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Old 2007-03-15, 09:20 PM   #1
Shooty Dog Thing
Denyer's Avatar
Smile Interviews: Eric Holmes, Josh Burcham, Makoto Ono | UPDATE: new Eric Holmes one

Eric Holmes interview at Game Almighty:

edit: And a new one at CBR --

The Josh and MO interviews are available in Spanish at or read on for translations, courtesy of Synapse.


Synapse interviews Josh Burcham []

1. What is your first memory of TF? When did you get into them?

Ya know I always have a hard time remember way back when I was littler. What I do remember are pretty scattered. I was born in 1985 so I was an infant when Transformers was really at its peak. My mother claims that when I was two years old she bought me my first Transformer [she thinks its Targetmaster Kup, whom I still own ] and says its been downhill ever since. Sheíd get me then on occasion, never really anything else because she says they were all Iíd want. Heh. I do remember vaguely when I was young. I donít know, maybe 6 or 7, losing my [at the time] favorite Transformer toy [it was Punch/Counterpunch] when we had moved into our new home and also some memories of making my Grandpa record Transformers whenever it was on. Hehe. Thatís about as far back as I go. For awhile, though, I never thought much of Transformers. I had some toys, played with them once in awhile, always liked them. But I never got back into Transformers until around Beast Wars. At first I loathed Beast Wars. Thought they were some knock-off toys that were trying to cash in on the old Transformers franchise. Little did I know it was the same company :P Anyways, I gave the show a chance, ended up loving it and since then [and discovering the Internet] Iíve been really into/involved with Transformers. Not just in buying them but being apart of online communities and what not.

2. What was your first professional TF work? How did you get involved with IDW and whatís your experience been like so far?

My first professional work was actually on Dreamwaveís Transformers: Armada - MTMTE books. I did a lot of colors for that series.

Getting involved with IDW was one of those ďits not what you know, its WHO you knowĒ type of situations. Iíve been friends with Don Figueroa for years [before he was ever picked up by Dreamwave. I actually wanted to learn to color because of his artwork ] So anyways, after Dreamwave filed bankruptcy and went under I was left jobless for awhile. After IDW got the TF license I had actually submitted my color work to them but was turned down because the only real samples I had were Dreamwave stuff. And one of the things IDW wanted to do was take things in a different direction. It wasnít until Don got signed to do the Beast Wars comics that IDW asked him ďdo you have anybody in mind for colors?Ē

Being the great pal that he is, Don brought up my name.

So IDW and I got in contact with each other. It seemed they were a little leary at first but they ended up sending me a test page. I got to try out a new style [I, at the time, hadnít at ALL really tried before. So it was very new to me :P] and because of how well the test page turned out I got to work on Beast Wars. Since then the projects have kept on coming and Iíve kept on coloring. Iíve become one of IDWís main TF color guys xD

3. What are your favourite artists / main influences?

As far as colorists go Iíd have to say that a lot of my favorite artists and artists I gain inspiration from are people like Ryan Church & Feng Zhu [who are concept artists in the film industry]. I also took a great deal of inspiration from the many talents Dreamwave had under their employ. Guys like Ramil Sunga, Gary Yeung, & Alan Wang. Of course thereíve been recent artists Iíve discovered who are really great. I really admire them. Guys like Ashley Wood, Marko Djurdjevic, & Clayton Craine. Theyíre all amazing. You should definitely check out their stuff.

4. Youíre known to like Geoff Seniorís art. Tell us about that! Apart from his, whose pencils would you like to work with?

Yes, Geoff Senior has to be one of my top favorite TF artists ever. He and G2 artist Derek Yaniger are very big inspirations for me in my pencil artwork. Itís all very simple, yet very expressive. They use a lot of heavy bold lines and I donít know. I just love that.

Iíd definitely love to work with both Senior and Yaniger. I also love working with Nick Roche. Iíve had the pleasure of coloring his lines a couple times and itís really great. Heís got a great style. As far as any other artists, I canít say Iím too sure. Thereís so many out there itís hard to really name names for me.

5. You seem to get along very well with Nick Roche (who may be my favourite TF ďnewĒ artist, by the way). Did you guys know each other before working at IDW?

Hehe. Yeah. Nick and I have actually been in and out of contact for the past few years. I remember talking to him via emails when I was doing some work for Dreamwave, encouraging him to keep on submitting because his stuff is so great!

