At some point my site decided that this page was sucky and inaccurate (which it was) and deleted it. That’s fine with me, WordPress! See if I care! I will write a new one, so THERE. This covers a lot of questions that I get asked frequently, so hopefully this will help you out!
Who the hell are you?
I am Tessa Stone, a barista back in my days at Starbucks and now just attempting to be a full time comic artist. Sometimes I think I do an okay job, and other days not so much, but that’s the way it works, I guess!
Well, alright. Did you go to college for this stuff?
I did go to the Art Institute of Dallas, but I was in the Graphic Design department, and I was only there for less than two years. I did not graduate. Hahah, but by all means! This is not an encouragement to never finish college, but rather find options that suit you. I had a few great teachers from there, but overall the experience was pretty not my cup of tea, as one would say.
Graphic Design? Does that actually help you any in comics?
Actually, I think it does. I am no great graphic designer by any means. I am an amateur at BEST, but some of the classes helped me develop a liking towards type and things of the sort that make me want to try new things (and sometimes fail at them) and look to other graphic designers for inspiration. One can only hope I can keep getting better!
So you aside, what is this all about? Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name? What the heck is it!
Surprisingly, Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name was originally an exercise created to get me in the habit of ‘doing’ comics instead of just thinking about them and throwing away the first chapter over and over again. I tended to be very critical and throw everything away, and yes, I do have a history of starting over projects and abandoning old ones. Hahaha, oh interwebs, I haven’t forgotten!
In any case, that’s why the story and art changes so frequently. Even though it is something that I love doing and it is my main job I did not want to change the fact that it was my creative playground, so to speak. And keep in mind I am not only experimenting in art and formatting and coloring and visuals, but with characters and storytelling and things that I’m generally not very good at. So forgive me if the ride seems a bit bumpy at times, and things change drastically in ways (like how a character is drawn) or if you like one era of my art better than the next. It is an ever changing ocean of …. Hanna!
How would you describe it? What is it even about?
It is sort of a mishmosh of everything I like, but underneath all the zombies and vampires, and layers and layers of cheese, it’s basically about a guy who is terrible at his job but tries very very hard. It’s about a guy who tries to figure out (or force his way into) where he belongs. It’s about a guy trying to find himself because at some point he lost sight of where he was, and I think we all do that sometimes.
But on a very surface level it’s about an overactive ginger idiot trying to be a paranormal detective and sort of sucking but having an undead partner that is (surprisingly) better at it than he is. He also meets other types of paranormals and maybe one day stops being QUITE so terrible at his job. But no promises.
What do you classify it as? Is it comedy?
I am always nervous when asked this, or just what kind of genre I think it belongs into. I honestly don’t know. To say it’s ACTION would suggest I draw a lot of fight scenes, and I don’t. To say it’s COMEDY would suggest it’s funny all the time, and I definitely don’t see that as true (mostly because my jokes can be pretty bad), and to say it’s HORROR would insinuate that it’s actually scary. So I like to call it candycoated horror which basically insinuates that it vomits bright colors on dark subjects and tries to do both, but maybe neither, very well. Heh.
How often do you update this? Your schedule is very erratic. Some months you go without updating at all and other times you update almost every other day. What gives?
I’m so sorry that I have the world’s most erratic schedule. I assure you that I do try to keep it on the forefront of my life as much as possible, but sometimes that’s very very hard. Moving forward though, I am trying to make it pretty frequent (and possibly regular, I dare say), because I want to get on with the story as much as anybody who’s reading it. HANG IN THERE GUYS, just bear with me!!
Do you frequent conventions?
Starting since 2010, YES. I do! I usually try to do about five a year, and I will post a schedule up as soon as I can. If you can’t find a schedule at the moment, it’s mostly because I haven’t set things up yet. But I do love it when people come visit me at my table, so please feel free to find me at one if I happen to be at one near you!
Do you mind if I use your art for non-profit things like icons, bannerheads, etc, etc?
Of course not! I’m just flattered you want to at all. Just credit where credit is due and all that jibber jabber that almost doesn’t need to be clarified these days. You know I love you!
I e-mailed/noted/pinged/poked you and you never e-mailed/didoneofthoseotherthings back!
I’m so sorry. I really try to keep up with such things, but I admit that it’s very very hard and on top of that all I am also very very bad at keeping up with stuff like that. I’m a very disorganized person (even when I try specifically NOT to be) so I promise you it’s NOT PERSONAL. I love you all very much, even if you’re just telling me I suck cos I haven’t e-mailed you back yet. That has merit. Haha!
How can I get in contact with you?
I have a DeviantArt where I try to keep up with people but am sort of terrible with that too. Right now I’ve closed most options because I’m still trying to catch up old things, and in general, trying to get my life in order. But I appreciate the thought and the gesture very, very much! Once I got my e-mail running again I’ll post it publically again. Until then, I love you like burning. Yes, you.
