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Jana Hoffmann

Sheydin and Siz are back to talk Australian Indie Comics and this week we're chatting with the uber talented Jana Hoffmann about her book The Lonely Giant among other things.


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Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:13):
Welcome to the Oz Comic Show this Wednesday. I am with Shaden, do as our host, and I should probably inform everyone that’s going to be how it is from now on. We are going to fortnightly and Shaden will be joining us as the host every fortnight. So just thought I’d share that tonight we are talking to Janna Hoffman, who is the awesome creator of this beauty, the Lonely Giant. So yes, that’s pretty cool. So enough of my face, although we could look at Shana for ages, but enough of my face, let’s go and talk to Yana and I need to be in the right spot for that.

Sheydin Dew (01:15):
Good evening, Australia. Welcome to the Comm X Oz Comic Comic Show. We are here to talk everything about comic creations tonight on the show. We have someone who I’ve been dying to talk to. It is Janna Hoffman. Thank you so much for being on the show, Janna. I’m super excited to dive into your lovely comic creation, the Lonely Giant.

Jana Hoffmann (01:40):
No worries. Thanks for having me.

Sheydin Dew (01:42):
Our pleasure. I really want to really dive in. Can you give the viewers a little bit of context of who you are, what you’ve done, where you’re from?

Jana Hoffmann (01:54):
Yeah, yeah. So I, gosh, how far back do you want to start? So I have apparently always been into drawing. I don’t remember this, but I ran into someone who I went to primary school with and she’s like, oh yeah, you were always drawing. I was like, I thought I started that in high school. But no, apparently I’ve always been drawing, but I didn’t really get into reading comics until I was in high school. So I mean, I read Ka Hobbs in the newspapers, obviously loved it. But yeah, didn’t really get into the comic scene until a bit later. I’d catch the bus into the city and nervously walk into the comic shop and be like, can I have my hell to draw manga books, please? So yeah, I had my little stash.

So yeah, so I was really into, so obviously got into checking out the local comic store, but I was really into web comics and I am still not a crazy fan of the monthly floppy format. I am also a really big fantasy novel reader. So growing up I found lots of ongoing web comics that were fantasy related. Not always fantasy, but yeah. So yeah, I did that. Drew in high school loved it. I had a web comic with a couple of friends in uni, so that went for about 52 strips. It was more of a strip comedy style, so it had a friend, he did the writing and I did the artwork, and the other guy was just comedic inspiration, and it was all in jokes about being at McGill, McGill Uni SA Campus basically. It wasn’t particularly funny. Well, no, actually, I think some of them were quite funny, but mostly funny to us.

So that didn’t last long after I realized that the uni course I was doing was not really catering to what I was interested in. I was interested at the time in doing web design, and it was like I was doing lots of state power and society journalism courses, and I was like, this is not the right, you need degree for me. So after I left there, I was like, I should probably do this adult thing and focus on web design and stuff like that. And I went and was boring and tried to be an adult. And then maybe, I dunno, five, six years later, I was walking past Nicholas Scott at, I think it was Supernova, and she was doing a commission for a girl, and she was giving her career story of how when she was, I think 27, she was just hating her job.

She was, I think an architect maybe, and she’s like, what do I want to do with my life? I want to draw Wonder Woman. And then four, or I’m paraphrasing, obviously before or five years later, she worked her ass off and then got to the States and was drawing Wonder Woman. And I was 28 at the time when I walked past her, and I’m like, maybe it’s not too late to follow my dreams. So at the time I was attending the Adelaide Ladies comic book club with a bunch of lovely Adelaide ladies, including your previous guest, Jess Kate. And so we paired up to do an ongoing web comic called Heart of Miera. So that was just wonderful getting really into the scene. And we had such a great time. We did conventions, we did some Kickstarters. So I’m a Kickstarter Super Backer, which is apparently a title you get when you back a lot of Kickstarters, which, so yeah, I was keen to get stuff out there. So yeah, we did a bunch of little short stories and then I really wanted to get into some writing as well. So yeah, that’s when I started working on the Lonely Giant, which yeah, it was really hard. I’m not a easy writer.

It definitely visual storytelling is more my strong suit. So yeah, I worked really hard on it. I did some courses and read lots of books. I am an over researcher on any topic, on any part of my life. Yeah, yeah,

Sheydin Dew (07:58):
Fantastic. I think that’s a really awesome character backstory. I’m really glad that you touched on some points. If people did not just pick up on that. Obviously SA Uni or South Australia, which is my uni that I’m currently going to, I’m at the West campus though we are talking to another South Australian comic creator. I feel like South Australia is just a hidden gem when it comes to comics. So yeah, south Australia represent also really love that you mentioned our previous guest, Jess Kate, which was really fantastic to see a writer’s perspective on Miera, which is fantastic because now we have the artist of Mil. So I think that would be really cool to delve into more during the show in your kind of perspective of how that process went. But we are here to talk about this lovely little gem. Speaking of gems, the lonely giants. For anyone who unfortunately does not possess a copy, can you give us a little bit of a synopsis of this lovely little comic creation?

