Our subject today is Arcana Studio publisher, writer, and concept artist Sean O’Reilly. As CEO of Canada’s largest comics company, O’Reilly has influenced the careers of many creators, and has written books including Kade, Clockwork Girl, and The Greatest American Hero. He splits his time between California and British Columbia.
His newest project is The Gwaii from the Arcana Kids imprint. You can find out more about Sean O’Reilly and the comics from Arcana Studio at www.arcanacomics.com.
Question 1: When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics for a living?
When I went to the San Diego Comic Con for the first time. I thought it was simply awesome, and I really wanted to be part of the industry.
Question 2: Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?
My parents. My dad was a Golden Gloves boxer and Canada’s middleweight champ. As a result, I think I can turn up the tenacity and intensity when the bell rings. My mom is the consummate kindergarten teacher, and I think I have that playful spirit in me as well. It’s a bizarre mix, but it’s definitely defined who I am.
Question 3: Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?
Tough question. I find inspiration and motivation from numerous sources, but mostly the biggest influences on me so far have been those who have persevered. Those who have struggled and finally achieved some of the success they were striving for. I find strength in that because if they did it, maybe I can too.
Question 4: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
Spend time with my family. Listen to music. Basically, I try to get away from business.
Email. Meeting. Email. Meeting. Layout a comic book. Meeting. Write something creatively. Email. It’s not glorious, and it’s way too much time in front of a computer.
Question 6: What writing, drawing, or other tools do you use?
My Dock: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Firefox, Safari, Fetch, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Mail, BBEdit, Address Book, Calendar, Final Draft, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, Time Machine, After Effects, MSN, AIM, Skype, Yahoo. Couple other randoms in there as well, but that’s basically the tools I use 98% of the time.
Question 7: What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
The initial excitement and motivation I feel when I start to create, and when the project has completed and I can enjoy reading a graphic novel I wrote or created.
I guess making Clockwork Girl or The Gwaii as they both were a culmination of life events, my past and my experiences creatively and professionally.
Question 9: We’ve all met very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?
Work hard and be consistent. It takes twice as long as you’d imagine.
Question 10: Time to get philosophical: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?
Enjoy what you are doing. This is such a tough, demanding world and so many people put forth goals that are difficult to achieve. At the end of the day, so much is out of our control, and all one can really do is to be passionate about what they do, trying their best. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. I try to align everything I do — it’s not possible — with VOIP; Vision, Objective, Integrity and Passion. When I can love what I’m doing and all four of those criteria are met, I know I’m going in the right direction.
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