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September 6, 2007
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Synapse interviews Alex Milne

1. Before we proceed with the tougher questions ;) how long have you been into comic art, what was your first professional (art) work and also what’s your first memory about Transformers?

Well, that’s an interesting question. I've been drawing comics professionally for 3 years now, but I've been interested in comics since I was 11 or 12 years old.

My first professional work would have to be some of the profile pics for the Transformers Armada MTMTE books. Issue 02 was the first i worked on.

The first memory I have of Transformers has to be playing with my Optimus Prime in my living room while my older brother played with the Seekers.

2. Which programs/ tools do you use for work / fanart? Did you learn by yourself or did you attend some art school? Also, PC or Mac? ;)

Well I use a variety of tools to work with. I have many different pencils and pens that I ink with. I have different sizes of rulers and templates that I use for some of the more technical stuff. I have a large scanner which makes scanning the comic pages very easy. I use Photoshop and Painter, and various other programs when time permits.

I did go to school for illustration. I went to Sheridan College, where I was in their technical illustration program. Those were fun times.

I only use a Mac. It’s my preference, I think they’re the best for this kind of work.

3. What are your favourite artists / main influences? Which artists / writers would you like to work with?

Oh, I have a lot of favourite artists. Let me see if I can list a few. Here I go: J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Humberto Ramos, Travis Charest, Don Figueroa, Yoshyuki Sadamoto, Inoue Takehiko.

Oh! Great (he does the Air Gear manga). There are just too many writers to list. I'd like to work with Frank Miller, Jeph Loeb, Simon Furman (again), and a whole bunch of people. Hard to say.

4. What’s your favourite TF series / comics / incarnation and why? What TF story would you like to be aired / published (unused character one-shot, Japanese stuff…)? Also, your favourite character is…?

I like G1, the original is always the best. It had all the best characters in it.

I'd really like them to do a proper dub of the Headmaster series. I have original japanese, and they’re great, but I'd like to see in dubbed.  The only thing is it would be hard to get all the voice actors, but I think the ones that do the voices for some of the anime I watch would do a great job, so if they did that, I'd be happy.

As for my favourite character, there are so many, but 3 come to mind. They'd have to be Megatron, Skywarp and Galvatron.

5. How’s the experience of working with both Kris Oprisko and Eric Holmes? You were given two of IDW’s TF most important titles for this year! How does that feel?

They’re pretty cool to work with. I never really spoke with Kris, but Eric and I had many conversations which help us put out a better product. Only thing I keep telling Eric is that he has to cut down on the number of panels per page. So many panels [laugh]

Were these titles really that important? I just thought they were cool books to work on.

6. How long does it usually take for you to finish a whole issue?

Well when I'm 100% it usually takes me 2, 2 1/2 weeks to do a book. But I like to have month, so I can make sure that I'm putting out the best I can. But I've been sick for some time now. The movie book had suck a crazy deadline, that I guess the stress got to me, and I came down with pneumonia twice. After that I was always playing catch up with the book, and things never seemed to be the same. But now I have a bit of time off, and can regain what I lost, and be back to myself for drawing again.

7. You fell sick recently. Was that when Marcelo Matere came onboard for the Megatron miniseries or was that planned from the beginning?

As for marcelo working on the same book, it was IDW’s idea that this would help get the book back on track after I fell ill, but Marcelo had a hard time drawing all the detail I had already came up with. But that’s why there are 2 of us on one issue. Just so the issue would try and get done on time.

8. What do you think it’s your main strength -and main weak spot- as an artist? Also what do you like most and least about your work?

That’s hard to say. I guess drawing technical stuff. Weak spots, well I'm always learning new things, so I always think of myself as a student, and I can always improve. But I guess if I had to pick it would have to be coloring on the computer. I'm pretty slow, and I don't know all the tricks.

I don't like anything about what I draw. I'm always looking ahead to see how I can do things better. I'm never satisfied with my work. It’s rushed sometimes, and never all it can be. I'm not saying it’s crap, but I'm always wanting more out of it.

9. What's your opinion on the movie? Which characters would you like to be featured in the sequel?

I actually liked the movie. I'm one of those people who likes change. I know that many don't like it, because it’s not the original Transformers, but then neither is Armada, or Energon, or Cybertron. But people accept those series as Transformers series, so why not the movie. Just think of it as a different version of Transformers. It was just nice to see it on the big screen.

I want them to bring back Blackout, Bonecrusher and Megatron. Then I'd like to see the other Seekers, like Skywarp. I'd like to see Soundwave, Trailbreaker, Sideswipe, Hound and a few others.

10. Also what’s your opinion on the TF / Avengers crossover? What other crossovers would you like to see published? Do you actually like crossovers at all? :P

I like it, but I don't think it’s as good as it can be. It’s nice, but I think it could be better. However, it's nice to see these crossovers, and it paves the way for more in the future. I enjoy the cover art for them. I'd love to do something for it sometime.

If there is every another crossover… I guess you can tell that I do like crossovers, but they have to be done well, and not just to make money, but to put out something both parties can be proud of.

11. Tell us about your experience at Dreamwave. How did you get involved with them? Was there a big pressure to match some style? What did you learn / like / dislike from that experience?

