GERHARD ANSWERS 15 QUESTIONS WITH JULINDA MORROW

Month in and month out, year after year, and persistently on time, the two collaborators produced some of the most dynamic work ever seen in North America. The odyssey ended in 2004 when Cerebus reached issue No.300 and the title character, as Dave Sim had promised early in his career, died.

As you will see by the striking artwork that follows our interview, Gerhard has not been idle since Cerebus’ death. Besides his work for children’s books, his commissions include The World Without Cerebus, richly detailed recreations of backgrounds from the pages and covers of Cerebus.

Julinda Morrow: What path led you to being an artist?

Gerhard: I don’t think that I was led to being an artist. I have a strong suspicion that we are born artists and that life drains it out of us. A first grade teacher commented that her kids are all artistic geniuses; little Picassos. You just need to know when to take the drawing paper away from them before they wreck it.
I have an early memory; I was about four years old, doodling on a blackboard in a hospital waiting room. A man came in, saw what I was doing, told me that it was really good and said that he hoped I didn’t lose the talent or ability to draw as I got older. I wondered how I could lose such a thing; something that seemed to be so much a part of me. When I asked him why he thought I would lose it, he shrugged and said, “People just do.”

JM: What schooling or training did you receive?

G: My schooling consisted of high school art and drafting classes most of which I didn’t go to. My training was drawing as often as I could and working on over 4500 pages of Cerebus with Dave Sim. On the job training.

JM: Who, in your opinion, are the pioneers of illustration and architecture?

G: Probably a cave person somewhere a long, long time ago. I was never much for art history. I always skipped those weeks in school. When test time came around, there would be questions like, “Describe how Greek and Roman culture influenced their art?” I would answer, “Greeks and Romans threw a lot of parties and that’s why there are so many broken statues around.”

JM: What path led you to comics and sequential art?

G: Dave Sim did. After many menial jobs I had decided that I was going to make a living by drawing or starve. I needed money. He offered me work.

JM: How do you define sequential art?

G: I guess it’s a lot like that line about trying to define pornography; not sure how to define it but I know it when I see it.

JM: Do you find that the sequential art platform provides you with near-limitless possibilities for storytelling or do you experience it as constraining?

G: Dave was the one in charge of writing the story. My contribution was limited to finishing pages he had already started. But I certainly witnessed firsthand and close up the near-limitless possibilities for storytelling. My own first attempts can be seen on my website on the “Stories” page.

JM: What qualities or resources do you believe are most important for an artist to have?

G: Perception. Patience. Perseverance.

JM: How do you approach your work process?

G: I approach with caution and a great degree of trepidation, try not to make any sudden moves, stay low, not make eye contact and then I back away slowly.

JM: What tools and supplies do you favour?

G: These days, for my inking, I use the Sakura Pigma Micron pen. It is a fine point drawing and illustration pen that possesses archival quality ink. They are waterproof, fade resistant, chemical proof, and will not bleed through most papers. Ideal for serious technical and artistic applications such as pen and ink illustrations and graphic art. For my colour work, I’m still using the same set of Windsor & Newton Designer watercolour dyes that I bought about 25 – 30 years ago. They are highly concentrated transparent colours in little bottles with dropper tops. When I contacted W&N a year or so ago about purchasing replacements, I was told that not only do they not make them anymore but that they never did.

JM: How many hours a day do you work? Are you uniformly productive on any given day or more productive on some days than others?

G: I can’t answer that right now, I’m watching Lost on DVD. I’ve never seen it before. It’s pretty good.

JM: Was it a struggle, at the start of your career, to find work and make ends meet?

G: I mentioned that I had decided to draw for a living or starve. I was doing better at the starving part than the making a living part.

JM: What has been your most valuable professional experience?

G: Working on over 4500 pages of Cerebus with Dave Sim.

JM: What inspires or informs you creatively?

G: If I may quote people who have said it better than I can, Leonard Bernstein said, “Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the [artist] must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long.” And Frank Tibolt: “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.”
…plus, getting paid helps.

JM: What is your position on digital illustration? Are illustration software and the Cintiq tablet useful artists’ tools or enemies of traditional art?