Jana Hoffmann (09:08):
Yeah, yeah. So like I mentioned before, I’m really into the fantasy genre and fantasy adjacent. And so I always wanted to work in the fantasy, in fantasy comics and steampunk and stuff like that. And there was this children’s story that growing up I just loved. It was given to me in just a whole book of fairytales and children’s stories. I would grab it and show you, but it is kind of falling apart. So I’m a bit scared to manhandle it these days, but there’s this tiny story in amongst hundreds of stories called The Lonely Giant. And growing up, it always used to make me cry. I was a shy kid, I didn’t really make friends easily. And this particular story was about friendship and making friends, and I just thought it was the sweetest thing and I always wanted to make a fantasy version of it.

So a lot of my imaginings used to be a lot more, initially they were a lot more faithful to the original story. The original story is a giant who’s the last of his kind is living in rural England, or not in a small town in England, and a human family move next door and the kids want to request a song on the radio and he overhears that. And so he writes a letter to the radio station and they play this song and then everyone gets really happy and excited and then the kids run off and he’s all like, oh no, I’m scared. The kids like, oh, this is terrible. But then they run around the corner and they’re like, you did that for us. And they become friends and it’s super cute and super adorable. And so being a teenager, I think my first thoughts were gritty reboot like, oh, he’s sad, his wife died. And I don’t know, something really doky like that. But then as I looked more into writing, I sort of thought about my own experiences, making friendships and making friends and putting yourself out there and how not you can really like a person, but they might not be a very good friend fit for you.

That doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, that doesn’t mean they’re a good person. But it’s like you guys, you want to make friends with the people that make you feel good and lift you up and stuff like that. And that’s not to obviously say there’s not bad times, but you want to find the right friend that for you. So that’s sort of how I wanted to approach the story. The story is the story of nata. She is a traveling giant in a new forest and she wants to just take a break from wandering and she meets some characters and tries to make friends and doesn’t necessarily go quite as smoothly as she would hope.

Sheydin Dew (12:43):
Amazing, I think. Yeah, you definitely summed it up perfectly. This lives on my shelf and it is always presented out this way. I love this for many reasons, not just the story, but I also absolutely adore your art style, which is also really well represented in Millionaire as well. A previous project of yours. I did want to ask, are there any other projects besides those two that we’ve just spoken about that you’ve been working on or have worked on or in the pipeline?

Jana Hoffmann (13:20):
So another one that Jess and I worked on, well first we did a little offshoot of RA called the Many Adventures of Ida Blaker, which was a little prequel story. And unfortunately I don’t have that one at hand, but I do have another one that we did, which was called Great Be, which I love is there we go, camera mirror, very moony, very moody. So it is really short of, oh God, useless at this, here we go. But it’s very cool, very moody, atmospheric. Love that one. Jess’s writing is really great. I forgot to put our names on the cover. I only realized recently, I was like, wait, wait, there’s no names on the cover.

Sheydin Dew (14:32):
Only adds to the

Jana Hoffmann (14:33):
Mystery. Yeah, they’re inside. It’s in the back. But anyway, nevermind. But yeah, I am working on a new project at the moment. I am still trying to think of a name for it because naming things is hard, but I have done all the script. I’m currently working through the thumbnails. It’s another fantasy one, but this one’s a bit more of an adventure story. And yeah, so two people go into a forest to capture a creature and things go not as expected is

Sheydin Dew (15:24):

Jana Hoffmann (15:26):
All I will say.

Sheydin Dew (15:31):
How long has this been in the pipeline, if you don’t mind me asking?

Jana Hoffmann (15:37):
When did I start it? I mean, it was hoping to have it done last year.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. That didn’t happen. Mostly because I moved house in the middle of last year and I was like, eh, that won’t take long. It took long. There was a lot involved in the move, and I still feel like we’re only, I mean, we’re settled in the house, but I’m not settled in my study particularly. Well. I know where things are, but I actually have a study now, whereas before I had my desk in the lounge room. So I’m looking forward to someday maybe organizing things and setting things up for myself. But at the moment it’s great having my own space, by the way. I’m not even complaining. I’m not even complaining. But yeah, I

Sheydin Dew (16:41):
Totally get it. I used to have my own studio and then a little study and then I’ve come back and obviously I’ve got a dining table in the back. I totally understand it. I sympathize. I sympathize. But yeah, no, I think it’s an organized, it’s an organized space. This studio, you really got to make it your own, so it is a long process as well. It’s

Jana Hoffmann (17:03):
Very, a lot of experimenting you kind of need to do to work out what works for you. Yeah, definitely.

Sheydin Dew (17:10):
Definitely. And they say environment, the environment that you work in is also really important as well. So I think if you take your time with it, I think that’s a good thing. Definitely.

Jana Hoffmann (17:19):
And now I don’t need to walk in front of my partner while he is trying to play Resident Eagle, so

Sheydin Dew (17:24):
It all works out.

Jana Hoffmann (17:26):
Yeah, yeah.

Sheydin Dew (17:29):
Moving along, I really wanted to talk to you a little bit about, you did briefly mention I think some of your bigger inspirations, but growing up reading comics, who did you really look up to?

