Interview with HamletMachine
Welcome to ASKtheARTIST. My name is thefluffyshrimp and today I have the great privilege to interview HamletMachine, a very talented artist and creator of many well-known works on deviantART, including the ever popular Starfighter series.
Thank you for presenting us with this opportunity to interview you, HamletMachine.
Hey all you folks there in AtAChat! Go ahead and start posting questions now.
<HamletMachine> Thank you for having me!
<HamletMachine> This is pretty rad. I haven't used the DA chats too often but I am getting awesome AOL memories
<HamletMachine> Does anyone RP in these?
<HamletMachine> ::Sips bloodwyne from chalice::
<thefluffyshrimp> ~romanshoubu asks "Tell us about your process and how you come up with stories?"
<HamletMachine> Roman! Hello there!
<HamletMachine> Ah, well for Starfighter- I was a huge fan of the yaoi genre and I loved sci-fi, but with a few exceptions (such as Ai no Kusabi), I hadn't really seen the two merged
<HamletMachine> I came up with designs for the characters and tried to think of how I wanted their personalities
<HamletMachine> And from there, I sorta refined their designs and their environment.. and built the story around them.
<HamletMachine> That is pretty much how I create characters and ideas, starting with inspiration and working from the characters outward
<thefluffyshrimp> =Kuneria asks "What was the turning point in your popularity on deviantart?"
<HamletMachine> Hello, Kuneria! Man, all these sweeties in here!
<HamletMachine> Aha, ah, I think it was definitely Starfighter! I was sorta.. lurking in darkness on DA for about four years and then, WEBCOMICS HAPPENED
<HamletMachine> I started Starfighter at the end of '09
<HamletMachine> Um. I think.
<HamletMachine> Man, the bloodwyne really makes you forgetful! ::Sets down chalice::
<thefluffyshrimp> ~morbiiddoll asks "What do you make your money with? Do you get much money out of the comic sells?"
<HamletMachine> Ah! MY VAST RICHES?! Ah, well the comic books are the biggest seller on the shop and at cons! And pretty much all the profit I receive from that goes right back into the comic for printing, making merch, paying for the site hosting, traveling to cons, etc
<HamletMachine> But also, I live in a tiny apartment that is probably the size of most people's bedrooms, so I don't want to give the idea that I'm super well off!
<thefluffyshrimp> ~InsanePleasure asks "What gave you the idea to call them after brothers from the bible?"
<HamletMachine> Oh, good question!
<HamletMachine> Starfighter's my first comic, so I figured I should start off simple.. For Cain and Abel, I wanted them to have names that would set a foundation of unease and danger in their relationship
<HamletMachine> Also add some foreshadowing, perhaps??
<HamletMachine> Cain and Abel seemed like a good choice
<HamletMachine> ::Spies a fair maiden across the tavern::
<thefluffyshrimp>~LegendaryMyth asks "Out of all of the stories you write and post here, which of them is the favorite and why?"
<HamletMachine>Oh, heh, I would have to go with the Machine story- it's my oldest and most dear to me. It's my favorite because it can be a very versatile outlet for expression: heroism, anger, struggle.. it's a lot of fun to draw
<HamletMachine>But doesn't have the sexual- that's sort of where my other drawings, as well as Starfighter, come in
<HamletMachine>Machine story does have some romance, maybe I should add.. but a bit more loving and pure than ah, other ideas and drawings.
<thefluffyshrimp>~fairybowl999 asks "When you started drawing, did you have any specific achievements? If so, are they still the same now?"
<HamletMachine>Hmm, I don't think anyone has ever asked that before! I think.. when I start a drawing, I usually have a vision in my head of what I want to create. The process of creating that is the excitement and struggle and part of what I love to do- but my goal per drawing is really to come as close as possible to making what I envision.