Iím really really glad the guys at IDW have given him a chance. Heís definitely got the talent to become the next big name in TF artwork

6. Which one of your illustrations / colouring works makes you proud the most?

You know, I have done so many pieces of artwork that it really is hard to pin down my most favorite. Iíd have to say that in my tops is the ďStarscreamís BrigadeĒ picture I had done a few years back. It turned out very well. I ended up taking that to my first ever Botcon trip and ended up winning a first place in their art contest so yeah. That one means a bit to me. Although, considering how much Iíve grown since then Iíd definitely like take another stab at it. Make another interpretation. Itíd be fun to see and compare.

7. Which programs / tools do you use for work / fanart?

As far as coloring goes I use Adobe Photoshop [I used to use version 6 but ive recently upgraded to CS :P] and a nice optical mouse :P Iím definitely saving up to get myself whatís called a Wacom Cintiq. Itís like a computer monitor that you can draw on. Very cool [and very expensive xD]

As far as drawing goes, most the time just regular printer paper, but I also use Eon Comic Boards. And I use Derwent pencils ranging from hard lead for sketching and laying the picture out all the way to soft lead for laying down the heavy blacks.

8. Some readers tend to underestimate the importance of the colouring process (ďhe just put the coloursĒ). Do you ever feel your work is not as valued as it should be? What do you feel the reaction about your work at IDW has been so far?

Yeah, ya know I do feel that a lot of work that the ďotherĒ artists do [colorists, inkers, letterers] really does go by kind of unnoticed. And itís too bad because those people really do put in as much work as anybody else on the project. And what they do is also essential for modern comic books. Without one the book always seems incomplete so yeah. Itís important to have but it seems like, in general, not very many people realize or acknowledge that. Iíve kind of made it a personal point to get, at the very least, myself the respect that I ďdeserveĒ [?] I donít know, not that I make it a point to go out and say ďRESPECT ME FOR I AM THE COLORISTĒ but ya know I make it a point to say ďhey, I worked on that too.Ē A little acknowledgement in all the hard work is important. Because you do put in a lot of time and a LOT of effort into this job so ya know, itís rewarding. Itís encouraging.

Iíve never had a more gruelling and stressful job than making comics. It really is a hard job. Itís fun! Oh yes. But itís hard. Getting up every morning and constantly creating. Constantly making new things. Constantly trying to be better. Itís tough. And it takes a lot out of you [a lot more than some desk job Iíd like to think hehe!]

So yeah. I guess you can kind of understand why it helps to be acknowledged, encouraged, and motivated in a job like this. Itís hard to make it without it.

I feel that, or Iíd like to think that, the reaction about my work has been overall positive. I make it a point to really be a constant presence in the fan base so I think that really helps for people to appreciate and connect more. Itís a lot easier to like what your best friend does because hey, heís your best friend :P Ya know what I mean? At the core of it all Iím just a fan like anybody else and I like for people to know that. To know that ya know this isnít just some job Iíve been forced to take on but every page, every panel is a labor of love for this property that Iíve grown up with and I think thatís one thing that really connects with other fans and readers. They like to know that the people making this stuff actually care about it and know what theyíre doing!

9. Youíve already shown some sketches about the upcoming movie character designs. What are your feelings about the movie and how do you think it will affect the current state of TF comics?

I have to be honest, I really love the movie stuff. I mean, at first I was a bit put off. The designs seemed VERY outlandish compared to the Transformers weíve always gotten the past 20 some odd years so it took a bit of getting used to. But after seeing, and reading, and learning, and really getting to know these characters and this fiction, itís becoming one of my favorite incarnations of the Transformers yet. Everything is brand new again, itís refreshing. And I think it will do good to reinvigorate the brand. Bring in some new blood and breathe some new life into this franchise. I think the movie will be great. The movie will already draw in a big crowd what with names like ďSpielbergĒ and ďOptimus PrimeĒ attached so I think it will do well. I know IDW and Hasbro have some big plans as far as movie-related comics so I do hope that the movie brings in new readers as well.

It wonít hurt the franchise thatís for sure.

10. Would you please let us know something about your secret side project? xD Also when will we see some covers or even entire comic issues drawn by Mr. Burcham?

