Madefire Press


Meet Emma Vieceli—writer of Fran Kenstein!

Posted by Josh Wilkie ,
Fireside, Interview | Permalink | No Comments »

Meet Emma Vieceli—writer of Fran Kenstein!

Good morning, gang!

It’s update time on Madefire’s Fran Kenstein Art Challenge. So far, things are going swimmingly and the community’s overwhelmingly positive feedback has been gratifying—reaffirming our excitement for this!

As a special treat today, let’s meet the voice behind our story—Fran Kenstein writer Emma Vieceli! 

First up—tell us a little about yourself!

Hi there! Okay, so I’m Emma ( and I’ve always loved telling stories; whether on stage, through writing or through comics – which combine the best of everything, I think.

Some of the projects I’ve worked on include: Alex Rider (current), Vampire Academy, Manga Shakespeare, The Avalon Chronicles, Young Avengers, My Little Pony and my creator owned titles, Dragon Heir and BREAKS (Which you can read RIGHT NOW for free at You can find out more about me at my website: or on my deviantART page. (Which I must update!)

How do you come to be acquainted with Liam/Madefire? Are you a fan of what we’re doing with digital reading both as a creator and fan?

I’ve known Liam for a long time. Comics are a pretty happy family most of the time, and it’s hard not to get to know your fellow creators. Years ago I got to know Liam through the London MCM Expo event; a show which had just started to grow back then – and that apparently saw over 100k people through the door this May! Liam and I stayed in touch off and on over the years, and then we found each other on devianART! I’ve been following Madefire with interest as they’re really on the button in terms of what can be achieved when you combine comic storytelling with media. I’m not a fan of standard ‘motion comics’ as they often run the risk of being a watered down version of either animation or comics, but Madefire are doing incredible things with the medium and are coming up with ways of genuinely forging a new way to read comics. A lot of it follows on and improves on steps I took along with the fantastic Thrill Electric ( team a couple of years ago – so it’s a medium I’ve always had interest in.

How did you come to be involved with this project?

I was lucky enough to be approached by Liam and Ben, and asked if I was interested in scripting a short comic for them. Fran sounded a really fun concept, as was the idea of seeing deviant artists working on it. So I immediately said I’d love to join in!

You’re known as a writer-artist but have you ever written a script for another artist to work from? How was that different, process-wise, then how you write for yourself? And, honestly, how did you get into the business of writing/drawing your own stuff?

This is the very first time I’ve scripted for someone else, and it was so much fun! I’m used to scripting for my own purposes, and I’m very used to drawing from other writers’ scripts, so I think I had a pretty firm idea of what an artist who had never worked with me might want to see in a script.

I was able to consider what was feasible in a direction, and what could be done with the space without making things really difficult on an artist, because I AM an artist :) What I did find was that I was a lot more careful than I would have been when writing for myself, haha. When I script for myself, it’s very messy and loose as I know I’ll be re-scripting more firmly once I’ve seen how the pages actually shake out visually. With Fran, I had to be sure that any artist could understand what I was explaining, so I had to be a little more clear than my own messy scripts ;)

Hopefully I’ve still left enough room for any artist to play, though, and make the pages their own. That’s a lot of the fun of comicking. 

Any advice for aspiring creators?

Gosh, there are a million things someone can offer as advice but, when it comes down to it, everyone will forge their own path in comics and art. Few paths are the same. But in terms of handy coverall advice, I’d definitely recommend challenging yourself to practice everything…especially the things that you don’t want to draw or write. Sticking with what you’re comfortable with will never lead to improvement; only within very small boundaries. Comics often require us to step out of our comfort barrier, so get ahead of the game and test yourself early! Hate drawing cars? DRAW CARS! Hate writing romance? WRITE ROMANCE! ^_^

Lastly, can you tell us some of your favorite deviants?

Oooh that’s hard! I follow so many people on deviantART and it’s very hard to pick any above the rest. I guess some of my favourites are:,,,,,,, and But there are many more!

And it’s time once again to announce another judge…so ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a warm welcome to:

Dave Gibbons (

Dave Gibbons truly needs no introduction as the co-creator of many of the greatest sequential stories ever told. Ever heard of Watchmen? Yeah, that Dave Gibbons…and we’re insanely lucky to have him on-board!

Lastly, today’s design by http://alchemaniac.deviantart.comis that of Oscar, Fran’s near-perfect male classmate:


Liam’s Journal – We need to treat ourselves better

Posted by Josh Wilkie ,
Liam's Journal | Permalink | No Comments »

We have to treat ourselves better.

Will we ever find that ease we dream of – the one where we wake, every day,a bright vessel brimful of inspiration? Anticipating the siren-call of the canvas, so magnetic in a way. Brushes and paint are drawn to it. We don’t have to think. This art makes itself. We are a conduit, a mother-father of pigment children.

Yes – I dream of such things.

There’s not a day when I don’t consider this. Art has weight, and it weighs on us. Our arms grow heavy even as we contemplate the first line. Fear is a big part of it.

Fear that we’ll be found lacking – not by others, but by the inner bully-child.
Younger, bitter selves that stand at our shoulders muttering obscenities and abuse.

“That is utter shit,” he/she says. “You’re wasting everybody’s time. Who gives a crap about you? What good is this? Why are you still doing this? The world burns, and melts, and children are killed. And still you spend your waking hours trying to give precious meaning to this testosterone-fueled drivel! You can’t draw. You can’t do anything. Give up. Stop now, while there’s still time…”

There’s barely a creator I know who doesn’t treat themself worse than ANYBODY ELSE would ever treat them.

And then – to dare show it, this cruelly battered work! To release it into the world, where surely it will be likewise mauled?

