Kelly Mellings and Corey Lansdell of Pulp Studios in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, have been busy. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t been dreaming. Their social-media feeds have been filled the last few months with illustrations for their work: Hairoes of Haarwurzel: Braues Quest. Now, that their ‘project of love’ is almost at completion, they answered a few questions for me about what they plan and hope for it.
1) First off, could your give a bit of an outline of Hairoes of Haarwurzel: Braues Quest.
On a medievalish island, that prides itself on it’s hair, a magical curse has stripped it’s residents of their locks and given them to the hairless. Humans, mammals, and birds are all left bare, and the cold blooded reptiles, goblins and fish have become wooly versions of themselves. It’s up to the one armed knight Eine Braue and Jagetta the Huntress to solve the mystery and restore Haarwurzel’s former glory while discovering the root of heroism.
Hairoes of Haarwurzel: Braues Quest is an absurd, exciting, fantasy, comedy adventure for all ages. It is is the first in a series of three all ages graphic novels, each focusing on a different Hairoe of Haarwurzel.
2) Is there anything you are hoping for the book to accomplish? What inspired you to create the book? (Kelly mentioned in a Q&A with me that this book is like “Adventure Time and The Legend of Zelda had a baby that was raised by Monty Python.” Is that still the vision of the book?)
That is still the version of the book, in tone at least. We are hoping to create something that packages all of the things we loved as kids. High adventure, fantastical creatures and situations, Heroes that grow and change, and irreverent comedy. We were inspired to create Hairoes because we have been creating properties and characters for clients and wanted something that was 100% ours. The idea grew from a strange dream that Corey had into the many armed beast that it is now through much collaboration and brainstorming.
3) It looks like there have been test images of the book posted on social media sites for people to comment on and suggest changes too. How has that been working out?
We wanted to commit to creating some artwork for Inktober (A challenge for artists all over the world to draw one illustration a day for the month of October, link here) and thought it would be a great opportunity to create concept art for the book. It’s grown and has taken up November as well. We’ve been so pleased with the positive response. The feedback has been in line with what we were hoping. People are finding humour and joy in the same aspects that we had when we conceived of the characters.
4) Kelly mentioned to me that the book is 90 per cent finished. Do you have a publisher lined up? If yes, is there a publication date for it?
The manuscript is 90% finished but the art (the longer part) has not yet begun. We will have 22 pages by end of February that we can share with publishers as a proof of concept. We initially started the manuscript after a meeting with one of Canada’s best children’s book publishers, and they expressed a passing interest in the initial nugget of an idea. We’ve yet to share anything with any other publishers, and won’t until we have the finished sample pages and the polished manuscript. We’d love to have it in publishers hands early 2017, and then publication would depend on the publisher. We’ve had such positive feedback, we aren’t worried about it finding a home, we just have to figure out where would be the best for it.
5) How much time have the two of you put into Hairoes of Haarwurzel?” Is it a labour of love for the two of you?
YES it is defiantly a labour of love…if it wasn’t it would not be made. Over the last two years we’ve spent several months writing the manuscript, about 100 hrs in concept art, dozens of hours researching the market and the production side of things. It will be the equivalent of about 6 months work full time for both of us to get the art done, the first graphic novel is looking to be around 220 pages.
6) So when this project is finished, do you two have any idea of what you will be doing next? If yes, are there details you care to share?
If this is successful then the next two books would be a dream to work on,
We originally thought of this as an idea for a 2d platform game, so a game or animated version would be fun to work on and it would translate so nicely.
We just finished the script for a graphic novel biography of Wilfrid Laurier that Kyle Charles and K Michael Russel are illustrating for us (it will be published by Teach magazine).
We have a non-haireo related young adult graphic novel script in production that we would would work with another artist to draw.
Corey and I both want to branch out to the children’s book market Corey has a finished manuscript done with art and he is working on another). We also both have graphic novel Ideas, Kelly has a literary graphic novel planned that focuses on a main character who has Narcolepsy.
Corey has been creating some videos on his progress of his work and posting them on Youtube. Check out his profile page here.
My Q&A with Kelly Mellings on his work on the award-winning graphic novel The Outside Circle here.