FAREL DALRYMPLE ANSWERS 15 QUESTIONS WITH JULINDA MORROW
Farel Dalrymple possesses the sensibilities of both an illustrator and comic book artist. It is this dual sensibility that – I would venture to say – contributes to the subtleness and sensitivity evident in his work.
Farel is a Xeric Grant recipient and creator of Pop Gun War, which was awarded a gold medal by The Society of Illustrators. He helped re-imagine Omega The Unknown for Marvel and has drawn some issues of Prophet for Image.
Farel Dalrymple is an artist worthy of your attention and support. A gallery of his charming art follows this interview.
Julinda Morrow: What path led you to comics and sequential art?
Farel Dalrymple: I have liked reading and making my own comics since I was a small child. It is the only thing that I have ever really been good at.
JM: What schooling or training did you receive?
FD: I took art classes at a couple junior colleges then went to School of Visual Arts in NYC.
JM: Who, in your opinion, are the pioneers of sequential art?
FD: Moebius, David Mazzuchelli, Brandon Graham, Paul Pope, The Hanuka Brothers, Sammy Harkham, and about one hundred other guys I could list.
JM: How do you define sequential art?
FD: I don’t know, drawn images done in a sequence as interpreted by the reader. You know…comics.
JM: Do you find that sequential art provides you with near-limitless possibilities for storytelling or do you experience it as constraining?
FD: I would go with the former. If I felt it was containing I probably wouldn’t enjoy the process.
JM: What qualities or resources do you believe are most important for a sequential storyteller to have?
FD: Patience, tenacity, desire to relate to the reader in some way, a sense of comfort in being alone, and – hopefully – an affinity for the process.
JM: How do you approach your work process?
FD: With a lot of procrastination and whining. I try to visualize myself working and finishing a project. It takes me more than a few lame attempts to get rolling on something but eventually I get a rhythm going and am able to produce work. Throughout, I keep reminding myself to enjoy the process and stay excited about comics; otherwise, what am I doing all this for?
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?
FD: It varies a lot, especially since I have to worry about different aspects of my art business besides the actually comic production part. But I like to put in at least a good four hours in a day just on drawing. Some days, I work twenty hours in a row. It just depends on how tight a deadline it is.
JM: Was it a struggle, at the start of your career, to find work and make ends meet?
FD: Yes, and it has been so the entire ten-plus years I have been a professional artist. It doesn’t seem like it gets any easier.
JM: What has been your most valuable professional experience?
FD: Well the Omega the Unknown job was probably the most high profile thing I have done but putting out my own book Pop Gun War has gotten me more work and positive feedback over the years, I think.
JM: What inspires or informs you creatively?
FD: Lots of stuff; comics, books, art, TV, movies, music, nature, animals, spirituality and science.
A few times a week I look at art blogs, or get art books and comics from the library.
A lot of ideas for my stories come from my experiences as a child and growing up in a very religious environment.
JM: What is your position on digital comics? Are they a good thing or a bad thing?
FD: They seem as a decent thing as anything else. I don’t believe you can say something like that is “good” or “bad”. I mean it is what it is, you know. I personally prefer to read any sort of book in the traditional paper format but I am not against people using new technology. It can only be good for comics to be available in the most forms possible, right?
JM: If you were to make any changes to the industry or the market what changes would you make?
FD: I can’t rightly say. I guess I wish more people read comics in general, as opposed to watching reality shows or whatever. But I feel like the playing fields are getting a little more even with everything being so immediately accessible now.
JM: If you could apprentice under any artist at any time in history and anywhere in the world who would it be?
JM: What, in the future, would you like to accomplish creatively?
FD: I’d like to have finished at least ten of my books. But I’m not fooling myself that I will ever have a sense of completion no matter what I do. I’m enjoying the journey.
Photograph by Arthur Smid.