Open Source: Interview with Sam Beck


Welcome to Open Source, where Vault takes you behind the scenes of what goes into building a comic as told by the people who are producing the titles you love.

In our inaugural issue, Sam Beck, illustrator on Songs For The Dead, chats with us about the future of comics, who would be a great lunch date, and how she got into the comics industry. We've thoroughly enjoyed working with her and can't wait for the next issues to come out!

Sam Beck: Illustrator and Colorist
Tell us about what role you play in the production of Songs for the Dead:
I do all the interior art for Songs for the Dead. That includes pencils, inks and colours!
Who or what influenced you to get into your craft?
It goes without saying that I've always loved drawing. But what made me really interested in comics was the chance to tell long form stories, with the kind of grandeur that I had only experienced in fantasy RPGs and long running manga series.
If you could have lunch with any comic character, who would it be & why?
I really had to rack my brain for this because a lot of the characters I enjoy and find interesting in comics aren't necessarily good people that I'd want to hang out with. If we're talking about a fantasy here, I think I'd like to go back to when I was 13 and have lunch with Makoto (Sailor Jupiter) from Sailor Moon. She's fine with being incredibly strong and having hobbies like baking and arranging flowers. I think past me wanted to be/know someone like that.
Songs for the Dead Issue 01
What is Songs for the Dead and why should people be reading it?
Songs for the Dead is about a happy, overly optimistic young woman, who happens to be a necromancer. She's on her own quest to prove that necromancers aren't all creepy and evil. If people like fantasy stories, role-playing games, or turning tropes on their heads, they should pick up this comic!
What's your process for generating new ideas?
As the artist for this comic my process involves doing a lot of research on locations, architecture, costumes and so on. I like to create floor plans for important buildings so that I can stage scenes accurately. I also do concept art for new characters and sketch them out here and there until I have a feel for them. When I travel I'm always taking pictures of things I find interesting to add to my growing collection of visual references.
What is your dream job/role in the comics industry? 
I love the challenge of creating artwork for someone else's story, but I also deeply enjoy writing my own stories. My dream would be to take one of my shorter stories and turn them into a full length graphic novel and publish it.
Songs for the Dead Issue 01
Where do you see comics headed five years from now?
I read a lot of webcomics and I see a lot of innovation coming from those authors. They have diverse voices and stories that are free from any gatekeeping that remains in traditional publishing. I hope that in five years the stigma that is still attached to self-published comics and webcomics disappears, and they are celebrated and recognized in the wider comic community for having some really incredible stories.
We know you've done some amazing things before Songs for the Dead. What are some of your other published credits?
  • Verse, Art & Story (
  • Cadmus, Art & Story (Antarctic Press)
  • Wayward Sisters: Love and Fury, Writer: Aimee Lim, Art: Sam Beck (TO Comix Press)
How can readers find you?
Twitter: @_twothirty
Thanks Sam! Stay tuned to Vault's Open Source for more interviews with comic creators.