10 Questions: The Gathering Edition – Donal DeLay

We continue our interview series with members of The Gathering and GrayHaven Comics. We’ve put out the same questions to numerous individuals and can compare their responses. A hopefully intriguing interview series.

Check out our previous interviews.

George AmaruVictor GischlerTravis M. HolyfieldJames O’Callaghan
Elena AndrewsAndrew GoletzNathan Lee JamesChris Page
Arcadio BolañosDoug HahnerWilliam LevertAmanda Rachels
John M. CokerErica J. HeflinMarc LombardiJason Snyder
Marc DeschampsGary HoganGlenn MatchettSam Tung
Nick Francis

Up next is artist Donal DeLay.

Graphic Policy: How did you get started in the comic book industry?

Donal DeLay: A group of writers and artists got together on the Brian Bendis message board back in the day to put together a small studio called Ronin Studios, which later became Dial R Studios. I worked on a couple anthologies and one-shots. Why? I couldn’t tell you, because I absolutely sucked at drawing. Still do, which is why I question Doug & Andrew’s tastes.

GP: Were you a fan of comic books before?

DD: I was and still am, but my tastes have changed. I was heavily into superhero comics, and 90% of Image comics. Now, I’m mostly an indie guy. The most mainstream book I’ve purchased in the past 5 years has been Hellboy.

GP: Do you read comics now? If so, what are some of your current picks?

DD: I read a lot of old school Sunday funnies stuff. E.C. Segar, Winsor McCay. Some Ketcham, Watterson, and Schulz. Franco/Belgium guys like Peyo, Franquin, and Maurice Tillieux. Hellboy has been fantastic, as always, and I’m really looking forward to reading Punk Rock Jesus by Sean Murphy. His art is gorgeous.

GP: How did you get involved with The Gathering?

DD: It’s a bit of a blur, because I was asked to work on a couple different short stories by a couple different writers, but I’m pretty sure it was Doug Hahner’s 2pg story about his cancer discovery. It was a really personal story, that I absolutely loved drawing that I’m both proud of and wish I’d done half as good as it deserved.

GP: Each issue of The Gathering has a theme, how did that factor into the comic creation?

DD: I’m not sure I can answer this one very well since I’m too cowardly to really write for myself or submit a story myself to an issue. I’m sure it’s got to be tough to have to conform to a set theme and page count, but I just draw what I’m asked to draw and I’m okay with that.

GP: What advice would you give to independent creators just breaking into the business?

DD: If it’s not something you’re willing to do for free then find something you WOULD be willing to do for free. Make comics because you have stories to tell. Tell the stories YOU want to tell.

GP: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through your experiences?

DD: Learn when to say no. I’m a big ol’ softy, and have a hard time saying to no to someone, but sometimes it’s necessary. You’ll want to take on everything offered to you because you want the exposure, or maybe even the money, but if you don’t have time then you don’t have time. TELL people that. Sometimes they’re willing to wait, but everyone in the indie business understands the concept of being swamped.

GP:  Do you think it’s easier today for creators to get published?

DD: Absolutely. Not only do you still have POD sites, but now there’s Kickstarter, making it infinitely easier. Not to mention the internet makes it 100% possible for anyone and everyone to get their stories in front of readers.

GP: How do you think technology like social networking or crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter are impacting comic book publishing?

DD: They’re impacting comics publishing in a MAJOR way. Because the beauty of a place like Kickstarter is not only does it allow you to get a project funded, but funded by a guaranteed audience. That’s not publishing money from a company hoping people will buy it, that’s money from people ALREADY buying it. The days of relying on companies, and pitches to get published are almost completely gone, if they aren’t already.

GP: What can we expect from you next?

DD: I’m finishing up my first webcomic, The Legend Of Tanin, which has been a HUGE learning experience in the making of webcomics. I’m working on a one-shot with Doug Hahner, about a day in the life of his family, called My Geek Family, and after that I’ll be getting another webcomic together for the start of next year that I hope Andrew Goletz will want to publish on the site, as well as continuing to work on a 300+ page digital OGN.