Home > Interviews, Rebekah Isaacs > Slayalive Q&A with Rebekah Isaacs for Angel & Faith #1

Slayalive Q&A with Rebekah Isaacs for Angel & Faith #1

Q&A with Rebekah Isaacs for ANGEL & FAITH #1

Hey all!

Rules are simple: Post TWO (2) question per member until I submit your questions to Rebekah. I will post a note to let you know when I send off questions to reopen the floor.

Keep it clean, keep it civil. Simple right? Entries are welcome until I post a closing post on Thursday (Sep 1).

This is a whole new era so be creative with your questions. Within reason, of course. No questions that are meant to simply further your agenda (especially in shipping!). Everything else is fair game, but be respectful of each other AND the artist who’s gracious enough to take your questions. Please also remember that Rebekah is the artist and not the writer; she may not be the best person to ask editorial or writerly questions.

Anyone who’s reading this and not a member, I’m accepting questions at wenxina[AT]slayalive.com. Feel free to send me your questions and I’ll add them to the queue with credit to you.

Alright… GO!

1. Wenxina: Hey Rebekah! Loving your work on the series so far… from what I’ve seen of it. With that said, I was wondering if the schedule for the art has been all laid out? Do you already know which issues you won’t be drawing? It sounds like there’ll be a guest artist for #5, am I right?

Rebekah: I think it should be okay to say this… we have a guest artist scheduled for issues 5 and 11 as of now. It looks like I will be drawing at least 20 of the 25 issue series, possibly more if time allows. I work pretty fast but because of the necessarily huge amount of planning that goes into a project as big as Season 9, we got a bit of a late start. The guest issues will help out with that. But I’ve read the #5 script and even though it’s technically stand-alone, there’s a lot of subtle character development that ties back into the continuing issues. It doesn’t feel like a “break” from the story for that reason.

I don’t think the guest artist for 5 has been officially announced yet, so I don’t wanna get in trouble, but man, he is an incredible artist. I don’t think they could’ve found someone who would make me look more hack-y by comparison! I’m SO excited to see his issue.

2. Nathan: Hello, your artwork is simply amazing. Are there any characters from the show that you really were interested in, but maybe won’t be part of the series? Not necessarily from an artistic perspective, but maybe just a character from Angel that you really enjoyed and wished you could have seen progress in the comics.

Rebekah: Cordelia was my favorite, and “You’re Welcome” was pretty crushing for me. But I’m not sure I would want her to reappear constantly as a spirit or higher power or whatever. Angel has enough pain in his life right now, I don’t think it would be healthy for him. I’m not caught up on the IDW books unfortunately, but I hear Illyria has grown a lot as a character and whether she appears in Buffy, a one-shot or a mini (I don’t know more about those plans than anybody else does!), I do hope she makes a cross-over apperance in A&F once or twice!

3. zianna: Hello, I love your art, and I hope to see you working on Buffy’s comics as well!
In your opinion, whose story is more interesting and more promising? Angel’s redemption story or Faith’s with her fellow slayers and her personnal life?

Rebekah: his is gonna sound like I’m saying this to skirt controversy, but I’m honestly equally interested in both of them. I will admit that it seems that Faith has a better grasp on what must be done to redeem herself — Angel seems more bewildered by the task ahead, naturally — his mistakes are on a scale infinitely larger than Faith’s. Sometimes that can be easier to relate to, I think, someone who simply doesn’t have their s*** together. But naturally there will be events that will shake Faith’s sense of control — anything otherwise would be pretty boring!

4. angeliclestat: Hi Rebekah. Congrats on the comic-really beautiful work! In regard to likenesses was there any specific period of the shows you rewatched to study the actors to get their likenesses? And do you think you are at the stage where you are able to draw Angel and Faith without references?

Rebekah: Not particularly for anyone besides Angel — for him I was asked to focus particularly on his look in the early seasons of Buffy, since he shouldn’t age as a vampire. I rarely use photo reference actually. I drew Angel and Faith what felt like hundreds of times before I started issue 1, and onwards, trying to memorize their features. It’s an ongoing process, obviously! I mostly use photos on covers because those have to more immediately recognizable. On the interiors I don’t think I referenced a photo once on the last two issues. I wish I was better at using photos, but I have a tendency to focus on individual features and not the overall composition of the face when I draw from reference, and then when I pull away and look at the finished drawing, it’s like it’s in a funhouse mirror. So when I draw the covers I start by drawing them from my head and then refining the little nuances while cross-checking with photographs.

5. Bamph: Hello Rebekah. Welcome to the Buffyverse.Your art looks really great. Which character have you found easier to draw: Angel or Faith?

