Francisco Menor reading “The Strange”. Top Secret Press.
In our last post we talked about Francisco Menor, a penciller and comic artist from Barcelona. During the last two years Francisco has seen several of his works published by different american publishers.
In today’s interview, the second and final post dedicated to his work, Francisco talks with us about how his passion for the american comic took him into the trip that still is going on as penciller and comic artist.
We are sure many of you, who also share his passion for drawing, will find this interview interesting. Specially those of you who are struggling to see their works published, a difficult road that Francisco himself took not so long ago. Having succeed in his objective, he shares now his experience, still very vivid, with all of us.
H.J.: How did your calling for comic books drawing start and what were the first steps that you took in order to begin with your penciller career?
F.M.: The call for comic books is something I always felt. When I was a small kid I read the american comic books published by Comics Forum, I spent hours copying their pictures… However I did not consider comics as a real professional choice until I started to work as a part time teacher. By then I had some spare time and the will of doing something productive with it. I wanted to do something exciting. Once I was able to produce more serious results I thought that there was nothing wrong in trying my luck, so I started to send my works to publishers.
H.J.: What are the things that inspire you daily to keep creating your works?
F.M.: Now the scripts are sent to me so I only need to focus on the drawing. I get the inspiration for drawing by keeping an eye on the work of many artists that are working for Marvel and DC.
Cosmos. Advent Comics.
H.J.: Tell us about the effect of reviews in your career. Was it useful? Was it demoralizing? Who were your first readers?
F.M.: The most demoralizing thing for a beginner is the lack of feedback, more than the review or the critics. It is hard to get the attention of the publishers. For that reason, once you manage to publish something, any review you get, let it be better or worst, seems like a step forward. People close to you and the publishers are the first readers and the ones giving serious and deep opinions. Regarding the rest of the audience, you just hope that your work reaches as many of them as possible.
H.J.: What is your opinion on the use of the new technologies vs the old school ones?
F.M.: Once you master the computer tools you can work really fast. But I feel that maybe with the old school ones your work is more alive and has a personal fingerprint. I work using the old school tools, but I would like to master the other ones and at least try them to see what they can contribute with.
H.J.: Do you think that getting a spot on your own into the comic world is particularly hard nowadays or, on the contrary, do you think that the new tools offer more opportunities to the artist?
F.M.: I think that the new technologies really ease the path. You can make your work reach publishers from all over the World and you can work with people that is on another continent. Nevertheless it is also true that there are many people from everywhere competing for any job wherever it may be. Altogether there is more market to explore and it is easier to reach it, but at the price of having a ferocious competence.
H.J.: Is it difficult to combine your part time job as fine arts teacher with you career as penciller?
F.M.: Not with my current work volume. I like to draw when I arrive at home because it is something I love.
The Strange. Top Secret Press
H.J.: Your colleagues live in different countries. How do you communicate with them? Do you skype? Is it harder for the creative process to not be able to have a meeting in person?
F.M.: Everything is done through email. The publisher takes care of everything: he sends me the script, I send to him the designs of the pages and once they are accepted I send the already finished drawings. Then he sends them to the inker, after that they are sent to be coloured… I do not think it complicates the process, actually I believe it turns it easier!
H.J.: Is it difficult to fit in only one picture the own vision of each one involved in the creation of a comic book?
F.M.: The work of everyone keeps adding continuously to the work of rest, there is a bit from everyone in it. At the end, who takes the decisions is the publisher.
H.J.: How did your way of working change once you started to work for publishers? Does it imply a loss of freedom?
F.M.: When you do your own comic book you control the whole process and timing, even if you try to sell it to a publisher later. The way I work now I only need to get my part done: to draw what they tell me. Maybe it is true that there is a loss of freedom, but what I like to do is to draw.
H.J.: From all your comics, which one are you more proud of? Why?
F.M.: I think that you learn something from each comic book you made, so I try the last one to be always the best one.
H.J.: According to you, what are the main qualities that a future penciller should possess?
I believe that the most important one is the passion for your work. Who works into it must draw when he feels like drawing and also when he does not feel like doing it, whatever it is free days or working days he must accomplish what he has been asked to do.
Salt city strangers. Hoffmangler Studios
H.J.: Which one is the best choice for someone looking to become a penciller: to be true to whatever inspires you or to do what the audience and publishers may prefer?
F.M.: It would be really difficult to achieve something good if you do not love what you are doing. And if the result is not good, no publisher will be interested on it.
H.J.: What would be your advise to someone that wants to become a penciller but has not been able to publish any of his works so far?
F.M.: Just perseverance. All of us need to knock on many doors before one opens.
H.J.: Answer in few words:
How many hours per week do you work in your comics? That depends on if I have an urgent order. In those cases I work more hours into it than the ones I work teaching.
The best moment for working is… any moment when there are no distractions around.
The penciller’s best ally is… perseverance. Or maybe passion.
And his worst enemy… discouragement.
The best comic you ever read is… difficult question. Too many. It may seem like a topic, but right now I would say Watchmen.
Name one superhero… I prefer authors than characters. A good author can create great stories with any main character. But to say one, I will name Daredevil, because he gave birth to some of my favourite stories.