Canaan White

Warren: Caanan, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I should probably open with how we met. Unless, of course, you remember?

Caanan: Well during my second time going to Wizard World – Chicago, I was sitting behind the Dabel Brothers booth and up walks a tall quiet stranger said “HEY BUDDY! Draw me some Art” (laughs) No, but I did a drawing for you.

Warren: Pretty good memory – I guess it’s not true what they say about artist types.

Caanan: (laughs)

Warren: The only part you forgot is I had you draw the piece because you were Caanan. I’d followed your work through digitalwebbing.com and of course, you being picked up on DB Pros book Ptolus. I was having a fan boy moment (smiles)

Caanan: (laughs) I won’t tell any one

Warren: Just did.

Caanan: oops

Warren: DB Pro is actually a major reason I went the direction in my writing that I ended up doing. How’d you get connected with their Ptolus project?

Caanan: wow.  Let’s see here. It began in like 2002 or 3, can’t exactly remember. I was drawing relentlessly, but felt I wasn’t really going anywhere.  Kind felt I’d hit a wall. I knew what I wanted to do, but it seems the entire world of comics was shut off to me. I didn’t know what I needed to do to even remotely begin pursuing this as a career.

Caanan: So sorta in limbo, I went to our local book store (Borader is the name) just looking at the latest comics and I would often look at Wizard Magazine. That day was no different so I thought, but little did I know this was gonna start an amazing journey. I opened the magazine and in the process of skimming through ran across an article that said “If you are REALLY serious about getting started in the comic business, keep reading”. And it opened my eyes to an entire world – the article gave links to websites such as pencil jack and digital webbing amongst others. This eventually led to finding Deviant Art.com.

Caanan: I started an account. Started posting. First one I did was Captain America. In the process, some one contacted me through one of the forums PM board (personal message board). They said your art is really good, but there are things you need to work on. I actually think it was Mike Miller (drew George R.R. Martin’s Hedge Knight comic book adaptation). At the time, he was working for Dabel Brothers Productions. And that was all I heard from them till 3 yrs later when Les Dabel contacted me and said they were interested in me doing a title.  They remembered me from those years back.

Caanan: From there, they began to send me character concepts based on an original story by Monte Cook, creator of the D&D franchise, and then the script and pages. It was an amazing experience to go through.

Caanan: Then the merger with Marvel opened my eyes to how big things can get, and how soon things can come to an end. Being behind the table was amazing – just to see how much people enjoy the comic book medium. There are things I wish went different, but I still gained a lot from the opportunity.

Caanan: Meeting the team (DB Pro) was awesome, particularly Ernst Dabel.

Warren: Ernst is a great guy – very well read and a gentleman.

Caanan: Yeah, I got to see his heart not just for the medium, but more so for God. That is what sealed it for me.  Even though things didn’t go as planed for them and Marvel, I knew I was connected with them for a reason. I knew that I’d be doing something else with them again.

Warren: And you are currently, correct?

Caanan: yes.

Warren: Can you share at least a little bit with the readers?

Caanan: Sure…well, I’ll give you the encrypted version. (Laughs) It’s a Novel to graphic Novel adaptation, as typically done by DB Publications. It’s the story of a man with a misplaced sense of who he is as he slowly gains knowledge of his life before a critical event that reshaped his entire life. During his struggle to gather insight as to his true nature, he runs into a power struggle which takes him to the vast reaches of the world, past and present. Now see, I just told you the entire story in coded lingo!  Ain’t it grand?

Warren: Can you tell the title of the novel and who wrote it? Or is that still a secret?

Caanan: Officially still under wraps due to not being revealed to the public yet. I wasn’t just blowing smoke to stump the readers.  This is the story.  But the title of it, you’ll have to see when it hits, but I think you’ll be pleased.

Caanan: I’m not supposed to say, but for you Warren I’ll tell ya it’s…

Warren: well? (More dead air) OK, if the reader wants to know that, they can go to DB Pro’s own website. This is about my stuff! (Laughs)

Caanan: (laughs) well said, Mister Fitzpatrick

Warren: We already touched on how we met. Going back to Wizard World in Chicago, do you remember what you’d illustrated for me that first meeting?

Caanan: I sure do, like yesterday

Warren: or 2 years ago (laughs)

Caanan: The lion warrior, garbed in a lion-esque tribal head dress, with spear in hand, pretty sure it was a spear.

Warren: sword

Caanan: yeah that’s what I said (laughs), a sword. He was ridding into battle. That was fun to draw

Warren: Great to look at. The reader’s would recognize that as the Pride. To my memory, I didn’t have anything planned with this illustration except to just have a character from the novel illustrated for my private collection. Given that I’d followed you, even contacting you to say that I enjoyed your work long before the Ptolus days, it was an exciting thing. For the illustration, I gave you next to no direction on that illustration – I just wanted you to draw something of mine.

Warren: A bit later, things changed, and the website idea became a serious plan.

Caanan: right

Warren: With the internet, a visual medium, I felt that the site needed artwork to compliment the story and other things I’d planned to do with the site. I contacted you to see if you’d remembered the “tall quiet man” and if you were interested, and you agreed. As I recall, that’s how our “professional relationship” happened.

Caanan: that is correct. I really got chance to talk with you over the phone on 3 different occasions, all of which were time well spent, man. Your ideas were very vivid and unique, a surreal world with a unique cast of characters. It was an honor to bring aspects of that world to life.

Warren: And you did well. Early on, I don’t really think I gave you much direction, but w/ quite a few of the illustrations, you knocked it outta the ballpark. What was your favorite illustration of the bunch you’d completed?

