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23rd-24th September 2017

Exhibition Way
Glasgow Lanarkshire
G3 8YW

Genma Visage FAQ 2016 by Thomas Tuke

Contact me on for any more queries.

Q: This comic is for adults only. right?
A: Damn straight, Son. For grown ups all the way. I often forbid youngsters from buying my books at convention tables. Although i do end up drawing them nice commissions. So yeah, chase me up for a Kid Friendly Commission if needbe.

Q: Where's the Best Place to start?:
A: After you're done with this website, it's Book 1: Hydra you should start with. There's a Book 0 but that's best read after at least Book 3. The reason being is that although Book 0 started off as an idea for a short prequel, and does make reference to the foundations of the story's universe, it ended up becoming a extremely detailed and plot driven story that simply exists within its own Story Arc. It does not fundamentally effect the story arc of Book 1 to 3 as an individual story, and as such Book 1 is the best one to introduce you to the series.

Q: How did this all come about?: 
A: Genma Visage i would say has 3 seperate Birthdates, that being 2007, 2010 and 2012. Between 2007 and 2010 i was still at University, and under the initial name of "Psyomaster Ryuken: Overkill" it came about as unifying solidfication of various ideas, influences from Comics and manga at the time, and somewhat blowing a raspberry towards the Modern Art scene. Psyomaster Ryuken Overkill would test the water in this period as a webcomic, where i would experiment with style and gather feedback from fans, creators and pros alike. Given that i was visiting the London Underground and small press comic, i eventually realised the series was more viable as a printed graphic novel series as i felt that the webcomic "goal" of attaining hits and a update day actually handicapped the comic from experimenting and achieving more ambitious results. Trying to break limits has been an agenda with this comic, and this relates to the story that i wanted to tell.

2010 was the turning point where things got darker and edgier, where the concept found its identity. Starting off as a darkened Martial arts thriller with Supernatural elements, i eventually opted in the later revisions to a simplified Action Horror, which made it easier to both deliver the impact of style and also adapt to the moods and themes of the story at any given moment in time. Things started off as a gritty good vs evil story yet i found myself wanting to further challenge and deviate trends that i had bore witness to. I didn't just want to have characters who were good or evil for the sake of it; their relationship had to be believable. I eventually noticed that by twisting certain Good guy archetypes to be evil or capable of it, i came up with a scenario where the bad guys suddenly had a huge sense of scale to them and whichever good guys left over suddenly a lot of gravity to their situation. It made for a much more interesting scenario.

The title Genma Visage, part of the main plot, was eventually chosen as a bolder more interpretive name that fumed of history. In the past i would say Genma Visage came about based on being hardcore and rebellious, and whilst that still has a pinch of relevance, presently I think it's more accurate to describe it as an unholy creature that evolved and adapted through time. The need to experiment and creating stories about experiments went hand in hand to create something truly monstrous.

In 2012 the first 3 finished books were released, pretty much when i started doing this shtick professionally.

Q: What goes through your head when you create this stuff?
A: The thing is, it's more of a case of practising mental silence more than anything else. There's never really a detailed analogy that goes from my head to be imposed onto readers, and even the preachy stuff is meant to be taken with a pinch of salt. My train of thought goes down the road of clearing one's head of outside and experience things like it's a first time. That's what creates the excitement when exploring an uncharted land. Anything that's been done before is simply an instinct by that point.

One also has to bear in mind as well that it's part of the artist and writers job to provoke a reaction within readers and show them what they need to see, especially in horror and drama. Some of my works have simply been influenced by readers reactions where if they react in such a way with one experiment I'll pursue and evolve it further for bigger reactions and new reactions from new readers. It's also worth noting that past artists or unusual discoveries may have influenced the extremity of my work here and there, and not only if there the pressure to be just as good as a peer but also exceed them. If anything it's a case of curiosity, in which to be fair, if curiosity killed the cat, then my curiosity could slaughter a pride of lions.

