Farel Dalymple’s surreal artwork has earned a loyal fan base from its appearances in such books as Prophet, Marvel’s Omega the Unknown with Jonathan Lethem, and Dalrymple’s own award-winning Pop Gun War. Now he’s got a new collection of It Will All Hurt, his webcomic that’s part of the acclaimed Study Group collective. The new collection, which is limited to 500 copies, is< a href=http://studygroupcomics.com/main/shop/books/it-will-all-hurt-1-by-farel-dalrymple/> available for pre-order here, and will officially debut at the Stumptown Comics Festival on April 27.The strip is now even a 2013 Eisner nominee! We spoke with Dalrymple for details on the collection, and updates on his work on Prophet and Wrenchies, his long-awaited graphic novel follow-up to Pop Gun War.
Newsarama: Farel, describe, or attempt to describe, It Will All Hurt to our humble readers.
Farel Dalrymple: It's a weird and silly full color fantasy story that I started drawing in my sketchbook one panel at a time, and decided to post as a webcomic on studygroupcomics.com. It is an ensemble cast with mostly children and animals. There is magic and death and light violence. It is pretty kid friendly with some gross stuff, like a hard G rating.
Nrama: How did the hard copy edition come about?
Dalrymple: Zack Soto, who runs the Study Group site, said he would put it out in the style of his own recent Secret Voice comic. I initially just wanted to print them as black-and-white- minis, but that never worked out.
Nrama: What's it been like working with the Study Group?
Dalrymple: Very cool. I just send Zack the panels when I do them. I like the Study Group site a lot, too. There are a lot amazing creators doing neat stuff on there.Nrama: Tell us about your process for creating this story, both story and art.
Dalrymple: I used to draw it in my sketchbook, then scan and print the line art on watercolor paper, then color on top of that. At some point, I just switched to drawing the panels straight on the watercolor paper rather than my sketchbook. I have been working on the story as I do it one panel at a time with nothing more than a vague idea of where it is going to go.
The one rule I had for myself was to not pencil anything first. I just draw it straight with one of those of those PITT pens, just so I don't spend too much time on it. It is probably blatantly obvious I don't spend a lot of time on it.
I started doing it mostly as a way to work out frustration at not being able to draw exactly what I wanted, and to mess around with different ideas I wanted to use in Wrenchies, but couldn't really fit in. It is a also a good way to get the juices flowing when I can't really muster up the energy to work on other things.
Nrama: You've got some unique specs for the hard copy edition with the oversized format and the risographed cover. Were these distinct design elements in play when you first conceived the story? One thing I'm interested in is that this is a format that's very unique to print, while oversized pages are difficult to pull off in an iPad comics world, despite this running online first.
On the other hand, the online version makes strong use of the continuous scroll format, which is something that doesn't work well in print. What were some of the biggest challenges in formatting the story for each medium?
Dalrymple: The formatting was really easy, actually. From the first time I worked on it, I thought that the two panels side-by-side would work pretty decently for computers, and I could just print them like that as minicomics.
Then Zack approached me with the idea of printing it in color with a six-panel grid in the size of his Secret Voice comic. I am rather fond of the six-panel layout, so I said yes. I laid it all in Photoshop over the course of a day, I think, and then did the cover the next day, possibly. I don't remember exactly, but it didn't take me very long, relatively speaking.
I don't know how formatting for all the different handheld devices and such works, but I figure it must be pretty easy to look at one panel at a time on your iPhone or whatever.
Nrama: The collection contains parts 1 and 2, and you've done 3. How many parts do you see this running?
Dalrymple: Maybe like six? I am still not done with Chapter Three. I don't know, maybe I will keep going with it indefinitely. It's not like I am getting paid to do it or anything. I will stop doing it when it isn't fun anymore, but I have a loose idea that I could wrap up the story in another three chapters.Nrama: What were some of your biggest influences for This Will All Hurt?
Dalrymple: Probably the comic Tom Herpich did in the Meathaus: S.O.S. anthology. Maybe some A.A. Milne too? Dave Cooper's comics and fellow Study Group cartoonists Levon Jihanian's Danger Country, and Kazimir Strzepek's The Mourning Star.
Nrama: The strip was recently on hiatus – do you have a return scheduled at this point?
Dalrymple:I just sent Zack ten panels or so. Check it out.
Nrama: What are some other comics and creators you're currently reading and enjoying?
Dalrymple: Ed Piskor's Whizzygig, The Lake Erie Monster by J. Kelly and John G, Julia Gfrorer's work, anything by Brandon Graham and the previously mentioned Tom Herpich. Michael DeForge. And not to pimp it too hard, but the Study Group site has most of my favorite comics people doing comics on it.Nrama: Can you give us an update on Wrenchies? Dalrymple: I have 235 watercolored and lettered pages finished, and another 70 or so to go. I hear the last 70 goes by pretty fast, right? Nah, nobody says that. I am and have been rather anxious to finish it. Unfortunately, the process on that book takes a bit more time almost everything else I do.
About every 10 pages I finish I have been posting as a spread on my website, for whatever that is worth. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am supposed to be enjoying working on it, and not get stressed out about how long it is taking.
Nrama: What else is coming up for you?Dalrymple: Doing another issue or at least part of an issue of Prophet. Me and Jospeh Bergin III are splitting art chores on it, and are still in the thumbnails stages with Brandon.
(UPDATE: After this interview was conducted, Dalrymple emailed us to say he would probably not be doing another issue of Prophet, stating “My eyes got a little bigger than my stomach – too much stuff going on.” He did include a look at a cover for an upcoming issue he’s doing.)
And I am also working on a young adult book with M.K. Reed and Greg Means that I am about halfway done with.
Nrama: Anything else you'd like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?
Dalrymple: I really like being a part of the Prophet team. I know I have only done two issues of it, and the whole thing is rather strange if I think too much about it, but the book has gotten me really excited about making comics, so many possibilities.FACEBOOK and TWITTER!