G: I’m not that familiar with the latest digital tools. But a tool is a tool. The tool does not do the creating. I’d love to get my hands on one of those tablet thingies. Too pricey.

XSMN – vao bong88

 

STEVE RUDE ANSWERS 15 QUESTIONS WITH JULINDA MORROW

Nexus, on the surface, was a superhero comic that appeared to pay homage to the animated series Space Ghost and its designer artist extraodinaire Alex Toth. It was much more than that. Nexus is filled with rich stories, characters of depth, great suspense and – thanks to Steve Rude – a heckuvalot of well-choreographed action.

Steve Rude is a real sequential storyteller. He’s always attentive to page rhythm, time and space. His forms are properly structured and his characters’ expressions always fitting. He puts into his artwork only what is needed and no more. And his style, while arguably old-school, is also timeless.

Steve continues to work on various Nexus projects while also pursuing his interests in fine art, once again demonstrating that he is a well-rounded artist. And from time to time (though not often enough for this interviewer) he elevates and illuminates the heroic icons of Marvel and DC comics.

A gallery of Steve’s beautiful work follows this interview.

Julinda Morrow: What path led you to being an artist?

Steve Rude: The path to becoming a comic book artist was fairly intact by the time I was a freshman in high school. I was just “rediscovering” comics during this time, and was interested in how much they had changed in the few years I’d been away from them. Of course, a few years when you’re still a kid seem like a lifetime. I was about to discover that comics weren’t justKirby and Romita anymore – a whole new generational breed of artist had been recruited into the ranks, notably people like [Jim] Starlin and Paul Gulacy.

JM: What schooling or training did you receive?

SR: Immediately following high school, I enrolled in an art school in Milwaukee, WI. I stayed there for 2 years and then got bored and bailed out, feeling like I wasn’t learning what I could from the teachers there, who ranged from fairly inspiring to out-and-out inept. From there it was off-and-on schooling for the rest of my life; currently, I attend weekly painting classes in Scottsdale, AZ. I’ve always liked learning new things. Just part of my personality, I guess.

JM: Who, in your opinion, are the pioneers of sequential art?

SR: The pioneers, according to how they directly affected my personal career, were Kirby, Gulacy (from his Master of Kung Fu days), Hal Foster and Alex Raymond. I tend to work backward with my influences!

JM: How do you define sequential art?

SR: It’s just another word for comics.

JM: Do you find that sequential art provides you with near-limitless possibilities for storytelling or do you experience it as constraining?

SR: If there are no limits on your imagination, it will extend to your work.

JM: What qualities or resources do you believe are most important for a sequential storyteller to have?

SR: Dogged determination. […]

JM: How do you approach your work process?

SR: By mostly knowing that life and success are totally self-determined qualities. […]

JM: How many hours a day do you work? Are you uniformly productive on any given day or more productive on some days than others?

SR: Usually 8 hours or more. Days vary in productivity. Bad moods are the only thing that can really throw me off. I experience depression and mood swings that I really wish I didn’t have. Above my drawing board I’ve written two words: Functional and Productive. I can’t seem to have one without the other. Inept and diffusive people also seem to affect my productivity and functionality.

JM: Was it a struggle, at the start of your career, to find work and make ends meet?

SR: Hell yes, it was hard! Living at the campus Y for 3 years wasn’t for everyone. But at 21, who cares? Everyone’s experiences are similar during the lean years. The world is indifferent to the difficulty of personal struggles and it’s during this time that our ambitions are tested. They present themselves for a reason. Could we really accomplish much in life without their presence?

JM: What has been your most valuable professional experience?

SR: The most valuable were probably the experiences I had during the 80′s, where I became acclimated to the world of professionals from all the big companies. It was a very thrilling time to attend the conventions where we all mingled as one.

JM: What inspires or informs you creatively?

SR: The constant presence of my artistic idols always provides most of my creative inspiration. Mostly Jack Kirby, who accomplished everything a man could do in his lifetime.

JM: What is your position on digital comics? Are they a good thing or a bad thing?

SR: Ahhh…sorry, not my thing. I’ll leave that to the current generation to determine. I’m content with all my “traditionals.”