Rebekah: Angel without a doubt! Pretty girls are the absolute hardest thing in the world to draw.

6. cheryl: Hello Rebekah, thank you for taking the time to communicate with us. The preview pages look amazing. My first question is this, as a fan of Angel and I am assuming that you are a fan, what is your favorite thing about Angel, as a character?

Rebekah: It’s both heartbreaking and endearing how hard he tries to make up for his mistakes. I think just about anyone can relate to that, unless they are a complete narcissist. Don’t we all constantly worry about what we’ve done wrong and who we’ve hurt?

7. Moscow Watcher: Hey, Rebekah,

I haven’t read the issue yet, but the panels I saw are amazing. Congrats with your brilliant work.
Question: was it ever discussed with Joss, Scott Allie or somebody else if you should draw Faith the way she looked on TV screen when we last saw her — or more mature, because time have passed since 2003? I ask this question because it’s not clear yet if the characters will get frozen in “comic book timeline” and will stay twenty forever. Thanks in advance for replying and thank you for communicating with fans.

Rebekah: The only direction I got in this respect was to make Angel look approximately Buffy Season 1-2 age because of the whole vampire=no-aging thing. But personally I’m trying to draw Faith somewhere in between her appearances in Angel and Eliza Dushku in Dollhouse. It is quite mind-boggling trying to do so, though, since Eliza has some supernatural power that allows her to look even hotter with every passing year!

8. Sosa Lola: Hey, I haven’t read the issue yet since I don’t have it yet, but I really loved what I’ve seen in the preview pages. You captured the characters really well and your art is just amazing. My question is: Since Angel and Faith live in London now, do you research certain streets and buildings to be more accurate when drawing the city?

Rebekah: Almost every street scene was drawn from a photo of an actual street I found on Google images. I do wish I could take the photos in person, though, because as an American with only a tourist’s knowledge of London, Google doesn’t give me context I can work with, i.e. what type of neighborhood is this street in? Is it always as deserted/populated as it looks in the reference? There are so many things I can’t know from it. That’s why I’m happy to be traveling to London for a third time next month, this time with a focus on exploring as many different neighborhoods as possible and taking thousands of photos. And eating 2 dozen scotch eggs. The other problem I’ve run into is when I’m drawing a deserted scene from a photo with tons of people in it — when I mentally remove those people, I try to fill in the gaps with odds and ends out of my head — hence the fire hydrant! I’m excited to get lots of photos of random odds-and-ends on streets there — they’re what really makes or breaks the authenticity of a city scene.

9. Bamph: Georges Jeanty has spent four years already as the artist on Buffy. Coming in as a new regular Buffyverse artist alongside him on Angel & Faith, I was wondering,did he give you any advice and did you look to his art in season 8 to help prepare you for your series?

Rebekah: Georges has been very generous and helpful. He gave me specific pointers on what to focus on with the two mains’ likenesses, and when I was first practicing them looking through his sketchbooks helped a TON with that. When doing likenesses you can’t get every feature exact unless you’re going for photo-realism, and it helps to see what features other artists have emphasized to get an idea of your own approach. At the beginning he also gave great advice on coping with the added pressure and exposure that comes with doing a Whedonverse book. As passionate as superhero comics fans are, they don’t hold a candle to Whedonites!

10. Bamph: We know there are going to be crossovers later on down the line in season 9. Joss said at Comic Con that after establishing both books on their own, they will then get crazy with the crossovers. With that in mind,do you think it would be fun to do a creative team crossover? Meaning that you would get to draw a issue/one-off or arc of Buffy and Georges would get to draw a issue/one-off or arc of Angel & Faith. Would you have any interest in something like that?

Rebekah: Personally I would LOVE to do that, and I think Georges would to, since he’s said that two of his favorite characters to draw in S8 were A&F. But I’m doubtful we’ll see a cross-over that extreme. I hope I’ll be proven wrong, though!

11. Moscow Watcher: On the panel where Whistler passes a glass to Nash the liquid in the glass defies the laws of gravity. Is is something we should pay attention to or it doesn’t mean anything?

Rebekah: Ack, I think that’s just unclear art on my part. It’s meant to be a slightly “dutched” (tilted) angle, done mostly to accomodate the “Stop.” world balloon from Nash (I overestimated how large the balloon would be in my layouts.) The thing that makes it confusing is the lack of background to give it context. My bad! So no, no gravity-defying pubs, magical or otherwise.

12. Moscow Watcher: Was it specified in the script that the last panel, where Angel says that he’s going to bring Giles back, must feature a photo of Giles in childhood?

