Saturday AM: What inspired you to create Gunhild and her story?
Fred: I admire Saturday AM’s dedication to culture and diversity and so I wanted to create a story inspired by my own culture and experiences.
Saturday AM: How did your background and experiences influence the development of your characters and their world?
Fred: Growing up as an adopted kid in the outskirts of Denmark, I felt a certain otherness I’ve tried bringing to Gunhild and her story.
Saturday AM: Gunhild faces many challenges and opposition from those around her. Do you think her determination to follow her dreams despite the odds is an important message for readers?
Fred: Believe it! Gunhild’s unwavering attitude is inspired by Naruto, the guy who motivated child me to keep truckin’ come Hel or high water.
Saturday AM: How did you approach blending Norse mythology with manga-style artwork in your comic?
Fred: I allowed myself to go ham with the designs, they’re magic beings after all.
Saturday AM: Gunhild encounters many famous gods from Norse mythology in her journey. Which god was your favorite to include in the story and why?
Fred: Thor and Loki have the best (surviving) stories in Norse mythology, it’s not fair at all, and I had a blast creating my own versions of them, tho that goes for all the gods.
Saturday AM: Can you tell us about your creative process, from idea conception to finished product?
Fred: I start with a dream, imagining the story in my head. Then it turns into a puzzle when I’m script writing. I divide the script into pages and get the visual ideas on paper as quickly as possible, in thumbnails. Then I do the simplest sketches possible, which I call my layouts. On top, I sketch the necessary details and finally, I ink the whole shebang. I scan the pages and color, fill in blacks and letter digitally in Clip Studio Paint.
Saturday AM: What advice would you give to aspiring comic artists, particularly those who may feel discouraged by the industry or lack of support?
Fred: Don’t worry about it. If you want to make comics, just do it. Creating comics takes hard work and passion, double that if you want to do it professionally. That’s ok.
Saturday AM: How do you think your experience as a Danish manga artist sets you apart from other comic creators in the industry?
Fred: The comics community in Denmark is a small, tight knit and passionate community. I’ve got an international comics education at The Animation Workshop. I’m part of the art studio Gimle, a space I share with other great comics artists and I’m part of organizations; Dansk Tegneserieråd (Danish Comics Council) and Danske Tegneserieskabere (Danish Comics Creators) who’re working to better conditions for comic creators in Denmark.
Also being a Danish MANGA artist, is pretty unique in and of itself.
Saturday AM: Are there any upcoming projects or plans for Gunhild’s story that you can share with us?
Fred: Right now, I’m working on Gunhild Volume 2, in which we’ll meet the children of Loki.