Creating comics is often a collaborative process between writer and artist – marrying words with eye-catching artwork to tell a compelling – and often fantastical – story.
In years gone by these stories would be created by people working in the same studio at adjoining desks, but all that has changed with the advent of the internet.
Now, thanks to online working, artists and writers who live in different parts of the world can collaborate in ways that would have been impossible just a short time ago.
Hull artist Gareth Sleightholme uses his ultrafast Lightstream broadband connection to share documents instantly, making it possible to work quickly and productively online.
“I started off traditionally, working pencils on paper but more and more my process has become digital,” says Gareth, a comic fan from childhood who started creating his own books in 2009 after encouragement from his fiancée Sarah.
He took the Batman-esque leap to become a fulltime freelance comic artist last year and now works from home in Hull city centre and showcases his work, featuring “monsters - and those who hunt monsters”, on his website Iron Shod Ape Comics.
“With the indie comics community a lot of us got to meet each other online,” he says. “There are Facebook groups for people like me doing indie comics. There’s a real sense of community out there.
“It was through these groups that Rob Jones from Madius Comics contacted me. He said he’d seen some of my Viking comic book illustrations and said ‘do you want to make a comic?’
“We to-ed and fro-ed the script online, sending that via email, then I started to send through artwork using things like Google Drive. It means there’s this constant flow of traffic of visual and written work – and it’s right there when you need it.
“We created the books, we sent them off to the printers and only met for the first time when the books were on the table. We hadn’t met each other before that. The whole collaboration was done online.
“We could do it by post but it would take forever – especially when it comes to making amendments.
“Having Lightstream basically allows us to do that work very quickly. When you’re working constantly you really need that speed of connectivity. It’s great to have it there whether I’m at my drawing board, sitting on the sofa or even outside.”