It's not every day that your interview subject offers to whip up some custom artwork depicting the 15 Minutes of Fame interview process in action - but that's how WoW, Eh? creator Cadistra/Kelly Aarons rolls. She's cool like that. That's Cadistra above, chatting with my retired priestess (who's normally found flitting about Darnassus in a Festive Green Dress with my daughter, chasing Wisps and leaving sparkly trails with her Benediction [to endless whispers of "Hey man, where does that staff drop?"] - so it was time for the wench to finally get some work done, you know?).
Still, our enthusiasm for Cadistra's artwork can't top her own well deserved elation over a September win in Blizzard's monthly comic contest. As part of her prize package, Kelly received three volumes of Blizzard Entertainment manga. More importantly, she'll be considered by TOKYOPOP for contributions to upcoming volumes of both Warcraft: Legends and StarCraft: Frontline -- a heady opportunity, indeed.
Main character Cadistra
Server US Sentinels-H
WoWstyle I think it's safe to say that I play/quest like a senile old lady (ha, ha). Seriously, though, I'm the worst. I'll start questing, then decide to explore, and then, maybe ... maybe I wanna level up my cooking, or my leatherworking ... Ask anyone who's quested with me. It's bad. :( If I had to use a pre-conceived label, I guess I would say I'm casual, simply due to lack of available playtime. As for when/how I started playing, I began about a year and a half ago. The "real" Kissless kept on bugging me to play, so I finally caved and installed the 14-day trial. I rolled Cadistra, as I knew nothing about races/classes, and ... well, here I am now.
15 Minutes of Fame: Congrats on your September win in Blizzard's comic contest! You must be on cloud nine (or at least a floating platform in Nagrand) ...
Cadistra: I am ECSTATIC! I had hyped myself up for the August version, but when I wasn't even mentioned, I figured that it just wasn't good enough and moved on. Lo and behold, September 1st, I'm at work and I get this e-mail from Blizzard ... I honestly thought it was a joke. When I read it, I found out I had won!
I'm actually more excited at the prospect of Tokyopop looking at my stuff, although I am a bit ... apprehensive. If I spend longer on a single piece of artwork, well, I'd like to think it's better. The comic, since I have such a limited schedule to draw it, isn't always my best work. But ...oh well. We'll just have to see, eh?
How long have you been doing WoW, Eh? What gave you the idea to create it?
I have now (as of Oct. 2) been doing WoW, Eh? for a year! I couldn't believe it, to be honest ...^_^; I've always loved web comics. I went through schooling, etc., growing up on the likes of Penny Arcade, VG Cats and the like. WoW, Eh? originally started as a way to, well, put Canada in the gaming spotlight. I had the notion that in the world of gaming, Canada just doesn't seem to exist. It's always the Middle East or Detroit or something. So since WoW was becoming a fast-growing passion of mine, I decided to take the plunge and incorporate those two very un-related topics. Since I can't code worth a damn, WoW, Eh? actually started on SmackJeeves, a free webcomic-hosting site. I have my friend, former assistant manager and former guild leader to thank for putting together the ComicPress site you see today.
So "you" are Cadistra ... Who's Kissless? You seem pretty fond of her.
"Kissless" is actually a very near and dear friend in real life. She is a master RPer and had created Kissless quite a while before I even touched the game. I honestly can't even remember when I tossed out the idea to her of creating a webcomic ... By then, a wee Cadistra was already getting her MMO legs on my first server, US Dalvynger. We started developing our characters in-game, then I started drawing comics.
We actually get together every handful of weeks to discuss everything from the next planned story arc, filling out back stories, new characters, personalities ... you name it. As it stands, I think the comic cannot exist without her much-appreciated creative input.
Who (or what) influences and inspires your comics and art?
Hmm ... That's a tough question. I'm a formally trained classical animator, so during school, I was introduced to tons of really fun, unique and creative styles. I like to believe that having a good sense of anatomy and weight on your character is the most important thing. Style and everything else just comes naturally.
Some of my bigger inspirations would probably be anime/manga. I grew up as a Weeaboo (yeah, yeah, I know) -- and love it or hate it, it heavily influenced the way I draw. Accomplished character and concept artists, like Glen Keane, Glenn Rae and a lot of random fantasy art. It's hard to name exactly who I pick and choose my style from. I've done this over years and years.
Developing the comics comes from watching everyone else do theirs. I'm a big fan of webcomics like Penny Arcade, Dr. McNinja, Girly, Nedroid, Gunnerkrig Court and Dumm Comics.
You call yourself a "sorta-kinda game designer" -- ok, Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do ...
Ha ha ...Well, I work in a very small startup company, and most of us end up wearing multiple hats. Unlike other [animation] studios I've worked at (an animator basically gets thrown in a bull pen and works), I'm actually working side by side with our two head game designers. I actually probably shouldn't call myself a bona fide "game designer," as I'm only there for creative input and the like; game play isn't something I contribute a lot to. I just don't have the mind for it.
We love that you maintain a forum for fans to chat on and that you post fan art of WoW, Eh? characters. You seem especially close with your fan base.
The way I see it, art is nothing without an audience, just as a story loses much of its use and impact with no one to listen to it. Same thing with this comic. While I love drawing it, if it just kind of melted into the great ether of the internet, chances are it would've stopped.
The fan base and the WoW community are some of the most amazing groups of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I'm not kidding when I say these people keep me sane! LOL Having a group of kind, generous and supportive people quite literally at your fingertips (Twitter, etc.) has made the comic more than worth it. I mean, what kind of person wouldn't want people like that in their life? :) The comic wouldn't exist without the fans, so it's them that deserve all the kudos.
Let's talk a little bit about producing WoW, Eh? Walk us through a typical production process.
A comic starts first thing Monday during my lunch break at work. Yes, that's where the first 50% of the comic takes place: during my lunch breaks at work.
I draw the rough draft in a program called Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. The comic in its entirety is done there. Also, I just kind of freehand it and cram panels in wherever I want. I am not at all a 'professional' comic artist. ^_^; After that, I make a new layer, ink it, then export it into Photoshop, where I colour it. I do the speech bubbles in Adobe Flash and do the text and finishing touches back in Photoshop.
Each comic takes an average of 15-ish hours, depending on how complicated/long each comic is.
Anything else on your drawing board right now besides the day job and WoW, Eh?
Uhhh ... "Other projects"? ^_^; If it's not the comic itself, it's the backlog of work (I'll call them "secret projects"), ideas for prints, improvements to the site, and just drawing what I like to draw. I've actually started teaching myself digital painting, and I'm trying to squeeze in a bit of practice time every now and then. Any creative person knows they always have to create. We never stop.
Commissions? Yes? No?
Unfortunately, no. I'm just way too busy, as it is. I'll happily announce on the site when I do, though!
We'll be looking forward to it. Congrats again, Cadistra, and best of luck with your art.
Find more from Cadistra/Kelly:
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" - neither did we, until we talked with these players. From an electro-pop princess to an award-winning author and an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director ... or a bunch of Joe Blows who get together for dinner and group raiding in person every week ... Catch it all on 15 Minutes of Fame.