Rebekah: Yep! Can’t say much more than that, sorry!

13. Wenxina: Let’s talk inks: Rebekah, you do your own inks. Why? Do you just not trust another person to get your vision down?

Rebekah: It’s more about speed and what I’m used to. When I got my first comics work I was working for a small publisher that was pretty hard up for money, so they commonly hired pencillers whose pencils could be scanned and darkened to look like inks. I was one of those, and I developed a process where I would do my “loose pencils” in blue erasable colored pencil, and then my “inks” in dark pencils over those. One page complete in a day. Halfway through DV8 I replaced the colored pencil with light graphite and the dark pencil with inks, to make my originals look nicer and to help with my growing hand and wrist pain. Still one page complete a day. So now I’m so used to doing very loose pencils for myself, that it’s nearly impossible for me to tighten them up enough for an inker without spending two days on one page. Plus inking is hella fun!

14. Wenxina: Have you, or will you draw yourself in as a cameo at some point?

Rebekah: I use pictures of myself for reference on poses and facial expressions a lot, so I see way too much of my stupid face already! I’m hoping to put a few people from my friends/family/colleagues in sometime, and a particular cat, of course!

15. Sosa Lola: If you had the chance to work on Buffy Season Nine, which character would you be interested to draw?

Rebekah: Spike’s bugs friends! I hope they show up again.

16. Sosa Lola: Nadira’s a new character. How did you choose her outfit and style? And did you use an actress or someone specific to draw her?

Rebekah: I think my direction was to make her stylish, but she was also supposed to be tech-savvy and serious, so she shouldn’t be too flashy or trendy. I basically just gave her clothes I would want to wear if I had reason to wear anything besides pajamas every day! I wasn’t given an actress or someone to specific to reference, but I was told she was of Indian descent so I looked around and found a photo of a young Indian girl that really spoke to me. This girl had the most intense eyes. I knew that would translate well to Nadira’s scenes in issue 1.

17. Eric: Hi Rebekah. Congrats on a gorgeous first issue and thanks for answering our questions. As for mine, I was curious about the design of the demons. With Pearl and Nash, we got some really cool ones this issue. How much freedom were you given when it came to their looks? How many variations did you go through before the final designs were settled on?

Rebekah: As with most of the demon designs, I’ve been lucky to get nearly complete freedom with their designs. I was told to make them young and half-demon, that’s about it. There wasn’t any thought or intention behind it, but with Nash I imagined a pale, evil Thin-White-Duke-era David Bowie, and with Pearl a pale, evil Karen O. They weren’t raised wealthy but they feel entitled to just about everything, and take whatever they want. Status and power are very important to them, so I figured they’d dress very nicely with an edge, like uber-rich hipsters. My first pass at the designs looked basically the same as what you see on the pages, but more toned down in the angles of the faces. They looked creepy but not inhuman enough. The second and third iterations had more angular cheekbones, more cat-like eyes, and the pointed ears were added. Third time was the charm.

18. cheryl: You alluded to the fact that you wouldn’t want to see Cordy popping in all over the place, how about Wesley? Could you invision a way to bring our beloved Wesley back?

Rebekah: I don’t know… I think the question is would he be happy being brought back (again)? As much as I miss the old boy, I quite liked how Brian Lynch put his character to rest in After the Fall. That said, the fangirl in me certainly wouldn’t object to having him back. But I can’t think of how it could be done reasonably — that’s why no one in their right mind would pay me to write!

19. cheryl: Considering we now know that Angel is going to try to bring Giles back, it stands to reason that if he is successful, he might not stop with Giles. He has lost most of his team. Is there a character that you would like to see return, full time?

Rebekah: I think he’s focused on Giles because he was the direct cause of his death, and killing Giles was the nail in the coffin of everything horrible he did as Twilight, which he’s trying so hard to make up for. So although I could be proven wrong I don’t think he’s gonna go nuts with the whole resurrection scheme. It would be great to be able to draw Cordy, Wesley, or Fred just because I love them and it would be fun, but would I like it for the sake of the story? Tough to say.

20. Nathan: I was amazed with the writing of of the first issue and the beautiful, fresh artwork. You did a brilliant job.
Question 1: What was the most fun part to draw of the issue?

Rebekah: The first scene, hands down. Giles will always be my fave. πŸ™‚

21. Nathan: Question 2: What has been your favourite script of Angel&Faith so far? Even if you can’t tell us why.

Rebekah: I love every one more than the last, as cooler and crazier cards gets laid out on the table! So issue 6 is my favorite for now, probably until I read issue 7.