JM: If you were to make any changes to the industry or the market what changes would you make?

SR: My industry changes would mostly pertain to areas of personal conduct; returning phones calls, accumulating wisdom, learning from mistakes and being supportive of creative types – things like that.

JM. If you could apprentice under any artist at any time in history and anywhere in the world who would it be?

SR: I often think about what it would be like to apprentice under my illustrators heroes, like Harry Anderson, John Gannam, orHaddon Sundblom. Which would be silly because both Harry and Gannam were introverted by nature and not comfortable explaining their craft, which doesn’t make for good instructors. And Sundblom had a temper when he would go on drinking binges and didn’t like to have people watching over his shoulder when he worked. Me, I love to explain things to others who may need help with their art and don’t mind people looking over my shoulder. Still, watching these long dead idols as they worked is something that’s fun to think about sometimes.

JM: What, in the future, would you like to accomplish creatively?

SR: To be true to why I’m here in the first place. This sense of purpose is very deep within me – and a reason to keep trying so hard.

DAWUD ANYABWILE ANSWERS 15 QUESTIONS WITH JULINDA MORROW

Dawud Anyabwile is probably one of the best kept secrets in comics. A dynamic presence during the independent comic book movement of the early 90’s, he is also an Emmy Award Winner, a respected storyboard artist and character designer. Dawud can count MTV, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network among his clients. Brotherman, which Dawud self-published with his brothers, sold over 750,000 copies during its initial 11-issue run. And yet, I would wager that this is the first time many of our readers have heard of him.

I would never describe Brotherman as a voice only for the black community because its characters don’t speak just to one race – unless, that is, it’s the human race. 
Brotherman’s creators took their characters out of the mainstream template where the prefix “Black” typically preceded the heroic identities champions of African-American origin –– an archaic format devised by writers and artists not without goodwill but with little or no experience of the culture or people they were writing about. Instead of the negative stereotype of African-Americans as pimps and hoods, Brotherman promoted truthful and uplifting renderings of the inner city and portrayed human beings and the conditions that affected them.

Brotherman’s original series has been collected into 3 volumes, which you can order on the Brotherman website. A new graphic novel, Brotherman: Revelation is now in production. More details about this noteworthy series will appear on Sequential Highway as they become available.

A gallery of Dawud’s unforgettable artwork follows this interview.

Julinda Morrow: What path led you to comics and sequential art?
Dawud Anyabwile: I had an interest in comics since I was a child. It was not something that hit me like an epiphany when I created my first book in 1990 but at the same time it was not my life goal to make a comic. I was an artist since childhood and I was involved in a variety of art styles like comics, animation, stop motion animation, filmmaking, etc. When I finally made my first comic book I came at it from the perspective of creating something that would add to the other things I was doing at the time.

JM: What schooling or training did you receive? 
DA: I was a fine art major throughout high school and afterwards I attended Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick, NJ and Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Most of the specialized training that led to my comic and animation art came from books, friends and personal drive.

JM: Who, in your opinion, are the pioneers of sequential art?
DA: My studies of art and history have taken me back to Ancient Egypt where sequential art was prominently displayed and archived and still serves as inspiration to the world.

JM: How do you define sequential art?
DA: A series of drawings that tell a story.

JM: Do you find that sequential art provides you with near-limitless possibilities for storytelling or do you experience it as constraining? 
DA: I find sequential art to be the best way to convey a story to the general audience. I am not restricted by finances or lack of a team. I can be as descriptive as I want without the concern of budget restrictions. Although writing is also an inexpensive way to tell a story, I like the satisfaction of visual storytelling because you can take the reader into your universe with immediate results.

JM: What qualities or resources do you believe are most important for a sequential storyteller to have?
DA: An eye for composition, understanding of perspective and depth of field are very important. Lighting is also necessary in setting up the mood and focus of action. If you are doing storyboards then you are more focused on composing your pages individually as opposed to comic books where you need to compose the panels as well as the entire page. Acting is also key to creating good sequential art.