Jana Hoffmann (17:46):
I used to Love, oh gosh, yeah, no, Michael Turner was one of my first inspirations, and I basically formed onto him because I was so intimidated by superhero 80 years of history because especially coming from a novel reading background, I like to go back to the start, and that’s a bit hard with Superman and Batman and all of that. But yeah, so Michael Turner had his new Aspen comics at the time, so this is Aging Me, and they were fantasy, there was fairies and stuff, but it was British Sci-Fi as well, and Women’s Torsos were really long for some reason. And so that was a big stylistic influence on me. I really loved that. And Avatar, the Last Airbender, obviously that’s not a comic, but there are comics and I just love that series so much, or series. I love Cora as well, just it’s so gripping and great storytelling, and so I just love

Sheydin Dew (19:07):
Those series. And looking at some of your artwork as well, I think that really shines through as well in some of your art choices as well, which is super really, really fascinating to see. These are the hard hitting questions that I absolutely love to get the real meat out of what makes an artist,

Jana Hoffmann (19:23):
The one that really probably, it’s obviously, but also maybe not stylistic inspiration for the Learning giant was Lauraine Keeps Breaking Up With Me, I think is the title. Yeah, that’s a more to

Sheydin Dew (19:40):
Read list. Is it? Oh

Jana Hoffmann (19:43):
My God, it’s so good. It’s time to read.

Sheydin Dew (19:47):
It’s so

Jana Hoffmann (19:48):
Good. It’s one of my favorite comics ever. But also the stylist, the color palette is really, really simplified but also just really strategically implemented in a way. It’s this limited color palette, but the colors seem have a meaning, an emotional usage. Sorry, I used to punctuate emotions and things like that. Yes. It’s not just a shadow light volume kind of atmospheric thing. It is really,

Sheydin Dew (20:30):
Which is why I chose it and which is why it is at the top of my to read list, which is also interesting that you highlighted color. I mean, I was going to get into it later, but now you’ve got me going the colors in this. I mean, if anybody knows me, I love color and I like it in a really structured way. And I think you’ve absolutely nailed it, this color combination, which is super cohesive and really the continuity in it is so well done, and I don’t often see it, but when I do, especially in this example, is done so well. Yeah, I can rave on all about it, but I absolutely love your this, and it’s so interesting that you raised that example of that comic because yeah, like I said, it was one of the reasons why I have that on my list and one of the reasons why I have this on my bookshelf. So no, that’s fantastic to hear. Awesome. Well, I also wanted to ask, do you have any comic related goals in the near future at all? Anything that you, obviously you are working on something now. Are there any real tangible goals that you’re working towards?

Jana Hoffmann (21:43):
Well, related to that comic, I really want it to be kickstarted and done before Paper Cuts Festival this year. Oh

Sheydin Dew (21:55):
Yes. So exciting,

Jana Hoffmann (21:56):
So exciting, so excited for that to come back again because it was so good last time and I just had a great time and Well, lonely Giant sold really well, so I’d really, oh,

Sheydin Dew (22:12):
That’s where I got it from actually that you said. Yeah, there you go.

Jana Hoffmann (22:16):
So yeah, I’d really love to have another book for the new paper cuts. So yeah, that’s the

Sheydin Dew (22:25):
Main goal. If anybody’s heading to paper cuts, that’s just another reason why you should come along. Yeah, awesome. That’s so exciting to hear. I really like it when people or artists have got real tangible goals that they’re working towards. I think that’s really inspiring, I think really admirable. I really want to shift gears. I think we reached that mark where we want to go into a different genre of the show. These are some really fun, rapid fire questions for you to kick things off. If you could inherit any trait from your character, what would it be and why? And it could be from any book that you’ve illustrated in.

Jana Hoffmann (23:05):
Well, I mean, Nazi can cast spells and make potions and stuff, so I mean, why she could make Magical Creatures, I would definitely want magic and the ability to make fancy potions, so definitely that

Sheydin Dew (23:25):
Wouldn’t we. Okay, love. All right, fire another one out you. Which one of your characters is most like yourself?

Jana Hoffmann (23:36):
I mean, NA probably, yeah, but definitely. So Wattle is another character in the Lily Giant. She talks a lot. I’m shyer than her, but I think I’m also that chatty. And then some of the other characters, I’m just as oblivious as they are. Yeah. But yeah, definitely nata I would say is

Sheydin Dew (24:10):
I definitely kind of resonated with her as well. So yeah, I think we’ve got mutual ground there, that’s for sure. Which one of your characters would you most likely become friends with?

Jana Hoffmann (24:28):
Yeah, I’m trying to pick between Waddle and Na actually, because I mean, NATA really likes dancing. I really like dancing. That’s the other thing. I really like dancing, but Waddle seems a lot fun, so I’d be friends with both of them. We’d be Girl Gang. So yeah,

Sheydin Dew (24:47):
I love it. I think that’d be a really cool dynamic. Definitely. Definitely. Sure. I want to kind of shift into gears in more of the process kind of. So which character did you enjoy designing or creating the most and why?

Jana Hoffmann (25:10):
I really enjoyed Naau trying to come up with so a giant, but also, so she needed to take up space, but I also wanted to be able to comfortably draw her with other characters. So it was kind of like, how do I make this character not look like? So she’s humanoid, but she’s not too humanoid and she looks unique. And also to be big, but still able to stay in the frame, not set too much of a challenge for myself for panel layouts and stuff like that. And on the flip side, one of the characters I struggled with the most was the rock spirit. I really wanted them to be gender neutral and also a rock spirit. And so balancing that masculine, feminine, stony look, it worked so much better in my head. I really struggled with it. So I’m okay with where I ended up, but I really struggled with that one.