Q: Who are your influences?:
A: I've got a list of influences as long as your arm, and the trouble is these influences are walking in and out of popularity all the time, not to mention there is the chore of shifting through what was an influence and what I just liked. However, my art style can be best described as a hybrid of British comic art (Brian Bolland, John Hicklenton), European Comics (mainly Albert Uderzo), Animation (Disney, Ralph Bakshi, Don Bluth), Fantasy artwork (Frank Frazetta, HR Giger), Heavy metal artwork (countless) "Old School" Manga and anime (Go Nagai) and 28+ years of watching movies, cartoons, video games as well as the analysis of them. The trick of jumping between black and white and fully painted artwork is primarily inspired by Hong Kong Comics (Wong Yuk-Long). Certain fads in specialised fashion can also show up in the outfit design for the characters as well. I've recently been digging the Toxic Vision galleries as of late.

As a writer, it's slightly trickier to answer that question. I'm mostly non-fiction influenced, reading into history, science, culture and myth. Much of the fictional influence comes from the unconventional source of animation, movies, T.V, documentaries, stand up comedy video games and comics, which to be fair, there is a lot to be learnt from dissecting those and making your discoveries sound interesting. I did study History and English literature at school, and whilst they were't a primary course for me, they were subjects that I learnt a lot from the mistakes and successes of. Nevertheless, my favourite writers include Patrick Mills, Alan Grant, John Wagner, Robert E Howard, various articles on and Terry Pratchett. William Blake, Faust and World War literature were some of my favourite topics to look up at school, and like most people who read comics, I was exposed to Grant Morrison, Alan Moore and Frank Miller at some point as well.
I have watched some of the bare basics of horror and have played various games and death \ black metal music to boot, However much of the Horror in my story has mostly developed from reactions from readers and viewers. When I get responses of "whoa man that's so wrong! What goes through your heard?" I just simply turn up the volume and make the next thing even more screwed up for them. It's worked out quite simply for me there.

Again I'm mostly fascinated by History, particularly Ancient History, and love the idea of creating things whose backgrounds involve many millennia of development. When creating stories, I often try and establish a mood of silence and mantra before succeeding, accumulated when I'm cleaning up something or even when i go for a regular walk through the local woodlands. In some retrospects I'm mostly self-influenced in way which I don't mean to blow too much smoke up my own backside about. The thing that ties drawing and writing together is definitely a personal passion and the experimentation of experiences, along with a focus on characterising the characters thoroughly. I'd say when I'm at that peak is when my art is at its best; at its most Evocative and most Provocative.

Q: What does the title Genma Visage mean?:
A: Trick question, one that can be answered within the story and in the design stage.
In the story, pronounced as "Janma" the title refers to the experiment, Genma Visage, a name based on the creators and main antagonists, Nishin Genma. Coining the experiments name from Drago Visage, it was their bid to not only take control of the alien Shurokiu's former therianthropic form but also expand on it to create the ultimate weapon. The word Genma in Shurokiu translates to"Lightbearer" in English. The organisation used to be known as Genma prior to their alignment with the Shurokiu religion of Nishin. Nishin is the trademark Hydra seen in their Genma's symbol, as Shurokiu calls them, an Otherworld Cosmic that represents the opposing forces of life, whose wisdom is said guide the Shurokiu through turbelent times into prosperity and paradise. Adding their own symbol of the all seeing eye of perseverance, Nishin Genma are therefore the "Lightbearers of Nishin," even if their presence is far removed from anything holy.

At the time when i was deciding on the name, i was after a name that sound menacing and striking as it was a name in summary, while at the same time almost irrelevant sounding. Basically in the same vein as Doom, Resident Evil or even Alien. The name Genma Visage had already been founded within the story and was the title for the forums at the time. As the story eventually focused on that transformation, i stuck with that name as the final title.

Genma roughly translates to "Phantasm" or "Magical Illusion" in Japanese, as the Manga influence was still strong. In time, as the story and Shurokiu culture developed, the name Genma took on not just an alien meaning but also came to represent a more emphoric meaning. I also discovered that, pronounced as Janma, Genma is also the hindi word for Birth and rebirth, which in the context of giving birth to psychic monsters creates quite an appropriate if not unholy tone. Also what's worth noting is that Genma in Shurokiu translates to Lightbearer is parallel to how Lucifer also translates to that title, perhaps tying with the potential Faustian themes within the story.

