Madefire Press


dA Artist Hunt Update

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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 ,
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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:


Fireside Q&A session with MONO: Pacific creators Brian Wood and Sergio Sandoval on their experience with Motion Books and the direction of storytelling

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In celebration of the highly-anticipated release of MONO: Pacific #1 yesterday, we sat down with the creators to ask them a few questions…or as we like to call it…“The Madefire Five”!

First up, we have best-selling writer Brian Wood! You might know him from writing some of the industries most acclaimed titles over the last several years–X-Men, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian and his epic creator-owned series The Massive.

1) How familiar were you with Madefire before being approached to write MONO: Pacific? Were you a fan of their “Motion Book” format?

Truthfully, if I had to pick a side, I’d say I was a print book guy since that’s my background, and I even took several classes in college on traditional book binding, and I’m pretty nerdy about it all.  That said, when Madefire launched I was really impressed with both the tools and methods they use, and the caliber of talent supporting and using it.  I’ve had a few conversations with Ben Abernathy, my editor on Mono and on some older Wildstorm projects, and I knew I’d write something for Madefire someday.  Mono is, I’m sure, just the first of many.  It’s cool that after 15 years of writing traditional print comics, there’s something new, format-wise, to play around with.

2) As a writer, approaching something like a Motion Book that includes limited motion and sound, did you find a learning curve in the final script execution?

As a writer, not so much.  I still approached the script with the print thing in mind, meaning panels and pages, but because I knew this would be executed differently, I had to make sure each panel has its own discrete moment.  I began to imagine film stills or storyboards rather than comic book panels, and that helped.  I could make suggestions about transition effects and audio elements (music, sounds), which was fun.  I imagine the curve for the artist was much greater, though.  I give the team a lot of respect for doing such a great job.

3) Mono is a character with less of an established history than, say, Star Wars, so did that provide any unique advantages in approaching the character/story? And was working on a WW2-era story of any particular interest? (As was this the first story you’re worked on set during the era?)

It’s the first, absolutely.  Like most people, I’ve seen the movies and tv (Band Of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan) and the games (early Call Of Duty) so its not an unfamiliar thing to approach.  I had enough background knowledge to carry it off.  This story is obviously fantastical in many areas, pulpy in others, and I think one of the early notes I got was to think of Mono as a James Bond type.  That’s all a lot of cool genre elements to fit together.  It was a lot of fun to write.

4) With hardware advances in mobile devices and the explosive growth of digital comics what do you think the future of the comic book medium is?

Like a lot of people, I tend to look at music as an indicator or even a guide at times.  Music remains basically the same, meaning the content, the actual sound of it.  But the business changed and is changing, the formats and marketing is doing the same, and so is the money.  Some people resist, others embrace and experiment.  I think the same thing is happening in comics and I’m enjoying seeing the evolution.  I also like the resurgent vinyl market in music and I hope the same happens for comics, that even when it goes mostly digital, there is enough demand for beautiful print books to still exist for those that want that.

5) Hopefully we’ll see you working for Madefire again…in the meantime what do you have on the horizon?

After so many years of working on licensed books like Star Wars, X-Men, and Conan The Barbarian, I’m headed back to do a whole slew of creator-owned work.  I’ve been in comics 15 years, and the first 13 were almost entirely creator-owned.  Going back to what I know best!

Thanks, Brian! Excited to give this series a read!

Next, we have the insanely talented Sergio Sandoval—who’s work has graced the pages of everything from video game-based comics Uncharted and Deus Ex to some character named Batman! He was asked the same five questions:

1) How familiar were you with Madefire before being approached to draw MONO: Pacific? Were you a fan of their “Motion Book” format?

I heard about Madefire because Ben Abernathy (my editor at DC Comics) had gone to work for them…I surfed a bit on their official website and I saw that Madefire had launched a very fresh and original concept. Then, I saw a promotion of the first MONO series and I really enjoyed the new motion book format.

2) As an artist, approaching something like a Motion Book that includes limited motion and sound, what was the learning curve from a storytelling perspective?

This is a very good question because I have had to work hard with the storytelling: It has been a great challenge. I know I could have better utilized the resources that Madefire offers me but I’m still learning about all the possibilities that this new format provides to exploit it to the fullest. Best of all it’s still an unspoiled territory within storytelling.

3) Mono is a character with less of an established history than, say, Batman, so did that provide any unique advantages in approaching the character/story? And was working on a WW2-era story of any particular interest?

Working in characters with not much established history is nice because they are subject to fewer rules. Also, I have had a lot of liberty and I have been able to make my own version of MONO.

As for drawing a comic book set in WWII…who doesn’t like to do it???? It was a big challenge of setting and reference but, thanks to Ben, I was able to do my best.

4) With hardware advances in mobile devices and the explosive growth of digital comics what do you think the future of the comic book medium is?

I imagine that in the future there will still be digital and print comic book buyers. Both formats offer different things. The collectors (what a lot of the comic book readers are) will always want to have in their possession the object…to touch it, smell it and save it as a treasure…it’s a fetish and of great value.

On the other hand, Madefire is proving that a digital system can offer much more than classic print comic books…It’s war!!

5) Hopefully we’ll see you working for Madefire again…in the meantime what do you have on the horizon?

Madefire has treated me divinely, they have allowed me to work with comfortable deadlines and that will be reflected in the pages. They have also permitted me pampering the details and doing things to my liking and for me that has no price. I like to enjoy my work.

My intention is to keep working for Madefire, I will always be with those who care about me. In return, I’m going to give 200% of my ability. I have some outstanding projects that are waiting to be continued such as a medieval fantasy comic book, a graphic novel of science-fiction and other works that I hope will realize soon.

Thanks, Sergio! We can definitely see the effort and work you put into a fantastic first episode…we can’t wait to read episode two on 9/4!



We’re Hiring…Sort of…

Posted by Josh Wilkie ,
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web-visual_masthead_v2-081914 copy

Artist Challenge!

For Madefire’s last artist hunt on deviantART, waaaay back in 2012, our goal was to simply find a great artist to draw a monster story that our CCO, Liam Sharp, had written. And to say we were really pleased with the results is an understatement — not only did we have dozens upon dozens of remarkable submissions, we found a truly amazing creator who’s gone on to produce a number of stories for us. Here’s the episode that came about from that contest:


This time around, however, we want to make it a bigger, more involved challenge — and a challenge it’ll be! Like before, the winner will get a paid Motion Book gig through Madefire; but rather than simply sending us your existing samples, we’d like you to take the initiative and show us how YOU would approach the story and characters. We’ll provide the script page, character designs and the deadline and we want to see your take on the characters and world — in whatever your style is as we don’t have a specific “look” in mind (so, while the character designs are gorgeous they’re NOT the desired style per se). Additionally, we’ve enlisted an eclectic, star-studded group of guest judges that will be helping us find a winner as well as giving all sorts of advice and pointers on creativity, business, etc. We’re hoping as many deviants as possible will participate!

Stay tuned and watch this space as the countdown for the challenge begins NOW! Over the next 13 days we’ll be announcing our guest judges, running some interviews with the creators, the writer, and character designer for… Fran Kenstein!

It’s going to be a lot of fun!



The Concept

Fran Kenstein
Fran doesn’t like the boys at her high school. 
The brainy ones are too weedy. 
The sporty ones are too dumb. 
The attractive ones are too self-obsessed.
Fran decides it’s time to build herself the perfect boyfriend…


Initial Fran Design
(by Gilang Andrian)
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