The reality – bar the auspices of subjectivity, and the pointless cruelties of the modern troll – is that our art fares much better in the real world than we generally imagine or hope. Because for the vast majority what we do is like magic. It’s a form of alchemy, creating new realities born of deft penmanship, a sensitive slip of clay, a surprising flurry of words.

We ask our worst critics to represent us – ourselves!

These journals are now a huge part of my work, and there’s good reason for that:


What I’m trying to do is genuine, and it comes from a place of knowledge and experience. It comes from failing, but trying again – from learning. It comes from knowledge that only a tiny number of creators get to do what they THINK they want to do.

Let me explain: I had thought I wanted to be a fantasy artist, or science-fiction illustrator. But I also wrote short plays in the vein of Woody Allen. I imagined I might one day make claymation movies. I thought I might write a novel. Perhaps I would draw comics…

It ended up being comics. And then I got, for the greater part, stuck there.

Children at some point stop drawing. We shed bits of ourselves. We stop playing. Games become competitive sports. We are advised by supposedly older, wiser people to turn to more profitable possible futures, subjects that are ‘sensible’.

But some of us rebel – at least at the start!

The more I am free to look at what art is – what comics are, what motion books can and might be, and what creativity is – the more I feel a need to advise against the obvious.

If this is truly to be a ‘creative revolution’ then we should, as much as possible, try and free ourselves of the fabricated shackles that we don’t even know are there. We have to unlearn everything.

Maybe we need a dogma, a declaration. Something like:

I will not bully myself, or judge myself against my peers.

I will be free of the tyranny of style, the cruelties of fashion.

I will dare to learn.

I will be free of all expectation, and will not judge the fruits of my labour, as it all leads to greater knowledge and nothing is ever a failure.

I will not follow the rules, as all rules are man-made and subjective.

Well, y’ know, maybe that’s a bit pretentious! But you get the gist! Let’s create for the love of it, and aspire to that perfect dream I mentioned at the start. If we take away all the chains, and stop all the judgement, then – why not? Why shouldn’t it be a blissful experience?

And then – who knows what we might create?

(And damn you who say art should be all about pain! I’m not having that either! Pain can inform our art – we have plenty of pain in life. It needn’t be an aspect of the process. I’ve had enough of that!)

dA Artist Hunt Update

Posted by Josh Wilkie ,
Uncategorized | Permalink | No Comments »


Happy Monday!

Did everyone have a terrific weekend?

WOW the initial response on our artist challenge has been HUGE! Thank you everyone who’s shown interest and enthusiasm, we’re as excited about this as you!

For our latest update on the coming Challenge I’d like to formally introduce our next two guest judges:

Terry Dodson (

Nei Ruffino (

Terry is one of the top artists in the world…want proof? Check out any stack of Marvel or DC comics from the last 15 years and see his name everywhere. Not convinced? Check out his amazing and best-selling work in the European market—you’ll thank us once you do.

Nei is a tremendously talented artist who’s work has graced many a cover over the years and also happens to be one of the most in-demand color artists in all of comicdom! She’s a true force to be reckon with!

As we wrap our update, let’s have a look at today’s character design reveal by It’s Fran’s beloved, custom-made pet Igor:


Meet the minds behind Fran Kenstein!

Posted by Josh Wilkie ,
Interview, News | Permalink | No Comments »


The countdown to Madefire’s Fran Kenstein Art Challenge continues with our latest update! Let’s meet the dynamic duo that hatched the original concept for our heroine!

First up—tell us a little about yourselves!

Liam My name is Liam Sharp ( and I’m a writer, artist, co-founder and CCO of Madefire, and Matylda ( is my preposterously talented eldest offspring.

Where did the concept come from? Was it reading the original novel or somewhere else…?

Liam Often, while I was working, Matylda would come and work in my old studio shed in Derby, and we would throw ideas around–particularly the strange roadkill dog-beast thing, Igor. She said what if a character could build her own boyfriend, but couldn’t get it right? And that was really the heart of the concept…

Why do you think the concept works so well when applied to teenagers in high school?

Matylda Well. Y’ know. Boys. Who wouldn’t want to fix them? Haha!

Matylda, the artist gene is strong within you—did you ever produce any early Fran designs yourself? Can we share them? Any plans to pursue a creative career? 

Matylda I did a few sketches but they are now lost in the abyss that is my unorganized mass of partially used sketchbooks!

And I would like to maybe go into children’s illustration or character design; they’re my two favourites at the moment. Though the dream would be to just draw animals for a living, haha!

I know you recently won an award in high school for art–tell us about that!

Matylda It was a complete surprise! I had been invited to an “honors circle” award thing at school, I knew I would be accepting a certificate for my scholarship at LCAD but I didn’t know anything about the other one (an art department award for fine art) so that was a really nice surprise! J

Liam, the creative blood runs deep in your family…we understand your father is quite an accomplished artist as well?

Liam He’s completely untrained but absolutely great in my opinion. There are things he can draw straight out of his head that blow my mind–buildings, boats, tiny specific details I wouldn’t even notice…He has his work up on a site here: It’s an epic piece feature 2000 nursery rhymes. Incredible!

Here come the judge(s)…

We’re really excited and fortunate to have a pretty killer group of judges lined up and we’re going to be revealing them every few days over the next week or so…but let’s kick off our announcement with a pair of incredibly talented creators:

Stanley “Artgerm” Lau (

Meago (

Stanley needs no real introduction as he just happens to be one of the most sought after creators in the world and his gallery on dA is gorgeous enough to blind the average human!

Just a glance at Meago’s gallery and you can see how gifted and creative she is–some truly remarkable work! Do yourself a favor and watch her IMMEDIATELY!

Welcome aboard, guys! The fun’s just beginning! 

Last but not least, today’s design by–Fran’s best friend and confidant, Kat:


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