JAMAL IGLE ANSWERS 15 QUESTIONS WITH JULINDA MORROW
Jamal Y. Igle is one of the bright lights in superhero comics. His art has given breath to many heroes from both the Marvel and DC universe, most notably Supergirl.
Jamal’s pet project, long in development, is Molly Danger. Molly is a ten-year-old girl with superpowers who believes that she’s descended from extraterrestrials. Want to know more? Visit her blog, but only for a limited time. Jamal has plans to bring the Molly Danger project to Kickstarter in August, at which time this behind-the-scenes-blog will transform into a donator-only site.
A gallery of Jamal’s heroic art follows this interview.
Julinda Morrow: What path led you to comics and sequential art?
Jamal Igle: When I was five years old, my grandfather took me to see Superman: The Movie, with Christopher Reeve. I had been exposed to comics before that by my father but that was the first time that it really took hold for me.
JM: What schooling or training did you receive?
JYI: I started taking art courses in primary school and junior high school. I went to the High School of Art and Design, The School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League of New York, where I started the sequential art program; I also taught there for several years.
JM: Who, in your opinion, are the pioneers of sequential art?
JI: For me, it always starts with artists like Alex Raymond, Mac Rayboy, Lou Fine and Will Eisner. Those were the innovators to me, when it came not only to bringing naturalness to the field but innovative layouts
JM: How do you define sequential art?
JI: Illusion. Sequential art when done well immerses the reader into its pages. We create a three-dimensional scenario in a two-dimensional medium where our minds take visual cues and transform them into light and sound.
JM: Do you find that sequential art provides you with near-limitless possibilities for storytelling or do you experience it as constraining?
JI: I’ve drawn everything from historical biographies to planets exploding and armies of oddly colored characters beating each other senseless in mid-air. The only limit is time and imagination.
JM: What qualities or resources do you believe are most important for a sequential storyteller to have?
JI: A willingness to be open to different techniques and different genres.
JM: How do you approach your work process?
JI: Methodically. I always read the script several times before I begin, thumbnailing out the story entirely; then I lay out five or six pages over the course of a day and use a light box to trace the finished pages on bristol board. If I’m inking myself I’m a brush inker (Scharff Series 3000 red sable brush) on figures, and technical pens with everything else.
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?
JI: I tend to draw twelve hours a day, five or six days a week fairly regularly. I’m very self- motivated, actually.
JM: Was it a struggle, at the start of your career, to find work and make ends meet?
JI: It took a few years, to be honest, before I was getting regular work. I would run errands, do odd jobs. I worked as a receptionist. I worked part-time at a movie theater in Los Angeles. I was bouncer at a bar for a time, as well.
JM: What has been your most valuable professional experience?
JI: Getting to travel to Macedonia on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. I was invited to do a series of workshops over the course of a week and it was such a welcoming experience.
JM: What inspires or informs you creatively?
JI: Everything, from film to theater, to just walking down the street. I consider myself a student of the world, an observer.
JM: What is your position on digital comics? Are they a good thing or a bad thing?
JI: I don’t think they’re either good or bad, they’re an inevitability.
JM: If you were to make any changes to the industry or the market what changes would you make?
JI: I would like to see more publishers treat it like an actual business, not like a hobby that they don’t have to pour that much capital into.
JM: If you could apprentice under any artist at any time in history and anywhere in the world who would it be?
JI: Katsuhiro Otomo
JM: What, in the future, would you like to accomplish creatively?
JI: I’m making the move towards creator-owned projects now, so I would like to keep going along that path and forge my own voice in comics.