Griot Comics Kenjji (creator, writer, and illustrator of Witchdoctor) who recently had his title reviewed here was gracious enough to take time out of a busy schedule to answer a few questions about his work and the industry in general. Sit back and enjoy what this amazing industry talent has to share.
MT: Why comics? It is obvious that you have a love for them (it shows in your work), what is it about the medium that you find so compelling? Also, what is your first love, writing or illustrating your comics?
Kenjji: My first love would be illustrating but the manner in which I create comics marries the writing and the drawing. For me outlining a story literally is the same process as sketching or laying out the actual panels and pages. Comics are a powerful medium because you can go beyond telling stories, you can communicate ideas like love, mood, or motion that normally can’t be see visually.
MT: Who are some of your influences? Any titles, artist, writers that you are currently following whose work you enjoy or that you’d like to recommend to readers?
Kenjji: My influences are various independent artists like Dawud Anubwile (BrotherMan) , Kyle Baker (Nat Turner) and several of my peers who create self-published works. I am also a big fan of more mainstream yet avant garde comic artists like Frank Miller (Sin City) and Mike Mignola (Hellboy).
MT: What is on the horizon in terms of projects?
Kenjji: Currently I am working on an anthology called Kuromanga which exports Black comics to Japanese audiences. Readers will see familiar faces like WitchDoctor but will also be introduced to other heroes like Jim Crow, Black Star and One Man Army. I also recently contributed as guest artist on Mike Sales’ SOUTHSIDE NEFERTITI.
MT: What do you want readers of your work to come away with after picking up something that you’ve worked on?
Kenjji: My work is intentionally provocative. The level of detail in my art not only hides an occasional secret message but even cleverly refers to the source material that has inspired the work.
MT: Any advice for individuals looking to break into the industry as writers, artist, or even looking to start their own indie line?
Kenjji: Ambition and discipline are crucial to a comic book career whether you do it independently or not; either way my advice would be to draw and publish your own comic as a demonstration of your talent. Accomplishing this will not only sharpen your skill but will show the industry just how serious you are.
MT: Thank you Kenjji for spending some time to share your insights and thoughts with the comic community.
Kenjji’s work can be found in the pages of Griot Comics. Be sure to support this incredible talent.
Photo: Griot Comics: Witchdoctor: Mask of The Loa poster. Art by Kenjji, Colored by Eric Pence.