Frequently Asked Questions
Will you be reprinting the first DRAWINGS book?
Maybe next year?
What made you want to pursue a career as a artist?
I've always drawn, and I've always loved art. So everything I did was geared towards that. I didn't have good grades in high school because I drew instead of studied and I didn't finish college either. So upon entering the real world it was either draw and not get paid for it or draw and get paid for it. I chose the latter. It was more a matter of necessity than choice I guess.
Which artist has influenced you the most?
I love so many artists and there are a big handful that I can directly attribute a certain thing I do to. But I'd say the single biggest influence has been Bill Watterson. I didn't realize this until I was drawing my first graphic novel; Missile Mouse: the Star Crusher. I had collected all the Calvin and Hobbes books growing up and after moving around the country a few times those books ended up living in boxes and not being seen for several years. While drawing Missile Mouse I found one of the boxes and began reliving those books. It dawned on me then that so much of what I was drawing was subconsciously influence by these books from my hours and hours of reading them in my youth.
What's your favorite comic book?
Hellboy. I remember the first time I saw the first issue of Seed of Destruction on the stand. I had been totally into all the image/Jim lee/Todd Mcfarlane/ flashy stuff that when I saw that stark red monster with a stone hand stepping out fo the inking black shadows it struck me as completely unique and powerful. I ate that stuff up and have been collecting him ever since.
What was your very first gig?
I worked as an inbetween artist at Fox Animation Studios in Phoenix. I got my first movie credit for my work on Titan A.E. That was back when animated films were drawn...on paper. I remember there was one computer terminal in the studio that if you had an email account you could go check your email on it. Good times.
Was their any particular project you worked out that you think improved you as an artist?
I've grown so much from so many projects it's hard to pick just one. But if I had to it would be a freelance gig I got for an online kids videogame called Dizzywood. I worked on it most nights out of the week for a good year and a half. They specifically asked that I not give them finished polished drawings and instead wanted me to just churn out as many ideas as possible. This was hugely liberating for me and in the process of churning out ideas I actually became a much stronger artist. Instead of laboring over one drawing trying to fix mistakes I leanred from mistakes and made them better in the next drawing. By the end of the project I was much more confident in my style and my drawing abilities. and this seeped into every other aspect of my work from doing concept art on Horton Hears a Who to drawing Missile Mouse.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I used to get a lot of inspiration from other artists and artwork. While I still value the work of others I get way more juiced out of what I get from life in general. Whether it's characters I see on the street, or a hole in the wall restaurant, or a small town I'm driving through there's so much material to pull from it can almost be debilitating. I think that might be why I'm such a huge fan of National Geographic magazine. If you're an artist you should subscribe. Each issue is like it's own field trip taking you to places you otherwise wouldn't have gone. If you were to scroll through the blogs I follow you'll find a lot of artists, but you also see architecture, fashion, automobile, military, and photography blogs. I'm just trying to expose myself to as much stuff as possible.
In terms of Gray markers, do you prefer warm, cool, or neutral? Copic or Prisma [or other]?
I prefer warm grays for most surfaces, and cool grays for exposed metal. And I use Copics, though Prisma is a good marker too. I'd like to get a neutral set of markers, but honestly, with a Cintiq and Photoshop in my arsenal, art markers are a luxury.
What helps you draw all if the miscellaneous mechanical bits in your robots?
I study actual machines, learn how they work, and what each part does. So when I need to draw a robot I make sure I put in there a differential, a fuel pump along with fuel valves, alternators, wires & fuel lines, and of course manifolds of every kind.