Transcript: Children Chatting with Ryan Andrews

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a certified or verbatim transcript, but rather represents only the context of the class or meeting, subject to the inherent limitations of real-time captioning. The primary focus of real-time captioning is general communication access and as such this document is not suitable, acceptable, nor is it intended for use in any type of legal proceeding.

Children Chatting Podcast: Discussion between Ryan Andrews and the Children Chatting Kids

[Music intro]

ISABEL: Hello everyone. You're listening to the Children Chatting with Authors Podcast. Today we're here with a special guest, Ryan Andrews, author of the new book This Was Our Pact. What inspired you to do the book?

RYAN ANDREWS: Alright so when I was about 10 or 11 years old, I saw a film it was based on a very old Japanese novel called The Knight on the Galactic Railroad. And it was about these two kids that go all across the galaxy. And I wanted to make an adaptation of that book or that movie. But as I was going through it, I realized that just wasn't, it wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be. It wasn't, I couldn't do the story justice. And so I, I decided to kind of to change it and make it my own thing, but sort of use the elements of these two kids going on an adventure. Well, that's where it came from...

ISABEL: Also the artwork was really good and my favorite part is when the, Madame Mystique trapped him in the dungeon because she did help them by giving them a map. But that was at the, that was, that's what she helped. But I thought she was going to be good, but then she turned out to be a little bad having them in the dungeon.

RYAN: Yeah, she had kind of a bad attitude. I am glad you liked that part. That's a, that whole, that whole part where they, they go to her workshop and then get, get stuck in there in her cellar. That's one of my favorite parts. It was a lot of fun to draw, draw all the stuff on the shelves and in that big pile of trash down, down in the cellar.

ISABEL: Thank you.

RYAN: Yeah, thank you.

ZAREK: So my question is how do you come up with the lantern idea?

RYAN: Uh that actually came from that original story that I mentioned The Knight on the Galactic Railroad. The beginning of the story starts with a festival where they have all of these lanterns and living in Japan, a lot of the festivals, especially in the summertime there's just lanterns all over the place. And so when I think of festival now, I kind of can't help but think about lanterns. And how they play a part in the festival. So I I couldn't help but include them into the story.

ZAREK: Okay. Thanks.

KASSI: My name's Kassi. My question for you is or how long or like how did you develop your art style used in the book?

RYAN: Hmm. That took a long time. Pretty much my whole life. I started out drawing when I was a kid, but I would always just kind of copy other comic books that I was reading. So when I was a kid, I read a lot of superhero comics, but then as I got a little bit older when I was in high school, I got really into Japanese comics and then French comics. And so I started copying their styles. But then sort of little by little, my style developed. But yeah, that must've taken, I feel like I started drawing the way I draw maybe about 10 years ago and it sort of kept developing from there and it'll probably keep changing. I don't think I'll always throw out the same way.

KASSI: That's cool. Wait. Okay. Follow up question, did you like go to school or anything for art or did you just like all on your own?

RYAN: I went to a very small school in San Diego. I'm from Southern California. It was a school where you would basically, it taught like the classical approach to drawing. So drawing with charcoal on paper. Hmm. Yeah, it was a fine arts school. I did that for about a year before moving to Japan. So that's, that's really where I really learned how to draw. But now the way I draw doesn't, I don't, I don't know how much of that I actually use, but I'm sure, I'm sure it's in there somewhere. I'm sure it played a big part.

KASSI: What was the school called?

RYAN: What was the school called? It's Watts. They're still around. Oh, Watts Atelier, W A T T S in Encinitas though, if you want to go to a school and really learn how to draw, I highly recommend it and it's not very expensive either.

KASSI: Okay, cool. Thank you.

RYAN: Yeah.

SEBASTIEN: My name is Sebastien. So my question is what inspired you to create this kind of different reality, but like, only partially?

RYAN: I think that's something that I tend to do with all of my stories, my short stories as well. They take place in the real world, but there's something different about it. I do that because to create an entire fantasy world, I feel like it would take way too long for me to kind of come up with all the different I don't know, magic systems or the landscape and the rules of the world. And so I like kind of basing it in the real world so that when something really strange happens, it feels more strange than if it was in this world that was already crazy in a fantasy world.

SEBASTIEN: Thank you. That's really interesting.

RYAN: Yeah. Thank you. That's a good question.

EVA: Hi, I'm Eva, and my question is, why did you choose a polar bear even though they're taking place in the wood and not like the Arctic?

RYAN: Mmm, I don't know that I would say he's necessarily a polar bear. I do draw him sort of whiteish, so he's a light-colored bear. I think it kind of goes along with the whole, this is, this part of the world is sort of this fantastic world where sort of anything can happen. And so probably not the answer you were hoping for it, but I, I didn't put that much thought into what kind of a bear. It's interesting and I actually thought about that before.

EVA: Well, thank you. Yeah.

RYAN: Thank you.

KIANA: Hi, my name is Kiana.

RYAN: Hi Kiana.

KIANA: My question is like, is the big rock with the face alive?

RYAN: Maybe. I think that the kids probably think that it might be alive it definitely looks like it could be. What do you think? Do you think it's alive?

KIANA: Yeah I think it's alive. My favorite part is actually when the grandma trapped them in the basement thing.

RYAN: Yeah.

KIANA: And she like hit them with a bat I think.

RYAN: With the a, with the map. Yeah. I'm glad you liked that part.

KIANA: Um it was kind of funny. When I saw it, I kind of skipped some parts to get to that part.

RYAN: Yeah. Sometimes I would skip ahead too, to, to draw the fun parts when I was working on it.