Haha. Iíve actually got a couple side-projects. My main one I had been working on is more of a ďwhat ifĒ story. It kind of picks up from the attack on Autobot City in the original animated movie and just takes things on a completely different track. I guess the basic premise is kind of, well, what if Optimus Prime just kind of cracked. The dudeís under ENORMOUS pressure, what if it got to him, and in his fight with Megatron he just went nuts and ripped Megs apart. He just says ďscrew all my inhibitions and letís ram the war down the deceptions throat. Get this millenia spanning war over with and get back to Cybertron!Ē

One of the big things about the project is there is a HUGE role reversal. Something I donít think has ever been done in Transformers fiction [and for that reason Iím hesitant to pitch it because I doubt itíd ever get picked up :P]

But yeah. It picks up from there and fast forwards like maybe 100 years and the story takes place on Cybertron. Optimus is like Emperor of Cybertron and I donít know. ĎIm not sure I wanna say too much because thatíd spoil it :P But some really neat ideas. Iíve worked out a few character designs so far and have been working on a rough storyline. I think itíd be a really neat story to tell. Will I pitch it? I donít know. Iíll have to get it hammered down a LOT more before that but Iíd definitely like to just to see what theyíd say.

Another is what I call ďTF: ForefrontĒ. Basically itís a Transformers origin story. What Iíve done is Iíve kind of based it in the Dreamwave continuity. I used that continuity as kind of my backbone and just started connecting things from other continuities into it. Kind of the ultimate TF universe, the story telling the ultimate origin story of the Transformers. Itís always been eluded to in all continuities but a concrete origin story has never been told, so I figured Iíd try to tell one :P

Will I ever pitch that? Highly doubtful. The brass seem to want to stray away from any origin stories like that, which I can understand. It creates that air of mystery over this race of mechanical beings much like the air of mystery around our own genesis.

Hehe, one project that I most certainly DO plan on pitching is the idea of a Spotlight comic featuring the one and only Autobot bounty-hunter Devcon. Iíve worked out a couple designs for this and have hammered out a rough story. Just needs some good tweaking left and a bit of concepting.

Now that Iíve answered that, heh. Onto the second part of the question!

Me drawing something published? I would most certainly not be opposed to it. I know Chris Ryall has expressed some interest and a number of fans have all expressed their own interest on the boards so thereís most definitely a chance youíll see something. Whether or not itís soon is hard to say. Itís tough finding the right project as well as the time [what with me also doing a lot of color work for them] to do them. But I think itíll happen sometime. I hope anyways, hehe.

11. This is a bonusÖ one of our forum moderatorsÖ sheís got a truly insane crush on Soundwave and kind of blackmailed me to ask you to make some cool drawing of this character. Maybe when you have some spare time you can upload something to your DA page?

Of course

Soundwaveís one of my favorite characters as well so Iíll keep that in mind. Lately Iíve been feelin the itch to draw so Iíll make sure to put him at the top of my list

I hope this interview helps people get to know your awesome work a little better! Thanks so much for your time!!

No Problem and thank you much!
[also, if itís a bit long feel free to edit some stuff out. Guess I tended to ramble :P]



Synapse interviews Makoto Ono []

1. What is your first memory of TF? When did you get into them?

I was 8 or 9. I didn't like Transformers at first, Gobots was my favorite cartoon. That changed only when my grandparents went to Japan and brought me a Combatron giftset, I was amazed at the ammount of weapons and how cool they were. I've been a fan ever since, although I still like Gobots.

2. Did you learn by yourself or did you attend some art school? What was your first professional TF work?

I've taught myself, started experimenting with digital illustration back in 1999. My first paid commission was a character sheet for a fellow transfan called Artemis Prime.

3. What are your favourite artists / main influences? Which artists / writers would you like to work with?

All of them. Every artist has a unique point of view on things and you can learn with them, always.

The same for writers.

My main influence is Ohshima Joji, animator/director that worked in the G1 episodes from Toei Doga. His illustrations in Terebi Magazine were amazing.

And prof. Magami Ban.

4. You usually draw / ink / colour your illustrations, don't you. Do you always do that for work or only for fanart? What do you like most and least about the whole process (picky bosses included)?

I hate to work overnight, which is often since I do all of it - drawing, inking and coloring.
There is nothing I really like about it. Itís just my job.

5. You seem to really like Japanese-only TF (which IMO is completely understandable!), which japanese TF series and character is your favourite and why?

I like TF Victory. My favorite character is Deszaras.

I like everything on it, from the coolest TF designs ever to the cheesy Dinoforce humor.

