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In conversation with Diego Lazzarin

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What came first – painting or comics—or do they come hand in hand?

When I approach a panel I have a story and a sequence of events in my mind that I’m going to represent. Having said that, I think my approach is more pictorial than text-based. I tend to start every single panel as a color composition and then I add details to it.

How did you first take interest in making comics? And tell us a little about your schooling/university education. Do you have any degree in fine arts/illustration?

The world of comics is quite new to me. I used to read some sequential comics in my youth but I never really got into it. My background is in music videos and animated short films. About five or six years ago, I was working on some animated music videos for an Italian indie-band. Incidentally their lead vocalist is also a cartoonist and it was him who introduced me to graphic novels. I discovered that this language has a wide range of creative possibilities. I decided to read some authors I found stylistically attractive. Then, about three years ago I started planning my own book.

I studied Advertising at the high school and then I gained a Degree in Scenography at the Art Academy in Milan, Italy.

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The usual Sci-fi comics style is quite different from yours. How did you come up with your style?

I’m not sure if Aminoacid Boy can be categorized as a sci-fi, f It sure has some elements of science fiction, but I would say it’s going to be more of a philosophical novel with some kind of a punk attitude. Anyway the style and medium choice was quite natural because after working on music videos and animations for a long time, I felt the need to rediscover a more craft-based approach. At the same time I wanted to spend less hours in front of a monitor. However, I think computers offer an amazing area of possibilities and in future I would like to play around and combine those with traditional media.

Tell us a little about Aminoacid Boy series and what is the main drive of it.

To sum up the main facts:

Aminoacid Boy is a creature from outer space sent on Earth by his Lord. The Lord is a bio-architectural-metal-meat-machine living in a dark cave and controlling the whole process in a very chaotic way. The Lord discovers that on planet Earth, individuals find their own reasons for living; they have desires and free will. To the Lord this is something extraordinary and illogical. So Amino is sent on Earth to understand how the creatures have motivational drive other than their biological need of survival and evolution. To accomplish his mission, Amino has the power to assimilate the DNA from human and animal species he comes to contact with. And through the process his DNA becomes more and more evolved and he learns to understand them better.

He places himself in various situations in order to gain experience necessary for completing his mission. At one point of his journey, he joins a rock band, gets addicted to drugs and alcohol which leads to a lot of trouble and everything becomes confusing for him to the extent that he decides to quit his mission. I won’t say what happens next!

I think the whole story has been created as a pretext for drawing a lot of fictional violence. At a certain point in my life I felt the need to reflect on why I get pleasure in representing violence even though I truly despise violence in real life.

I’m planning to self-publish my book. It’s a 160 page book and I am currently crowd-funding it. I’m aware that crowd-funding it’s going to be a bit risky, but I’m also really curious to see what’s going to happen and to see if it is possible to work independently these days.

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Which one is your most favorite panel from this book that you’re doing?

Usually the last one I made tend to become my favourite! Every day I become more confident about my technique and I have more fun in drawing.

I feel that my characters and panels are becoming more and more expressive and intense. Having said this, there is an exception: the first chapter I drew, which took a lot of time to materialize has now become one of my favorite part of the book. I was so insecure about what I was going to do, that I spent hours on every detail. This chapter is inspired by Moby Dick and its dominant color is red.

Name some of your most favourite comics/artists.

The first authors I fell in love with are: David B, Charles Burns, Ludovic Debeurme. To name an Italian, I had an immediate crush on Stefano Tamburini who was active in the 70/80s, and was not properly a cartoonist but a screenwriter. He invented characters such as Rank Xerox and made a crazy comic named Snake Agent remixing an american spy comic from the 50’s. I really feel that comic was far ahead of its time.

I also want to mention an illustrator: Atak, I think he is German, I have one of his books–Mondo Matto. In this book he represents a crazy world where things are happening upside-down. I have to take a look at this book at least once a week!

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What about webcomics?

When I decided to share Aminoacid Boy on social media, I discovered an incredible crowd of talented authors on the web but I focus more on the images and don’t remember names. I often find illustrations and comics that really inspire me and open my eyes and my mind on the great expressive possibilities with these media.

But to mention a few whose names I can recall at the moment-

Abraham Diaz, he has a punkish creepy style I immediately fell in love with, (his nick on Tumblr is “awfulgraphics”)

Recently, I discovered Thunderpaw, an animated webcomic by Jen Lee which is really amazing.

Tell us a little about your earlier works.

Long before starting Aminoacidboy, after my degree in scenography, I worked on short animation movies and music video. I have done stop motion to rotoscope to 3D animation.

Some of them have won national awards and were screened in festivals inside and outside Italy.

Any suggestions for the young web-comics makers?

Being a young comic-maker I cannot give expert’s advice. What I can say is that drawing your first comic can be very frustrating and you might think of giving up. Especially in the beginning, I was often unsatisfied and insecure with what I was doing. I decided to quit several times. Then I took some time and came back to work.

What is not working at the current moment- you can always come back and fix them!

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Links:

Diego Lazzarin http://www.diegolazzarin.com/

Crowd-fund https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/aminoacid-boy-and-the-chaos-order-graphic-novel#/story

Interview taken by Rai

 

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