Sheydin Dew (26:34):
Yeah, absolutely. That’s so funny because that was literally my next follow up question. Which one was the biggest challenge or drawing this particular character? What was the hardest character for you to create? But I really enjoyed that answer. I think it was really good that you touched on creating a character that was gender neutral. I think that’s a really good representation and maybe needed a little bit more sometimes in comics. So I think that’s really cool. I think you’re taking one for the team. Good on you, Yama.

Jana Hoffmann (27:05):
Yeah, I think that representation really is important. So it was one of the reasons why, so what all has a disability, but I still wanted her to be fully participating in life and not, she has a disability, but she’s not disabled, if that makes any sense. She is still able to enjoy all the things that she wants to, she can dance in her own way. So yeah, I really do feel like representation is important. I remember growing up reading, I mean it’s a bit different, but Tamora Pierce’s, the Lioness Quartet was a huge influence on me from a storytelling perspective, but also just like Alana was this fierce woman character who was just kind of the opposite of me, who just really took what she wanted. And I never saw Women in Fantasy up until that point, or very march. Most of the big epic fantasy stories you see at the time in the nineties was male dominated or led, I guess. And I love those stories, but it was so exciting to see a female character and someone who was taking on a male role and all of the challenges involved with that. She pretends for much of the series to be a man and then

Sheydin Dew (28:59):
Absolutely. Yeah, I could not have said that better, honestly. I think, yeah, like I said, it is so important to see representation anywhere really, and I think it’s getting better and better nowadays, which is fantastic. And it’s so cool to see in indie comics because you’re obviously able to see the creator at conventions if it’s a local convention or a market or anything like that. So I think that just adds fuel to the fire, if anything. And again, which is another reason why I absolutely love this. This book is so heartwarming and I think it’s got a lot of layers and it’s definitely got a lot of love from me for sure. And I think, yeah, it was a really fantastic answer. So thanks for that, Yana. Are there any of the characters, any of characters inspired by real life people that you surround yourself with?

Jana Hoffmann (29:56):
I think they’re more combinations of characters and a lot of combining other people’s traits with myself, if that makes any sense. So I am chatty if you get me going, I each other, but I won’t talk to strangers very much, you know what I mean? I won’t just introduce myself and then tell that sort of thing. I find that intimidating. And then there was a lot of experiences that happened to me, like being at a party and not knowing what to do and people are talking over you and around you and kind of giving you little lips over. That sort of experience has happened to me in the past and it’s just a crappy feeling. So yeah, I wouldn’t say it is more traits from different people and then jamming them into me.

Sheydin Dew (31:10):
That’s fantastic as well. And I think just adds another dimension. I am definitely a huge advocate if you have experienced something or if there is a trait that you really want to put forward into a character, I think it’s always a really good idea because you can always draw upon that experience and it can be more authentic. So yeah, I really admire that. I think that that’s really brave of you to do. But yeah, no, that’s fantastic. Thank you. You have reached the end of the rapid fire questions you ask. You’ve done well,

Jana Hoffmann (31:42):
Sorry. Never.

Sheydin Dew (31:52):
I also want to take the opportunity for all of viewers tonight. If you do have any burning questions, please send them through. We love to always hear what you guys think or if you’ve got any questions about Janna’s work, please Yeah, please voice, please send them through. So we want to talk a little bit more of how you did it. How did Yara do this? Can you walk us through how you created the Lonely Giant? What was your process maybe if they were a couple of steps that you took? What were they? Yeah,

Jana Hoffmann (32:26):
Yeah, yeah. So first, I know a lot of artists will go straight to thumbnails, but for me, I’ve always like, sometimes I get that blank page, dunno what I’m doing kind of thing. I like to have a purpose for what I’m trying to do. So for me, scripting was the way to go. So I first started out doing a, for the one, the Giant, I did a course, it was through CGMA called, I think it was Visuals, storytelling for Artists or Storytelling Writing for Artists, something like that. So that sort of got me started with the process, but because it was a course they wanted it to be, the work was meant to kind of started to be a bit bigger than what I was aiming for. I was aiming to do 12 page, it’s 27, just so you know. It’s 12 weeks.

Yeah, I was aiming for 12 pages, so, so I worked through that course and then worked through the script and gave it to some friends for feedback. And once I was sort of mostly happy, then I find up Clip Studio Paint and started doing the thumbnail process because especially with dialogue, and I found this with Hara, if I very quickly found that I needed to put the dialogue in first because I would be like, yeah, let’s heaps of space for that dialogue. It was not heap of space. So I would put the thumbnails in first. Sorry, the lettering in, not fixed, but put it down, make the space there so that there’s enough room for it. And also to sort of take it into account when doing the panel composition. I think that can have real, the lettering can have a real effect on the weight and the feeling of the panel. So yeah, I built it up through, I did through all the thumbnails. Oh, before that I did character designs, so I knew what I was drawing.