6. Tell us about your experience at Dreamwave. How did you get involved with them? You've mentioned some negative influence in your pencilling, was there a big pressure to match some style? What did you learn / like / dislike from that experience?

I was working as a 'dekasegui' in Japan when Pat Lee e-mailed me. Don [Figueroa] and Guido already had got TFs and I was offered another title, but had to decline because I couldn't pencil a book working full time in a production line.

When 88MPH approached with a good proposal, I thought it was about time to return to Brazil and try my way into illustration. Then DW approached again, this time with some work for the MTMTE books. There was a list of +400 characters, they were divided by artists. At the time I was still drawing anime-esque, I used the cartoon model sheets. They didn't liked, wanted more detailed, buffed-up TFs for those books, so I had to change my style. It was a good experience, though. I regret for not being more professional at the time - there was a point when I just gave up because they wouldn't let me draw the main characters and kept pushing Micromasters at me.

7. You submitted some awesome artwork for the TF Genesis book. Do you remember how many? Also how many were rejected and what reasons they gave you? How much were you supposed to get paid? Was the DW debacle a surprise or did you see it coming?

There was 11 pieces total. 88MPH dumped 7 and didn't give me a reason at all. I believe it had to do with unauthorized use of japanese characters or something, I dunno. It was a good amount of money.

I didnít see anything coming, the only thing I did for DW was a bunch of pinups for the MTMTE books so I didn't know much about them.

8. What's your opinion on the new IDW's approach to Transformers? Did you submit some work to them or perhaps you didn't want to try again?

I have plans to submit more work to them, ask for a test script or something. I like their approach, looking forward for the Megatron mini series.

9. If you had to choose some piece of artwork that makes you proud the most, which one would be?

The Combatron groupshot has a special meaning to me.

10. Tell us about your current job / projects!! Also, do you consider yourself fast at what you do? Which programs/ tools do you use for work / fanart?

I'm currently working full time at a brazilian publisher called Editora Europa as a freelancer illustrator. People say I'm quite fast, I dunno. I work mainly with Photoshop, Painter and 3D Studio Max.

I've been using Wacom Tablets since 1999, currently I'm operating with an Intuos 3 6x8. I don't use traditional mediums anymore.

11. How long have you been living in Brazil?

I was born here but I hate the place.

12. What are your feelings about the upcoming movie? How do you think it will affect the TF franchise / fanbase?

I'm looking forward to it. At first I didn't like the designs, got used to them though. The marketing team seems to be working real hard, if the movie goes well we're definitely going to see Autobot and Decepticon insignias everywhere.

Thanks so much for your time!! I'll let my mates at the forum know you made me a happy man with that outstanding Overlord illustration you just uploaded!!

You're welcome, thanks for the interview.

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Old 2007-03-16, 04:21 PM   #2
inflatable dalek
Duke of Kidderminster
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Good stuff, but I'm starting the official No Devcon Origin Group (tm) here...
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Old 2007-03-18, 01:14 AM   #3
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well, its not exactly an origin per se

however theres still a bit left to be done before i finish up anything. still playing with ideas and stuff for it and what not
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Old 2007-03-23, 04:38 AM   #4
Shooty Dog Thing
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More from the author of the Megatron miniseries --
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Old 2007-03-23, 10:48 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the interviews and links, Denyer - and for the translatin', Synapse - ! All very interesting. And the Megatron Origins l.s. is looking VERY good, the more I hear - and my paranoid worries on a prior thread look all the sillier - sorry again, Mr. Holmes!

Plus, I read the Furman interview about Galvatron through the link in that latest Holmes piece - very much like that direction, too.
SPOILER! (select to read)
Separate Megatron from Galvatron, and separate Galvatron from Unicron, too! And make Galvatron a totally free wild card...
I like the sound of the set-up for this interpretation of the character - I think that there could be good potential for interesting, new, stories here.
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Old 2007-04-06, 07:16 PM   #6
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Originally posted by LKW
Thanks for all the interviews and links, Denyer - and for the translatin', Synapse - ! All very interesting. And the Megatron Origins l.s. is looking VERY good, the more I hear - and my paranoid worries on a prior thread look all the sillier - sorry again, Mr. Holmes!
Heh, now you make it sound like I'm bullying ya! I hope you don't think that. I hope ya enjoy the series.

I hear there's a two-page feature on the series in the new Rocket magazine (April issue, cover with TMNT) ... you might want to check it out!
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