<HamletMachine>And making it the best I can
<HamletMachine>I actually have.. multiple drawings of the same subject because I try to improve upon ideas I feel that I hadn't really achieved
<HamletMachine>Haha, that sounds really formal-- I really just try my best to covey whatever it is I am feeling
<thefluffyshrimp>~demonkitsune31 asks "How did you come up with the name "Hamlet_Machine"?"
<HamletMachine>Oh~ there is actually a German play called, Die HamletMaschine by Heiner Muller
<HamletMachine>But I am a HUGE Shakespeare fan and love robots, so I decided to adopt it!
<thefluffyshrimp>~ImAnOddity asks "How did friends and family react when they found out you had been drawing, well…yaoi."
<HamletMachine>They are mostly okay with it, I didn't get any sort of TALKING TO but I assume that's because I had previously established myself as a LOST CAUSE
<HamletMachine>A few of my friends follow the comic, which is pretty rad
<HamletMachine>And on THAT note, I think it's a good time to advise you to not be afraid to create adult or erotic drawings, if that is what you feel compelled toward!
<thefluffyshrimp>~NekoMajo asks "When did you first start drawing?
<HamletMachine>Oh man, I have been drawing since I was a child.
<HamletMachine>Once, when I was tiny, I drew a horrible big blob of color on the living room wall using every crayon in the box. An experimental masterpiece, I know, but my mom didn't see the genius at the time.
<thefluffyshrimp>~BazookoidBen asks "Hamlet, you love your Star Trek references, more specifically TNG. Has trek served as an influence to your work in art or writing, and what is your favorite episode from all of Trek?"
<HamletMachine>Oooh hell yes
<HamletMachine>I LOVE ST:TNG
<HamletMachine>And yes, Star Trek and Star Wars have a huge visual influence on Starfighter, but in general, I am a huge fan of ST:TNG's concepts and philosophy. Picard's moral smackdowns are so amazing.
<HamletMachine>My favorite episode might be either Cause and Effect or I, Borg.
<HamletMachine>With the exception of All Good Things, which is the greatest episode ever made.
<thefluffyshrimp>~morbiiddoll asks "Did you study art? And where?" and ~imprudentbird asks "Are you in college?"
<HamletMachine>Sorry, I got carried away on that last question--! ::Adjusts glasses::
<HamletMachine>I graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and I majored in animation.
<HamletMachine>That's my only formal art training
<thefluffyshrimp> ~cgtdeba and ~asocialconstruct asks "How Many chapters, or volumes if you plan them, is Starfighter planned to be?'"
<HamletMachine>Sometimes when I do like, a really crude drawing, WHICH IS OFTEN, I think about how I somehow managed to graduate art college and-- OH! Hello, asocialconstruct!
<HamletMachine>Fellow Starfighter fans, my homegirl here, asocialconstruct, writes some awesome SF fics, if you're interested!
<HamletMachine>And I plan on SF being about four Chapters.. but I also only planned for Starfighter to be a quick 10-page PWP, so.. it might be a bit longer!
<HamletMachine>I really hope I can wrap it up by then. And maybe do some fun EU comics after!
<HamletMachine>Maybe.. on a lady ship?!
<thefluffyshrimp>=Kuneria asks "What are some tips you have for artists thinking about starting a webcomic?"
<HamletMachine>My advice is: GO FOR IT, YOU CAN DO IT! You learn as you go along and it's the best practice! Don't worry about being perfect, just get out there!
<HamletMachine>In the words of John Connor, You have to be strong, stronger than you think you can be.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~BalletBeauty asks "Why exactly do all the fighters have dark hair and the navigators have blonde? I've always been curious about that…"
<HamletMachine> Heh, many of the Fighters are from Earth, which has prospered and has more access and developments to genetic alteration. Most of the fighters are from the colonies, from various ethnic groups, and are no where near as altered.
<HamletMachine> Erm I guess that should be AND* generic alteration
<HamletMachine> Uh, you guys understand it, right!
