Creator Q&A: Jeremy Bastian's "Cursed Pirate Girl"
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Jeremy Bastian’s Cursed Pirate Girl is a comic book series about a young girl’s high seas adventures as she searches for her missing father. Set in the 18th century and rendered with gorgeous pen-and-ink style artwork, Jeremy hand draws each page of the comic using impossibly tiny brushes, resulting in illustrations filled with mind-boggling levels of detail. It’s a labor of love that requires absolute patience: a single page takes up to two weeks to draw and each issue of the comic can take up to a year to produce.
Jeremy’s fans have been more than happy to wait. After three years of hard work, he’s finally releasing the first-ever collected edition of Cursed Pirate Girl, including exciting limited edition, hand-stamped and signed copies exclusive to Kickstarter. Jeremy talked with us below about the origins of his story, his stylistic inspiration, and what fans can expect to see in the future. Support the project here.
Absolutely love the look and feel of Cursed Pirate Girl — it’s not something we often get to see in the comics world. What’s your stylistic inspiration, and how intense was the process of illustrating it?
Growing up with comics, I learned a lot about line work by trying to copy the images. Comic art has such amazing line work, and I kinda became obsessed with lines. Then I was introduced to artists like Doré and Dürer, Joseph Clement Coll, Franklin Booth, and Max Klinger and they helped show the possibilities of what you could do with lines. Couple that with the fantastic qualities of Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen, Heinrich Kley, Harry Clark, and so many more amazing illustrators that I could just drone on about, I finally found a look I was happy with. As a comic artist you try to find your own uniqueness, something about your work that isn’t in every other book. To get to this point took years of trying to find my own voice in that regard.It is pretty intense. I have a certain degree of competition with myself, every next thing must be better than the last and in more ways than one. Like how bizarre can I make something, how textural can I make it, and is there a way to make it even more detailed?
Where did the story of Cursed Pirate Girl come from? Was this something you’d had brewing inside for awhile?
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved the realms of fantasy. I grew up reading and studying the stories in the “My Book House” series. My dad would read my brother and I the “Chronicles of Narnia” before bed. My most favorite story book of all though was “The Ship’s Cat”, a pirate story of an English cat who gets captured by Spainish soldiers after a battle on the ocean. I have always wanted to do my own “fairy tale” and when I decided that the best way to get into the comic world was to just do my own story, I wanted it to feel like a lot of those stories I loved as a kid. I also wanted to create a character that would fit into the what we all look up to as a “classic” character. Cursed Pirate Girl is my Alice, Dorothy, and Nemo ( from “Slumberland,” not the clown fish) all in one. She has much more fight in her, but I think with what our times require of our fictional characters now-a-days, I don’t think it’s too off the mark. So yes, I guess the idea was stirring for quite a while. In the end, it took just a couple of weeks to carve out the story of CPG from the amalgamation of experiences I had with fantasy books as a child.
Well I originally wrote CPG as a six issue story arc, but since it takes me so long to draw it we decided the best way to present it is in two volumes. So there are going to be three more issues in this, the first Cursed Pirate Girl story. I do have about three more story ideas already brewing, so I’m soooo not done with abusing my fans with more intricately laced, strangely populated, and outlandishly designed adventures.
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
This might come off as corny, but I would just like to say to parents out there, appreciate and engage your children’s imagination and support their individualism.