Mar 23 Mar 23 Toma Alexandru Omule Illustrations, Interviews Website | ComicsSketch Show | Podcast Omule : Hi Toma ! What was the first reference when you started? Toma : Hey man! I didn’t have any references, I started when I was very young (3-4 years old). At that age all kids start exploring drawing. I just loved it more than others and stuck with it. My grandfather on my mother’s side was an architect and a very talented artist, but I discovered that later. Omule : Where do you get your inspiration from? Toma : From the crushed souls of my enemies. But seriously, nowhere. I just work a lot, and by doing a ton of stupid ideas, you eventually stumble upon a not so stupid one. I don’t believe in inspiration. For me it’s a fact that if I don’t produce the ideas that pop into my head, very few new ones show up, but when i do get them out into the world on a regular basis, a flood of creative thoughts comes pouring in. Omule : How would you describe your style? Toma : Growing at the moment. Clean maybe. Lazy sometimes. Omule : What is your favourite kind of project? Toma : A new one which I’ve not done before, but which requires me to be creative somehow. And which pays a ton of money. I love those kind of projects. Omule : What is your ideal creative environment? Toma : Depends on the task, but usually alone in silence. Any distraction makes me less productive. Brainstorms are also fun sometimes, but when it comes to doing the actual final work, definitely alone. But ironically, in a busy place, like the city. I couldn’t spend my days in the mountains in silence working - I need to feel connected. Omule : Do you have any favourite artists from your industry? Toma : I have a bunch. I’ll name a few - Moebius - Roger Dean - Scott Robertson - Feng Zhu - Matty - Kazu Kibuishi - Chris Ware - Simon Stålenhag Omule : Would you like to collaborate with someone from your industry? Toma : Honestly no. I don’t think I could improve the work of the people I admire, and I see little reason to work with people I don’t admire. Omule : Do you have any kind of creative patterns and routines ? Toma : Charging my iPad I guess. Otherwise not much. I like my coffee in the morning even though I don’t need it. Also, not sure if it’s routine or pattern, but lately I’ve been relying more and more on research at the start of a project - younger me mistook that for cheating and avoided it. I used to think I can have ideas in a void, just from my brain. I can’t. Omule : What do you like to do in your free time ? Toma : Find other projects to work on. I have very little free time, but I don’t think of it that way - for me, time working on a project I love is not busy or wasted time. I enjoy it more than having “free” time. If I do feel burned out and need to clear my head for a few days, I don’t do much and I don’t spend that time wisely - I usually binge watch something and eat ice cream. Coffee Haagen Dazs OMG! Omule : What kind of books and movies do you like? Toma : Science fiction are by far my favorite. A friend once described this genre as the only writing style which comes up with new ideas never heard before. I tend to agree and I enjoy sci-fi very much. I also read more and more non-fiction and have read a few amazing books there as well. Thirdly I enjoy humor books - Jerome K Jerome, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchet.As for movies, sci fi is king here as well, but I do tend to watch a lot of action movies when I’m working on something that doesn’t require a lot of creative thinking . Omule : Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? Toma : A bunch of people that have to cancel because something came up. I don’t like parties or social gatherings, but planning one and then having everyone cancel? That would be amazing.To answer the real question I guess you’re asking - I’d love to have a conversation with Stewart Lee. Omule : What would be a great achievement for you? Toma : Creating a story that becomes popular world-wide but which is in no way a compromise of anything I have to say or in which I believe. Whether it’s a graphic novel, a book or a standup bit - I want to be famous for doing exactly what I wanted without any input from anyone. And rich. Omule : Favorite place to go on a holiday. Toma : Not big on travelling. I like having traveled, if that makes sense. I like being there for short periods of time, and I love coming back home, but I love not going anywhere even more. If I’d have to pick a place I really enjoyed from all the very few places I’ve seen so far, I’d say from Romania - Sinaia, and from abroad Palo Alto, CA, US. Omule : Five things you can’t live without. Toma : A good comfortable pair of shoes, chocolate, my metal watch, the human nervous system and mayonnaise. Omule : What superpower would you like to have and why? Toma : You know the awkward feeling you get in a small elevator when someone else gets in and you have to avoid their look? I’d love to be able to recreate that at any time. Omule : Congratulations for Paul’s album cover ! What kind of tools do you use in your daily work? Is the Ipad the only one ? Toma : Thank you! These days yes, I mostly use the iPad Pro with the pencil. I’ve been reluctant to get it because of the price and because I was a Wacom fan-boy, but it’s amazing. Over the years I’ve tried pencils, inks, felt pens, paint brushes, graphic tablets but the iPad trumps all in terms of being a kind of all-tools-in-one, meaning I can sketch, draw the final artwork, add text, effects, layout and even publish comics directly. Being able to zoom in and watch porn on it is definitely a plus compared to a regular paper notebook, in which I have to get physically closer to the page, and draw my own porn. Omule : I follow your Youtube channel and your podcast . Synchronising your free time with Sergiu is the hardest thing to do in order to be consistent ? Toma : Definitely. He also has a kid and that’s pretty important it seems. He lives in Voluntari, so he has to get to the city by boat or donkeys I think, which also takes a lot of time. Omule : I know you as a standup comedian first of all . I know you have more than 10 years experience in this industry . What are your favourite moments so far ? Toma : I have a lot of things I remember fondly over the years. To name a few: - the night I won the Comedy Store standup contest while on vacation there. It was surreal, it was my first time doing standup in english and I won competing against 26 other people, mostly native speakers. - being contacted by Comedy Central several times to attend the standup tv series they created, and eventually getting to be part of the team that made Show de Seara on the same channel - most recently, doing standup in front of 4000+ people at Sala Palatului as an opening act for Teo Vio & Costel - doing a show in the second year of being a comedian in front of only 3 people. I was part of a comedy group performing there, which had a lineup of 5 comedians. It was the only show where there were more people on stage than in the audience. Omule : Is ‘Show de seara’ one of your favourite projects ? Would you like to build something new with your colleagues? Maybe a new format ? Or a totally new kind of tv / online show ? Toma : SDS is definitely one of my favorite projects since it involved a lot of great people (and Cristi Popesco), but mostly because it was something completely new which none of us had done before and we managed to do it pretty well. There’s still a lot to improve so it was actually useful to start with a known format, with just one show per week and as part of a smaller TV station, since there was less pressure. I am working with the people in the SDS team on several other projects so don’t nobody go nowhere.A totally new kind of show is very ambitious, I’d say first we need to get very good at creating existing formats. But if we do get a crazy idea, who knows? Drugs are getting cheaper every day, so we may come up with a new thing any day now. Omule : I also found out from your podcast that you like programming . What do you like the most about this industry ? Toma : I’m not really “in” the industry. I program mostly for fun. I think it’s a great way to stay sharp and to constantly use your brain to solve problems. I also have ideas for games and would like to bring them to life in a very specific way, so I like having the creative control this skill offers. Omule : You have also drawn a bunch of comics people can buy from you website . Do you plan to draw new ones? Toma : I do, I have several in the works. I also plan on a longer graphic novel. The 4 main comic books I’ve published so far have been compilations of comics posted online on our website . Since I’ve not been posting there regularly in the past year, the progress on the 5th book has slowed a lot. Omule : Thanks !