This week I get to speak with Ian Corrao of The Miras 9. I had a great time reading this webcomic. It has a little bit of everything for everyone. The story is action-packed, funny, sexy, and whatever other adjective you can think of! I hope you enjoy my talk with Ian Corrao, and I especially hope you enjoy The Miras 9.
An Interview With Ian Corrao
Aaron Iara: It is a pleasure to be able to talk to you about your work. Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and the work you do.
Ian Corrao: I am a huge Star Wars fan, which I think is reflective in my work, and I’ve always wanted to create characters in a sci-fi universe. I used to draw another comic that I co-created called ZombieHood.com where we’d poke fun at a ton pop-culture references. Movies, TV, and gaming. At some point we were working on a Mass Effect fan-comic and I thought to myself, “This is fun, but it’s not something we could get published without a ton of Copyright infringements.” So I decided to take all of the elements I loved in a sci-fi series and create The Miras 9.
Aaron Iara: Can you give the readers a quick synopsis of The Miras 9?
Ian Corrao: The Miras 9 is a pseudo-comedy / adventure comic and animation that follows the crew of the space ship The Miras 9. Kaia, the ship’s captain who’s down on her luck, is helping Aleese Fenix escape her home world of Andersia where she’s been framed for a crime and a bounty placed on her head. As the two travel they grow their crew and work together to clear Aleese’s name and stop the evil forces that threaten to corrupt the universe.
Aaron Iara: I really like the artwork in The Miras 9. It is very colorful and textured. How did you land on this style?
Ian Corrao: The art style of The Miras 9 is what I’ve developed over time as my own artistic style. I used to focus heavily on drawing art like the typical Marvel and DC Comics, but I never had the patience or skill to master pencils and inking like the pros. I did, however, love cartooning, coloring, and digital painting. I started out digitally coloring my friend’s fan art for comic conventions as well as sell my own stuff. So The Miras 9 is just the next evolution of my style that mixes different digital forms.
Aaron Iara: I know the feeling. I have been trying to teach myself how to do comic art for a few years now and it is one of the most difficult skills I have ever tried to learn. However, it is great that you continue to work at and develop your own style!
When it comes to making comics, there are a lot of parts that need to come together (drawing, inking, writing, coloring, lettering, etc.). What is your process for bringing everything together?
Ian Corrao: When I was heavily focused on the comic I would sketch out the page layout first as a thumbnail. Working digitally it was extremely helpful to easily be able to transform and scale different panels to get the layout I liked. Once I was happy, I would work on some refined pencils before moving to the inking phase. Once I had the finalized line-art I moved on to the digital color and painting phase. This includes coloring the characters and backgrounds.
Seeing as how The Miras 9 was going to have a lot of spaceships and futuristic sets, I needed a way to quickly create these elements. I started toying with the 3D modeling program Blender. From there I was able to create some 3D models that I could filter into my drawings and use for accurate portrayals of tech and sci-fi items. The final piece to editing was adding the text. I learned a ton from working on my other webcomic ZombieHood, so copying and pasting text from the script to pages was pretty easy. I’ve been using a digital font for the comic-style text.
Ian Corrao: So far working on the project has been a 1 man show. Because of that, I haven’t set myself too many deadlines. But I overly conscious of when I’m falling behind. Once I switched to the animation project I have a few more people who are collaborating on the project and they are actors, editors, sound designers, etc. But they are from my local network and friend pool. The scheduling of recordings and holding people accountable still falls on me to remind or push people. But everyone I’ve worked with has been fantastic helping out and providing their talents. I’d love to work with other artists, animators, actors, etc to see how they could help out on the project!
Aaron Iara: There are many sources of creative energy. Some wait for inspiration while others train their creative skills. There are endless strategies for approaching the creative process. How do you approach your own creativity?
Ian Corrao: I’m usually inspired when I see other artists amazing works, listen to a podcast, or some indie music. The rest is really trying to hold myself accountable for getting work and art finished. Another factor is looking at my Instagram followers and assuming (pretending) each one actually cares about the art I publish. And if I’m not producing I’m letting them down. That really helps drive me.
Aaron Iara: Consistent production is one of the keys to building a great audience. It is nice to know you are aware of that. Some creators take years to learn that lesson, myself included.
Translating a comic into an animated series is no small task. How has the process been for you? What obstacles have you run into?
Ian Corrao: So far the biggest obstacle transforming The Miras 9 into an animation has been finding helping hands in the art department. That said, I have had a huge amount of success thanks to friends and a great networks of creatives in other fields. I’ve actually worked with 2 indie musicians who will be providing an original soundtrack for the series. I’ve connected with a few other acting talents via Instagram and working with them has been tremendous.
The rest has been calling on my friends and local film/video network here in Milwaukee, WI. There is a huge talent pool that I feel goes unnoticed because Wisconsin isn’t necessarily known for its booming film industry – yet. There’s so much talent in this city that doesn’t get the credit or publicity it deserves.
Aaron Iara: It is really a shame how artistic movements in some cities go unnoticed. I live in upstate New York and there are so many talented musicians and artists that, in my opinion, don’t get the attention they deserve.
What advice can you give to those who want to make their own comics?
Ian Corrao: Some advice I can give, if you’re interested in starting a comic, is not to dwell too much on perfection. So many projects go unmade because the creator feels like they’re not good enough, or the script isn’t right, or something else. Never do that to yourself. If you have a passion then put pen to paper and create something. Worry about how good it is AFTER it’s been brought into the world.
Also, if no one likes it don’t beat yourself up. Just keep pressing on. Get feedback from artist message boards or social media. Share your works with your friends and family and don’t be afraid to offend anyone.
Aaron Iara: That is some great advice. I have had times where I expect perfection. That kept me stuck in the “planning phase”. I was afraid to execute my project because I knew it wouldn’t be perfect. That cycle kept me paralyzed for many years.
Do you have any other projects in the works that you would like to discuss?
Ian Corrao: As I previously mentioned I worked on ZombieHood.com web comic. This is on indefinite hiatus although my co-creator and I have talked about bringing it back multiple times. We just need to find time in our busy schedules to fire it up again. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on that old comic.
Aaron Iara: Where can our readers find you and your work?
Ian Corrao: You can check out the website or it’s old domain. Otherwise follow me on Instagram(I’m most active and responsive there). And if you’re interested in helping on the project in any aspect, feel free to email me at email@example.com!
A huge thank you to Ian Corrao for taking the time to speak to me this week! I can’t wait to see what comes next with this great series.