1) First off I just want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview, Can you please introduce yourself for us: what do you do for a day job and how long have you been working as an illustrator?
My name is Robert Geronimo. I'm an independent comic creator and an art instructor at Wagner College.
2) I really enjoy the art you do and I find it really inspiring to see someone go through multiple Kickstarters, starting with the children's book Little Maia and the Lunar Express. What was the motivation behind this project and how did Kingdom of Blood benefit from this experience in doing a children's book? Did it accomplish what you felt it needed to?
The experience of my previous kickstarters really helped me prepare for what's in store. Since Kingdom of Blood is so vastly different from my previous work, the real challenge has been developing an entirely new audience to support. Little Maia has her fans, and Kingdom of Blood needs to find its own. The Little Maia series are wordless picture books as well, whereas Kingdom of Blood will have words like modern comics. But I always make sure that the words serve the artwork, not the other way around.
3) What really grabbed my attention about your project Kingdom of Blood is the shot you took of your work desk with books like "Religion and its Monsters" listed as reference next to an art book on Toppi. I can see the influence of Toppi on your work, but what is the influence of Religion on your work? Do you see religion and horror going hand and hand?
Toppi has been my gateway into this new style I have been developing, and the themes of religion to play a role in my work. Particularly in the imagery. I studied Art History at Brooklyn College for my masters and I was fascinated by the artwork from the Medieval period. There's a sense of beauty to these pieces, when we look at works devoted to the saints. They're regarded as heroes but depicted at the moment of their terrible death. Saint Bartholomew was flayed to death, Saint Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross, and Saint Lucy's eyes were gouged out prior to her execution... this is dark stuff. And great source material. In Kingdom of Blood, the Sisters of Silence as the main protagonists and carry a saintly air, while at the same time are capable of unleashing deadly power. They really merge the divine with the terror, mirror what those paintings from the Middle Ages captured.
4) For a lot of people art is spirituality. You look at the Bible and regardless if you are a believer or not, at the end of the day it is a piece of literature that has moved and shaped the lives of millions of people for better or worse, which is a testament to the power of art itself. Do you think art has a overarching mission or purpose in this world and how does Kingdom of Blood fit into your view of the purpose of art? Do you consider yourself to be Religious?
As far as being religious, I believe there are mysteries in life, and there is magnitude to these mysteries.
5) For someone who is looking to take on a personal project like putting together a graphic novel how would you recommend someone go about organizing themselves for a project? How do you organize yourself for what you do everyday to fit in your personal projects and work?
Everything starts with my sketchbook. I carry it where ever I go. It's small and can fit in my pocket. Life can through things at you that can suddenly inspire a brand new idea, and it's important to be prepared. I'm always jotting notes, sketching page layouts and characters. It starts with the idea and builds itself. In the end, artists and writers need time to create and some times you have to make that time. The real question is: how important is this story to you and how much do you believe in it to bring out into the world?
6) What was your process for writing the actual book? From the snippets I've seen on your page it looks like there is no dialogue, is this a story told in images only or do you plan on inserting the dialogue into the comic later?
What you saw are the finished inked pages without their lettering. Award-winning letterer, Thomas Mauer, will be lending his talents to the project. I work in the traditional Marvel way of developing comics. I like to tell the story without words, then write the dialogue where it is necessary.
7) How did you learn visual storytelling? Do you have any studies you do on a regular basis to improve your storytelling?
I studied under DC Comics artist, Jamal Igle, and Tor Books illustrator, Steve Walker. They're friends and they ran an incredible course at the Arts Students League in New York City. I always find myself going back to the things I learned from them. In terms of keeping myself sharp, I make sure I'm always working my imagination and challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone. Take Little Maia and Kingdom of Blood for example. Two completely different styles and genres. You learn a lot about yourself when you throw yourself into foreign territory.
8) How do you feel about Kingdom of Blood and where its Kickstarter is right now? What is the best way for people to follow your art?
I feel it still has a fighting chance! I invite anyone who enjoys horror and dark fantasy to take a look at the campaign, watch the video, and check out the rewards. Folks can find me @rgeronimoart on Twitter and Instagram. They can also check out my website at www.robertgeronimo.com
9) Thanks for your time man, any shoutouts you would like to give to other artists you admire and think we should check out?
It was my pleasure! Go check out Junji Ito if you enjoy tales that get under your skin. He's an incredible horror manga artist and storyteller!
With 12 days left on the Kingdom of Blood Kickstarter, you still have plenty of time to show your support for Robert's awesome project!