Imagine yourself going to a Laundromat on a rainy day. Sounds pretty boring, right? Now what if you stepped outside were that Laundromat and came face to face with a giant squid? Talk about a laundry mishap! And you thought separating out your colors from whites was a problem!
Steve Yurko’s “Wash Cycle” brings the reader into that exact scenario. With beautiful art and an imaginative story, Yurko’s title makes comic readers smile. Yurko himself decided to sit down with me and we discussed “Wash Cycle” and his journey as an artist and comic book creator.
Steve Urena: Tell us about your independent project and the process behind it?
Steve Yurko: “Wash Cycle” was originally created for 789 Studio’s ‘Rain Anthology.’ Everyone involved were young artists, fresh out of school, and eager to get their art out there in one cool package. The idea was to produce a collection of new comics and illustration under one theme: Rain. My story was inspired by the floods Hurricane Irene caused in my town during 2011, excluding the giant squid and the deep sea diver riding a sea turtle. My goal was to create a story that took a turn towards the surreal side. I had to present a synopsis and thumbnails for the story to my friends in charge. There on I drew the story over two months.
SU: How have you been able to fund your project?
SY: My friends launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the book’s printing. After Rain’s release, I went back to “Wash Cycle” and colored it and made a mini comic for myself to distribute. Funding for all of that came from my very own pocket. Every “Wash Cycle” mini was printed, copied, and assembled by yours truly.
SU: What have been your influences in creating comics and what made you want to do this in the first place?
SY: Clearly I watch too many cartoons. I’m not much of a sports guy, and I don’t stay on top of current events like I should, but I sure as hell get excited when another animated series from the 90’s gets released on Netflix. Cartoons were the medium of art that enamored me more than anything else. As I got older I realized a lot animated series spawned from comics, thus making the call to pursue a career in that field. I didn’t have the budget to make animated films back in my teenage years. Some of my closest friends are artists as well, and there’s nothing quite inspiring as watching them work. They’re a great source of motivation for me.
SU: What would you like people to take in when reading your comic?
SY: Everything. A lot of work goes into making comics, and everything is placed into panels for a reason. Don’t just read the dialogue, take a hard look at the characters, their expressions, their posture, and understand their state of mind. The main focus isn’t just on the characters alone; the settings are just as important. Characters are only truly alive in a believable world. I try my best to put just as much character into the locales that I do the characters. Also, these pages take a while to draw, so don’t just read them in a glance!
SU: What other projects have you been working on and what kind of stuff would you like to do in comics?
SY: I’ve already begun writing and penciling my next comic titled “Jason & the Princes of the Universe” (unless I think of a shorter title). A web comic has been something I have been striving to do for over a year now, and it seems I’m getting closer and closer to that goal. The story is about an underachieving, 20-something-year old goofball that becomes the sole heir to his wealthy uncle’s fortune built from the foundation of a popular BBQ sauce. However, he must first complete a task in order to receive this fortune and what results is a cross country road trip with a ragtag group of his closest friends.
As for what I like to do in comics it’s simple and as corny as a side dish at KFC; I like to entertain the reader. Now don’t get me wrong here, I want to make great art. Drawing is a passion of mine, and I push myself to try new things with every project, but pretty art only gets you so far. I put just as much focus on the characters as I do the plot. Characters are the driving force in all stories. They have to be compelling and relatable. Big talk for someone that hasn’t released a comic longer than 10 pages, but I assure you my current project is all about character development.
Comedy is my favorite genre to create for. I just like to make people laugh. It’s infectious.
SU: What are you reading right now, any comics right now you are really into?
SY: I’ve been reading “One Piece” since 2002, and I’m still going strong. There are reasons why it’s the biggest thing going in Japan right now, and I’d be here all day if I tried to explain why.
The rest of the comics I read are a juxtaposed collection of various titles. In the realm of manga, “Eyeshield 21” and “Toriko” stand out. The new “Aquaman’”and “Ultimate Spider-Man” series have drawn me into the realm of mainstream, and collecting single issue comics every month. I really enjoy what they’ve done with these very iconic comic characters. Never thought I’d be saying “Aquaman is pretty badass.”
SU: What are your plans for the future?
SY: I should really draw some comics shouldn’t I? As previously stated, I’m aiming for “Jason” to become a new web series, and at the rate it’s going that might just happen this summer. I’ve been itching to draw an ongoing comic for some time now, but I still hope to draw some humorous mini comics on the side if the right ideas hit me.”
SU: When will your project be released?
SY: “Wash Cycle” is available now on the comiXology app for only 99¢! I have a trustworthy source that recommends you check it out!”
SU: What is your method of writing/creating how do you come up with your content?
SY: Countless hours of daydreaming.
In all sincerity I don’t have much of a method to the madness. Ideas don’t come too easily for me, but once they do I tend to go all out in conjuring up what I can incorporate into a story. Sometimes a story is created first, while other times it is a character that is thought up at the start. I think of all the traits my characters will have and how those characters express them and how they impact the story itself. My own personal experiences are some of my biggest inspirations, whether it be a fond memory, a tragic experience, or something stupid a friend said.
SU: Anything else you would like to add?
SY: To anyone that enjoys comics and going to conventions, don’t just settle for the big name comic cons out there. There are tons of awesome indie comic conventions around the country that feature a lot of talented artists and great comics you may have never heard of before. You might wind up finding a new favorite artist of yours at even the smallest of conventions!