EXCLUSIVE: Rahsan Ekedal talks THINK TANK

While attending last year’s COMIKAZE Expo, I was able to sit down and speak with artist extraordinaire, Rahsan Ekedal.

You know him best for the always thought provoking, THINK TANK!

Ready to see what he had to say? Scroll on!

UTF: Where did your design sense for THINK TANK come from?

Rahsan Ekedal: Well, with it started out with designing David, the main character, and Matt [Hawkins] sort of described his as Val Kilmer in Real Genius, so basically a slacker.

Real Genius Val Kilmer

UTF: It definitely has that vibe.

Think Tank - Dr. David Loren 01Rahsan Ekedal: Yeah. Long hair, doesn’t really change his clothes, just wears sweats. I started from that point and did some sketches. It’s interesting because with some characters they start out one way and evolve. With David, something about the way that Matt described him, it’s like he kind of just presented himself.

With everybody I’ve drawn over the years, in my career, he was the most fully formed right from the beginning. I don’t know what it was about him, but in terms of the book, Matt wanted to do it black and white book. I was doing gray-washes for Crazies and I had done it for Echoes too.

Think Tank Sample CoverWe thought we’d try it on Think Tank, but of course it’s a very different serial. It’s not horror or moody. So I went for a more clean and smooth look because it’s all about technology: labs, lots of aircrafts, ships, boats, and drones. I think it’s kind of an interesting match-up to have the gray washes with hi-tech like that. For some reason it works.

UTF: It’s definitely visually appealing and I got to say I’ve enjoyed the look of the book from the first issue on.

What I’d like to mention is that the designs of the technology, your attention to detail there is uncanny. How much research do you actually do for this project?

Rahsan Ekedal: A lot. It starts with Matt usually sends me a few links for things in his script. And then I get on Google images and just start pouring through whatever the appropriate search is. It’s interesting because in a lot of cases it’s difficult to find good references, because the technology that we’re dealing with, on occasion, is relatively secret…

Think Tank Sample Cover I spend a lot of time online looking at, going through images and finding exactly the right version of each technology.

It also involves a lot of matching together different things. In one scene we have a drone that can hover and cloak itself, right? This, as far as we know does not exist, if it does, there are no pictures of it. I basically have to take a carrier jet design which can hover and match that together with a reaper drone and then add the technology that would help it cloak itself. In that case I’m taking references and sort of matching it up and then using my imagination to fill in the gaps.

UTF: I definitely have to compliment both you and Matt Hawkins on that because after I finish reading the issue, it’s fun to kind of go back pages of information expressing and describing how this technology may be fictional right now, but won’t be for long.

If you were to try and tell someone to pick up this book, what would be your pitch to them?

Think Tank 6_CRahsan Ekedal: I think there are a number of reasons. One is that you’re going to learn something about things that are happening right now in science and politics and warfare. I find that really fascinating, but it’s not a dry book, it’s not educational in that sense. It’s fun and full of action.

UTF: It’s still got that wit.

Rahsan Ekedal: Yeah. Dr. Loren is kind of a dick.

UTF: Just a little bit.

Rahsan Ekedal: And we’re watching him interact with his friends, his enemies, peers and stuff, it’s pretty funny. I get a kick out of just drawing him.

UTF: I understand.

Think Tank Graphic Novel ArtRahsan Ekedal: Yeah. The big difference is that you’re going to get something really real out of Think Tank. It’s really touching on such relevant issues. I think it’s refreshing compared to a lot of the other stuff that’s on the stands right now. You’re get something grounded in reality that still entertains.

UTF: I’m going to go ahead and wrap up the interview and before we go, are there any last minute statements that you want to make to fans? Anything you’d like them to either about getting into the industry or the work you do on Think Tank?

ThinkTank 5_CRahsan Ekedal: I definitely do want people to know about the new direction for Think Tank that’s coming in 2014. We’re going to have Think Tank Season 2launch in full color with a new story line and a starting point for new readers.

It’s going to be a really great time to get on board and if you have been reading it you can enjoy what we’re about to do because we’re very excited about it.

I want to take the time to thank Mr. Rahsan Ekedal for the opportunity to chat. And I speak for the rest of the UTF staff when I say: we can’t wait to read what happens next in Think Tank!

But what did you guys think of the interview? Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!