AMA - Andy Ristaino

How are you?I am good. A little tired but doing well. excited about the future.What does a really great day look like for you?I don't know. Since the pandemics hit everything has kinda blended into one another. I guess at the moment a great day is a real day off where I'm just relaxing and enjoying time with loved ones.What are you listening to at the moment?I'm kinda all over the place as far as what I'm listening to. I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks while I work. my current podcast binge was all of Jon Ronson's Things Fell Apart. On the audiobook front I just finished listening to the final book in the James S. A. Corey's Expanse series Leviathan Falls. I've also been listening to a lot of records lately. Some recent finds that i've been digging are Unicorn's Too Many Crooks, Rico Rodriguez's Man from Wareika and Herbie Hancock and Foday Musa Suso's Village life. I highly recommend all of them.Which author had the greatest impact on you growing up?It's tough to say. Books maybe Tolkien or Roald Dahl. Comics wise, Chris Clairmont's X-men run, Katsuhiro Otomo, Bill Watterson.Is there anything you took away from previous projects that has significantly impacted how you approach your work?I think from working too many terrible jobs, I've always found it's good to be as organized and prepared for a job. Set manageable deadlines, even if you are working several jobs at once. Don't kill yourself over work, make sure you are getting a good amount of sleep and taking breaks. You will make better work and have better focus.What is a theremin? Is there a relationship for you between drawing and music?A theremin is an electronic instrument invented in 1928 that can be played without touching it. It's usually composed of two antennas, one controls volume and one controls pitch. if you wave your hands around within the control field of the antennas you can create all manner of outer space noises, or if you practice enough, music.

As far as a relationship between drawing and music, sure i think so. I look at them as just being different mediums with a lot of the same basic elements. Rhythm, composition, attack, are all terms that could apply to both mediums.With The Babysitter, Escape from Dullsville and Night of the Living Vidiots you’ve probably produced some of the most original and mind bending comics ever put to print. Does great work arrive from chaos?Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't. For me, creating work from chaos was just how I needed to work to understand the medium of comics. Experimenting and exploring the boundaries of making something that will still be readable to find out what works and what doesn't. If you read those books in order of when they were published you can definitely see me exploring learning and growing as a comics creator. Night of the living Vidiots is more of an attempt to take what I learned from the Babysitter and Escape from Dullsville and make something more palatable and easy to read.What’s your favorite John Carpenter movie?I love a lot of John Carpenter's early work so my favorites change from time to time but I think my consistent two favorites are Big Trouble in Little China and They Live.What do you think about Edenhorde's finished result?I'm extremely happy with how things turned out. It took a bit longer than expected to create the artwork but I think we ended up with something I feel is really interesting and innovative.How did you find the experience of working on a generative project like this? Are there interesting constraints?It was an interesting experience. I am pretty new to the NFT space and market, so I just approached it as an avatar generation experience, if that makes any sense. I tried to design interesting props and outfits that would work well together in any combination. I love the challenges these sorts of constraints make on a project.Do you think technology is giving greater freedom to comic book artists?Yes. I think it's given every artist a platform. before it could be hard to find a publisher, but now you don't even need one, you can just build up a following online, plus there's so much more you can do with the canvas of the web in terms of composition and page size.What happens to traditional comics in the age of digital ownership? Do you feel optimistic about the future?I don't think traditional comics are going anywhere. The people who love comics will keep making them and reading them and keep innovating, plus there are some areas of the comics market like the young adult reading market where comics are doing amazing.

Questions from the Community

Are you aware of the trait specific sub-communities that are forming? For example, the Larrik fisherman and Mushroom cap Babbu. Did you ever envision sub-communities forming around single traits of your artwork?No, i had no idea that would happen. Edenhorde is my first experience diving into NFT's in general, so all of this is new to me. I thought it was a pretty interesting approach to create 4 tribes and a story around those tribes. I'm interested to see how the culture of people collecting and following Edenhorde influences the development of the whole thing.What was your experience like working with the team? Is it different from a studio production?I've worked a lot of jobs on a lot of different productions. This job was set up more like a normal freelance gig (with some exceptions) rather than like working on a big studio production. NDX was my point person on the project, so most of my contact with Merit Circle was with him. He was great to work with.

Aside from a few parameters in the beginning. They pretty much let me do what I wanted illustration wise. I came up with a bunch of different faction ideas, general body shapes, and facial expressions and they picked their favorites. We decided on four factions that would be different enough from each but still work together well. A set of expressions that would be friendly or mischievous. and body shapes that were different enough that each faction would be identifiable just from their profile. Then it came time to design what each faction was wearing and what sort of culture they came from. They just let me do whatever I wanted.

It was a pretty amazing and unique experience as far as I've had working with clients. usually clients tell you they want to hire you because they love your work and want you to create some of it for them, but it ends up being they love your work but they have very specific things they want you to draw in a very specific way, but they don't know what that look like and it usually ends up being nothing like your own personal work. This job was very different in that respect. They let me do what I want, and pursue ideas and whims that I came up with during the process of creation. The only other job I've had that gave me that much freedom was early on in Adventure Time, I think the results speak for themselves. I think if you let an artist do their thing and don't interfere with the creativity you will end up with a much more interesting and unique result and get better work from the artist.What was the most fun tribe to design and why was it Babbumatta?Trying to trick me, eh. They were all pretty fun to do. each had great aspects to them. I loved designing the Oru's facial expressions. Designing the Babbumatta plant technology and Spirit Animals were really fun (they were initially my favorite to draw.) Coming up with cultural habits for the Gadirans, like having a race of amphibians wear fancy wigs. But the one that surprised me the most were the Larricks. They were the last faction I drew but I think the post apocalyptic scavenger tribal nature of the culture ended up being the most original and daring as far as how all their pieces came together when randomized.Hi Andy! What’s one thing you could tell your younger self that could pivot where you are now in a positive way?I wish I knew how much my time was worth and what to charge for my work. I am still struggling to figure this out. I wish I had a chance to study storyboarding and animation more before doing those jobs. a lot of times you get thrown into a job and have to figure it out while doing it. you learn a lot quickly if this happens but sometimes you can learn bad habits.Which tribe do you resonate with most and why?I think the tribe I resonate the most with is the Babbumatta because of their affinity with plants. I think they are the ones I would most desire to be a part of.Are there any Easter eggs from your previous works in Edenhorde?Haha, I can't think of any off the top of my head, but maybe unintentionally.