When Kody Ferron walks past the Book Cellar, he still does a double-take when he sees his own comic book in the window.
“I’ve been drawing my entire life, but I never believed I could do it professionally,” said Ferron, 25, that is, until he met his now-wife, Maggie, at university while he was studying to be an architect.
“In my sixth and final year of school, having decided to ‘stick it out’ with architecture, I was given the opportunity to do something much more authentically ‘me’ — an architectural thesis that married architectural representation and comic book art… I think it was only after meeting Maggie that I began to really believe in my ability to pursue, professionally, anything I wanted.”
After completing his thesis, Ferron got involved in a small project as a professional artist — and was “hooked.”
In December 2020, he launched his first comic through Kickstarter — INFERNAL: the Dying Sun — and in June 2021, his second, which is also part of the INFERNAL series.
For inspiration he turns to the greats.
“My favourite line work is in Spawn, my favourite compositions are in Mignola’s Hellboy, my favourite manic caricatures are in Mahnke’s The Mask,” he rhymed off, adding that books also inform his practice, such as Watchmen, Akira, and Capullo and Snyder’s Batman — “I’ve read every panel and every word of (them), maybe 10 times over.”
He moved to Yellowknife from Ontario in late 2020.
“It’s been an absolute blessing to live here, and I have to believe that loving where I live so much is part of my motivation to keep going, especially on those days where work feels like work.”
In a typical day, Ferron — who has become a full-time comic book artist — draws for seven hours.
Each new project starts with an idea, he said. This could be a plot point, an interesting original character, a setting.
It can take years for any of these ideas to develop or find its way into a project.
“Once the idea is planted, you want it to take hold; you want to make it into something tangible. Going from ‘idea’ to ‘project’ is an iterative process, and as I write primarily through drawing, my creative process largely involves jumping between point-form plot writing, and iterative, loose sketch work.”
Ferron jots verbal prompts in point form and then starts drawing around those ideas.
“Then I write more prompts as more ideas sprout, and then sketch more, rinse and repeat.”
Once an idea becomes a group of ideas or even a full story, then it’s time to plan the book.
But he never approaches a book with a finished script.
“Instead, I take a point-form plot-script of the story, usually with one “point” representing the description for one “panel” or “page,” and begin drawing,” he explained.
While plotting the book, he tries to envision the story unfolding purely visually, “like a silent film… I believe if you can’t tell your story without dialogue, then you’ve failed to take advantage of the medium.”
Ferron is currently working on his third book, and has some advice for those who want to follow their artistic dreams.
“I find the most compelling gesture a creator can make is to create for themselves, rather than trying to make what we think people want us to make,” he said. “Write about your life, about what you find beautiful, what angers you, what moves you, what you love.”