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Illustrator of Fablewood

by Richard Vasseur - (Posted: 9/30/2007)

J.P. Ahonen

Richard: Where were you born and raised?

JP: I was born in Tampere, Finland, in 1981. Although I've lived here most of my life, I'd still say I was raised here and there. My family and I lived two years in Portugal when I was four to five years old and later on four years in the UAE when I was around ten. Since then I've lived in Florence, Italy and studied in the University of Lapland, which is at the Arctic Circle.

Richard: How did you first become interested in comics?

JP: I remember my dad reading them to me as bedtime stories. Usually some Disney comics, Donald Duck and all but also Asterix and Tin Tin and some European stuff. I never thought it'd end up as being my profession though, working in the comic business.

Richard: What is "the Druids"?

JP: The Druids is a fantasy comic in the making. It started out as a fantasy parody way back in 1999 but it has now evolved into something totally different. So far I've been writing the script for a longer story, nothing else basically. The title might change too, who knows, but one thing's for sure. It's a tale about a peculiar looking race whom have mystic powers and have for some reason ended up North. The longer tale tells the story how this all came to be. But so far I've done a few short stories which have given me the opportunity to test styles and techniques which will hopefully help me in the long run. You know, give me guidelines to how to tackle the longer story.

Richard: In Flight volume 4 you have a short story of the Druids, what is the plot?

JP: In fact I have a Druids short story in Fablewood, not in Flight. The same story, entitled Solace, was in fact intended for Flight volume 3, but due to hectic work schedules I had difficulties finishing the story. Therefore I ended up doing a different story, based on Northern Overexposure characters, for Flight Vol. 4 and putting Solace aside for Fablewood. My story for Flight Vol. 4 is entitled ...And Hope for the Best and deals with the fears and hopes people my age have about having children, parenting and such.

Richard: Why do you like to draw?

JP: Drawing gives me the opportunity to express myself, to create something new. I'm lousy with words, so I'd rather tell stories visually.

Richard: Do you enjoy drawing the comic strip "Northern Overexposure"?

JP: For sure. I don't think I would've done over 200 strips so far if I didn't like it. :) It's been a fun ride with NO so far, and I plan on continuing for a while still. Maybe somewhere around 300-500 strips.

Richard: How did you become involved with "The Fablewood Anthology?

JP: I received an email from William one day and I was just like, what's this then? I get excited about new projects really easily, so it wasn't that difficult to get me onboard Fablewood either.

Richard: What sort of story did you work on for it?

JP: Like I said earlier, I ended up finishing Solace for Fablewood. It's a story about a nine-year-old girl who is left orphaned when her parents pass away. Eleil, the protagonist, is left with her grandfather. Solace is about coping with loss, basically. It's been a while since I wrote and drew the story, but I'm still pretty satisfied with it.

Richard: What do you have planned for the future?

JP: Well right now I should be working on my story for Flight Vol. 5 and other projects. Hope I get the storyline for the longer Druids story done someday, and I'll be able to begin working on it. Right now it's just moving stuff around, erasing scenes, pure nonsense really. :D

Richard: How do you think independent comics compare to mainstream?

JP: I'm really glad indie comics are growing stronger now. I believe we need the best of both worlds to keep things evolving. Recently I've been reading more indie stuff than mainstream, but then again I've been surprised to find mainstream comics with good stories and a better attitude than a couple of years back. They're not necessarily just brainless superhero stories anymore.

Richard: What comics do you read now and did you as a child?

JP: As I child I read Donald Duck, Lucky Luke, Tin Tin, Asterix, Iznougud (hope I spelled it correctly), Transformers, GI Joe, etc. Now I've been reading Blacksad, Jason, Flight anthologies, Craig Thompson and etc.

Richard: How can someone contact you?

JP: Preferably via email. Both and work, so in case you have questions, suggestions, job offers, whatever, feel free to drop me a line.

Richard: Any final words of advice?

JP: Don't pee against the wind? Haha! None really...

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