22. angeliclestat: You peppered Giles’ flat with a lot of old artefacts. Were you asked to draw anything specific, or did you just draw what you think Giles would have collected?

Rebekah: In issue 1, I basically just followed Georges’ designs from NFFY. But in issue 2 we get a glimpse into another section of the flat that I got to cram full of all kinds of cool stuff. I was given general guidelines for what kinds of things to show but I got to make up the rest.

23. Moscow Watcher: Have you ever been discussing with Joss or anybody else in which London district Giles lived? If not, where do you place Giles’ apartment when you draw the exteriors — Soho? Bloomsberry? Camden Town?

Rebekah: No specific instruction yet. I think I first had to draw the exterior in issue 4, and I chose to do a very pulled-out wide shot, so even though Georges drew a close-up of the exterior in NFFY that I kept true to, I looked to good ole’ Google images for reference for the rest of the building. I don’t know which neighborhood it was in, but I found one of the streets that Madonna has a townhouse on and used that as a framework, but not an exact reference. I figured you can’t get much posher than that! (I just googled it, and it looks like the townhouse in question is in Marylebone… is that a neighborhood Giles would be at home in? I’m gonna have to check it out in person!)

24. Moscow Watcher: My second question is the continuation of my question in the previous batch. It’s about the photo we see on the last panel. Was it specified in the script that it features young Giles *and* two ladies?

Rebekah: Yep. πŸ™‚ Can’t spill the beans on why, sorry!

25. Morphia: Hi Rebekah

Great job. Your work is wonderful and I’m very sad I won’t get to see your version of my favourite character, Spike. Hopefully, down the road a bit as it would be great if he guest starred in Angel & Faith.

I love Nadira and can’t wait to learn more about her. How did you go about creating a British Asian character?

Rebekah: See previous question about Nadira.

26. Morphia: Also, if it’s not too much of a spoiler, Christos Gage mentioned in his Twitter Q&A that you would be visiting Highgate. Did he mean Highgate Cemetery, by any chance, and will this be a research trip for Angel & Faith?

Rebekah: Yep! Unfortunately I’ll have issue 6 in the can by the time I arrive in London, and I never visited the cemetery in my other trips to London, so Google Images and Maps are my friends there (how did comics artists ever survive without them?) It’s near the top of my list of places to visit on my trip all the same. It looks SO amazing!!

27. Bamph: How has Christos Gage been as a collaborator to work with?

Rebekah: Absolutely awesome. I’ve seen a lot of feedback on issue 1 noting that they can “hear” Angel, Faith, and Giles as they read the dialogue, and it’s no different for me. Getting those scripts is like sitting down to a weekly episode of a favorite show.. if only I could work fast enough to get them weekly! He’s super easy to work with and I really appreciate that he trusts me enough to design so many of the new elements on my own. Doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, either!

28. Bamph: Have you had any interactions or words from Joss Whedon himself on the book and any artistic direction?

Rebekah: Joss is such a busy guy that most of his direction comes to via Scott or Sierra. It’s more efficient for him to pass information through them or Christos first, obviously. I did get a direct message from him a while back just to tell me he dug my pages — I nearly had a heart attack! I don’t know if I could handle much more than that! It made my year. πŸ™‚

29. AndrewCrossett: Do you ever put “easter eggs” in your art the way Georges Jeanty does?

Rebekah: Not in the first few issues… but I started putting a couple in starting at issue 3. If you keep your eyes peeled you might start to notice a pattern as the series goes on. πŸ˜‰ And I don’t know if it counts as an easter egg, but Faith totally rocks a Pedroia Red Sox jersey in issue 3! Now I’m gonna have to come up with some new ones to keep you guys on your toes!

30. Wenxina: I’ll keep my eyes open for a Fantastic Donut cameo. Are you familiar with the general direction of the series, or is every script a surprise?

Rebekah: I get the arc summaries at the beginnings of each arc and the scripts as I finish the previous issue. I think I seem like a bad secret-keeper! πŸ™‚ It makes the process really exciting though. I definitely find myself feeling even more motivated to finish each issue because I just wanna find out what happens!! Aaargh, waiting is tough..

A huge thank you to Rebekah for taking time out of her busy schedule for this. New England peeps, if you can, you should definitely drop in and say hi to her during her whirlwind tour this weekend. Her schedule can be found HERE.

Also, if you’re interested in purchasing any of her art, you will find many pieces for sale HERE, including ALL the pages of A&F #1.

You may also follow her on Twitter: @rebekahisaacs

Original Interview at Slayalive

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