In saying that this time around with the new project, I’ve only done a small amount of character designs because I just really wanted to get into the thumbnails and get a really big sense of the characters before I go back to doing the designs. Before I then start the pencils, I’m going to call ’em pencils. I’m not penciling, I’m drawing it in Clip Studio again. But that’s how I did it for the Lineage Giant. I then printed out the pencils and on a three paper, I used a printer at my office, borrowed the printer and then brought them home to Ink traditionally. Oh, cool. Yeah, I started, so my partner and I, we started watching, what’s it called, man, Ben, which is a documentary series by awa where he interviews all these different mangaka in Japan, and he sets up a camera in their workspace for a couple of days, and then they watch the footage and they talk about their process. And it was just a huge inspiration. So just loved it. And I’ve always loved traditional inking. It’s really stressful. I find it really stressful, but I also find it very freeing.

The inks are down, you got to go, you got to move on. So I did scan things back in and then fix some stuff if I needed to in, well, not Photoshop, I go to say Photoshop, even though I haven’t used Photoshop for art for five years, I don’t know, four years. So yeah, cleaned up the inks and then colored flattered, so flattered, then colored, and then there’s a little texture in the coloring. So applied that as well. It’s pretty subtle, but I just kind of like it. Yeah. And then I think I worked on the cover.

Sheydin Dew (38:03):
Yeah. Nice, nice, nice, nice. So once it was, Ooh, we’ve got a question. I love it. I love it. Two for one. What’s your favorite and least favorite part

Jana Hoffmann (38:14):
Of drawing a page? My favorite is the thumbnails because they, for mine at least, it’s the hardest part, but it’s the most fun. You see all the potential. There’s a lot of energy I put in expressions that I want to convey, but they’re super simplified and they kind of look really goofy. So they’re kind of goofy looking, they’re really expressive. There’s just so much potential and there’s no failure. There’s no failure. So yeah, I just, what’s my least favorite? I don’t know. I think my least favorite would be if I’m stuck penciling when I can’t get something to look right, when I can’t get what I was imagining from the thumbnails. But as I’m getting better, I feel like I’m getting, that’s happening less,

Sheydin Dew (39:26):
And I think that’s a good sign, becoming more confident, which

Jana Hoffmann (39:33):
I have the tools to work it out. So even if I do get stuck, I don’t feel like, it doesn’t feel like I’m a failure. It just feels like I just haven’t drawn this thing before and I need to work out how to draw it. Whereas before, it’d be like, oh, this is the limit of my skill and I cannot do anymore.

Sheydin Dew (39:56):
Absolutely feel that’s a really, really good, valuable piece of advice, I think. That’s amazing. Thanks for the question, Chris. If anybody else has any more burning questions, please send ’em through. Send ’em through. Where were we? So once your comic is printed, do you then go forward to conventions? Where do you go from there?

Jana Hoffmann (40:22):
Yeah, so well, to get it printed, I’ll probably always start with a Kickstarter or maybe a backer kit campaign maybe, and we’ll see how things go in the future. But at the moment, all my campaigns so far have been on Kickstarter and they’re just, they’re fantastic. They’re just a great way to get a comic out there, make sure, and not to mention, you make sure you don’t go out of pocket. You can gauge demand for what you’re making. So getting that out there is a really validating process. And then I’ll make sure that when I do the piece out of campaign that I have plenty of copies left over for selling at conventions and also at some of the local stores here in Adelaide. So mostly Greenlight comics, which they’re great. Also, my partner’s one of the owners, so Oh my

Sheydin Dew (41:34):

Jana Hoffmann (41:36):
Full disclosure. Full disclosure. But I liked the store before we dated, so

Sheydin Dew (41:44):
Is that why you were in the comic store?

Jana Hoffmann (41:49):

Sheydin Dew (41:51):
Oh, classic. So it’s a comic crazy house over there, is it?

Jana Hoffmann (41:55):
It is a bit, yeah. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (41:58):

Jana Hoffmann (41:58):

Sheydin Dew (42:00):
So you gauge your demand for your comics and you then go forward to conventions and then start distributing them to different comic stores around Adelaide, is that correct?

Jana Hoffmann (42:11):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Sheydin Dew (42:12):

Jana Hoffmann (42:14):
And I’m looking at having an online store as well, but at the moment I don’t have a lot of stock. I mean, I have a lot of Loland Giant obviously, but I think I’ve only got maybe 10 copies of Great Beast, and I don’t know, I think Mira Prelude is, oops, sold out, or my copies are sold out. So really I was hoping to have another book before I try and push a online store. So basically that’s in the future at some point I don’t have enough to juggle.

Sheydin Dew (42:58):
That’s it. That’s it. Well, I think that’s a super insightful process. Again, a really valuable question I think for like-minded people who may be viewing tonight, I really like to hear different people’s process of how they go about creating a little comic creation. But yeah, I really, really like how thoughtful your steps are. I think that’s really, really admirable. Definitely. I mean, obviously Chris came in with a fantastic question because it was my question that was coming up. So out of the whole process, what is your favorite and least favorite thing? Is it the thumbnails out of the entire process, or is that just left for your favorite thing about doing a page? What’s your favorite thing in the whole process?

