FREDDIE WILLIAMS II INTERVIEW - Feb. 2012 - VO
04
mar
2012

FREDDIE WILLIAMS II INTERVIEW - Feb. 2012 - VO

supermag

Thanks a lot to Freddie Williams II for taking time to answer our questions !

Sébastien Lecocq (SL) : 1 - First of all, can you tell us Who is Freddie Williams II ?

Freddie Williams II (FW) : I'm an exclusive artist with DC Comics (that just means I have a contract with them). I'm super lucky to make a living doing what I love, which is drawing comics, It's a difficult thing to break into, so I try to share tips and tricks with up and comers, and sometimes act as a mentor to them (usually detailed feedback via email)! I'm known mainly for my work on Robin, the Flash, and Captain Atom - and for writing The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics (the first book on the subject of digitally drawing comic books).

SL : 2 - And is becoming a comics Artist always be on your mind since childhood ?

FW : Oh yes, Drawing comic books - specifically comic book characters is all I've wanted to do my whole life! Back in elementary school, I used to purposely stay in from recess, so that I could draw.

SL : 3 - Do you have Titles or Characters you like to read and/or follow ? 

FW: Unfortunately I am waaaaay behind on my reading list - so I've got stacks of stuff that I want to get to "some day" but the stuff that floats to the top, is anything drawn by Jim Lee, Leinil Francis Yu, and (when the trades come out) Invincible.

SL : 4 - Okay, so, apart some issues for the title "Noble Causes" (Image comics), you quickly come to work for DC on "Seven Soldiers : Mister Miracle" before "Robin" and "Flash". The way dreamt by any young/new artist, no ?

FW : The speed at which I got work from DC Comics, seems outwardly deceptive. I had been working to get into comics from the age of 15, and the last few years before DC picked my up, I was doing all kinds of work for microscopically small indy publishers.

So I was an overnight success that took over a decade to get going :)

That being said, I still acknowledge how lucky I am to have gotten in at all, and to still have so much work - there are many artists out there working as hard as I did, and have still been unable to break it. It's a hard road to travel, but totally worth it!

SL : 5 - So then, after that, you've worked on different titles and on the mini-series "Final Crisis Aftermath : Run!". Do you think that time period has allowed you to 'mature' your art definitely before exploding with "JSA All-Stars" ?

FW : Every project I've worked on has provided me the oppertunity to alter aspects of my style, explore new concepts and subject matter in the stories as well as the artistic direction. I never want to "stand still" in my artistic direction, my artistic end goal is always on the horizon ahead of me, out of my reach, providing me something to strive towards!

SL : 6 - Okay, but being a big fan of Power Girl, i like to know how did you get involved on the "JSA All-Stars" title which was for me you first regular title i follow each month ?

FW : Oh, that wasn't my first regular series, I was the regular artist on several titles before JSA All-Stars, including Robin, the Flash, and a Final Crisis tie-in book called RUN.

I got the JSA All-Stars title, because I'd worked with Matt Sturges (writer on the series called RUN) and had worked briefly with Editor Mike Carlin on an issue of Countdown, and when they began the idea of working on the JSA spin-off, my name came up. All of us liked working with one another, and I am (compared to most comic book artists) pretty fast, which is a requirement for illustrating a monthly team book, so I gladly accepted!

SL : 7 - You've worked with several writers. How it was to work with Matthew Sturges and Marc Guggenheim ?

FW : He was a cool guy (Marc) but we only worked on one story together.

Matt Sturges is a great collaborator, he's a rare breed of writer that has some really far out ideas to play with (like a 26 dimension Hyper-Griffin) as well as down to earth inner-personal relationships. Fun writer as well as a good friend!

SL : 8 - You're now part of the "New 52" universe with Captain Atom. So precisely, what can you tell us about it ?

FW : The Captain Atom book is a combination of overlapping themes, dealing with science fiction, super hero action, spirituality and humanity - it's a complex and layered story that I don't think I'll ever get bored of! It provides me a bunch of opportunities to flex a variety of creative muscles, from helping JT Krul with story plots, to penciling and inking the book in two diametrically opposed styles: the majority of the book is a stark black and white "wet brush" inking style, then Captain Atom and other energetic objects are rendered in a grey wash style. It's challenging and fun!

SL : 9 - And do you think the relaunch was a great idea/concept from DC ?

FW : Yes, I do! it gave a big lightning rod effect to DC Comics, and comics in general, a big beacon - attention grabber! It, of course grabbed attention for the A list books like Batman and Superman, but it also gave lower level profile characters, like Captain Atom a chance to get a lot of eyes on it, for that and other reasons, it was a good thing!

So it was a great business move, and a great chance for creators to get their work seen!

SL : 10 - On a different note, What do you think of the "Day and Date Digital Copies" Distribution ?

FW : I think it's an excellent place to start!

In our instant access / immediate satisfaction society, if a publisher doesn't have an "instant access" option for a product they are promoting, consumers may forget abut the product by the time they are in the store or just plain don't want to go to the store - BAM Day and Date Digital. This is still the first step in figuring price points, delivery, and other aspects of digital comics, but it's a great place to start!

SL : 11 - J.T. Krul uncovers some hints for the future of Captain Atom (In an interview for CBR here !). What you can add to this without spoiling anything ?

FW : Oh, JT does a great job at explaining the future we have planned with Captain Atom, in that article, and I agree with it! JT and I have had the plot for the first two arcs planned many months in advance, along the way, we've been tweaking details, we've got a lot of fun stuff planned, I'm very excited about the future of Captain Atom!

SL : 12 - Well... He also mentionned your great collaboration on the title. How do you proceed concretely on an issue or an arc ? Together and with the other members of the team on board with you two ?

