DAKEN

Words of Wisdom

What inspired you to create your comic/graphic novel? 
Narcotink (Nar-cot-ink) was inspired by Tetsuo: The Iron Man by Shinya Tsukamoto. There is a character who hasn’t been introduced yet, but he is part man part machine and the thought of how long could he live with no replacement parts filled out into this world of greater consequence to his creation.

What is your writing/drawing process like? 
When I’m ready to write or finalize character or world designs, I spend a lot of time in my head first. I meditate and put everything together to see if it contradicts anything and I settle things in my mind before I even touch my computer. I spent nearly a year dreaming of Narcotink before I put a team together to actualize this story and when anyone had a question about the world, I was ready!

How many hours a day do you write/draw? 
When I’m ready to write I do multiple drafts of the script, one for the editor to make sure the concepts are still sharp. One for the artist which is more descriptive, and we go over possible Easter eggs and things like that. The final version is for the letterer who will add words and effects. I spend at least two hours a day working on each script in each stage so it doesn’t cut into my family time. 


What does success look like to you? 
I’ve told all my family and friends; I will know this comic is a success once I get some cosplayers doing my characters! 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? 
Getting it on paper the first time. Editing is easy but translating what I have in my head to the paper is certainly the most difficult part. Some things sound better in your head than when you say it out loud and a moment in my head may not actually come out the same way, so some scenes have to be changed.

Does doing this work energize or exhaust you? 
Writing is freeing. It’s what I do on my off days to give me my perk of energy. It can be rough catching a mistake  in the script when the artist hands me the page and I look at it like, wait that’s not how that’s supposed to go, and I have to go back and check thing’s over, but it’s certainly what I want to be doing with my life.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? 
I started writing when I was a young teen, but I didn’t have ambition to be a writer. If asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said a writer or a film director, but I didn’t really know how to do it. If I could go back I would tell myself to never give up on those stories. Keep writing and don’t be afraid to put your work out there. No one will know what you’ve done if you keep it to yourself.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a comic/graphic novel? 
Before starting this particular story I spent a year looking at syfy movies and other related topics to make sure it wasn’t too similar. Then I looked into some horror movies like what I have planned for this one just to really get an idea on the types of things I liked to see and what I’d like for my audience. The best description of this would be BladeRunner meets Hellraiser and that’s the feeling I want people to get.

What advice do you have for other Black comic creators?
I didn’t publish my stories because I didn’t know any other writers personally and certainly didn’t know of any black fantasy writers so it was easy to get over a dream as a child thinking there’s no place for me there, but that’s the problem I think. There’s not many out there and there never will be if we’re afraid of piercing those communities. Don’t be afraid to put your art there no matter your lot in life. Someone will see it and know that they can do it too.

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Instagram: @madd.beloved

Website: https://www.maddbeloved.com/

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