In a nutshell, the title Genma Visage translate to the Birth of Evil.

Q: What themes do you deal with in Genma Visage (if any?):
A: Mostly the idea of corruption; the notion that unfortunately nothing is born sacred and that any concept however innocent, beneficial or all powerful can be turned against its will to become something much worse. There is various meditations on obsession throughout the story involving characters chasing a white whale and impossible goals. It can be concluded that without responsibility or compassion for yourself and others, then such an obsession can be unhealthy to say the least.

Q: How long does it take you to do a page \ book?:
A: A page can take up to a day, including pencilling and inking, sometimes a little longer if a particular image is harder to do than the others or that I have to do extra research depending on the subject matter (e.g. Historical event, symbolic meanings etc). Writing time can vary particularly on planning a story and dialogue, but on a good day i can cover quite a bit of ground per individual scenario. Again the need to research a topic can effect an afternoon of writing as well.
The actual workload in order to finish a book of say 60 odd pages is normally about 4 months of non-stop work, including a page a day, writing, lettering, book formatting, cover art, printing and publishing amongst other chores. This can be slowed down by real life events, work, other commissions, the need to go back and improve certain bits, adding new material and other jobs relating to the rocky road of getting it out there. As such, Genma Visage does have a "done when its done" production rate as rushing things does leave a lot of margin for error. It's also why i don't fund myself through Kickstarter as I don't wanna mess readers about with crowdfunding when the process itself can be extremely grinding. When i DO make a promise, i want it to be genuine, and that heartfelt dedication is what goes into each book.
Whilst I work on it on some form or the other daily, I don't get round to bragging about each stage of production as the time for that isn't there until its nearly done. Keep an eye on the facebook, news page or deviantart updates for more info or prod me by email.

Q: Do you keep a journal?
A: Mostly in the form of new images which i show on Deviantart and convention photos on Facebook, of which i flesh out the production stage of that particular image, what I want to talk about, what goes through my head at the time, and anything particularly fancy that happened when drawing that image or getting my photo taken. I also spend time mentioning my materials used, any critique that i have for my own work which I may discuss with readers, and special thanks to anyone who helped me out with that particular doodle.
Otherwise I don't keep a journal about my personal life, pets or what sandwich I just ate, politics opinions on franchises and so on. Only on a requested basis do i answer any of that.

Q: Is Usheana dead?:
A: Nope. She's still alive if not exactly kicking. Usheana is still in a coma on Shuromij as Ryuken jumps back and forth between Earth to visit her between battles. The scene with Ryuken's vision is meant to be a subtle implication on not just on his sorrow but also how the journey will take will be less than a comfortable experience. In due time, the drama will unroll throughout the future books.

Q: What was the deal with those Wardog and Dinotown shorts in Book 2: Exhumed?:
A: These were done for the "UK Web and Mini Comix Thing" conventions in East London 2009 and 2010. The organiser put together an Anthology for visitors of the Events, created with contributors from the exhibitors. Each anthology was designed with a rotating yearly theme; 2009 was the planet Mars and 2010 was Dinosaurs, so I did mine accordingly.
Because younger readers were going to look at this book, i assumed it was best to tone down the graphic, mature nature of my content save for innuendo or watered down gore, hence these are pretty much the only "kid-friendly" venture Genma Visage has taken to date. Worth noting as well that only Wardog is within the continuity of the story whereas Dinotown is non canon. In fact practically all images involving Relicia and Lumriya acting as a team are Non canon, as although the two have acted as partners thoughout human history, they have cut off all ties by the time the Genma Visage series starts, partly to do with Jacobi's involvement.

