Hey, folks! Five Questions returns with an interview with the TG author and comics creator cblack, which many of you will know from his prolific production at TGComics! I am a huge fan myself, and want to thank CBlack for taking the time! Enjoy, all!
1. What are your top three TG experiences in terms of books, films, videos, songs?
#1— Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde. I saw this on late night TV when I was a teenager and was hooked. I’d never seen anything like it before and the images of Ralph Bates turning into Martine Bestwick and then feeling herself up still gets a rise out of me.
#2—I Will Fear No Evil, by Robert Heinlein. I read this in college, and re-read it, and re-read it, and re-read it… You get the idea.
#3 — Frankenstein Created Woman. Somebody at Hammer Studios must really like me! 😉
2. Why does the theme of TG interest you as an artist?
Good question, because I’m not so sure of the answer myself. I’m not TG myself or even gay (of course I can immediately hear readers going, “Yeah, sure you’re not! Denial!!”), but human metamorphosis has always intrigued me. Originally, it was movies and comics where a plain girl transformed into a stunning, sexual beauty. (The classic Cinderella-syndrome.) But that eventually evolved into a deep fascination with men morphing into stunning, sexual beauties. Artistically, creating the changing men and then presenting the final woman in various sexual and social situation is where I get the bulk of my fulfillment.
3. As a follow-up to the second question, I feel you as much as any artist have explored a wide range of different kinds of TG themes. Can you talk about why you feel you have looked at so many different aspects of the TG world and if any particular themes interest you more than others?
I mostly try and explore different TG themes to keep my comics fresh and different. I don’t want them all to rehash the same thing over and over but just with different characters in different settings. I don’t know if I have a favorite theme, but most readers would recognize that a lot of my comics take place in a college setting. That’s probably because I spent a LOT of time in college (I refuse to say exactly how many years) and my experiences there still influence me today.
But, as I’ve written more and more situations regarding the TG community, I always do research and try to incorporate as much factual information as possible (as factual as you can be when a truck accident causes a jock to turn into a hot coed). This research has allowed me to learn a great deal about the community and develop a deep respect for those in it and what they have to deal with.
4. Can you talk about your journey as an artist? Who were your influences? What was the process like for you in terms of reaching the point where you felt ready to put your work out there for the world to see?
I think my first foray’s into TG art were in High School when I was copying (tracing) images of sexy women from comics. (I had to trace because my hand-drawn artistic skills are abysmal!) I then started to “reverse engineer” the drawings to make them more masculine so I could reverse it and eventually see the F —> M progression I wanted.
My computer-based interest started with basic programs that morphed images into one another. (I can’t remember the name of the one I used, but I still see others using it today.) When I discovered Poser (I think it was Poser 4 at the time), I was like, “Oh My God! This is the coolest thing ever!!” I’m now using Poser Pro 2014 (and sometimes Carrara) to do my work. If you could see the comparisons of my early works to current ones, you can really tell the difference in the programs evolution, as well as mine.
My biggest influence in the TG community online was obviously Mako. I don’t remember exactly how we connected, but she had established the Siren Song website and allowed me to put my work up there along with hers. We then started collaborating on a few things. Mako also introduced me to Second Life where she had a whole island dedicated to the Siren Song world. Being able to live in SL as a woman was a very eye-opening experience, to say the least!
5. What has been the most positive aspect of publishing your work?
It’s got to be the number of people who are reading my works and their feedback. When Femur first asked me if we could start publishing my comics, I had no idea there would be so much response. I guess I just never realized how widespread the TG community (or those who just like reading about it) was.
I guess I also can’t ignore the fact that my income from the sale of the comics has also been beneficial… in paying off my student loans from all that damn college! 😉
6. What’s coming up next? Let’s hear about your next projects!
I’ve been working on my next project since right after “College Life” came out. Since I started doing this, I can’t seem to stop. As soon as I finish one project, I start fiddling around with images until I get an idea for a new project. This project is tentatively titled, “SuperEgo” and takes place in a (Surprise!!) college setting. As the title implies, it’s a little more psychological in nature than some of my other works. It’s currently at about 1200 images and I still have at least one more chapter to go. I hope to have it out by spring (my real-life and Femur’s schedule pending).
CBlack! You are the best! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. Can’t wait to read your next one!