There sure is a lot of slash fanart/fanfiction/stuff for your comic. Does this bother you? (and yes I get asked this at least once a convention and possibly six times a month)
I want fans to enjoy the comic however they want to enjoy it. If that means being interested in their romantic pairings, guy on guy or girl on girl or guy on girl or whatever, then I’m glad they’re having fun too! There is a a pretty distinct lack of romance in the actual comic strip, so if they want to fill in between the lines, that’s fine with me! The reason I do the comic is to have fun, and to try to share that enjoyment with anybody who is interested in partaking. I am by no means going to police anyone (especially the internet, jeez!) on how they can and cannot have fun with my comic. That’s just silly. It’s out there for you, and I love you all the same, no matter how you decide to enjoy it! Alternately, if you enjoy a less romantically involved fandom, the one thing I did notice about Hanna is that it has a lot of communities! There is tons of options and hopefully you’ll find one that you enjoy!
How does it feel to have people cosplaying your characters?
FREAKING AWESOME. I mean come on??? How can it not be? It is a bit surreal, I admit. Sometimes I’m like whoa, that person is dressed a lot like how I would dress a character–OH WAIT. That’s Conrad, that’s right. Nobody else would put him in a black and white onesie looking thing (IT WASN’T A ONESIE FOR THE RECORD) and think he would look good in it, hah!
Why do you have an obsession for guys with glasses, sideburns, and high foreheads?
Because they’re cute? I don’t know. It all seemed like a good idea at the time!!
Where do you get your inspiration?
I always feel like my answer for this is really really dorky. Probably because for the most part it’s somewhat generic. People. Life! Music. I loooove music. I have terrible taste in it sometimes though, so do your best to not judge me. :(
Particularly, I am heavily inspired by Ludo. If this doesn’t make sense that’s okay, but their enthusiasm, loyalty to their work, and heart they put into absolutely everything is hard not to admire. Their sense of doing what they love because they love it regardless of what others think is fantastic, and maybe one day I can be as good of a story teller and entertainer as them too! But in a much more silent …erm, medium. Ha!
Where do you get your textures and your fonts?
www.bittbox.com has Free Texture Thursdays and www.blambot.com has the font I use which is Webletterer. Most of the other stuff (especially recently) is usually handdrawn.
Is it traditional or digital?
Definitely digital. I do pencil the pages by hand, scan them in and then draw over them with the pencil tool in Photoshop. I use Photoshop CS (wooo) and I use the fillbucket to color. No, I’m not kidding.
You’re a DISGRACE. Fillbucket tool? Pencil tool? GRADIENT TOOL? You’re a hack!
How long does it take you to do a single strip?
Good question! It varies. By the end of Ch2 it was taking me up to 12 hours to produce a single strip (ugh). By the middle of Ch3 (where Ples is finally introduced) it takes me about 5 hours. Yes, because of the coloring detail I have managed to knock off about SEVEN HOURS. But honestly, the hardest part lately is inking, ugh.
How do you go about creating your characters?
I backwards engineer them, actually. Kind of how when you’re out walking or drinking coffee and you see someone interesting and you wonder what their life is like and what their name is and then slowly and slowly you just find out? (if you meet them, I mean, not stalking STALKING IS BAD).
It’s kind of like that. Minus the interaction. I usually don’t see myself in regards to my characters at all, but rather as an extension of me (if that makes sense?). I figure out what they look like and then figure out their name, and then slowly try to figure out why they hold themselves the way they do, why they slouch, why their hair is disheveled or why they look prim and perfect every day. It’s like that! It’s fun. I love characters. Honestly, it’s the only reason why I do any of this! This is obviously a super abridged versions.
Your names are crazy. Where do you get them?
www.behindthename.com and www.surnamedb.com
Rock on! They have great lists.
You do realize sometimes your mythos is wrong? Also, your spelling can be quite horrendous.
Yes, and yes. I do try my best but I’m awful at spelling, SO SORRY. I have been trying to get better about proofreading more thoroughly. And yes, sometimes my mythos is wrong, and sometimes it’s on accident and sometimes it’s on purpose (because I’m an ass and decide to change it). I do try to do a decent amount of research but I by no means am an expert. I am always sure someone will know more about a specific paranormal oddity than I do.
I generally try to see mythos as a well of suggestions, not a well of facts. I like to do my own take sometimes, and sometimes I really like what they have. Yes, I use it to my convenience.
Any tips for anybody who wants to start a webcomic?
Wow, you know. I don’t think I’m in a position to be giving much anyone tips cos I’m figuring this out as I go along. But the best advice I have is do what you like and just have fun. If you’re having fun, someone eventually will come along and realize it and have fun with you! And that’s true of anything, I feel. Not just comics.