Jana Hoffmann (43:50):
Inking is pretty good too. Traditional inking. After watching Man Ben, I bought some dip pens as well, and there’s just something really magical about the scratch of the dip pen across the paper. It’s really good. Yeah, thumbnails are, it’s funny, I just realized that both of my favorite things are the most stressful parts because inking traditional is also quite stressful because obviously if you screw up then it’s there. You can’t do much about it. I mean, you can do a little bit about it, but you’ve got to commit to something. You can’t just be like, oh, no, no, I undo, undo, undo, undo. Because when I ink digitally, I would tend to hit Zoom right in, and then I’d be getting in on all these details and then zoom out, and I’m like, nobody can see any of those details. Why did I spend all that time?

I did that on Tal Guard, actually, I was part of the Tal Guard anthology. Sorry, I completely forgot to mention that as well. Yeah, so T Guard Tome two by Gestalt, published by Gestalt this year, I think it was or recent in the last six months I think it was. So that was really cool to be part of this big comic project with a bunch of other creators that I really admire. And the script was, I’m just in awe of, so like I said, this was 27 pages instead of 12. Gary proudly somehow managed to just pump out these four page scripts. I’m like, what?

Yeah, but I actually did that particular comic before The Lonely Giant. Yeah, it was before The Lonely Giant. It was eight years ago, 20 20, 20 19. So I inched digitally on that one, and I got in on these details, and then I zoomed out and I’m just like, oh my God, I spent ages on that, and nobody can see that detail, so it doesn’t look bad. It was just like I spent way too long on that. So you can’t do that with traditional inking. You are at what you see. You can’t get it zoom in any, you can’t zoom in inappropriately basically.

Sheydin Dew (46:43):
Definitely, definitely, definitely. Another question, Dave Di wants to know if you’re going to the Adelaide Comic and Toy Fair, are you Janna, are you going to do this? Well,

Jana Hoffmann (46:54):
So if it’s not too late for me to get a table, but I only notice, I only realized that it was coming up this week and I was like, oh, oh no. Maybe because I know that the table will sell out pretty well, I think pretty quickly. So I’ll be honest, I’m assuming at this point that I’ve missed out on a table, but I will. That’s

Sheydin Dew (47:19):
Okay, because it’s a biannual event. There’s another one in October.

Jana Hoffmann (47:27):
Well, I’ll note that down. I knew that it happened semi frequently, but I didn’t know the dates. So October, I am considering going to PCA. Really?

Sheydin Dew (47:45):
Yes. Really? Yes. Really.

Jana Hoffmann (47:50):
I heard it was really good last time. And I mean, I just love a good comic festival, really. They’re just a good vibe, good, bad, and would love to take the lonely giant there in person. I, Owen, from Amplified Press, he is my distributor. We came up with a dip. He publishes a lot of people’s work, but I was very comfortable published doing Lily Giant on Kickstarter, so I didn’t necessarily need his assistance with that, but he offered to take the Lily Giant to conventions that I wasn’t going to because he does a lot of convention attendance.

So yeah, he took the one with John to pick a, and that was the year they did the, what do you call it? Not the ledgers, the Come Arts Awards now. And I was nominated, but I did not know I made the shortlist. So yeah, literally Jo made the short list. So yeah, I was really chopped, and if I’d known that the awards were at PC af, I would’ve absolutely made I I moving. I had something that made making it a bit stressful, but I probably could have made it if I’d known that the awards were going to be happening. But then I lost, so I didn’t lose, obviously I didn’t lose, I didn’t win any of the awards, so probably fine that I didn’t make it, but I still kind of regret it. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (49:46):
What an absolute credit to be shortlisted. That’s phenomenal. Good. You,

Jana Hoffmann (49:51):
I’m totally going to make stickers and put it on the book. I just haven’t got to it yet.

Sheydin Dew (49:56):
Yeah, good idea. You’re an ideas man. Yana, you’re an ideas man. No, that’s fantastic. That’s so awesome. And I’m so glad that that question did come up because again, you guys are taking all my questions. I’m going to have to start thinking more. That was fantastic to know that you got so many ideas and so many projects in the pipeline, and you are actively moving towards a goal and thinking about intending some wonderful conventions here in Australia surrounding comics, which is fantastic. We’re switching gears, Yana, we’re into the very final stage of the show. These are some more well-rounded questions, probably very beneficial to our viewers tonight. To start things off, what are some really good tips or maybe some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you can share with others

Jana Hoffmann (50:54):
Lessons? I mean, it should be obvious, but comics free time. It takes so much time. So just be patient and be patient with yourself and just enjoy the time that it takes. Really. It should be fun. None of us should, and I doubt anybody’s here trying to make comics for any other reason because it’s not. Yeah, absolutely. So just enjoy it. Cliff Studio Paint two is just come out. So that’s my hot tip. I’m very excited for Clip Studio Paint two, I downloaded it this morning and then I had to go to work and I was like, I really want to play with it.

