About the artist
Tatiana Goldberg is the writer and artist behind the Kijara comic. She is an illustrator as well as a licensed psychologist and uses her skills in the creation of characters and stories.
Tatiana has created several short comics for various anthologies and comic projects. In 2014 her first solo comic was published in print, the psychological horror comic Anima from publishing house Tellerup. Anima was nominated for the Ping award for best Danish debut 2014 as well as shortlisted for the horror award for litterature 2014.
Tatiana also works in painting and illustration – among her works are wall designs for hairdresser Salon Lindholdt in Frederiksberg, visual material for the anger management project 'Diamantforløbet' by Rødovre Kommune sponsored by the Danish Crime Prevention Council, and book illustrations for the Danish version of the Norwegian bestselling fantasy trilogy Alfetegnet by Sigbjørn Mostue.
Tatiana lives near Hillerød, Denmark with her husband and their four daughters.
About the world of Kijara
The setting of the Kijara comic is a not-too-distant future, where the use of genetic modifications in human beings has become everyday practice. Modifications are used to get rid of heritable diseases and genetic faults, but also to give individuals certain appearances, skills or qualities.
The comic takes place in the European Union, mostly in Union City, the capital of the Union. It is an imaginary world, where the countries of Europe have assembled in a way similar to the real world United States. The EU of the Kijara comic has become a country of equal rights and welfare for all – at least on the outside. The reality of the Union is one of strict control and surveillance of all citizens. All citizens must have a registered social-ID. If they do not, they have no constitutional or statutory rights and cannot obtain education, medical service, housing, or work in the Union.
A large amount of the individuals without social-ID are what the Union refers to as “illegal GMI’s”. GMI’s are genetically modified individuals. There is very strict control and monitoring of genetic modification of human beings, but illegal clinics and covert projects are abundant throughout the Union.
To deal with the problem of illegal GMI’s, the Union has established P.U.R.G.E. PURGE stands for the Police Unit for Regulation of the Genetically Engineered. PURGE also deals with crime related to regular GMI’s, since some turn out to have exceptional powers, and a special skills unit is required to deal with these individuals.
Officially all illegal GMI’s captured by PURGE are terminated or assigned to be subjects of experimentation, but rumor has it that PURGE recruits some of the talented ones to be agents in the Unit.
Visual designThe inspiration for the environments in Kijara comes from both West- and East European architecture, culture and also ghettos. Especially East German Plattenbau (buildings constructed of prefabricated concrete slabs).
Union City is divided by expensive neighborhoods and business areas and concrete ghettos and districts dominated by a very high crime rate, as well as parts that are almost completely taken over by gangs and organized crime. A lot of the plot of the comic takes place in the bad neighborhoods – visually it’s often dark and always dirty, filled with trash and dominated by seedy establishments and derelict or damaged buildings or structures as well industrial areas.
About the comic
Kijara is a Danish ongoing comic series - an excerpt of the first album can be read here at kijara.com. The first album will be available in Danish from the publisher Comic Factory from February 25th 2017 and several more albums are underway.
The series consists of a continuous story about the world of Kijara and its characters, but also with separate story lines in each book. So far the general plot for several albums has been written down in order to make sure to create a consistent development over time in the main storyline as well as in the characters.
The creation of the comic
The Kijara comic project started in 2006, when I began working on some of the characters and the main events of the plot.
The project was at a standstill for a while, as I was busy with kids and studies and work, but in 2008 the first draft of the storyboard was written down.
I started sketching pages in 2009, but in 2011 the whole storyboard was completely redone to incorporate the development which the story and characters had undergone in the past 3 years.
Also the new storyboard is build more on an American trade paperback size than the old fashioned European format with large pages and a generous amount of comic frames per page.
In 2012 I started work on the new pages, but production rate was low due to the fact that I was simultaneously working on my psychological horror comic Anima.
In 2013 a steady page production has started up and designs, environments and characters have found their final form.
First ideas and descriptions for plot events are written down and puzzled together. Then small thumbs are created to plan the general layout of the pages and the storyline. The first version of the dialogue is often written down on or next to the thumbs.
Then larger storyboard pages are created. These pages are close to the size of the finished print pages. Modifications to the original ideas on the thumbs are done, and the dialogue is re-written.
The storyboard pages are used to plan the precise composition of the frames and the position of characters, items and speech bubbles. Simple drafts for backgrounds and elements around the characters are done.
Then work on the actual pencil sketch starts. The paper size is A2 (42 x 59,4 cm / 16,5 x 23,4 inches). First the layout of the frames is loosely sketched by hand, and when the proper placement and composition is found, the frames are drawn with rulers.
The action and characters are loosely sketched in the frames along with speech bubbles. Then everything is sketched properly, ready to ink.
Buildings and environments are very time-consuming to draw and are done with the assistance of large rulers and lots and lots of lines and calculations.
The inking is done with various tools – among other things Staedler pigment liners in various sizes, black copic markers with brush ends or regular tips, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens with brush tips and huge Molotow markers.
Pages are then scanned and assembled in Photoshop. They are too large to scan in one go.
After assembling the page, levels are adjusted to make clear black lines on white background. A lot of time is spent making small or large corrections to the line art, removing dust and smudges, etc.
When the line art is edited, digital coloring starts. Usually a color mood or theme is added as a background and all colors are adjusted to match. The coloring is done “beneath” the lines by using the “multiply” function in Photoshop. Finally shading and effects are added.
When text is added in the speech bubbles, the dialogue is quite often re-written for the third time.