<thefluffyshrimp>Are the fighters from the colonies or the navigators? (Sorry, I saw "fighter" twice. XD)
<HamletMachine>The fighters are from the colonies and the navigators are from Earth, for the most part!
<thefluffyshrimp>~CondescendingArthole asks "Hey, Hamlet! My name is Ember and I've been a fan of your work for such a long time. You've inspired me with your style and your mechanics that I really wanna say thank you for that firstly. My question is from your personal journey as an artist, how did you pick yourself up on the bad days, or from the starting out days. What gave you more of a drive to keep going in your work? And whats a process (your process) on how you did your work and do that work today! Thanks so much for you time, you're a very lovely person and I'm happy I got this chance."
<HamletMachine>Aww, CA! Wow, thank you for such a lovely question! And thank you for sticking with me!
<HamletMachine>Oh gosh, hmm..
<HamletMachine>Sometimes, and I know this is morbid, but I find when I'm really down, if I can focus enough, I can make artwork to express myself and in that sense, it's almost.. therapeutic?
<HamletMachine>The Dom + Machine Fight was actually drawn during a really.. difficult personal time
<HamletMachine>I'm very driven by the instinct to create, even if it's not what I wished, or what I hoped, I know that this is a constant path of improvement and if I apply myself, I can get out of the ruts I experience
<HamletMachine>And I guess I am sorta desperate for that.
<HamletMachine>Oh man, sorry this got a little depressing, AC!
<HamletMachine>Ah, for the last part of your question:
<HamletMachine>I start somewhat the same, but I feel like my exposure to different artists and technique helps me try new approaches to what I want to draw and to feel more free about experimenting!
<thefluffyshrimp>~Julipy asks What's more significant to you? A fanart of your webcomic, a fanfic or someone with a costume of one of your characters?"
<HamletMachine>They are both significant! I really enjoy fanart AND fanfics. and cosplay!
<HamletMachine>Basically, it is all really amazing and humbling to me that people take such interest in my characters
<thefluffyshrimp>~Rellosaur asks "Did you ever find it hard to stick to one story if you had many ideas? If so how did you figure out which one you wanted to turn into a comic/write. PS. Starfighter is amazing can't wait to see more pages : P"
<HamletMachine>Haha, aww, thank you! It is a bit hard to juggle the like, intense need to draw something else when I have to finish a Starfighter page in time for the weekend--! But I do really enjoy Starfighter and try to pick at smaller projects when I have free time
<HamletMachine>I find that I get bursts of ideas which I can sometimes satisfy with a few concept drawings.. but for something like the Machine, I decided to attempt drawing it alongside Starfighetr because the urge is just too great!
<HamletMachine>Erm, a good example of this is like.. the Homestuck drawings I do on the side!
<thefluffyshrimp>~Duventaurus asks "Hello, Hamlet. We love you!! Could you tell about Witch and Knight and Miss Petrova stories? Are you going to continue them?" and ~Julipy asks "Do you plan to share with us more about MISS PETROVA and the SOLDIER?"
<HamletMachine>Oh! The Witch and the Knight are very much a concept that I didn't really intend on putting into comic format but have fun drawing! (Possibly my only heterosexual couple?) And, but their story is basically that the Knight is not as godly as his order suggests and he has a HUGE witch kink! The Witch is feisty and part of a coven that resides in a haunted woods.. Something along those lines!
<HamletMachine>The Knight is based on a short guro comic I did called The Devil's Garden.
<HamletMachine>For the Soldier and Miss Petrova, I'm sure you'll see more of them! But I can't flush out too much of their story- to romance aspect of it is actually a small portion of the overall tale.
<HamletMachine>But.. it's almost the most fun to draw, so I have been selfishly focused on that!
<thefluffyshrimp>*AcheronHades asks "How hard is it to be an illustrator and pay the bills? Do you have a part time job too? (asking as an illustration student)."
<HamletMachine>Ah, I actually don't do very much illustration work!
