Get to know one of Dank Zine’s featured artist GOEMONSAMA! Hailing from Upstate New York, Goemonsama is a comic illustrator who works in Pen and Ink, who draws inspiration from classic old games, horror, and golden age comics. Most of the note, he’s worked on a series of pieces for a side tournament ran by LordBBH and DevilRei at AnimEvo 2019. You might have even noticed his Dank Art popping up in your favourite retro stream. It’s not every day that drawing Dank fan art for obscure games actually leads to something really cool. Here’s five questions with dank artist Goemonsama.
AnnK: Tell us about your creative process. As a dank artist, what do you do to get motivated to make your art?
Goemonsama: I’m a creature of habit when the sun goes down, I start drawing into the wee hours of the morning. It’s cliche, but that’s how it is. I don’t exactly have a routine or a habit I do to get in the mood or anything like that. I sit at my desk and start drawing. Admittedly, I can get pretty frustrated, especially when starting from a blank page. I’ll angrily erase everything I draw, get up and pace around, put on some music, walk back to the desk and try again. Maybe that is my routine! The great Carl Barks once said, “I would do more erasing than I did drawing.” Truer words have never been spoken! Eventually, I settle into a groove, and things start happening. Although, doing art for twitch streamers lately has been a pretty good exercise for getting the creative juices flowing.
AnnK: What medium are you most comfortable working in, and what do you choose to work with it?
Goemonsama: Pen and Ink, primarily dip pens– the time-honored tools of the 20th century’s greatest cartoonists! When I started getting into making comics, researching the materials was a big part of it. I tried everything from sable hair brushes to Rapidograph pens. What stuck with me was the dip pen, specifically the Hunt 102 (the Crow Quill!) and the Japanese G nib. I found them to be easier to control than brushes, and far less finicky than the Rapidographs. Plus, since you dip them in a separate ink bottle, you get much more use out of them than the average Pigma pen.
The Crow Quill is great for hatching and details, and the G-pen is perfect for getting big, varied strokes. I know others have found dip pens to be frustrating to work with, but for me, there’s something really special about slowly hatching things out bit by bit. Seeing it all come together, in the end, is really satisfying and even exciting at times.
AnnK: What are the sort of things that inspires you?
Goemonsama: I think seeing great art, in general, inspires me. But to be more specific: Seeing a classic cartoon with wonderfully exaggerated animation and stylized design, watching an old black and white film with excellent cinematography, playing an 8 or 16bit game with sick pixel art, reading a comic book with eye-popping inkwork. Whenever I see stuff like that, It makes me want to draw. I tend to wear my influences on my sleeve, and they give a goal to try to meet.
I love the beautiful and the grotesque. I will read both Junji Ito and ‘70s shoujo manga. Both Pre-Code horror comics and bande dessinées. I’ll watch both zany Kaiju movies or oscar worthy classics. Not to sound pretentious, but I do think there is a sort of dichotomy of what is considered “good art” and “bad taste” or “camp” that I find kind of fascinating. I think a lot of my work stems from trying to hit that sweet spot between the two.
AnnK: What are some projects you are working on right now?
Goemonsama: I’m working on a comic called Maelstrom! It’s kinda surreal and experimental, and a bit difficult to explain without giving everything away. There’s an old man with a troubled past, a creepy little girl with mysterious powers, and the unknown horrors of the raging seas! The whole story is being told without any words, which is making for a fun challenge. I have been doing one page a week and plan to keep that pace until it’s finished. I would love to get it printed, even if it’s just to hold it in my hands.
AnnK: Can you recommend a game I should play right now? Why should I play it?
Goemonsama: Just one!? Hmm… Demon’s Crest. It’s got some of the best pixel art on the SNES with detailed sprites with that classic Capcom look and an overall excellent atmosphere. And it’s all about monsters! What’s not to love? It’s also a really fun game that borders on a Metroidvania with lots of areas to explore and secrets to find.
Goemonsama’s work is featured in the Thirtieth issue of Dank Zine for the first time as a Dank Artist. Find and follow him online:
New website, a work in progress: https://avacc-artworks.indiemade.com/