FW : JT Krul and I have collaborated more on Captain Atom that I ever have on a DC owned book! It's a great feeling to have that sort of freedom with a writer, and DC Comics is completely on board with it! There is much less of the structured breakdown of workflow with JT and I, as compared to the workflow of a normal comic book's creation.

It kind of goes like this: JT and I chat on the phone about the themes and some bullet point events that we'd like to happen in the next arc, stuff like "Wouldn't it be cool if..." that sort of thing. During that call, we do a bunch of back and forth, and much of my contributions are to ask a lot of questions about character motivations, to point out perceived plot faults, suggest underlining themes, framing sequences - that sort of thing. Now, just to be clear, JT is clearly the writer of the series, essentially my goal is simply to facilitate a sounding board for JT, for him to more fully develop the plot.

After a marathon phone call of chatting back and forth, JT and I will restate / recap the events again, as JT takes notes on his end. Within a few days JT will draft and email a more fleshed out bullet point plot outline, that I'll take a look at, and make additions to or notes in, then email it back - JT can eitehr take into consideration, if he likes my suggestions, or disreguard if he has something better in mind.

After getting Editorial Approval, JT writes up a more detailed plot script for each issue, and send it to me. Thes plot scripts, do not have panels breakdowns, but will often have rough dialoug attached, so I know the tone of the scene, and the approximate amount of room I need to leave for captions and dialog.

From that rough plot script, I create my first pass of rough layouts. Sometimes the roughs will veer away from JT's plot script if I have some other ideas for pacing... these changes won't change events in the book, only the visuals of how a power manifest, or changing the events on certain pages, to make the page turn have a different dynamic or drama to them.

I send that first version of roughs to JT, and he and I will speak on the phone about them, where we go over the pacing etc, and JT has a chance to make suggestions - I find this pass over the roughs very useful, because having a fresh new pair of eyes on the layouts can yield great ideas or force me to analyze storytelling choices I made, to figure if they were the best decisions, often times this phone call with JT will only last an hour or so, unless wise get sidetracked talking about other stuff, which is often the case. JT is a funny charming guy, so its really fun getting to know him.

I submit the rough layouts to DC for review, and usually there are some additional layout questions and notes there as well. After all of that is settled, I begin working on what I call Wireframes, which are tight structure drawings devoid of shadow or texture - kind of like realy clean breakdown drawings. The Wireframes take me around a week to 12 days to complete, and after I do, I send them to JT and my Editors at DC at the same time. Usually there are no adjustments to the Wireframe drawings, since we paid so much attention to the rough layouts, and the Wireframes don't veer off from those layouts, they are just more detailed drawings based on the roughs.

From there I ink the pages, and pass them off to Jose for the colors!

SL : 13 - You also use digital drawing in the process for your work. Is this a reason you can make deadlines "easier" each month ? And Is the paper really at his end in the future ?

FW : Only the first part of my work flow is digital (rough layouts and structure work) and in the last several months and the rest is very traditional. When I work almost all digitally it does make the process faster for sure. I don’t think paper will ever go away completely.

SL : 14 - Right. Before concluding, the first six months of the New 52 are over. Is your point of view changes during these past six months and what do you think of the success of title like "Animal Man"; or "Swamp Thing" ?

FW : I think the re-launch was a good idea and it gave a good jumping on point for new readers, so now they had to stand on their own merit and reader interest, so I hope they continue to do well.

SL : 15 - And do you think about the cancellation of others titles and the launching of the "Second Wave" in May ? Do you afraid about the sales numbers of Captain Atom ?

FW : Cancellations are just part of the industry unfortunately; everyone knew there would be certain books that would be hits, I am eager to see the new titles! Everyone wonders about the sales of their books and Captain Atom was a tough sale from the start, so we are glad he’s still around and enjoying every minute of it!

SL : 16 - And like always, to finish, what's the last Word you like to share with us ?...

FW : Here a few links on where you can find me.

Freddieart.com
Facebook.com/Freddieart
Youtube.com/Freddieartmedia
Twitter:@Freddieart

Thanks.


crazy-el
Portrait de crazy-el
Vraiment un livre ouvert

Vraiment un livre ouvert notre artiste. Il mentionne une des qualités pour travailler chez DC(j'imagine pour Marvel et les indépendants aussi): l'artiste doit travailler très vite, pratiquement expéditif, et talentueux. Honnête en spécifiant que les artistes peuvent s'attendre à l'arrêt d'une série qui ne fonctionne moins bien. En tout cas très intéressant et instructif tous ces détails qu'il nous partagent.

Au fait, il a vu le site ici?

Merci pour cette entrevue magnifique.

''Quelque soit l'homme que tu deviendras, tu changeras le monde'', Jonathan Kent dans Man of Steel

supermag
Portrait de supermag
on fait ce qu'on peut et tout

on fait ce qu'on peut et tout ça n'est possible qu'à des artistes formidables à chaque fois. FWII fournit un travail extraordinaire tout les mois et garde le rythme sur la durée ce qui est rare de nos jours,.

quand au site, effectivement, il a d'abord "visité les locaux" avant de donner son accord comme cela est normal.

Sébastien Lecocq - supermag@supermag.org
Truth, Justice and... The French Way

orchidee
Portrait de orchidee
le fait de le proposer en

le fait de le proposer en français et en anglais est aussi très bien et permet d'être accessible à un plus grand nombre, de laisser le choix à ce qui savent le lire et de rester fidèle au propos de l'artiste, trsé très bien

supermag
Portrait de supermag
exactement, il nous est

exactement, il nous est arrivé par le passé de ne proposer que la VO par demande de l'artiste mais dorénavant nous essaierons de ne plus le faire car nous nous voulons tout de même un site francophone !...

Sébastien Lecocq - supermag@supermag.org
Truth, Justice and... The French Way

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