We got a chance to sit down a have a quick chat with the very talented creator Peter Ricq as he gets ready for the release of his first illustrated book Ghosts Are People Too.
Hello Peter, could you give a quick introduction of yourself and your numerous careers that you have for our readers that may now be familiar with you?
HI! Yeah I can do that. My name is Peter Ricq and I was born in Montreal Quebec (french for Canada). My parents let me watch whatever I wanted and my dad even rented classics like Alien and Aliens “You kids have to watch this” when we were 7 or 8 and Predator or Robocop “this looks sick, let’s watch this tonight”. Obviously, he said these in french and so it sounded different. I didn’t end up like a murderous crazy person and am very kind but I do love anything that has to do with murder, mysteries, the supernatural, science fiction and you can see that in my work. Here is what I do:
– I’m a fine artist and have been active in the art scene since 2004 (PeterRicq.com)
– I’m a filmmaker and have directed many music videos and made a horror/comedy Dead Shack that is streaming exclusively on SHUDDER.
– I’ve made 3 graphic novels ‘Once Our Land 1&2’ (Scout Comics) and A King’s Vengeance.
– I’m in several bands HUMANS, Gang Signs, Ladyfrnd, The Red, Samatata.
– I’ve created several animated television series like The League of Super Evil (Cartoon Network, YTV, BBC).
– I’m a very good vegan chef.
– I love Halloween.
You are currently Kickstarting your first illustrated book, “Ghosts Are People Too”. Which is currently going very strong over on Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/peterricq/ghost-are-people-too). What keeps drawing you back to using this site, as this is your third time I believe in crowdfunding your books?
Fourth time! Yeah, I love how the site makes it possible for entrepreneurs and artists to put their ideas out there, get the word out, find followers from around the world, and get the funding they seek so they don’t sell their soul along with their baby. I think Kickstarter is one of the best things to come out for independent artists and entrepreneurs.
So this book is about making friends with ghosts, and getting the message across that they are also scared of us that are living. Can you tell us about the origins of the book and if have you ever had an encounter of the spooky kind?
I kind of wish I did have an encounter but I’m not sure if I’d be able to handle it honestly. I think I’d be too scared and so I made this book to help myself with the idea to be less afraid of ghosts.
The book idea came from seeing Edward Gorey’s books in the bookstore and thinking “Is this the only dope kids book here? Where are all the other morbid spooky books?” So I figured, I can help put an end to this tragedy and give the kids in the world what they want and deserve, another great, morbid, funny, and fun kids book with wonderful illustrations.
Which came first – the idea for the story or Ethan’s’ character?
The idea, as for Ethan, I wanted to his design to be contemporary like the Cartoon Network shows but I wanted the execution to be more like something out of an old book you would find in a haunted house.
How long have you been working on “Ghosts Are People Too”, and did the current global Coronavirus lockdown allow you to focus more on your work or did it restrict your creative thinking?
I’ve been thinking about this book for years but you could say that I’ve been working on this book my whole life since it takes everything I’ve developed since I started drawing and has put them together all into this one thing here. The pandemic has helped me see it to its completion though yes. I was scared, lost a ton of work and decided to finish this book as I wait for things to get better.
You have mentioned before that you enjoy the works of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman. Can you recall how you came across their works and which has been the most influential on your own style?
Tim Burton’s work, I don’t like his newer stuff but I love and still rewatch in aw his older work. I think I saw all his films as they came out starting with Pee-Wee but Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Batman were my favorites and the art direction and vision in his films were just incredible. His work was so magical and it made me feel like anything is possible. I loved how he always had his monsters kind and not necessarily villains (Just like Guillermo Deltoro) and I wanted to do something in that vein with this book.
When you are creating an illustration for this book, what is that process like and how long does it take? Did you research or have any source material that helped you develop the final character design for Ethan?
Yeah, I use a ton of reference and with my photoshop wizard skillset, I manipulate the photos to make them look a bit more cartoony, like their shapes. I then draw my characters and sometimes use photography as a base too. I then print it, pencil it, then transfer the pencil to the illustration board and start inking a few lines but mostly do pointillism to give it that old-time look. It might sound like it’s a long process and it is but I get to relax when doing this and listen to great podcasts, audiobooks, TV shows, and youtube videos. I learned a lot about the world and history while working on this book.
How would you describe the look of the book?
I would say it’s a more contemporary/cartoony version of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton’s work.
Thank you very much for your time Peter, it was a pleasure getting to interview you. Have you any message for our ComicBuzz readers that will be reading this right now?
Be afraid, be very afraid MUHAHAHAhahahaaaaaaa. Nah I kid, enjoy yourself, and be kind to your supernatural roommates.
If you would like to get a copy of Ghosts Are People Too or find out more information about it please feel free to check it out at:
I would first of all like to say a big thank you to Peter for taking the time out of his busy schedule to sit and chat with us. I would also like to thank Vixen Ninetails for all the help with this interview.