When did you decide this was something you wanted to do?
At a young age I thought it would be the best job ever to be able to draw guns and babes, robots, monsters etc. I just got pulled into the idea of limitless possibilities of story telling. I’m 44 so the digital realm wasn’t even an option so to create stories I would draw. So long answer short probably when I was 10 or 11 yrs old.
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been drawing longer than I remember, apparently. My mother has stuff that I’d done. I have no recollection of them. But I really remember pushing myself during the late 80’s.
Who/what was your initial inspiration?
My first inspiration was John Byrne and his early X-Men run. His dark Phoenix run completely changed the way I saw the “Hero” stories, because Jean was a good person who changed into something darker. I still love that story arc. After him it would be Todd McFarlane . I was always drawn to a “grittier ” artist style. Really that whole Image comics era showed me an “independent ” book. As opposed to the big two back then.
How often do you work on your writing/art?
EVERY DAY!!! Wanna get better? Stop making bullshit excuses as to why you can’t and make yourself do it EVERY DAY without fail. Some of your best work will come from the days you don’t feel like it. Some days will suck and you won’t like much, but you’ll be consistent and that is an art in and of itself. #drawislife
Do you have any writing/drawing rituals?
Well in the morning when I wake up, I’m a creature of habit. So coffee is a morning ritual as is letting my dog out. Once I have those taken care of I’ll usually draw an hour or two before I go to my big boy job. Pandemic time is different because I can draw unrestricted, so I’ve been crushing shit. For me, my art calls to me. Pulls me in. I’m just driven to draw. Art is my drug of choice. Creation is the most addictive element you’ll experience. Because once I finish a piece, my mind immediately wants something else to occupy it.
I have a drawing area in my bedroom where my drafting table is. That’s my main spot. I also have nice large format scanner/printer and an area for computer work. So imagine a 15 foot long wall with a drawing table in the middle and to the right is computer and scanner. To the left is my t.v. and video games so I have options if I need a break.
What do you think makes up a good comic book story?
A good comic story usually has a few elements. They can very depending on the kind of book it is. The best story tellers keep your attention and keep you guessing. The best plot twists are the ones you don’t see coming. But let’s go with good character(s), action, suspense and love. So smash all genres into a story and usually that’ll do.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration is EVERYWHERE. Take a look around.
What tools do you use to create your comic book and what makes them the “right tools” for you?
I’m just gonna list them.
1)non-photo pencils. A variety. My loose sketcher is a clutch pencil that I use non-photo leads in. Any 2mm clutch will do.
2) Staedler technical lead holder. I use 0.7mm which is a thinner lead, so you’ll break the tips often, but i prefer smaller points for finer details.
3) Standard pencils you sharpen but non-photo. Blue and purple. Two different colors so when your laying pencils you can separate layers or depth with different colors. It helps me keep my “levels” operated and defined. But usually whatever color I grab is what I use until I start to tighten my pencils for inks.
4) For inking i use technical drafting pens. Koh-i-noor Rapidograph to be specific. My mom bought me the set I use 20 years ago. They’re some of the pricier refillable pens out there, but entirely worth the money. India ink is what I fill them with because India ink can’t be beat as far as flow and consistency. It’s BLACK! For big spaces I’ll use sharpie to fill or if it’s a monster of a black page I’ll “xx” and fill in digital because I’m not wasting the ink.
5) I use a black magic eraser and an electric eraser for small spots that need tight cleaned up areas. I use compasses, radius, rulers etc for shapes and straight lines. Metal cork backed so you don’t smear while Inking.
6) Paper for production art, I use Strathmore 200 series11x17 Bristol board.
What element of your work gives you the most satisfaction?
The actual therapy of drawing is most satisfying. You’re free of the world and are in the one you’re creating.
What the worst part?
Making mistakes you can’t fix. Bombing a piece. Some ideas in your head won’t translate well to paper. Shit happens.
How much feedback do you get from your readers?
I get lots of feedback. Most of my fans are amazing. Which is nice.
What are your goals for you work?
Ultimately, the goal of my work is to entertain myself and you. Personally I want to grow as an artist. .
How do you recharge your creative batteries?
I’ll draw stuff that’s not associated with books I’m currently working on. Having to do something is different than wanting to do something. So to decompress I’ll do pieces that I want to do. Mixed in with sequential work.
What have you learned from doing this?
That the more you work at it, the more it’ll work for you. Surround yourself with people that inspire you and push you to do your best work. Doing books, you just gotta keep moving forward. Thinking “shit, I have 25 pages that need done”can be a bit intimidating. So, don’t let that hold you back. Page by page you’ll get where you wanna go if you keep plugging away. EVERYDAY. No excuses.
Any tips for writers block?
Sure, the trick to writer’s block is to push through it or waste time complaining you’re not motivated. You can be driven or make excuses. Seems harsh, but if you need an easier approach. Put all your ideas on a piece of paper. Walk through it piece by piece and destroy what doesn’t work and build what does.
What’s the best advice you have for new writers/artists?
My advice is to do the work. You’re gonna have to be a personally motivated person to succeed in life. So, work EVERYDAY at your craft and your work will show. Don’t and your work will show.
What’s the worst advice you have ever gotten?
To not follow my dreams and stop drawing kids books.