Name: Jay Paulin
Type of Creator: Writer, letterer, publisher
List your work:
- Byrd & Bird
- Emma Awesome
- Fearsome Fables
- Sci-Fact Comics
- Super Galactic Space Explorers
- What the Wild Things Read
- additional upcoming projects, as well as contributions to anthologies.
What was the first comic you read?
I had a few as a kid — Marvel’s adaptation of Return of the Jedi, most memorably — and I loved Mad Magazine (and Cracked, to a lesser extent). Comics were never really my thing, though, for reasons I do not know. It was a friend in college who showed me their true power. I began absorbing the legendary releases — The Watchmen, Sandman, etc. — and discovering what made classic characters tick. I guess you could say it was love at second sight.
What inspired you to make comics? A specific story? Writer? Artist?
When I was younger, I used to write and draw constantly. I have totes and totes of these ‘masterpieces.’ Why it took me so long to become serious about comics, I’ll never know. Anyhow, after I fell for the medium, I began to realize how my stories came to me visually. Studying drama in school, it wasn’t difficult to see comparisons between storyboards and comics. Working as a newspaper editor, I had a love for people’s dialogue, stories, and layouts. I guess all signs pointed toward comics as a natural fit for the tales I sought to spin.
What do you like about comics? What is it about them that interests you? Inspires you? Moves you?
The marriage of text and visuals, and the ability to place and pace — possibly even more than film — to establish a specific set of imagery for the reader.
What is the most important thing people need to know about comics?
Comics can tell any and every type of story. Yes, some are for kids, but some may challenge, provoke, entertain… they are no different than any other medium.
What comic would you recommend to a first-time reader?
Depends on their age, reading level, interests, etc. I think it would be unwise to call one comic perfect for all first-timers. With that said, let’s say Sandman for older fans of the fantastic, Owly for beginning readers, and Blankets for people who have no idea comics can deliver emotional impact equal to books and film. Oh, and everyone should read Matt Kindt’s stories.
As a writer, pen or keyboard?
Pen for my ideas, although now that I finally have a phone (this tech junkie was a longtime holdout), I find more of my notes are now digital. I have poor penmanship, so the ability to e-mail my random thoughts as opposed to deciphering them down the line is a lifesaver. For actual work, however, it’s all keyboard, all the time. I work with artists all over, so I love being able to instantly e-mail or send through Skype as we work.
What’s the first thing you do when you sit down to work? Do you have a routine?
If I’m starting from scratch, I run it through ‘The Gauntlet’, my tried and true story-crafting method. If I’m starting a script, I read through all of my notes again. If I’m laying pages out, I make sure my folder is updated from Dropbox. If I’m lettering, I read the dialogue out loud multiple times to ensure it’s natural.
Do you have a set work space? Where?
I work in an office in my house. My computer, drawing tablet, printer, a pen holder made by my daughter, and my headphones are the only things I keep near me. On accessible shelves, I have reference books and my daughter’s art.
Do you listen to music when you work? Other background noise?
I enjoy music while writing, preferably classical or instrumental movie/video game scores. If I’m lettering or working on layouts, I can keep anything on: Sports streams, other music genres, etc. During brainstorming sessions or general work, I’m on Skype with my artist(s).
Dealing with printers, and all of their fiddly non-standard ‘standards.’ Oh, and people who think deadlines are loose, not hard.