Interview with Travis Hanson
Can a dishwasher really be a hero? The Bean shows us we certainly can!
Interview with Author and Illustrator: Travis Hanson creator of the web-comic, The Bean.
"Life is a whole new adventure"- I believe would be Author and Illustrator, Travis Hanson's, mantra. Travis recently began the process of coloring his long time dishwasher's adventure web-comic, The Bean, and I asked him to share with us the process and legacy of this regular 'Joe' turned hero.
Song River: Travis share with us a little background about The Bean, this dishwashers journey to self-discovery...
Travis Hanson: The Bean is the story of a young dishwasher who lives in an inn called the Silver Dagger. The Bean is not happy with his lot in life; as he was abandoned by his father to the owner of the inn, a mean ogre named, Gort.
One day, when he was sent on an errand to find some mushrooms, he was kidnapped by a crazy old troll who needed the boy to find a weapon of incredible power. The weapon, a broken sword, eventually ends up in the hands of Bean, who is given a charge to heal the sword.
It's a story about not always being in control of what happens to you, but learning to be in control of how you react to it. Bean finds out that even a dishwasher has the potential for being the hero.
Song: What were some of the nuances you were thinking of when creating this story?
Travis: My disdain for washing dishes. (laughs)
Actually, I am a strong believer that you might not be able to control a situation - yet you can control your reaction to that situation. Which in the end allows you to control your future.
I also watch my own children as they grow-up and observe how they deal with choices and situations. Sometimes, not everyone you meet can be trusted, while other times you meet people that look scary or intimidating, and they turn out to be your closest allies. That's basically what The Bean is about.
Taking old stereotypes and tossing them out the window.
Song: Did you draw from any personal experiences in its creation?
Travis: I did. I took from my love of day dreaming and eating in dinners, while listening to the conversations around me when I was little.
You learn that the world is a much bigger place than you thought.
I also took the story from other experiences. When I wrote the refugee scene... I spent many hours talking to a friend who was a soldier and Chaplains' Aide. He had served in Africa, and had seen some pretty rough stuff. It helped me add a level of realism to my tale.
When dealing with wounds, I asked my cousin who studied to be a trauma surgeon on how one would deal with taking care of injuries on the battlefield, and also symptoms of fevers etc.. I love doing research.
Song: What year did you begin Bean?
Travis: 2002 really, but I did not put it into the current format that you see today, until 2009.
Song: Why did you originally begin in black and white, and were your intentions to keep it in this format?
Travis: I wanted to keep the story going. The story is an epic and I struggled with balancing a job/family/faith and the comic. To color it was way too taxing in the beginning, so I took the, "Jeff Smith Model", and went for b/w with the intent to color it later. It allowed the story to continue and keep it going - there are many web-comics that start in color, and quit because they cannot keep up with the demand a comic creates. Plus, there is little money at the moment in web-comics, so most creators need to have other jobs to keep the bills paid.
Song: What made you decide to begin this coloring process? Do you think it will enhance the story?
Travis: Because as much as I love black and white- color is what sells. I found that a lot of doors were closed because it's b/w, so I decided to go back and start the coloring process. I had too. I want this story to be told the way I see and though I am still updating in b/w it has always been my dream to do it in color.
Song: You chose Patreon as your instrument to use to take your passion for this story to its full glory. Why did you choose this particular venue to reach your goals?
Travis: I chose Patreon, because Jason Brubaker, reminded (pause), encouraged me to. I found it to be a nice model that allowed fans to help finance a project. It is allowing me to speed up the process. This is important, because Patreon is making it possible for creators to spend time on their own dreams and projects, with the help of others.
It's like the renaissance where patrons helped artists be what they were good at, and that was being an artist. Also, I like Patreon because you can control how much you choose to donate. Most people donate just a $1 per color update, about $8 per month. That's it, and you can cap it. So you control how much you donate. It's very, very cool.
There's no time limit either, there is a reward system, and for me to color 600 + pages I needed a way to ease the burden of a free web-comic - which will still be free.
Song: How can those who want to support The Bean, get involved, and read how it works find your information?
Travis: Here is my link: http://www.patreon.com/travishanson.
Patreon allows people to donate money to help fund creators projects. Since my project is intense and big (600+ pages and constant b/w updates) Patreon allows people to lift the financial burden that a project like this creates. Especially when it is a labor of love. Some rewards included are; Free art, mentoring, secret blog, etc... The other thing is a patron can control how much they choose to donate. It could be just a $1 each month or it could be more. It is all up to the patron.
The main thing is this opens a way for indy creators to produce some incredible projects, and do some wonderful things, while rewarding fans in a way that they have never done before. It is opening doors.
Travis Hanson is an Eisner nominated fantasy illustrator with a huge imagination. His works include comics, children's art, fantasy and just fun illustrations that encourages the need for people to be creative.
For more information on Trav's works, rates and ideas, just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org