KIANA: Okay, thanks.

CYRUS: Hi, my name is Cyrus and my question is like, what, how did you get like really good drawings? Cause it was really good. Like did you learn how to like draw those pictures?

RYAN: I can, I can show you. Do, do you have time? Lauren did, do you have time for me to show some quick sort of process?

LAUREN: Of course.

RYAN: Okay, cool. I can, I can kind of show you a little bit of how I, how I work. Okay. Oh, Oh, did something send? Okay, cool. When I first start. And hopefully, you can see this nice and big.

EVERYONE: Oh yeah, yeah. Click on that. Oh wow!

RYAN: Okay. So when I start out, I just draw all the little scenes, all the little panels as squares because it's really hard for me to, to organize a page with all these complicated panels. So I'll just draw them as like these little squares, which lets me very quickly say like, okay, this is kind of what I want to happen in this next panel, but I don't have to worry about where I'm going to put it on the page, how big it's going to be. So that's a really quick way for me to get the story down. Then...

RYAN: I will take that and I clean it up, but then I still, I'm still just keeping it as these panels that it just goes down the page. There's no order, they're in order, but there's no, like they need to be this certain size or this layout on the page. So it kind of lets me be really free with how I'm, what I'm choosing to show in the story. And I can very easily put a panel inside in between the two other panels if I need to. And then, so like the pink area there, I've highlighted to show I've taken those panels and I'm gonna put them into a page and so then I would...

RYAN: Skype does not make this easy. There we go. Okay. Then this is the, this is the page finished. Just drawing with pencils. Oh wow. No, I draw these on paper with pencil a lot of people use ink for comics, but I'm really not very good with drawing with ink, so I just draw it in pencil and make it black. So hopefully you can make that one bigger too.

EVERYONE: So cool. Wow.

RYAN: So that's taken all of those, all the panels that I've highlighted in pink and then laying them out onto a page and then for the color, I do that in Photoshop, which is a program on the computer. You've heard of it. But then there's the finished page in color without the words.

EVERYONE: So cool. So cool.

RYAN: And then later I'll go in and write, write the words in, in all the bubbles. And I do that. I do that by hand, but I do it on a tablet. So that's digital also.


RYAN: That's sort of how I draw it. As for how I got to be able to draw this. It just a lot of practice, just drawing all the time. I'm, I'm drawing while I was waiting for you, but I'm just always, always, always drawing something. And, and the more you do it, the more your style will come out and the better you'll get. So if any of you are interested in, in drawing comics, I can say it's just as much as you can. I hope that answered your question.

CYRUS: Yeah, it did. Thanks.

RYAN: It's kind of a long answer.

LAUREN: Great answer.

EVERYONE: Yeah. Thank you.

RYAN: Thank you.

CYRUS: Welcome. Bye.

HELENA: Hi, I'm Helena. And my question is, so for developing characters, how do you do that exactly? Like, do you do character sheets? How long does it take you to develop each character?

RYAN: I've never, I've never done the character sheet thing. A lot of people do that and it works really well for them, but it's never really worked for me. What works for me is just I, I write the story and as I'm going, I, I try and think about like, okay, what, what would this character say or do in this situation? And a lot of times, I don't know at first. And so as I get closer to the end of the story, I've started to have a better understanding of the characters. And so then I'll go back and I'll usually just rewrite the whole thing now with now knowing like what the characters are all about so I can, I can better approach the scenes because I'll know like I'll know the characters and so I'll know exactly like, Oh, he wouldn't have said this in this part. And so I can edit that out and I can put what now I know he would've said, that's how I, how I tend to do it. And I also do it through drawing a lot. So I'll draw the characters a whole lot. And they'll sort of change as I'm, as I'm working on the book and the, the drawings will influence the way I write and what they say and what they do and vice versa.

HELENA: Right. Thank you.

LAUREN: So I want to ask you what your favorite character was because as I was reading the book, I love Nathaniel right away. I loved him because he was doing his own thing. He was so sure of himself already. And he wasn't caring about what anyone else thought. And I loved the bear. And I love Nathaniel and the bear during the middle part of the story. They're racing each other to the cave. They're having fun. They, it's just a lot, a lot of good times. And then it took me a long time to kind of warm-up to Ben at the end. Of course, I liked him, but during the story I'm like, Ben, lighten up a little, please. And he's just so ugh, did you have a favorite character or did your favorite character change as you were writing the book?

RYAN: My favorite character to write and draw was by far the bear. It was just every, every scene that he was in was just fun to draw. I always looked forward to it. I think my favorite character would be Nathaniel because for me, Ben and Nathaniel are sort of a combination of me and sort of me split into two and Nathaniel was more the person that I always want to be, but Ben also comes out from time to time. That sort of pessimistic attitude and, and sort of embarrassed and, in wanting to wanting to be the cool kid. I definitely was. And when I was, when I was younger, but there was Nathaniel inside me that wanted to come out and shine. But I was a little bit too embarrassed to admit how nerdy I was, I guess. But as I've gotten older, I've sort of give up on that that I need to be cool mentality. So I wanted to sort of put that into the book. So yeah, Nathaniel's definitely my favorite, but probably my favorite to draw would be the bear.

LAUREN: I love it. And this, that message really came through in the book.

RYAN: Oh, great.


MILES: Thanks for listening to the Children Chatting With Authors Podcast.

[Music outro]

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a certified or verbatim transcript, but rather represents only the context of the class or meeting, subject to the inherent limitations of real-time captioning. The primary focus of real-time captioning is general communication access and as such this document is not suitable, acceptable, nor is it intended for use in any type of legal proceeding. Transcript by