work in Photoshop.  I don’t actually write a script until the very end. I find the dialog changes a lot from when I first begin.


There’s also a lot of talking and editing going on. My editor at First Second, Calista,  is amazing at guiding the book in the right direction. It’s a much better book because of her.


RAFAEL/JORGE:  How do you balance your illustration work with your comic work? Does one inform the other?  Are you able to work on both at the same time, or do you have to carve out separate time for each?

It’s a hard balance! I’d prefer to do one project at a time and maybe some day it’ll work that way but right now I need to do both comics and illustration projects at the same time. I enjoy doing both and they do inform each other.

maddy-kettle-100dpi_lgComics need a certain energy and life I think, and illustration can be more static. I really love intricate illustration like Sendak, Rackham and others but I’m also really drawn to wild, energetic cartooning and I look to people Like George Herriman (Krazy Kat) and Frank King (Gasoline Alley). I think these cartoonists did a fine job of bridging the gap between ornate illustration work and high energy comics. And that’s the gap I want to be in too, with both my illustration work and my cartooning. I see both as closely related.

RAFAEL/JORGE:   Do you remember the first comic book you ever read as a kid? Or does a particular comic or cartoonist from your childhood stick out in your memory?

There were so many comics laying around when I was a kid! It’s hard to pin down. I had a lot of cousins and everyone seemed to have an amazing comic book collection. And really varied too! Tintin, Barks Duck comics, Claremont’s X Men, EC Horror comics, 70’s Heavy Metal, Elf Quest. So many comics! Herge really stands out, Wendy Pini, Carl Barks, Moebius, Charles Vess (especially from Marvel Fanfare), Atari Force. I could go on and on!

RAFAEL/JORGE:  What’s on your nightstand?

A tower of books that threatens both me and my wife.

More specifically: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (my 3rd time reading it), The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, The Complete Peanuts 1979 to 1980, Ffloyd Gottfreddson’s Micky Mouse “Trapped on Treasure Island”, A Wes Anderson collection and Designing the Secret of the Kells (an art book).

RAFAEL/JORGE:   What are you working on next?


Well, after Bera The One Headed Troll I’ll be working on the second Maddy Kettle book (with Top shelf), and then I have a number of titles I’ll be pitching. Mostly comics and one chapter book. I have enough ideas for 20 years of work, at least!


Kids Comics Q&A Tour:

Don’t miss the other Q&A pieces on the tour!

Monday, April 27
Cece Bell interviewed at Sturdy for Common Things

Tuesday, April 28
Kazu Kibuishi interviewed at Geek Dad

Wednesday, April 29
Joey Weiser interviewed at The Brain Lair

Thursday, April 30
James Kochalka interviewed at Bumbles & Fairy Tales

Friday, May 1
Mariko Tamaki interviewed at A Book and a Latte

Saturday, May 2
Jorge Aguirre interviewed at The Windy Pages

Sunday, May 3
Luke Pearson interviewed at Mr. Schu Reads

Monday, May 4
Jeffrey Brown interviewed at For Books’ Sake

Tuesday, May 5
Cecil Castellucci interviewed at WinterHaven Books

Wednesday, May 6
Frank Cammuso interviewed at Reading with ABC

Thursday, May 7
Hope Larson interviewed at The Book Wars

Friday, May 8
Eric Orchard interviewed at Alice Marvels

Saturday, May 9
Kean Soo interviewed at Jenuine Cupcakes

Sunday, May 10
Dave Roman interviewed at Amy the Frog Queen

Monday, May 11
Gene Luen Yang interviewed at Finding Wonderland

Tuesday, May 12
Nathan Hale interviewed at Kid Lit Frenzy

Wednesday, May 13
John Allison interviewed at Supernatural Snark

Thursday, May 14
Maris Wicks interviewed at The Roarbots

Friday, May 15
Jenni and Matt Holm interviewed at The Busy Librarian

Saturday, May 16
Craig Thompson interviewed at The Book Rat

Sunday, May 17
Chris Schweizer interviewed at Panel Patter

Monday, May 18
Sara Varon interviewed at Sharp Read

Tuesday, May 19
David Rubin interviewed at Teen Lit Rocks

Wednesday, May 20
Adventures in Cartooning interviewed at Word Spelunking

Thursday, May 21
Mike Maihack interviewed at Bookish

Friday, May 22
John Patrick Green interviewed at Haunted Orchid

Saturday, May 23
Rafael Rosado interviewed at Shae Has Left the Room

Sunday, May 24
Faith Erin Hicks interviewed at Good Books and Good Wine

Monday, May 25
Dan Santat interviewed at SLG Fuse #8

Tuesday, May 26
Andy Runton interviewed at The Hiding Spot

Wednesday, May 27
Colleen AF Venable interviewed at Graphic Policy

Thursday, May 28
Jay Hosler interviewed at My Bookish Ways

Friday, May 29t
Eleanor Davis interviewed at Love is Not a Triangle

Saturday, May 30
Ben Hatke interviewed at YA Bibliophile


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    I love this and what wonderful art. I admire those that can do this, so much work!


    Wow his stuff is gorgeous! It definitely has that fairytale quality he was going for:) I wish I could draw/paint. I’m good with graphic design, but ask me to paint something and you’d get a hot mess of randomly applied color. Awesome.

    This is such a fun tour!


    OH gosh, the illustrations look delightful. I love looking at pictures when I read books to my kids. His towering stack of books on his nightstand made me laugh.


    I love his work. I really like his style. I also love that I’m not the only one being threatened by a a stack of books. LOL


    I like the look of this 🙂


    Wow this is so amazing. As someone who has zero talent for any kind of drawing I admire people who can do it. Also I think that ink and paper are always better, somehow more real to me. Great post 🙂


    Ah, these are awesome! I can barely draw anything, I have absolutely no talents in the drawing section. Thanks for the amazing interview 🙂

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