I do the lettering in Clip Studio. I’m very much looking forward to the new ligatures and text tools. I don’t know much about them, but just anything would be better than what the text tools currently are. So they’re pretty bad in Clip Studio. If you’re not using Clip Studio, you should definitely use Clip Studio for comics. It will be hard to make the switch from Photoshop, but it is 100% worth it. The perspective rulers are fantastic. The grid, the Frame tools, panel tools are fantastic. The brushes are fantastic. I haven’t done a lot of using the 3D stuff, but I know that 3D tools are really useful. You can get 3D characters that you can pose, get into the right pose that you want, instead of trying to find the magical piece of photo reference that doesn’t exist of the exact pose that you need.

And it’s super affordable. And although they’ve just moved to a new model, which is very confusing, but very flexible, they’ve got a once off perpetual license for version two, or you can pay the old subscription, but it’s like 40 a year, it’s US dollars, but converted it’s $40 for a year instead of, what was it like 70 a month for the 30 a month for the Photoshop subscription. It’s absurd. So it’s super affordable. And I am talking about, there’s two different versions as well. There’s the professional ex version, which has the story, and I recommend that one too because it also has page management. So you have, you set up, it’s 27 pages, and then it’s the, you’ve got, you can see the different spreads, you can move the pages about, you can copy, there’s a text tool so you can copy and paste. I take all the script, put it into the different panels and then apply it. So is a hundred percent worth it. You should definitely be using Clip Studio if you are making comics. So that’s my,

Sheydin Dew (54:29):
You’ve absolutely sold it for me. Oh my God, that’s so fantastic. That’s actually some questions that I’ve been wanting to know about Clip Studio Paint because I hear it so often and I’m like, maybe I should suss this out. This sounds like a pretty good deal, and I think that’s really cool. I think that’s definitely a really valuable information that maybe some people who are starting out definitely need to know. Yeah. So you got any suggestions for software? Yeah, definitely. I think that’s really valuable. So we’ve talked a little bit about Giant, your projects, a little bit about yourself, some of your biggest achievements being shortlisted, as well as going to some conventions. You’ve done it all, Janna, you’ve absolutely done it all. It’s a real credit to you, I think. I really want to kind of know exactly. What do you love so much about the Australian comic industry?

Jana Hoffmann (55:31):
Oh, it’s the passion. Everyone is, everyone is in it for the love. Everyone just is so passionate about the storytelling, the community itself. Everyone is helpful and sharing. It’s just just so many warm and fuzzies. The fact that you guys are doing this, this is fantastic, these interviews and stuff, this is so much work. I can only imagine. And the PCA festival and the paper Cuts by Owen and Gina, everyone puts in so much work and every year it feels like it’s getting better and better, which is great because just, it’s great. Everyone is so great.

Sheydin Dew (56:28):
I think it definitely goes back onto your top tip for emerging creators is that do it out of love. And I think that is definitely reflected everywhere in that community. Definitely one of my top dot points of why I love the community here in Australia. I do want to know, what do you want to see more of in the community? Do you

Jana Hoffmann (56:51):
Reckon more people, it’s growing. It is totally growing, don’t get me wrong. And I think that is because of all the work that you guys and Owen and Gina and just all the guys everywhere are doing it is growing. But obviously I just want more people to just know how amazing comics are. So that’s definitely happening, happening, just not fast enough. And I guess on a more specific note, I would love to see more Australian creators try Kickstarter because you do need to bring people to the Kickstarter campaign. It’s not as simple as put it up on Kickstarter and you’ll just get money thrown at you. You do need to put in a bit of work promoting it and building an audience. And I say building an audience, but I don’t necessarily mean a social media audience. Like email list is way better and way more important than that.

Just a way to reach people basically and say, Hey, look at this Kickstarter I’ve got. It’s a great way to get your product funded before you have to print it, and for people to show their support to you instead of just being like, this is a retail transaction. It’s like, no, I love this project. I want to give you, I have an office job and hate it, so I’m going to throw my money at you because I love this project. You can really do really great things with the Kickstarter platform. So I guess that’s something else I would like to see more of in the Australian community, just because I think it’s really powerful. It’s a really powerful tool. And again, it doesn’t need to be Kickstarter or it could be the new BackerKit platform is I think probably the best competitor for Kickstarter because they’re really solid existing platform. I know there are a bunch of other ones out there that have tried to take off, but I think there are still a little bit in their infancy. But yeah, Kickstarter, BackerKit or Indiegogo. Indiegogo, how I forget Indiegogo. But yeah, all of those platforms, crowdfunding is super powerful if you are up for the challenge, it’s a lot of work, don’t get me wrong. It’s a lot of work, but I found it really rewarding. So yeah,

Sheydin Dew (59:38):
Definitely, definitely. No, the best things are always out of hard work and out of love. No, that’s fantastic. I think you’ve been an absolute wealth of knowledge I really could have done with this information when I was first starting out in 2018. You’ve definitely sold Clip Studio Paint for me, and now you’ve absolutely sold Kickstarter. I’ve never done a Kickstarter. Ana, I’m going to do it just for you.

Jana Hoffmann (01:00:04):
Alright, do it. I would recommend while I’m here recommending things, if you’re going to do Kickstarter, then I recommend the Comics Launch podcast, which is a podcast specifically for Comic Kickstarters. Yeah. And it’s comics with an X as well, but I think there is an ix.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:23):
There is no I in Comic.

