This creator spotlight is a part of a series of interviews featuring artists from Cloudscape’s latest comic anthology, Fantastic Frights. Click here to check out the Kickstarter campaign for the book.
Amy Chase is a comics and prose writer from Southern California who specializes in supernatural, fantasy, and horror stories. This is her third collaboration with Haley Boros and seventh published comic overall. She still owns the first stuffed animals she was given as a child- Lambie Pie and Baby Doll.
Haley Boros is a cartoonist, illustrator, and prepress specialist that lives outside Vancouver with her husband Jessy and their two dogs, Rusty and Ginger. She creates work that’s cute and feisty, with hints of fantasy and fun. Her illustrations & comics have been published in several anthologies and she thinks that’s just the best!
What were you scared of as a kid?
Amy: I was a total nervous nellie as a child, but my biggest fear was actually the dark, which inspired some of this story. I was afraid of our hallway and would run to safety as soon as I turned off the lights, worried that ghost hands might get me if I didn’t move fast enough.
Haley: Just like Amy, I was also a little scared of the dark. Specifically, we had this very wild key holder by the front door, in the shape of an owl, made of copper and reflective jewels. The 80’s, am I right? Anyway, it’s eyes reflected any light in the room and in the dark, that was normally the street lights. It was quite spooky when I was 4 years old!
What’s your favourite aspect of the horror genre as it applies to comics?
Amy: As a writer, I’m always wildly impressed and impacted by visual arts. I love how artists can play with the static space in a way that still induces fear, as opposed to film with a score or moving practical effects. I also appreciate good spooky page turns and places where your mind fills in the gaps between panels or in the shadows.
Haley: I’m usually not a huge horror person, but when it comes to horror in comics, give me all of the weird stories with lots of horror elements. What really pulls me in is how a creator can work with the panels they’re given, but keep the story beats moving with white space or a perfectly placed dialogue box.
What was the most interesting/challenging thing you experienced when working with the book’s two-tone colour scheme?
Amy: I’ll let Haley take this one, but at least for me, I had to think in scenes that were shadowy and still allowed for Haley to distinguish important story elements on the page. I think she knocked it out of the park!
Haley: That’s a great question. The biggest challenge I ran into was keeping track of my work in different layers. You’ll see in the story that there is white space between both pink and navy pantones. My approach was to separate important elements to the story, keeping the characters consistently the same colour scheme throughout and highlight areas of interest. Keeping the main character the pink pantone helped them to stand out against the navy blue pantones in the background elements, I think! Once all of the pages were done, I took each layer that had the same colour, flattened them, and then bam, only two layers in the whole file. Seeing each press ready file this way is so soothing.
What was the inspiration behind your story for this anthology?
Amy: I really wanted to incorporate stuffed animals into a story about what goes on in the dark after you close your eyes- partially inspired by my childhood fears! I still have some of my oldest plushies from childhood, and so I knew we had to play into that imagination element. Haley had some awesome ideas not only for the type of critter who would be our Good Knight, but also for what type of creepy-crawlies might manifest in the shadows of a childhood bedroom. Her fantasy artwork is also always so imaginative and usually involves animals, so giving our hero a sword was a must. (Also there’s a real “Baby Doll”, but mine is much cuter and less angry than the story would make her seem.)
Haley: My main contribution to our story was suggesting a Canadian goose as our plushie protagonist, as Amy has said above! I recall when I was younger having my very own Canadian goose plush, sitting in amongst the bears, frogs, and foxes by my bed. I think it’s imagination that really inspired our story – what happens while you sleep is really something thought up in dreams!
How did the two of you come to collaborate on this story?
Amy: Haley and I have done two other comics before this, and I knew I wanted to work with her again since we’ve both had some great additional experience since our earlier work. Cloudscape was freshly on my radar because I had seen Haley’s pages for the Mina’s anthology, and I approached to see if she’d like to join forces again!
Haley: Getting to work with Amy on another comics project has been a dream. She’s a clear communicator and an excellent writer; I’ve enjoyed the process of working on another project with her immensely. Having her be the writer for my second story with Cloudscape is also just the best, I really couldn’t have asked for a more caring collaborator.
Where can people find out more about your work?
Amy: Right now, the best place to find more info about my comics and prose writing is by checking out my Twitter, @ifshebeworthy. I have more exciting comics projects on the way that I can’t wait to share soon.
Haley: I’m online in a few places! Check out all of my comics, illustrations, and my online store at haleyboros.com – where you can request more info about commissions and pet portraits too. I’m at @hihaleyboros on Patreon, Twitter, and Instagram as well.
The Kickstarter for Fantastic Frights is live Oct 19th – Nov 5th.