All Charles Burns has to do now is release an album or perform on Broadway and he'll have done a little bit of everything. The author/artist recently turned animator for the creepy new film Fear(s) of the Dark, which will be hitting US cities beginning this month. In this week's Web Stalker, I spoke with Burns about Fear(s) and about that Black Hole adaptation everyone's always talking about. If you want to know a little more about how he approaches his own independent work, however, just keep reading...
On what Burns learned about his own work by animating it:
"I learned that there’s a reason why I work by myself as a cartoonist... with comics you can really maintain absolute control. I mean, obviously there are people who collaborate on comics, but for myself it’s something where I have control on every single level. If something falls on its face, it’s my fault. Whereas, when you’re doing animation, even in the most perfect situation, it’s always going to be collaborative effort."
On navigating his own projects as both an author and an artist:
"I approach it different ways; there are situations where a story, or a portion of a story, will suggest itself in a much more visual way. But it does all have to be integrated eventually. When I’m working, the first think I’m usually doing is just writing an incredible amount... writing and writing and writing. Then I kind of break down the story, and see what kind of visuals will be involved. But it works both ways -- occasionally there will be a pure visual idea that works its way into the story, so it really depends. I’ll trick myself into doing anything that works! But generally I’m just writing down ideas and forming them into a story.
On whether he now considers working alone to be a luxury:
"It is a luxury, but sometimes it can be one of those things where, since I don’t have this impending deadline, I kind of fine-tune things too much. But again, that’s just the way I work. And on top of that, just the nature of the drawing style I have just takes a really long time. I sound like I’m full of excuses!"