[DISPATCH] An Interview with MAPS Artist Caitlin Yarsky
We chat with Caitlin Yarsky, YOU choose the next [WORLDS WORTH WATCHING], VALLARS updates, and more!
Welcome back to a brand new installment of the [DISPATCH], a weekly direct report from us to you, with news, recaps, exclusive content and more.
We have some some very cool comics headed your way this week! Feast your eyes on this brand new trailer for THE VALLARS if you missed it last week:
A reminder that THE VALLARS returns this Thursday with Episode 10. The first 3W/3M ongoing series remains completely free to read, for everyone. You can catch up on the first nine episodes now, and then join us for more weekly releases right here every Thursday.
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We love doing [WORLDS WORTH WATCHING], our community movie club where we select a movie that we think is a great example of world building and watch it together, with you. There’s observations, jokes, and trivia, and we have a fantastic time doing it.
We’re going to be doing the next installment this Saturday at 3pm EASTERN / 12pm PACIFIC. This time, rather than us picking the movie, we’re leaving that up to YOU. There are three terrific options for you to choose from, so place your votes on what we should watch, then join us Saturday to watch it together.
The poll will remain open for 24 hours for paid subscribers, and we’ll send out the invite post on Wednesday as a reminder.
More big news: tomorrow, we’ll be releasing KAMPOJ DE LA PERDITAJ, the latest comic from our upcoming [MAPS] Graphic Novel Sourcebook. To properly honor that, we had a conversation with Caitlin Yarsky, the tremendous artist behind the story. Be sure to return tomorrow for the official release of a brand new comic!
3W/3M: Hi, Caitlin. Thanks for being here. You’ve tackled a wide variety of material thus far in your career, from horror to thriller to superhero and beyond. What drew you to the 3W/3M universe?
Caitlin Yarsky: I was really intrigued by the unique stories and gorgeous art I’d seen so far, and I wanted to be a part of that.
Do you adjust your approach or feel any added pressure when working on shorter stories? Are there any other challenges you’ve noticed compared to full issues or longer stories that you’ve noticed?
I actually prefer working on short stories; I feel less pressure and more freedom to try out a style or approach that I wouldn’t get to explore otherwise. It also lets me get a little more detailed with characters and backgrounds, knowing I’ll be able to sustain that look since it’s fewer pages.
KAMPOJ is a romance story, of sorts, but far from a traditional one. What’s your thought process when trying to both introduce two people for the first time, show a connection between them, and then pay it all off with a satisfying ending? The story has to account for that, but what are you thinking about in terms of the art and storytelling for something like that?
Character acting is my favorite part of drawing comics, and is important to the romance genre in particular. I love showing two characters’ body language together, the expressions they share, etc. It’s harder to engage with the story if you don’t establish a visual connection like that early on, no matter how cool the world is.
There’s a trippy, psychedelic component to this story. Other than leaning on colorist Marissa Louise to bring it all home, where did you look for inspiration to bring that specific kind of visual to life?
Marissa did such an amazing job, she really brought it all to life! On my end, I usually make a mood board of references from all sorts of things to help me form a cohesive look. I gathered pictures of everything from exotic mushrooms and German nightclubs to Bladerunner, cyberpunk fashion, and architecture.
You’ve done two books with writer Sean Lewis, Bliss and Coyotes, that are both extremely thought provoking and unique stories. How did that collaboration initially come about, and what is it that makes that combination work so well together?
Sean is a wonderful creative partner. He emailed me after I had posted some of my work to BOOM! Studios’ Facebook wall and asked if I’d be interested in drawing Coyotes. After reading it I was immediately able to visualize the world and decided to work with him. And Sean really let me go nuts with the art. I got to design most of the characters and creatures, and even set the pacing/layout of the panels and pages. It gave me a sense of ownership and creative freedom that let me develop my own style naturally.
That sounds like a pretty fantastic working relationship. Arguably the best-known project you’ve worked on to date is BLACK HAMMER REBORN, which is part of writer Jeff Lemire’s ever-expanding superhero universe at Dark Horse. Other than reading up on that universe to know what had come before and get familiar with things, were there any unique challenges that you faced having primarily worked on original creations prior to that?
Oh, for sure – I had never worked on a book with an established world before, with its own history and set characters. It was definitely a challenge to figure out how to adapt my art to the existing world while maintaining my own look and style.
In addition to comics, you’ve also worked in video games, doing everything from key art and character designs to UI design and logos. Do you feel like there’s a lot of crossover between the two different spaces for you as an artist, or do you put on a different hat when you go from one to another?
It’s a mix of both, to be honest. Working in games has helped me a lot with comics, because that’s where I acquired most of my digital and graphic design skills. Design is such a big (though kind of hidden) aspect of drawing comics. I also learned a lot about typography and color theory from the UI and concept art work. Even game animation has helped me with adding a kinetic feel to action scenes in comics, which has always been a bit of a challenge.
Returning to genre for a minute, what are the aspects of world-building that demand your attention and really pull you into a story?
For me, world-building is about small but telling moments. For example, in the book Dune there is a scene where a Fremen man (from the desert planet Arrakis) spits at the new ruling Duke. It’s a gesture that is misinterpreted as disrespectful until someone thanks him for his “body’s water.” Exchanges like that bring a really cool sense of realism to whatever story is being told.
I read that you also play music with local bands when you have the chance. What instruments do you play, and what type of music do you gravitate toward? Have you played with any other fellow comic creators?
I was in a band once with my buddy Dave Chisolm who created books like Instrumental and Chasing the Bird. He’s such a fantastic musician, writer, and artist. I play violin and sing, and I gravitate toward sad singer-songwriter type music (Tom Waits, Aimee Mann, Sufjan Stevens, Elliott Smith, etc., etc.). Since the pandemic I haven’t played with people much, but I’m hoping to change that.
Thanks again to Caitlin Yarsky for swinging by to talk with us. We’ll be releasing KAMPOJ DE LA PERDITAJ for all paid subscribers tomorrow.
[COMICS] We teased the thrilling return of THE VALLARS, the first ongoing series from 3W/3M. This Thursday you can return for Episode 10, and more great art from Jason Howard and Frank Martin. If you haven’t been reading, this is a perfect time to catch up – and best of all, it’s completely FREE.
[Q&A] We spoke with Molly Mahan, the new editor in charge of 3W/3M, about her career, her storytelling philosophy, and what’s next for the Three Worlds and Three Moons. If you want to know what the “Editrix Maxima” is all about, this is a great place to start.
[PROCESS] Huddleston and del Mundo joined forces to discuss designing the game board and pieces for PERO-PUZ, as well as The Machine. As always, another absolute must-read for process junkies.
[REWARDS] The third of the six images from the Year 2 Deluxe Print Set from Mike del Mundo & Mike Huddleston has been revealed. Get out those reading glasses and visit THE GREAT BIBLIOTEKA with del Mundo.
And if you’re reading all the way to end, you get a special treat. Here’s a sneak peek at some colors from James Stokoe’s upcoming [MAPS] story. It rules!
We’re going to break some hearts (in a good way) with tomorrow’s new comic, we’re beyond stoked for the return of THE VALLARS, and we’re looking forward to the latest [WORLDS WORTH WATCHING]. Big week!