Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen
With Birdking Volume 2 available to preorder now, PREVIEWSworld figured it was a great time to crack open that skillful skull of Crom’s for an installment of “Get Graphic.” Get an exclusive first look at Volume 2’s cover above and discover Crom’s artistic process below!
Firstly, what is your name and where do you hail from?
My name has been lost in forgotten dead languages and all I have left is CROM. Relation to the god of steal cannot be confirmed nor denied. I currently run my forge from London in the UK.
How did you get into art? What sparked your initial interest?
In Nursery school, everyone draws ninjas and warriors with crayons while mouthing sound effects. But then one by one they all stopped until I was the last one left standing. I become the kid in class who could draw and everyone would just ask me to draw their ninja instead of try themselves. I’ve been chasing that high of drawing cool characters everyone in class is blown away by while you tell them their back story.
What can you tell us about BIRDKING? What is it about?
Birdking is about growing up and embracing the differences that make you unique and strong. It’s about looking at your past and wanting to be better. And of course, it’s about cool skeletons and Goth — Ghibli-looking characters.
Can you get into your character design process a bit. How do you know when the character has the right look?
I tend to keep sketchbooks where I draw without thinking too much about what’s being put on paper. Every now and then I browse back through, salvaging whatever I think looks good or has potential, re-draw it, refine it, and leave it to brew to see if I still like it a week or so later. Once I’ve done that and I’m happy with the results, I’ll add minor elements and weapons that I think help tell the story behind the character.
Tell us about your collaborators on the book. Who else is on the team?
Daniel Freedman, writer of Birdking and Raiders who I work with very closely developing every aspect of Birdking while keeping each other motivated and excited. Daniel took my few character designs and rough outline and made it into what it is today. Diana Ortiz, our graphic designer, makes sure every little bit of the book works in unison and is true to the spirit of Birdking, from minor things like the maps on the inside covers to the small illustrations subtly placed in the credit pages and extras. And last but not least Michael Thomas, our letterer who always manages to get everything done on time and in a way that improves the story flow.
What tools do you use to draw?
I start with pencil, biro, and paper for sketches and roughs, then move it all into my iPad where I can freely fix minor things, ink digitally with Procreate, and leave it all ready for colouring and framing on Clip studio. Bigger scenes and/or covers I tend to spend more time on with pencils and paper.
In terms of audience, who is BIRDKING for?
There were many shows I watched and books I read when I was a kid that I didn’t fully understand but thought were cool and became part of who I was. Later, as an adult, I enjoyed them all over again understanding bits that I didn’t fully get before. I’d love for Birdking to have that effect, something readers can return to at different stages of their lives. If you like, Dark Souls, Warhammer, Adventure Time, and Studio Ghibli films then you’ll be into Birdking.
If you want to discover more of Crom’s work, be sure to check out his official website.
Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the producer and co-host of PREVIEWSworld Weekly. His comics work includes MF DOOM: All Caps, Public Enemy’s Apocalypse ’91, Fight of the Century, the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics, and the Ringo Awards-nominated Magic Bullet.