(Courtesy of Black Mask Studios)
In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, writer Ryan K. Lindsay discusses the trade paperback of his latest crime thriller, Beautiful Canvas Volume 1 (Black Mask Studios). With the first four issues collected, readers follow a hard-bitten assassin struggling with her unwavering moral crisis during her latest mission.
As we previously mentioned, Lon Eisley is a hit-woman hired to kill a small child. Lon gets her latest orders after discovering her girlfriend pregnant. In a bold declaration of uncertainty, she saves the boy and hits the road. Her boss clearly wants the boy dead for a reason and will stop at nothing.
With Beautiful Canvas Vol. 1 out in stores now, Ryan K. Lindsay discusses the creative process, collaborating with artist Sami Kivelä on the project, and what this trade means to him.
Villain Media: How does it feel now that Beautiful Canvas is put together as a trade? Is it a huge relief? Or do you look back and say, “I wish I changed that?”
Ryan K. Lindsay: Oh, looking back on errors and wishing for a magic wand is a great way to go mad; so I try to avoid it. I’m just glad to see this book in its final form, and Sami [Kivela] has done an exceptional job in assembling it all. We all love this story, so it’ll be nice to reshare it with the world.
VM: What was more challenging? Channeling Lon Eisley’s emotions through dialogue? Or writing the action sequences for Lon Eisley?
RKL: The action was probably the easiest for me because that’s where I step aside and let Sami shine. I might have a conceptual idea, or some thoughts, but I don’t tend to micro-manage action in scripts. And Sami is amazing at movement and flow. So I ask if he’s cool with cutting loose and those are generally the best pages.
Whereas the dialogue is always tricky, and always requires a few passes. I’m trying to take the Taylor Sheridan-approach of having more said with less. So hopefully that is coming through.
VM: I loved the splash pages by artist Sami Kivela. I felt like his artwork captured the high stakes action in one cinematic page. Was it about topping each action sequence?
RKL: This is just 100% pure Sami! The guy doesn’t know how to not improve on himself. I love getting those jaw-dropping pages in because it’s truly inspirational!
VM: I loved Eternal, which you also wrote. How does writing a graphic novella, such as Eternal, differ from writing a serialized series, like Beautiful Canvas?
RKL: I see miniseries as like writing a novel or a movie, it’s a big scope, a big story. Whereas something like Eternal’s length, and the other one-shots I’ve written, are very much more in the vein of short stories you’d find in a collection. As such, this means the character trajectory has a different velocity, and the act structures are treated very differently.
VM: I don’t want to spoil the ending for those who haven’t read it. But I do want to ask, was the ending what you always had in mind? Or had it changed?
RKL: The ending of Beautiful Canvas is very much something we had locked in pretty much completely from the start of making the book. And it stayed the course to the very end. That way we could build to it from the very beginning.
VM: Looking back on Beautiful Canvas, what’s the one page, that one line of dialogue, that you’re proud that’s in there?
RKL: I think the very opening page of it all is maybe that one page. It’s such a gorgeous image, with Triona Farrell’s colours bringing out everything in this world we wanted to show.
If not that, then “Kill your darlings, and write in their chalk outlines” is what I would title my biography.
VM: Looking back on Beautiful Canvas, how do you think it changed you as a storyteller?
RKL: I challenged myself to not use captions throughout every page of the story, and doing that lifted my ability to show the reader things better through dialogue and the art. It was nice to get out of the way even more and figure out a way of storytelling that wasn’t the words in the reader’s ear.
VM: What are you working on now?
RKL: I’m working on the next two miniseries I’m writing, and I’m working on my next Kickstarter, and I’m working on a few new ideas I’m hoping come to fruition.
Beautiful Canvas Vol.1 is out in stores now.
– By Jorge Solis