An interview with Mormon comic artist Brandon Dayton

Brandon Dayton works in the video game industry by day and makes comics by night. He recently released his first book, Green Monk, a fantastic action story set in a fairytalish version of Russia featuring a monk with a magical weapon and a fearsome monster. He brings more humanity to the story than the quota require and in the process proves that simple drawings can be a powerful mode of storytelling.

Th: So, Brandon. First, tell us a bit about what you do as an indie cartoonist. How you fit in the time, how much time you fit in, what you’re drawing, what your goals are, etc.

BD: Currently my role as an “indie cartoonist” is limited to my personal time. I work full time as a concept artist at EA Salt Lake, so the cartooning happens between dinner and bedtime. I didn’t actually set out to be a cartoonist until recently. Although Green Monk began several years ago, I didn’t start working on it in earnest until the beginning of this year (Jan 2009). At the time is was part of a portfolio of projects that spread out across all of my storytelling interests: animation, film, illustration. But, completing the project has set my path pretty firmly towards comics. I still have other interests, but I think comics is what I’m going to be focused on for the next several years.

My schedule for fitting in the work is pretty modest. I try and focus on a consistent schedule rather than a marathon of herculean efforts. For Green Monk I would work on one panel a day (which in the case of Green Monk was a fraction of a typical comic panel). Depending on the complexity of the panel it would take me anywhere from a half an hour to two hours of work a night to complete it. I really start stressing out if I have more work to do then that at night. I have friends that can put their kids to bed and work another five hours at night. I can’t keep a schedule like that consistently. So the work was slow and steady. I had about 20 pages when I started in January, and I was still drawing in August.

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