It's hard to believe that it was only July 2011 that I first started looking for artists to draw the comic - only two years ago! In truth it feels like I started this project much, much further back than that, due to the fact that I wrote the story back in 2005. Every now and then I'd talk to Michael and Jon about doing something with it, but our lives had all moved on and living in different parts of the country made it extremely difficult to get together to work on it. That's what led to the decision to make a comic, as it's something we could work on together without needing to get together physically.
I tried posting on deviantart and conceptart, and various similar sites, but no-one was willing to work for free, or on the slim possibility of payment if the comic took off. I can't blame anyone, of course - that's a lot to ask a friend to do for free, let alone a stranger! I'm not sure what I Googled for, but I stumbled across a website called skillpages.com that allows you to search for people with specific skills. So I posted an "opportunity", as the site calls them, for an artist to contribute to the project. All I was looking for at that point was someone to design the characters, and then figure out the next move.
A few people responded, a couple of whom sent me some sketches, some better than others, but none really hit the style that I was after - something similar to "Ctrl-Alt-Del" or "Rooster Teetch Comics".
That was until Jenny Tam got in touch.
These early designs got me really excited, because it was the first time anyone had managed to capture our likenesses in the style I liked. And then Jon did this:
Which got me HUGELY excited! As far as I was concerned, we'd found our artist!
Jon and I put our heads together about how best to proceed, and we decided that we would get Jenny to draw each of the story's characters in 360 degrees, along with mouth and expression charts, that we would use to piece together each panel of the comic ourselves. Without being able to draw very well, this was really the only option we had outside of hiring an artist to do it all from scratch, which we just didn't have the money to do.
Unfortunately, Jenny was moving around a lot and didn't have much time to work for free, so despite absolutely loving her designs, we had to begin our search all over again. It really felt like there was no hope left.
But then I started hearing about Kickstarter, and I realised that if we were ever going to be able to do the story justice, if we were ever going to be able to create something of quality, we'd have to pay an artist to do it. For that we would need money, and what better way to raise the money than through crowd funding?
I posted on the same sites one last time, explaining how we'd need initial character designs and sample artwork with which to sell the idea and raise the money, which would lead to continued work for the artist. We had a LOT of interest!
Here are a few examples of the different designs that were submitted during our search:
While we liked a lot of these designs, this next one absolutely blew us away:
It was now October 2012, and we had finally found our artist.
Co-Creator, Writer & Colourist
Copyright © 2013-2015 Ryan Brain & Jonathan Carey. All rights reserved.
Unlikely Jedi is a not-for-profit homage to the cultural phenomenon that is Star Wars. The story does not take place in the Star Wars universe, nor does it contain any characters created by LucasFilm Ltd. Unlikely Jedi is not made, distributed, or supported by LucasFilm Ltd. and/or its licensors.
Jedi is a Trademark of LucasFilm Ltd.