First comic you remember reading: It’s all a bit vague. As a very young kid, I read a couple of Andy Capp collections, which I didn’t understand at all, and Marty Links’ Emmy Lou, hundreds of times. And then one year I started getting the Canadian Children’s Annual for Christmas. That was the first time I probably saw comic work that wasn’t strips. It was amazing. I think in 1980, they did a collection that was all comics and everybody showed up: Ian Carr, Ken Steacy. Bill Slavin. It was an incredible publication, “Hey kids! Here’s a massive book just for you with covers by Toller Cranston!” What a freak out.
Creators who have inspired you: In comics? Carl Barks, for sure. I’m not sure comics, or any kind of story telling, gets any better than that. Jaime Hernandez, Kyle Baker, Ann Nocenti (among so many others) have all been responsible for sea-change moments for me.
Dream Project: Whatever I’m currently working on, to be honest. I really think it’s the only way to work. You’ve got to fall in love with what’s in front of you.
Current Project: Amazing X-Men #7 and Russian Olive to Red King (with Stuart Immonen)
Favorite Art Tools: Samsung Book 9, Roget’s International Thesaurus Seventh Edition and a Rotring 800 .7mm. Two out of these three also function for self defense.
First comic you remember reading: There are a couple of milestone comics I distincly remember, though I’m sure they are not the first comics I ever read. The earliest is probably Gold Key’s Uncle Scrooge #135, “The 24 Carat Moon” which I must have literally read hundreds of times. The first superhero comic I remember reading was Captain America Annual 3, which reprinted a bunch of Kirby-drawn Tales of Suspense stories. That was 1976, so I would have been nine—literally changed my life. Thanks Grandma!
Creators who have inspired you: John Byrne crafted almost all the seminal stories from my teen years, and he was able to effortlessly riff on dangling threads in older comics and create depth and personality in characters I came to care about profoundly. Ted McKeever, with his unique raw visual approach and wildly imaginative story concepts. Jaime Hernandez opened up a DIY Pandora’s Box for me, just as I was exiting my teens and wanting to find my own voice in comics… really the list could go on and on, and is certainly not limited to comics people.
Dream Project: Kathryn and I have a backlog of ideas, some in rough script form, that we are just trying to eke out the time to get to and then complete. Having to shoehorn them in between other jobs is tough; ideally, we’d be able to do our own projects full time.
Current Project: All-New X-Men and Russian Olive to Red King
Favorite Art Tools: I rely on Staedtler 2mm leads and a Stadtler Mars plastic white eraser daily, but I would not call these tools favourites. It is a constant challenge to get the line I want without breakage, fading or butchering the page. Digital tools have a different set of frustrations.
And this is happening... happenin'? Somethin(g)('), that's for sure.
AMAZING X-MEN #7 KATHRYN IMMONEN (W) • PACO MEDINA (A) Cover by KRIS ANKA • Guest-starring THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! • Iceman, Firestar and Spider-Man renew their amazing friendship to save New York City. • Guest-Issue by Kathryn Immonen (AVENGERS ANNUAL) and Paco Medina (X-MEN, NOVA)!
Today is Valentine’s Day. And exactly one week from today marks the eighth anniversary of my comics blogging. Because I love you guys, I thought it was high time I had a contest to give away some books. I’m a big fan of comics contests, and have gotten many comics and graphic novels for my own…
Oh LOOK! A chance to get your hands on the completely out of print Never As Bad As You Think! To say nothing of the actual excellence on that list…
We’re thrilled to be joining all the good folks at the 3rd Annual Arizona Comics Mini Expo, Saturday May 3, 2014. And while this may make it look like we’re the angriest people in comics, chances are you’ll find us looking more like this
My friend and I are writing a comic but we've come to a standstill on the topic of speech bubbles. I think it's fine if we do the bubbles and text on the art boards but he's scared I'll mess up and wants to do it all digitally. Personally I think it would look better if everything was done by hand rather than computer generated. What is your opinion?
Neither of us have really have a solid answer for this one, mostly because we have no idea what your skill set is. Both have the potential to look terrible. Having a happy collaboration is probably more important than winning whatever argument you’re having. Additionally though, saying something is ‘computer generated’ seems to dismiss whatever skill (and there’s a lot) is brought to digital lettering… there’s still a hand involved (we do take your point and are not being intentionally obtuse but it would perhaps be helpful to discard this particular dichotomy.) Granted, there is a kind of ineffable quality to the hand lettering of say, Dustin Harbin, but how many of us are Dustin Harbin? If there’s any doubt about your ability to pull this off, perhaps lettering on an overlay or a digital blue line is the way to go. Having said that, maybe give some solid consideration to the fact that is also useful to exploit the ability to fine tune and edit which digital lettering provides. I would also suggest you might want to look at generating a font for your project which is what we did for Moving Pictures (and others) using a service like fontifier.com. The results are not perfect and you still end up having to make a myriad of tiny corrections to kerning but we were generally happy with the end product.
Stuart,You worked on the X-Men 50th Anniversary poster with Walt Simonson, David Lopez, Art Adams, Nick Bradshaw, Neal Adams, Phil Noto, Chris Bachalo, Whilce Portacio, Salvador Larroca, Joe Madureira, and Clay Mann. How did you accomplish this? It all looks so seamless. Brian
Editor Jeanine Schaefer organized the effort. I believe Chris Bachalo provided an interlocking sketch for the positions of the Sentinels in each quadrant and then the other artists built on their individual portion, adding the other characters. As each quadrant was completed, it was used as more specific reference where elements overlapping the borders were juxtaposed. Honestly, I just did what I was told to do.
Hi Stuart. I'm an artist in training, I am a great fan of yours and I am from Argentina. I wanted to know how long you spend a comic page. From the sketch to the finished product. Have attendees? Greetings and sorry for my English!
Hello and thank you.
I draw close to one page every day; sometimes it’s a little more and sometimes it’s a little less. I like to begin early and finish early, so my ideal working day runs from 7AM to 4PM. I rarely do much preparatory sketching. I do not have assistants. Your English is excellent— much better than my Spanish.
For us (we?) fledgling artists, are there any particular exercises you could recommend, for say, composition, anatomy, lighting, etc.?
Just draw. Draw things in front of you, draw things that don’t exist. Draw whenever you can, and when you can’t, observe. You’re in a restaurant; how do people sit? How do they hold things? What shape are they? What do they wear? Is the light natural or artificial? How does it change what you see? You’re at the movies or you’re reading a comic; ask yourself the same questions, but understand that others are making decisions that govern what you see, by providing framing, or lighting, or costuming or casting. Is it better or worse than what you do? Why?
A comic artist will compose six or eight or ten drawings every day. You find out what works by doing, by looking and by asking why.