“This world really pushes the boundaries over the top to a bit more of a whimsical level” Curtis Clow talks world building in Slight Exaggerated

We discovered the work of writer Curtis Clow earlier this year, thanks to fantastic books like Wild Cosmos and Beastlands. So we were delighted to see him return to Kickstarter with perhaps is most ambitious book yet – the gorgeous looking Slightly Exagerated. We caught up with Curtis to find out the secret of great world building and good crowd funding!

Your new book Slightly Exaggerated is now funding on Kickstarter – it looks like a really ambitious and gorgeous story about a female adventurer – can you tell us a bit about the story and also the inspiration for it?

Curtis Clow: Slightly Exaggerated starts with my love for fantasy. And this world really pushes those boundaries over the top to a bit more of a whimsical level. But on a deeper note I wanted to set up a world where religion is law. Where life won’t be easy if you don’t fit into everyone’s expectations. I tackle a lot more mature subjects and themes in this story like dying, religion, leaving a legacy and questioning what you’ve been told. That’s all stuff that I’ve pondered my whole life, so it’s really important to me to try to write about that stuff in a story.

The book is set in a really magical looking world full of incredible creatures and landscapes, do you enjoy the process of planning these intricate worlds and how meticulous are you in terms of creating those worlds and the society and culture around it?

CC: World building is a blast! Coming up with creatures can be a lot of fun. It’s just important to make sure it fits the world/story. In Beastlands all the creatures are based off real world animals, for that more realistic medieval world. But for the whimsical world of Slightly Exaggerated, we could really go crazy. Flying sea creatures, talking animals and lots of other fun to be seen stuff! Coming up with the actual society and culture can be a bit harder. But luckily we have tons of human history to research for inspiration. Making up the religions that run the world of Slightly Exaggerated was a lot of fun fleshing out the details.

Can you tell us a bit about how you connected with artist Pius Bak – did you pitch the work to them or did you always have them in mind?

CC: Yes! I’ve been wanting to work with Pius for along time now. Luckily he’s not too big to work with me, yet haha. We found a gap in his schedule and got to work on Slightly Exaggerated. I had originally pitched him the idea a while ago, but he’d been busy. I work really well with him and would love to do more stories with him!

Your books all seem to have a very detailed and intricate Asian inspired style, is that an intentional thing or just a reflection of the kind of books and artists you like?

CC: I think that’s just a reflection of the books and artists I like. Jo, the artist on Beastlands, is based out of South Korea. Pius on the other hand is from Lithuania. I grew up watching Studio Ghibli films and other anime shows and films. So my love for those will naturally bleed into my storytelling and work.

The book has a really vintage feel to it, especially with the wonderful colours. Did you intend for that from the start or is that something the artist brought to the table?

CC: Yup, that’s all Pius’ style! That’s one of the reasons he’s one of my favorite artists. It’s a very unique and original style. I wanted to write a story that would fit his style perfectly. He’s even doing the SFX in the book to give it a more natural and vintage feel.

We’ve been big fans of your work since we discovered Wild Cosmos and Beastlands, how do you think your writing has developed as a result of producing those books?

CC: Thank you! I think (and hope) my writing is improving with each new series I write and even every new issue. I think if you love something and keep practicing, you’re going to improve at your craft. Plus I read and study other comics in my free time and read some writing books. I’m always trying to improve my craft intentionally, but I’m sure it’ll happen naturally over the years of practice too.

You’re a regular on Kickstarter, so how important is crowd funding for getting your work out there to a wider audience? And just financing it in general?

CC: I wouldn’t be able to make comics without crowdfunding. It’s the reason I’m a comic writer. You can find a loyal base of fans on Kickstarter. That’s been huge for me. Fans that have jumped from backing Wild Cosmos, to Beastlands, to now Slightly Exaggerated. I can’t thank them enough. Making comics is expensive, but Kickstarter makes it possible.

And finally, will Slightly Exaggerated be a one shot or is it part of a wider series and world? And once it is done, what is next for you?

CC: Slightly Exaggerated will be a mini series. That’s all Pius will have time for and that’s what I’ve outlined the story for. We still have more issues of Wild Cosmos and Beastlands coming down the line. Besides that there’s always new series being developed in the background the the future!

You can back Slightly Exaggerated on Kickstarter here (as well as pick up copies of Beastlands and Wild Cosmos)