Skybound sat down for a quick chat with Matthew Roberts, the artist behind the awesome characters and creepy critters of MANIFEST DESTINY. With the 4th issue out this Wednesday, it seemed like the perfect time to get some questions answered, especially about the design of Sacagawea!
Skybound: Where do you start when you begin designing a character?
Matthew Roberts: I usually have some part of their personality in mind when I start. Then I’ll draw a face and go from there. Especially with this book, faces are so important because of the similarity of outfits.
Skybound: We have to ask about the monsters, too. Do they come straight from the script, or do you design them and Dingess finds a way to use them?
MR: I always start from the script. Chris lays out the concept and then I build off of that. Something like the Buffalotaurs were pretty straight forward from what Chris laid out. The Flora I played around with a little more. The reveal at the end of 2 is pretty close to what Chris wrote, but then I start playing around with fungus and vines and thorns more.
Skybound: MANIFEST DESTINY #3 ended with the reveal we’ve been waiting for, a badass rendition of Sacagawea! How did you go about designing her look?
MR: I knew we weren’t going with traditional gear. No baggy leather or ponchos. She was going to be presented in a more fantastical way, but I wanted something that allowed her some modesty when she wasn’t busy diving into pits of monsters. That’s were her “cape” came from. Other than that, there’s some simplified beadwork that I added after researching the Shoshone (her tribe) a bit.
Skybound: Did Sacagawea’s design evolve at all from your initial sketches?
MR: Not really. After seeing Owen’s colors for a poster we did for SDCC last year, I’m leaning towards lighter colors for her cape. It was black and grey but I never give Owen that much color guidance. I like seeing what he comes up with. He came back with a lighter color scheme and it looked a lot better. Other than that the only major change was I took out some feathers I had in her hair and spear. They just looked cliche. I like feathers and I may try and work them back in down the road if I can make it look right.
Skybound: Can we see some? Pretty please?
MR: I hate sketching. I know it would probably help but I don’t brainstorm well on paper. I either hate it and erase it or like it and call it finished. I do a lot of work in my head while I’m researching and thinking about what I want. Once I’m ready to draw I usually just go for it. There are 3 sketches I did for this book. Lewis and Clark (which didn’t change much – Lewis lost a dear skin cap), the arch (which changed a lot because I got way more fancy than what Chris was trying to convey) and a flora sketch. I started a sketch of the Buffalotaur and Sacagawea, liked where it was headed and just turned it into a finished piece. Luckily I didn’t get any changes back.
Skybound: Anything cool we should look out for in MANIFEST DESTINY #4?
MR: A horse eating an apple. I had a dialogue heavy page and wanted to play around with a horses face. Spoliers – there’s also a horse. Oh, and Sacagawea makes something bleed. And Jensen is still a jerk.
Skybound: We can’t wait to see that horse this Wednesday when MANIFEST DESTINY #4 hits the stands! Thanks, Matt!