Sometimes you come across such talented, fresh artists that you want to tell all your friends about them. Then they turn out to be great writers and really nice people, and you want to tell the world, shout from your virtual rooftop. Chris Howard is one of these artists. And here I am shouting.
Seaborn was released in July 2008. He has a beautiful online graphic novel/web comic that he updates weekly, Saltwater Witch* (you can visit with your favorite Seaborn characters in the webcomic). His short stories appear in ezines frequently, and he has won the Heinlein Centennial Short Fiction contest. He is an illustrator and had work recently published in Shimmer Magazine. And if that wasn't enough, he drew a fierce femme gamer just for this interview. Game masters of the world – don't tick this one off.
Okay enough from me.
Who are some of your favorite authors and artists?
Some of my favorite authors, most of whom have had a lasting influence on me, or whose books I just love and re-read or both: Neal Stephenson, Richard K. Morgan, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, William Gibson, Mary Renault. With a few minutes I could keep listing names, probably triple this list.
My all time favorite artists are the neo-classical guys, Waterhouse, Bouguereau, Leighton, Alma-Tadema, and a few others. My favorite contemporary and contemporary-ish artists are Frank Frazetta, Zdzisław Beksiński, Dan Dos Santos, Michael Whelan, Donato Giancola, Stephan Martiniere, John Jude Palencar, Charles Vess, John Picacio, and again the list can go on.
How do come up with names for your characters?
I certainly have a preference for names beginning with the letter K. Totally admit it. I studied Ancient Greek a long time ago, and even though I've lost most of it, I love the feel of the language so much that many of my characters have Greek names: Kassandra, Theodora, Phaidra, Andromache, Kleariste, Klodia, Pheronika. The one that gets most readers who don't like hard to pronounce names is Kallixene, which isn't pronounced like Kalli-zeen, but Kalix-eh-nee.
The very first piece? The first I can remember was an awfully unfunny illustrated joke book I collaborated on with my sister, when I was nine or ten years old. I don't want to remember any of the jokes—that bad, but one must have involved a deep-sea diving hippopotamus, because I do remember drawing a hippo in a pretty fancy custom diving rig, with air hoses leading off the top of the page. And it must have been deep because hippos shouldn't have a problem with shallow waters—they certainly don't require diving gear in their natural habitat. You'd think there has to be a good joke to go with that, wouldn't you? I'm sure we didn't come up with it.
Keep an eye out for Howard's upcoming short story for Fantasy Magazine in June - Lost Dogs and Fireplace Archelogy.
*Chris is actually in the process of re-working the panels for Saltwater Witch, but they will start to be posted in all their beautiful glory soon. You can still browse his art on the site though.