Caanan: 2 that I remember the most, well 3, was first the priest with the chrome mask.

Warren: Bel-Inguran.

Caanan: Yes, that’s him. He was my fav to draw. His entire look and feel was awesome – The Aztec runes.

Caanan: Second was the energy armor with the blade that was made of living light, especially after seeing it in color.

Warren: Jesse certainly did outdo himself on that one.

Caanan: yes he did

Warren: We’ll touch on Jesse’s work over your pencils a bit later.

Caanan: the most elaborate, and the 3rd one I recall, was the emperor sitting on the throne.

Warren: Varric

Caanan: Yes!  That entire scene was something out of the 10 commandments, the mix of cultures, almost like everything originated from this culture. The detail you wrote, Warren, made it easy to create that imagery, making it a reality.

Caanan: The most UNIQUE picture was the warrior with the parasitic armor! That was insane!

Warren: (laughs)

Caanan: When he was armored up, it was painfully amazing. I had never heard of a character like that before.

Warren: And that is, in many ways, also the hardest. I’ve had several artists attempt that, and another artist said he would illustrate the Macua-Chi and then bowed out. When you, and others, have illustrated Merach and/or the Macua-Chi, 1/2 of my readers loved it and the other 1/2 said that it wasn’t “quite right” How did you prepare for illustrating the Macua-Chi? To me, taking on such a task was pretty brave!

Caanan: Well, basing it off the reference of Michael Clarke Duncan you informed me of; I used his body type laying out his figure.

Warren: The body style for Merach really was spot on – I don’t care what anyone says (smiles)

Caanan: (laughs), well, thanks man. Then from there, I looked up the praying mantis and merged it with parts of an ant and altered bits and pieces to make it look unlike anything seen in nature, specifically the queen whom is embedded in Merach’s chest. From there, it was a matter of making the armor look organic, but still maintains a protective fortified quality.

Warren: The gauntlets must’ve been insane to draw

Caanan: (laughs) those and the shin guards. The most complex had to be his mask. At times, it began to resemble a Linebacker’s face mask.

Warren: Well, he was big like a football player.

Caanan: right. So, it was sorta fitting, but I still again wanted it to look different.

Warren: If you’re known for anything, it has to be your complexity and detail work. That certainly shined through on this piece.

Caanan: yeah.  Funny thing about that. I always purposely try to pull back on detail but it always comes out, well, detailed (laughs). Thing is with a character like that, if you drew them 100 times, it would come out different.

Warren: I’ve heard it said about Merach that – “this armor thing isn’t going to be in a comic, right? No one would do that!” Earlier, you mentioned Jesse’s color work over your pencils. How did that work for you? Was his color choice similar to what you’d have chosen?

Caanan: Well, I didn’t really see a specific color choice for any of the characters except what you informed me of, but I think his color choices were good. Kinda surprised me that the priest was of dark complexion. Why, I don’t know (laughs).

Warren: That color choice is purposeful, though it’ll only come out later in the novel. And since you won’t tell me (or my reader’s) what DB Pro book you’re working on, then I’ll keep my secret as well  (laughs)

Caanan: (laughs) well played. Maybe it might slip out during the interview….NOT! But yeah, your book is well thought out like nothing is in there with out a reason, even down to the art work

Warren: That’s really funny, in some ways though, because I didn’t give you much direction, at least at the time. If I could find my first draft where I describe the leader of the Dragon Kin’, when it came time to describe what he looked like, I had a note similar to… “Put this in after Caanan finishes his illustration”

Caanan: (laughs)

Warren: You truly influenced my work.

Caanan: Glad I could help.

Warren: And in many ways, I’d have to wager that Jesse’s colors helped your pencils pop even more.

Caanan: Oh yeah! The way he colored Gavial, the energy armored guy, making him appear of a mystic nature, was awesome – almost angelic.

A Knight of the Order of the Tome comes alive

Warren: That colored piece, in particular, has garnered a huge response from the readers. I wish I could take credit for the design, and though you told me that it was “vivid”, I never imagined how my words would look when illustrated by you and Jesse. One of my favorite sayings to the artists who blessed me with their labor was, “You’re the artist. Here’s what I’ve done in regard to descriptive work, but do what you do.” In many ways, you had more of a blank slate to work from, given that the novel wasn’t completed at the time, but I think I have done better at getting my ideas across since we worked together – much from what you taught me. How hard was it to work with me as a babe? (Laughs)

Caanan: (laughter) Warren, man you did fine; you really did.  Everything was pretty clear to me. Only time I ran into a snag, and it wasn’t you as much as it was just not being familiar with the flower on Varric’s clasp. But beyond that, it was smooth sailing.

Warren: Have you seen how that original illustration has been adjusted with Mandy Robert’s rendition?

Caanan: Yes, she is extraordinary.

Warren: That was another part of the world that you greatly influenced

Caanan: wow

Warren: The statair medallion carries over into several areas in the book

Caanan: Well, I humbly say thank you for the opportunity to be part of something very entertaining and I’m sure will turn heads

Warren: As I said, you’ve certainly influenced the work greatly. I know we need to wrap this up, but if I had one final question, it would be for you to tell the reader what you hope they get out of the work you did?

Caanan: Hmm…Bottom line to inspire… inspire and motivate them to stretch their imagination. Don’t be afraid to shake it up a bit, just allow your imagination to soar.

Caanan: And most of all… “Support Warren’s Book!  He Totally Rules!”

Warren: (laughs) Thanks for the vote of confidence and for taking the time to chat with me and my readers. As you always say, “Be blessed!”


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