A Group of Friends Team Up to Stop a Dangerous Cult – Wardens Of Espora

Nigel Knee was born and raised in Canada. He is a lover of visual arts, and is an art hobbyist himself! He is the creator of Wardens of Espora (Alternatively just ‘Wardens’)

Synopsis: When a dangerous cult emerges out of nowhere and causes destruction, Espora’s government fails to take the threat seriously. Dr. Tence Falgrave takes it upon himself to take the group down, forming a team of his friends and a temperamental hunter named Drake Drifter.

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
Fantasy: I think the limitless nature of fantasy is what draws me in. The possibilities for adventure are endless, as are the types of characters you may stumble upon and fall in love with.

Are there any other genres that apply to your comic?
Action is definitely the second main genre. There are hints of comedy and drama all around!

What was your inspiration for the story?
I was really deep into playing Final Fantasy VI when I was creating Wardens of Espora’s earliest drafts, so a lot of story influence came from there. Though, 1960’s culture played a big role in the setting and design of characters.

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
Igusa Matsuyama and Akira Toriyama.

How long does it take you to complete one page?
Approximately 5 – 8 uninterrupted hours.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
I primarily use Paint Tool Sai, however when making changes to the file resolution I use Photoshop. Lately, I’ve been using Photoshop instead of Sai for making some of the visual effects, like magic or the written sound effects. Helps give it that extra ‘POP!’

Is your comic a finished work? If not, how long do you think you think it’s going to be when it’s complete? Is there a definitive ending or will you just keep going for as long as possible?
‘Wardens of Espora’ is not currently finished however there is a definitive ending! If things go right and there aren’t too many more delaying factors in my life, we can probably expect the saga to conclude in 2.5 – 3 years.

How many pages do you have complete at the moment?
Well over 500! The story is divided into arcs, and I am currently on the third major story arc!

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
Oh my, this is a weird question to answer. Originally, Wardens of Espora started as an RPG Maker game I started making in 2012. I eventually decided the story was better fit for a webcomic when the game was pretty much completed. I suppose you can consider 2012-2014 the planning stage as many story elements were changed, since some narrative liberties you can do in a game do not translate well into comic.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making your comic? If you could go back in time to the point where you just started making it and give yourself a pep talk, what would you say?
Constantly improving my art is the biggest long-running hurdle. However, if I have to choose one that I’ve overcome already, it’d be adapting what was once a RPG game into a comic format. Without delving into specifics, there were certain things that would slide in a game that wouldn’t in a comic (like say, a magical warp back home). I’ve had to go to some pretty comedic lengths to make certain story elements work in comic form. That being said, I think it all came together quite well and I wouldn’t have the story play out any other way now!

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
Something about seeing scenes and characters in your head come to life on digital paper is absurdly satisfying! Literally, your (day)dreams are coming true and now it can be shared with the world!

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
The absolute most difficult part of making this comic has to be the constant improving of my art and dealing with the fact the first several chapters of the comic have a vastly different style than the current chapters. I can’t help but feel new readers will be discouraged by the lack of polish and off-model artwork. The text bubble placement is also not as optimised as it could be in the early chapters. I do plan on remastering the older volumes of the story at some point, but after heeding the advice of other artists online, I think it is best I prioritise continuing the story.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
Daen Ossan is someone I love throwing into various situations. Being a spunky teenager, it makes it easy for me to relate to him. (I was an energetic, yippy teenager once too). He’s got a sense of humour almost no one appreciates but he keeps his head up! Plus, his control of ‘ki’ makes him fun to utilise in action scenes too.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
Drake Drifter. Drake is heavily based on what I believe to be the biggest flaws in myself at the time I created him (2012). He’s insecure, has a temper, and doesn’t like himself very much, although he’ll never admit it. I sort of have to get myself into a negative head space whenever writing for him, which isn’t the most fun thing to do. That being said, he’s probably the most human and believable character of the cast, and frankly, the one I hope the viewer wants to see succeed the most.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
Tence Falgrave has such a simple design that makes it easy and fun to draw him. I can probably whip up two quality ‘Tence Falgraves’ before I can whip up one decent ‘any other character.’

Which character gives you the most difficulty to draw?
Amber Petsley. I struggle with her bangs and to make her hair look believable. I’ve only lately been satisfied with my drawings of her… which makes me so tempted to go back and fix every previous drawing of her ever.

Where can we find you?
Twitter (for updates):

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
I update the comic on the 15th of every month, releasing an entire chapter every month! Chapters are generally 10-16 pages long!

Have you read Wardens of Espora yet? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Also! Special shout-out to my ShadowBestie who’s been helping me edit and format these interviews behind the scenes, since time has been elusive for me. You da best <3