Jana Hoffmann (01:00:25):
Yeah. Not for this one. Not for this

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:27):
One. Not in this one, not in this one,

Jana Hoffmann (01:00:28):
Not in this one. This guy’s American, he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he knows what he’s doing when it comes to Comic Kickstarters, so there you go.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:37):

Jana Hoffmann (01:00:37):
Nice. So yeah, the Comics Launch podcast is just a huge wealth of, I think there’s like 500 episodes. So if you have a very specific question, I’m pretty sure he is covered it. He’s been doing it for years, so it’s really good. Wow.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:51):
Thanks for that.

Sheydin Dew (01:00:52):
Yeah, absolute Wealth of Knowledge. Tell all of viewers, we have reached the end of my long list of questions. Where can we find your work? Where can we find you? Give us a spiel?

Jana Hoffmann (01:01:04):
Well, so I have a website, yana It’s Hoffman with two Ns. Two Ns, but if you Google my name, I’ll come up because there’s not a lot of English speaking Janna Hoffman’s around. So I think I should come up. So I’m also on Instagram. I think my handle is Janna Janna because Janna Hoffman was taken I think, or I dunno. But going back to my website, you should sign up for my mailing list, like I mentioned, and then you’ll find out when my new project’s launching and you’ll get little sneak peeks of the project as well. I actually just shared a couple of screenshots of my thumbnails. They were goofy looking and I thought I wanted to share them.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:01:56):

Jana Hoffmann (01:01:58):

Sheydin Dew (01:02:00):
Fantastic. Where can we find, say a copy of The Lonely Giant? Is there anywhere we can add two?

Jana Hoffmann (01:02:06):
Yeah, so Greenlight Comics, definitely. If it’s not in stock at the time, then you can order it. I don’t think anyone’s actually ordered it, but Ross knows where to find me.

So yes, you could definitely, or I restock it pretty regularly, but sometimes it sells out, which is nice. So yeah, Greenlight Comics or I do have a buy link on my website as well, so if you go to my website, it’s a square thing. Yeah, it’s a square because I’ve got the square card reader, so I use that to make a buy button. So not a full proper shop, but it’s shopping off to buy a coffee. So yeah, I think that’s everywhere. And you can also read it online for free, so it’s on my website for free, but if you want the PDF or the book version, then yes, you can buy it through your favorite option. And yeah, so it is on my website as well as Webtoon and Tapas. There you go. Yeah, I actually formatted it for those platforms too, so yeah.

Sheydin Dew (01:03:28):
Wow. Oh my God. Ya. That keeps on giving. Oh my God, you have been an absolute pleasure, pleasure to talk to. Yeah, I definitely learned so much about one of my favorite comics that sit on my shelf. Thank you again for being here. We have come to part of the, yeah, yeah, definitely. We’ve definitely come to the end of my part, Shay, is there anything else you’d like to tack on the end?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:04:01):
I would like to say, well, I would like to say the video. That’d be awesome. That helps us out a lot and subscribe to the channel. That also helps us out a lot. That gets us out to more people. That would be awesome. Thank you very much. And don’t forget to visit the comic shop.

Sheydin Dew (01:04:21):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:04:26):
And I just wanted to apologize to the people in the comments. Something happened at the Streamy yard and I suddenly got half an hour’s worth of comments at the end. I dunno if it did it to you, but it did it to me.

Sheydin Dew (01:04:37):
It did happen to me as well. So yeah, sorry about that.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:04:39):
I suddenly got a burst of comments, so if I missed anyone, I’m sorry. That’s why I just got a half an hour’s worth of comments in one hit there. Facebook user.

Sheydin Dew (01:04:50):
Thank you. It was, thanks for joining everyone.

Yeah, definitely. Well, like I said, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the Showana. Thank you so much for talking to us about your wonderful, wonderful comic creation. To all of viewers, thank you so much for joining in and sending in your comments. Be sure to grab a copy of this absolutely giant gem. Otherwise you guys can catch some of our shows later in the week. We’ve got a drink and draw on Fridays. It’s always a fan favorite as well as our Sunday spotlight as well. And earlier in the week, obviously we have our Tuesday, is that correct shade?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:05:33):
Yes, Tuesday and Sunday are both on a bit of a holiday at the moment.

Sheydin Dew (01:05:39):
Ah, okay. Gotcha.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:05:41):
So that’s why you won’t see them this week or next week, but normally they’re there. So yeah, you’re right.

Sheydin Dew (01:05:47):
Stay tuned. But otherwise, thank you so much for tuning in guys. That’s all on my end. Yeah, I look forward to seeing you guys again in the fortnight. If there’s nothing else,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:05:58):
No, I’m going to cheat or cheat or be naughty or whatever. Be cheeky. Cheeky is word I’m looking for. And I’m going to do a bit of a Cirus promo for our outro. So thank you everyone for watching. Thank you so much, Joanna, for coming on. It was absolute pleasure. I kept watching you instead of doing what I was meant to be doing, so I kept getting too enthralled,

Sheydin Dew (01:06:20):
Too wiggle.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:06:23):
So yeah, thank everyone who watched as well. Thank you Shaden, amazing host. So everyone have a great night. See you in a fortnight now, fortnight. And until then, have a great time.

Sheydin Dew (01:06:37):
Thanks guys.


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