<HamletMachine>I mostly do design and animation- up until last spring, I was working on an animated show but now I just do freelance.
<thefluffyshrimp>(Are we allowed to know which show or is it top secret?)
<HamletMachine>(Heh, I might keep that one under wraps!)
<thefluffyshrimp>~LegendaryMyth asks "How many years did it take you to develop the style in which you draw and paint, Hamlet? I think that it's such an interesting style and love your works."
<HamletMachine>Oh wow, thank you, Myth!
<HamletMachine>Heh, you know, it's sorta weird how I got to were I am now- I guess it's the sequence of influences that sorta sculpted the style I know draw in! But I'd say the way I draw features and the subject matter really congealed when I was in college.
<HamletMachine>I sometimes wonder, if I HADN'T watched all that DBZ as an impressionable teenager, would I not draw eyebrows as thick?!
<thefluffyshrimp>~onorobo asks "Hey HamletMachine! I noticed your animations are phenomenal. Do you ever plan on perhaps branching out into the flash world for your story? Or interactive/gif type comics, like on MSP?"
<HamletMachine>ONO! My sweetehart!
<HamletMachine>Gah, sweetheart*! I was just so excited to see you--!
<HamletMachine>Whoa, that.. would be kind of incredible!
<HamletMachine>I would love to try something interactive in the world of Starfighter!
<HamletMachine>I think it would be a really great addition to Machine as well!
<HamletMachine>Would everyone like some more gifs?
<thefluffyshrimp>*AtAChat Explodes with YES's*
<HamletMachine>::I FEEL IT::
<HamletMachine>I feel your enthusiasm all over my body~
<thefluffyshrimp>*ElephantWendigo asks "Hamlet, do you consider yourself a comic artist, a manga artist or 'just' a digital artist? (lame question)"
<HamletMachine>Hey, EW! Nice to see you!
<HamletMachine>Haha, I think of myself like a wretched goblin trying to seduce the world, but I think "comic artist" feels comfortable for me!
<thefluffyshrimp>*OJanSan asks "Is there anything particularly frustrating about tackling a large project like Starfighter?"
<HamletMachine>Oh yes! It's my first big project so.. there is a lot to learn! I have definitely made a lot of mistakes and sometimes get stuck in a scene.. that is sometimes a little frightening and worrisome, but the more you encounter bumps, the more experience you have to avoid them in the future!
<HamletMachine>Also.. drawing some plot when you are dying to get to a sex scene!
<thefluffyshrimp>Alright everyone! The official interview with *HamletMachine is now complete! I want to thank you all for joining us today and for supporting the ASKtheARTIST project.
<HamletMachine>Ok, we ran a little over the time for the interview and will be closing up now-- HOWEVER! I would just like to say, now that I have you all trapped here with me, that I am so glad we got to interact a little.
<thefluffyshrimp>If you can wait for just a minute, HamletMachine is kind enough to be joining you all in AtAChat in just a bit for a little bit of free chatting with you, one-on-one.
<thefluffyshrimp>I'm sorry if your question did not get asked. I tried to post as many as possible, but HOO BOY there are a lot of you today. Hahaha. Thank you for all your support!
<thefluffyshrimp>Thank you again, HamletMachine for the privilege to interview you today, and for your patience and dedication in answering a record number of fan questions for our ASKtheARTIST event!
<HamletMachine>Thank you so, so much for reading, for looking at the work, and for sticking with me. I truly appreciate it! You are so loved and I hope to do you proud.
<thefluffyshrimp>To be notified of when the recorded interview is posted, AND to be informed of all upcoming interviews, please watch us at #ASKtheARTIST, or follow us through Tumblr/Twitter (username: askartists) and our Facebook page --> [link]
<HamletMachine>HUGE thanks to Fluffy and the ATAteam!
<HamletMachine>YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING, THANK YOU!
<thefluffyshrimp>Thank YOU, HamletMachine! This was a wonderful interview!