Executioner's Academy is my ultimate hobby project, where i wanted to work on something i could always be excited for.
I've always loved making comics, since it's a way to combine story and art - two subjects i love!
The story is about the son of an executioner who abhors the idea of himself having to become one,
a setting where i could include some of my favourite themes - some macabre fun mixed with the grotesque beauty you find in gothic cathedrals and memento mori monuments.
The comic currently has 281.4k views and 5.2K subscribers, along with a fan translation to Russian.
You can read it here: https://tapas.io/series/Ex-Ac !
- I haven't been able to update it since April 2019, since i got a job i'm dedicating my time to,
There's no time for the quality i want the comic to be in. I used to update it 1-2 times a week.
I looked a lot into medieval manuscripts and illuminations, and their colourful patterns and illustrative framing inspired me a lot.
I researched a lot during the making of the comic, and read several books and manuscripts written in and about the 1300's, (mostly for my own enjoyment). But i also feel that the knowledge helps me a lot to decide how i build my world, and what themes are in it, even though i sometimes twist that knowledge and make it extra cartoony and exaggerated.
I also wanted to explore some themes of what is good and what is evil, and that question becomes even more dramatic when you put the medieval church into the picture. I wanted to have a good sense of how medieval people might view some of those values.
Illumination from Suetonius, Life of Caesar, 1433, Princeton University Library MS Kane 44.
A nice illumination that have clear different shapes with patterns in them, i especially love the vegetation.
✒ The Process ✒
I draw the lineart traditionally, mostly with my trusty Maru Nib-Pen, and whatever fine brush marker i have on hand.
The colours are done in photoshop.
There's definitely some challenge with drawing very detailed and patterned drawings like this, since it quickly becomes chaotic. I feel like i've become better at tackling that with the power of colours throughout my process of making the comic.
Having much simpler colour blocks makes it easier for the eyes to move around to the different parts and not become overwhelmed, while still keeping the wow-factor of the amount of details. Colouring the lineart also makes everything flow better together, I like to give the lineart a tint of the colour underneath it, but keeping it completely black for the parts of the characters/objects that would normally receive ambient occlusion.
🖼 The imagery 🖼
The awe inspiring feeling you get when walking into a grand gothic cathedral is one of the best things I know.
The ceilings and arches towers above you, and the intricate and grotesque stonework both instils fear and wonder.
It's hard to believe that this immense structure is build by human hands, with it's perfect symmetry and grandness.
But when you move closer, you will notice that each stone-worked flower is unique, and every gargoyle is making a different grimace.
Not many buildings holds such a vast amount of stories, and it's no wonder you can't keep from getting inspired if you take a look at them!
That feeling as described above is a very big inspiration, and i try to use the symmetry, the imagery and the mood i've gotten from visiting such places, and capture that in the pages of the comic.
Of course, i'm not building a wonderful monument, i'm making a silly comic, but i quite like having something immensely beautiful and unachievable as a guide, i believe it's gonna make the work better than if you had a more reachable goal.
And your biggest inspiration should be something you could look at forever, and it would still inspire wonder in you.
The colourful lights that flow through the vivid stained glass in a cathedral is a particular favourite motif of mine!
Above is a picture of said beautiful motif taken in Ulm Cathedral.
Inspirations from illuminated manuscripts and their unique way of using patterns, colours and objects to frame the content of the image, giving it a certain mood! Above is an illustration from the Codex Manesse, a beautifully preserved collection of poetry written about 1304.