Q: I've heard words like BloodFeud, Kouryu Sukuinushi, Psyomaster Ryuken and Overkill been thrown around in parts. What do they mean?:
A: You've gotta be a real geek to ask me this one, but as I'm asking this one anyway I'll answer it regardless.
BloodFeud was a comic done when i was 13. It was a silly Action-Horror-Comedy about Gun totting Fairies summoning a benevolent demon to fight the evil vampire army that made their life a misery. Although the events have about no relation to that of Genma Visage, it did have some Progenitor elements that you could say influenced my modern works as much as stuff that you do as a kid can do. Namely that the main character, the demon, was a Black Monster called Ryu, and although Ryuken Orca Kage of Genma Visage is a much different character, it's not without a pinch of tribute to the inner child in me.
Kouryu Sukuinushi was the name of a short series of stories done when i was younger that can be best described as a Wannabe of Fist of the North Star and Final Fantasy 7, mixed with a bit of love for anime and the Matrix. Again the main character was called Ryu, albeit as an Elf-like Pretty boy from a Therianthropic race. Long story short, it was fun at the time and good practise, but I've moved on quite a bit. I was however able to cannibalise a few bits and bobs from it as well as learning curves that I used for future work. The constant reinterpretation of a character called Ryu or Ryuken has remained consistent throughout and I suppose it has been a small (symbollic) part of my own artistic development. Whilst I'd never say the character is meant to be me, it is certainly easier to apply a relevant context onto the character depending on the story at the time, certainly easier than some of the other characters.

In any case, whilst these titles don't effect the readership of Genma Visage much, certain things i chuck in as Private Joke and an (oxymoronic) anchor for exploring new ideas. Some of covers and pinups reference that of the covers of Bloodfeud, whereas the comic short in Book 2 Kiss from a Rose is meant to be a conclusive nod towards the Kouryu Sukuinushi stories, manifested by the name of one of the characters Kouryu Shin, whom our boy Ryuken Kage has a rivalrous friendship with.

Psyomaster Ryuken was a working name for the series. It was effectively dropped in favour of Genma Visage, as the latter title had an emphasis on the universe and story as a whole. Psyomaster is a seldom used term to describe practitioners of Psychic magic.

Q: How come Book 2 is shorter anyhow?:
A: Book 2 and Book 3 were originally going to be one story, and part of it were even going to include the events that ended up happening in the short "Kiss from a Rose."
At the time March 2009 when i was still in the "webcomix" and cheap press phase, i had to cut Book 2 short so that it would function as one story to be printed in time for the then convention UK Web and Mini Comic Thing. By the time it was rewritten, I decided that this particular edition deserved the most bonus content in regards to the other titles.

Q: I've noticed there's variations in art styles throughout the books. What can you say about that?:
A: Again this harks back to work done in my University days compared to newer artwork done exclusively for those editions. The earlier looking work that you'll see will vary in both style, quality and venture that mostly relates to time constraints at the time between balancing Uni coursework, a job in a nightclub and real life in general. Most of Book 3 at the time was done on either an A5 format and \or a sketchy art style just to get productivity done and dusted.

The prologue comic in Book 1 best represents how i work these days, including simple black and white shading with hatching only on the backgrounds, mixed with some paint and fully painted backgrounds for dramatic effect. 

Q: What are your preferred mediums?:
A: I mostly a Pentel fanboy. Presently for my up to date style I use the following.
I use 0.3 Pentel A3DX Mech Pencil with 2B lead, A uniball Kurutoga 0.5 with Pentel Ain 4B lead, and a Jakar Clutch pencil 2 mm with HB lead. Each one is used for different details, highlights and coverage.
This is divided into 3 areas; lines, thicker lines \moderate shading and full black \shade. I'm basically equipped with about 3 pens at a time.
For Lines I use either an 0.05 or 0.1 Fineliner. This can be chosen from a variety of Fineliners including the Edding Propipen 1800, Uniball Unipin, Staedtler pigment liner, on a one at time basis depending on what's flavour of the month. Currently that flavour its the Staedtler Pigment liner.
For Thicker Lines and moderate shading I either use a thicker fineliner as mentioned above or either a Mangaka Flexible Fine brush pen or the refillable Copic Multiliner SP 0.25 or 0.7 depending on scale.
For Full Black and shading i sometimes use the Pentel Pocket Brush pen for getting around corners and bigger areas. Mostly i just use a Pentel N50 Permanent marker though.
Fully Painted art (black and white):
Mostly this starts out as detailed pencil drawings with the aforementioned pencils. Then I use Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens for either blending areas or using Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolours for covering large areas using either a white, grey or dark grey tone. Highlights are then added with a Pentel Hybrid Gel DX White pen for light and a Papermate Nylon flair for for Black areas.
Fully Painted art (Colour and paintings):
Same as above but with a bigger use of Derwent watercolour pencils, occassionally Caran Dache Neocolours 2, and whatever Felt tip pens i can find, (Currently the Pentel Studio set), with slightly less use of the Pentel Hybrid Gel DX White.
Writing and Lettering:
A sketchbook for spider diagrams, thumbnails and bullet pointing the story. Either Word or a notebook on my mobile for dialogue. Then this goes into Photoshop for lettering.
Computer coloured \ Cel shaded art \ Book formatting
Basically just an old copy of Photoshop. The background textures are painted on by montaging photography from my travels.