What's there to tell. I started when I was still in school. It was part of my work placement for school and that’s when I worked on the profiles for Armada.

I don't really know if there was big pressure to meet the house style, but I guess it was expected to in some way. All I know was that the heads of the TF had to be smaller in relation to there bodies, and there were certain detailing lines that they liked to see.

I learned how to pump out the work by the end. I liked working with most of these people, and I'm still friends with some of them today. I didn't like finding out about them going bankrupt, cause they didn't tell some people until the day they closed. I was still doing work at that time.

12. Now, call me unprofessional, but this is where you get to talk about Pat Lee, about uncredited work and all that. Most Transfans at the Transformers Hispanos boards may not know a thing about it!

I guess I can talk about this. Some people wonder why I was still working for him after the whole Dreamwave thing happened. Well I didn't work for him straight after Dreamwave closed down. I worked on my portfolio, and sent it around to see if I could find work, but there were a lot of people doing that, and work was hard to find. After 8 months of nothing, and me feeling crappy for asking my parents for some money to buy some new pencils, Pat offered me a job doing backgrounds. I can't remember how I got back into contact with him. Maybe I had sent an email out to him, seeing how he was doing, but yeah, I got contacted to do backgrounds for Cyberforce and the Spiderman project he was working on. This went on for a while, and then there were a few pages where the whole thing was a background, or the majority was a background, so Pat gave them to me to do the layouts for. I had so much fun with those pages that I asked if he'd mind if I did a few more, since I read in the script that there were a few more background heavy pages. So I go to design the base for Cyberforce in issue 3 and the new fighter jet. Then everything that went with the fighter jet. Pat seemed to like them, and then we came to a decision where I would do the layouts and background for the book.  This would also give him more time to work on superman/batman.

I did this for the next 3 issues, but then I found out that on issue 4 I was not in the credits. He said it was a mistake, and it would be fixed for the next issue. Issue 5 rolled around, and again, no name in the credits. This got me a bit mad. Especially since I had to travel to his home to pick up and drop off work. And I didn't live close to him. There were times where he was out with friends and I had to get work to him. One day I was even eating diner, and he called me up asking where the work was, that he had to go out. I was out, but that didn't matter. It got me to the point where I was just so fed up that I didn't want to work with him anymore, and I felt like TopCow should know what was going on. But before I came to that decision I found out that he had told TopCow that he'd been doing all the work himself, and he also wanted me to take a pay cut for the background work he wanted me to do for Superman/Batman. He still owes me money for the last issue of Cyberforce, and 8 pages of Superman/Batman.

Such hard feelings, but this is what happened. He can say whatever he wants, but I have the photocopies of all my work before he touched it to prove it.

Anyways. I put it all behind me now. I don't really care anymore. I can only wish him the best in whatever he wants to venture in, and put the past behind me. Time to move ahead to new things.

Wow, I think that’s all for today. Thanks a lot for your time!

It was a lot of fun. Thanks for letting me type as much as I did. Hopefully this doesn't make anyone want to vomit uncontrollably.
Lates : )
Here goes my 6th Transformers-related interview... my 6th interview ever, anyway :P

:iconmarkerguru: Alex Milne is a comic artist currently working for IDW Publishing. He made the art for both Transformers Movie Adaptation and Megatron Origin miniseries.

Once again, I made this interview for the Transformers Hispanos boards but I'll post it in the IDW boards as well...

Yeah Synapse is my username in all forums :)

Transformers Hispanos [link]
IDW Publishing [link]
Add a Comment:
markerguru Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2007  Professional
just wanted to let you know that in question 3.
"OH! GREAT" is a japanese artist. his name sounds like this, so thats the way the publisher use it. he does the air gear manga
hombreimaginario Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2007
wow... sorry about that. I'll fix it now.

I guess you know they talked about this interview in TFW2005 and :)

Anyway, thanks for checking, hehe :)
markerguru Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2007  Professional
yeah. cool huh. pays to be a member
hombreimaginario Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2007
you mean I'm a member? I registered when a friend told me they were discussing about the interview...

well anyway thanks again for taking the time and all that ;) It seems people liked it... it's either that or the name "Pat Lee" is like a calling for the masses :P
markerguru Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2007  Professional
i know i'm a member of tfw2005. and all the admin and most of the mods are friends of mine. we all hang out at botcon. i'm glad people enjoy reading it, and not getting ill from the words that come out of my mouth. lol.
hombreimaginario Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2007
lol, sure they are. You got some good reaction in the TF Hispanos boards, too ;)

Oh and congratulations for finishing the Megatron miniseries... really looking forward to put my hands on the trade hehe. Hope the colouring mistakes you mentioned will get fixed for that!! ;)
markerguru Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2007  Professional
if time permits they will
cromagnus Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
Dude you need some chinese herbs. immune boosters. Yin Chiao, echinacea, goldenseal, zinc, quit the sugar for awhile. If this is what you put out w/ pneumonia I can't wait for a 95% or better Milne. Milk Thistle for the lungs. I wish you the best health. much props and thanks as always for the inspiration.
hombreimaginario Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2007
lol, you're definitely right. Thanks for checking! :)
metalformer Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great interview. So nice to learn more about the artists working on my favorite comics! :D
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