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Creative process: Dreistadt and Gibson on 'Capture Creatures'

Next week, BOOM! Studios' KaBOOM! imprint launches Capture Creatures, a new ongoing series by writer Frank Gibson and artist Becky Dreistadt. It's the latest evolutionary step for a property that began as a website with 151 Dreistadt paintings of cute creatures (inspired by Pokemon) before being Kickstartered as a 300-plus page collected edition with Gibson-written character descriptions.

In anticipation of the series debut, Dreistadt and Gibson shared six exclusive process pages with ROBOT 6 that follow the art from initial pencils (Dreistadt) to the inking stage (by Kelly Bastow), followed by colored pages by Tracy Liang and, finally, letters by Britt Wilson. Along with the process pages, Dreistadt and Gibson also detailed the influences and challenges behind bringing Capture Creatures to KaBOOM!

Becky Dreistadt (on art):

Capture Creatures started as an art project over two years ago. I wanted to design over 150 of my own creatures the same way that Japanese designer Ken Sugimori did, traditionally with watercolor paints and ink. Originally, it was meant to take a year, but it took two and the project made a lot of people happy!

About a year ago we began talking to BOOM! about doing a Capture Creatures comic series. Much like the original drawings, I was inspired by traditional Tyrolean and Japanese folk art. Especially influential were the photographs of Charles Freger and the Japanese mythical monsters and ghost books by Shigeru Mizuki.

A lot of the forest and rain forest backgrounds are based on the varied landscapes Frank and I photographed when we were living in New Zealand.

I'm very fortunate to be working with the excellent team of Kelly Bastow, Tracy Liang and Britt Wilson right now. I still traditionally paint the main covers of the book in gouache, but to sustain a monthly book that way would be impossible. However, Kelly inks the book traditionally with a brush and Britt does the same for lettering, coupled with Tracy's organic coloring the first issue has a lot that isn't trying to look painted, but still feels real and physical. Kelly's ink washes in the background help out a lot in adding the texture it needs.

I pencil the book by hand still, I tried using a Cintiq and it wasn't working for me. I like to pencil at the cafe by my house and I wasn't mobile enough. I've been trying to get tighter on my pencils, not so the team can follow my lines, but to make it easier for them. I'm used to just penciling for myself and I remember the bits I leave out. However, they're great and have filled in the blanks in unexpected and wonderful ways.

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