Q: How does your creative process go?
A: Well in the old webcomic days it was basically a case of making it up as you go along, then give the pages meaning and dialogue later. Whilst there was a sense of direction in that approach, it's problematic and unprofessional in a word.

Therefore I'm a bit more thorough these days. I start off with "the idea" as you usually do when you plan a book. You pinball different ideas in your head, interesting bits that you think up at work or when you're washing dishes, those kind of scenarios. When I'm eventually brave enough I draft it in synopsis format of what will happen in the story. I can go through several drafts at a time, the more epic the more revisions involved, or if it's short and funny it's normally quicker. Once I'm happy I then bullet point the timeline of events. Whilst I don't write the dialogue yet, I make mention of the things that the characters will talk about to make things easier.

If the story involves new characters and interesting scenes, I take a moment to start design the new characters and scenes accordingly. If there's to be some history and evocation involved I'll do some research and experimenting and see what works. Chances are there maybe things that are dropped or minimized to help aid the story when I realise some things don't work, and this can save time as well. I then go into the thumbnail stage when i detail how the story is going to be told. These days I try to one hand avoid too much decompression but on the other make sure the pace is fleshed out, and the balance between small gestures and big moments of the story is established. As a lesson learnt from my older comic art, part of the method of leading readers through the comic is giving the right moments exposure in terms of being iconic and holding their attention for the right time. The illusion of animation and emotion is something I hold strongly in my art.

By this point doing the artwork, page at a time. The painted panels are normally done last. When the pages are done I scan them all in and fiddle around with the contrast settings. I particularly take my time with fully painted panels in making them look good these days, taking a few digital liberties here and there. Whilst I've been working on all of this, I will have been scripting the dialogue on my phone between breaks and travelling, chopping, changing and researching at will. I add these into speech bubbles on the digital pages, and by this point, give or take a thorough proof reading and editing, they're all done. Then comes the cover and Bob's your uncle.

So that's the process in a nutshell, with the odd bit of corner cutting here and there. I might also add compared to some professional artists I prefer to pencil and Ink each page individually. Calling it rushing but I work best when I have a clear vision on what the final piece is going to look like, hence why not only does getting quickly to the ink stage helps but also speeds up production, I've often found pencilling an entire segment to be inked later actually a lot more taxing on time because you've lost the momentum by that point and you keep having to resketch thoroughly to get it back. For me anyway, it wastes time.

Q: Can I give you giftart of your works?:
A: Sure! Much appreciated if you do! Send it to my email address stated above. It goes up on the Facebook of the website along with the image \ sketch gallery.

Q: Where can I get a copy of your work?:
A: You can get them from UKonDisplay which I'll give you here. If you're in the UK you can email and paypal me directly in which I'll chuck in a headshot sketch of your character of choice. Those cost is a few quid extra for posting.

Q: Hey, Man! What the hell have you got against Pixar, huh?
A: Are you kidding? I love Pixar!

Any more questions feel free to buzz me by email . Make sure the email title has GENMA VISAGE QUESTION mentioned and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Genma Visage and its related works are Copyright to Thomas Tuke. All rights reserved.