Today Black Ship Books interviews an illustrator and fine artist hailing from New York City, Nick Andors. Nick is the creator of A Frozen World, a graphic novel which was listed on CraveOnline’s “Top 20 Best Graphic Novels of 2013” list.
Black Ship Books: What is A Frozen World about?
Nick Andors: Well, there are four very different stories that comprise the book, but it’s really more about the dystopian world that those stories take place in than the stories themselves. I created each story with the purpose in mind of using it as a vehicle to explore different facets of that world. It’s basically a character portrait of a dying world.
BSB: Is this your first published comic and is it the first of a series?
NA: Yes. This is my first published comic. It’s a one shot deal. I intended it to be a self-contained story, but I think there’s room for it to grow into something else. However, I have other projects I want to work on. I’m more interested in painting than sequential art at the moment.
BSB: What went into the conception of this book and what was your greatest source of inspiration?
NA: My greatest source of inspiration would be my upbringing in NYC. I’ve always thought it would make for an interesting story if I isolated the grittier elements of the city and magnified them. That’s pretty much what I did. In creating the urban landscape the book is set in, I didn’t really get too deep into the complexities of creating an infrastructure, like government, laws and so forth. I pretty much just took the darkest, dirtiest, scariest corner of NYC, put it under a microscope and created a world there.
BSB: As writer and artist, what was most challenging for you in the development of book?
NA: The art was the most challenging because it was so labor intensive. I ended up drawing things over and over again. I’m rarely satisfied with my work. I guess I’m my own worst critic…at least so far, thankfully.
BSB: Are the four main characters of A Frozen World based on people you know or would you say that the characters represent some part of your own life?
NA: There’s definitely little pieces of myself and other people I’ve known in there, but for the most part the characters are fictional.
BSB: What elements of A Frozen World do you think set it apart from other graphic novels that take place in a dystopian future setting?
NA: I really couldn’t tell you. In all honesty, I haven’t read too many dystopian comics. Aesthetically, I’d say the noir influenced black and white illustrations probably set it apart from most comics in general, especially those with a science fiction, futuristic edge. As far as the storyline is concerned, I’m not sure, but I strive for originality so I hope that’s reflected in there.
BSB: Besides being listed on CraveOnline’s Top 20 Best Graphic Novels of 2013, have you had any other honors for your works?
NA: No, aside from getting some favorable reviews, CraveOnline’s “Top 20” has been the only “real” accolade. I’ve had readers respond well to it also though, and that means just as much to me. The CraveOnline list came as a surprise to me—I have no idea where they had gotten a hold of my book. That was real cool. It was definitely validating and came at a great time.
BSB: Outside of comics, do you enjoy or have aspirations of writing in other mediums?
NA: Maybe a movie eventually. But truthfully, I don’t really consider myself a writer. I’m a visual artist more than anything else. It’s something I’ve devoted my life to. I’ve studied traditional painting and drawing for many years; writing is an ancillary thing for me. I’ve never studied writing, and couldn’t imagine writing something like a novel. I consider myself a storyteller more than a writer.
BSB: Do you have any other projects at the moment that are in development?
NA: I have a 12 issue comic book series I’m in the embryonic stages of developing. It might never come to fruition…we’ll see. I’m also illustrating a project for my friend who is a rapper—his name is Double AB. Besides that, I’m painting, trying to put together a show. That’s really my main focus at the moment.
BSB: As a visual storyteller do you think you will create an interactive comic in the near future? And what other advances would you like to see developed for visual storytelling?
NA: I’m not sure. My book is really basic—black and white drawings, nothing glossy or fancy. Honestly, I prefer things like that. I tend to enjoy things that aren’t over-produced. I’m actually not really aware of any of the advances that are happening right now in comics. It’s probably something that I should look into. I guess anything is possible. I have a feeling the most I’d spice things up is by adding color. I just focus on trying to create the most interesting story I can and pouring my heart and soul into the artwork, and hopefully that will be enough.
BSB: Are there any words of wisdom you would like to share with other aspiring creators?
NA: The creative process is a cycle, filled with peaks and valleys. It seems to be an inescapable reality of the journey, so don’t get too discouraged when things aren’t working out.