JM: How do you approach your work process?
DA: I don’t have any one way that I work. When I produce my own projects I have an unorthodox method. My style is rough and loose and I usually am not concerned with what anybody else is doing. I just work with what I have and make it happen. When I am in a freelance mode then I work in the style that is requested of me. I’ll work clean or rough, mimic styles or research a new way to create. I just like to have fun when I work. My methodology can be all over the place.

JM: How many hours a day do you work? Are you uniformly productive on any given day or more productive on some days than others?
DA: I work as a production designer on my day job and then when I get home I continue to work into the night on my own comic art and other projects. So I can say that I must do over 80 hours of work a week. Some days I just break from it all but I am still thinking of the next thing that needs to be produced, so in essence I guess I’m still creating.

JM: Was it a struggle, at the start of your career, to find work and make ends meet?
DA: I have been selling my art since I was a teenager. That rolled into my young adult years and beyond. I always focused on creating my own opportunity rather than look for a job so I did not deal with too much job searching. I created my own jobs. In my later years I began to gain studio experience but by that time I had built my experiences up as an independent artist, which helped me to get into doors. It was still a challenge and in many cases I was in tight situations like many people but I always stay diligent in my career development.

JM: What has been your most valuable professional experience?
DA: When I was self-employed it was an invaluable experience for me to be able to sell my work to the general public. It gave me an opportunity to learn how to deal directly with the public and get over the fear of drawing in front of a crowd. Studio experience, on the other hand, was good for me because it taught me how to work with a team of professional artists. I think both of those experiences helped me to become a more well- rounded artist.

JM: What inspires or informs you creatively?
DA: What inspires me most now is to view works of other artists […] I admire. That has always been one of the main things that kept me inspired. When I was younger I was constantly inspired by observing the general public. Riding the buses and trains and hanging out with friends always gave me ideas to sketch and build on. Now that I have raised two boys to young men I observe life from another perspective, which is constantly changing. My life experiences are now a major influence on my work: relationships with people on another lever than when I was younger. Dealing with life’s triumphs and pains are rechanneled into concepts that I would love to put into sequential art. There is no one thing that inspires me but the totality of life experiences is what moves me.

JM: What is your position on digital comics? Are they a good thing or a bad thing?
DA: I think digital comics are just as relevant as any other form of art. Technology is constantly advancing and changing so there will always be the purists and the conformists. Personally, I like both. I don’t see digital replacing acrylics and oils but instead it may become a tool of choice for artists to work faster and more efficiently without creating a mess but at the same time there is no tangible canvas to touch, no brush strokes to feel, no original painting to stare at to say, “Wow, that is the ORIGINAL!” That is what I miss from the digital experience. However, from the commercial standpoint, digital comics and digital art make sense to me.

JM: If you were to make any changes to the industry or the market what changes would you make?
DA: To add more diversity to the medium by showcasing the works of people from all walks of life. As an African American man it was a tough battle to drive my comic book, which not only starred a Black hero but was also supported by a cast of Black characters, into the marketplace. I faced many challenges in the first few years of my publication where certain individuals did not welcome my concept because it did not symbolize the status quo. That did not stop me but instead gave me more reason to drive forward and ultimately change the perception that many diehard fans would have about comics created by Black creators. The industry should be open to accepting all efforts by all people although it is our duty as artists to give the best quality stories and the best quality art in order to compete.

JM: If you could apprentice under any artist at any time in history and anywhere in the world who would it be?
DA: I think this is probably the most difficult question I ever had to answer. I cannot think of one artist who I would want to apprentice under especially in the span of history. So many who I admire but for so many different reasons. I hope this is not a cop-out but I really cannot think of one individual in particular, my mind thinks of many.

JM: What, in the future, would you like to accomplish creatively?
DA: I want to master illustration and painting. Every time I sit down to create something I want to have the confidence to know that whatever it is I am going to create it will come out as planned. I want to feel that I can illustrate anything with the highest level of quality. It is not to prove to the world that I am the best because I do not believe there is a “best.” I want to achieve this for my inner self. There is a certain feeling of accomplishment when you produce something that you can stare at and feel good about. As artists we are never satisfied with our works because we are always evolving and trying to get better. I just want to get to the point where I feel that I accomplished that goal.

Togel Singapura