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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Calliope Nerve Interview Series: Scott Marshall

From my Calliope Nerve Interview Series:

Scott, in the time I've known you've clearly mixed your creativity with entrepeneurialism. Tell us about Omikase Design.

Omakase is the Japanese word for "entrust." If you go into a sushi restaurant and order omakase, you are entrusting the chef to use his judgement to create something for you. In the context of my business, it means that I try to be an expert in my field that a client can trust to create a good product.

Tell us about being a Buddhist? Does your faith inform your creativity?

Like a lot of Buddhists in the West, it's not about faith for me; Buddhism has no articles of faith. Quite the opposite, it is about seeing and dealing with what is real here and now. I wouldn't say it informs my creativity exactly but it certainly shapes my outlook on life and as a result, the content of the work I tend to produce.

We met through the Amateur Publishing Association APA Centauri. Can you tell us about some of the zines and small press comics you've produced over the years?

I joined AC when I was 15, and at that time it was largely an outlet for fan fiction and personal zines and such. It was thanks to AC that I started to draw and write more seriously, starting to draw comics when I was 20, publishing mini-comics in the early to late 90s, still mostly personal stuff. I had some scripts for comics that never got drawn that wound up being reworked as scripts for plays after I got involved with local theatre about ten years ago. Not long after that my son was born and my publishing output was reduced sharply. Since then I have done some web-based stuff, mainly blogging and some little comics projects; the most significant lately being a movie review blog called Sunday Night in Cinema 3 which I still plan to collect as a book.

What type of education background do you have? (Formal or informal.)

I have an MA in English literature from Acadia, a small university in Nova Scotia. In the late 90s I took a course in graphic design in order to change careers and give me more skills for publishing and comics.

What's on your recommended reading list?

My favourite writers tend to be genre guys, like Philip K. Dick, John Wyndham, Richard Matheson, Robert Cormier. Lately I have been enjoying Douglas Coupland, Ian Rankin, Kenneth Oppel, and William Gibson's recent stuff. And of course a bunch of comics people, especially Kirby, Moore, Morrison, Kurtzman, McCloud, Cooke, et al. All time favourite books include The D Case by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini; Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith; Confessions of a Crap Artist by Phil Dick; High Fidelity by Nick Hornby; Lone Wolf and Cub by Koike and Kojima. If people are interested in reading Buddhist books, I enjoy Brad Warner's stuff and a book called The Diamond Cutter.

You are also a playwright and actor, we'd like to know more.

I would not say I am not much of either, but I have enjoyed being on stage with some friends and learning more about it. If nothing else I have discovered that I don't have the need or passion to be on stage that some people do, so after doing a lot of plays in a short period of time a few years ago, I have since only gone out for roles that I really want to do, if I really have the time. There is a local event every summer where teams of performers write and perform a short play in 24 hours, and in many ways that is more fun for me than being in more serious productions was.

How has technology affected you over the years?

The big difference is just that it allows me to save and perpetuate and revisit my work, I guess. I started writing on a manual typewriter, and drawing on bristol board with technical pens. Now I can create anything I care to on my MacBook, in Word or Manga Studio with a graphics tablet. And of course the internet has pretty much put APAs out of business. Those who want feedback on their creative work can create a blog or webcomic or whatever and get advice from people around the world.

Do you consider yourself prolific?

No. Not as much as I would like to be. But I think the quality of what I manage to produce now is higher than when I used to crank out New Mutants fan fiction. :) I sure hope it is anyway.

You also have done technical writing What types of projects have you worked on. How is technical writing different and alike to more traditional creative styles?

Technical writing is not exactly creative, it is more about distilling information down to its most essential form so that a target audience can understand it. I have worked for the nuclear industry, writing operation and training manuals; and for various e-learning companies, creating courses that people take online or in their workplace. It's useful experience for writers in that it teaches you to be brief, organized, and to keep the reader in mind.

Tell us about illustrating. What tools do you prefer to draw?

It varies. I have always loved the traditional tools for creating comics, brush and ink, but I also enjoy using a graphics tablet to draw straight to the computer screen. These days I mostly just draw in a sketchbook when I can grab a moment, using pencils and brush pens.

What does the future hold for Scott Marshall?

Hopefully another 50 years or so. :)

You can find out more about Scott Marshall by going to his blog located here which includes links to some of his comics and plays. Calliope Nerve recommends Scott's play Photoshop Time and Comics for Coalfish--look for Abe Lincoln and The Twin Towers at the end of the PDF.

-posted by Nobius 10:09 PM #
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