Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in Brantford Ontario Canada, though I moved when I was young to Woodstock Ontario and did most of my growing up there.
How about your schooling? Had you gone under any art training? I was fortunate enough to go to College Avenue Secondary School (CASS) in Woodstock during high-school. The art program there is light-years ahead of most schools out there and it really gave me a big boost going into college. I then went to St.Clair College in Windsor for graphic arts.
How long have you been working professionally in comics? Professionally? Not very long. I’ve done some independent work and self published comics in the past, but it’s only been recently that I’ve felt satisfied with my own work to start bringing it around to editors and making submissions and contacts. What things -- both in art and otherwise -- have you worked on, besides comics? Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time? I’ve done lots of graphic art work for a wide variety of projects with companies and still do. But comics were always my dream, and I always drew for myself on my personal time even when my full time job was otherwise. I’ve done some commission work for role-playing game companies, and everyone I know is always after me to draw one thing or another for them.
I would much rather call myself a full time comic artist then anything else. It’s much more fun to create something where you have to be as creative and dynamic as you can, while constantly out-doing yourself, then any other use of my talents I can think of. Other art professions can be very limiting and are not as creative as you think when you’re in school.
Talk about how you broke into the business --was it easy? Hard? Ups? Downs? Any interesting anecdotes? When you held your first published work in your hands, how did you feel? It’s hard to get your foot in the door for sure. You have to have rhino-skin or you’re never going to make any head-way. If you don’t hear – or are unwilling to hear – about your weaknesses, you don’t know where to start improving. I went to so many conventions to show my stuff to artists to get any feed back I could. I wanted to hear the Simon Cowell criticism of my work, rather then the Paula Abdul version so I honestly knew where to improve. I was honest enough with myself to know I wasn’t going to get hired off the street as a teenager with unpolished work, and I think you have to be realistic like that. You really need to seek out constructive criticism from knowledgeable sources. Being a better artist then 90% of the people you know doesn’t make you as good as the upper 10% of the professionals out there. But if you have the talent and you keep improving you can be. My hardest moment was the first time I ever did an art submission and sent it to an editor at one of the big two comic companies, and got back a rejection letter. It said nothing but criticism in every imaginable area and I was crushed. But I toughened up and knew I could do better with practice. Once I realized the rejection letter was the same criticism cut and pasted for every rejected submission, I was glad I didn’t take it personal.
After refining my work enough, I ran it past the Head Honcho of Glasshouse graphics and he offered to take me on. Im very proud to be recognized, and I hope my body of work will grow in the near future. It will make all the hard work well worth it.
How did you settle on the style(s) you're currently using? If you have multiple styles how did you develop them? The style I use most naturally is a gestalt of all the conscious and unconscious influences I grew up reading and appreciating, with my own talent and experience blending it all together. It’s a style I find to come most easily when I put pencil to paper.
For some time Manga fusion or Anime style became all the rage, and I started trying to emulate the style. I found that some of the manga artists from Japan are far more technical then most give them credit for. It’s still very much in demand, and I enjoy drawing in the style sometimes as much as reading it. Like drinking a good imported beer every so often just to keep your pallet broadened.
When I was growing up, one way I made some money was to do portrait work for people. Id either do commission work on demand or get short gigs working during community events and such. It not only helped me to draw expressions and facial features, but let me learn to do character reference work also. It’s much easier for me now to do art with celebrity character likenesses thanks to all those portraits I drew over the years in school.
How did your parents take to the idea of working in comics? My parents have always been really supportive of making the most of my talent. My Dad was artistic when he was younger, so I think he always wanted me to do well at it if I could. If your kid can play hockey well, you want him to be Wayne Gretzky. If your kid can draw Superman well, you may as well want him to be Curt Swan.
How would you describe your work space? Is it part of your home, or do you go "to the studio"? Id love to have my own studio space, but as it is my home is my work space. What job are you the proudest of?
Every time I draw something it’s a little better then the last. I always thought that would stop at some point, and that everyone eventually hits a plateau. But that’s not really the case with any artist that’s always applying their skill. I’m always a little more proud of each new work and the older the work is the more flawed it seems.
What are you currently drawing? Comments on that project? Currently working on some fresh portfolio pieces.
Talk about your family: Parents, siblings, home situation. I’m and only child. My Parents separated when I was very young, so I never really knew them as a couple, but rather as individuals, and it led to sort of a dual lifestyle for a long time. Both were great for me as I grew up, especially my hard working Mother. My Step father who came a little later was like a big brother to me, and also is very gifted artistically. So I’ve always been well supported.
What projects do you hope to work on in the future? Id love to get my hands on some of the characters I grew up reading, as much as Id like to do something new that I can bring to life with my own style. But some characters are so iconic and classis you just always want to draw them. Like some classic car you just really want to get behind the wheel of if even for a short time.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten? Heh, hopefully still with a full head of hair and a productive career in both cases.
What is the interest in comics where you live? Do friends and neighbors know you draw comics for a living? How do they react? Everyone I know has been encouraging to me in regards to my talent. I am much harder on myself and more realistic when I compare myself to other artists then they are though, so I don’t let them give me a swollen head. But it’s good when your pals don’t want you to fall in a rut of some job that doesn’t play to your strengths.
What's 1 thing you'll always find in your refrigerator? HUMAN REMAINS!...no actually the only constant is the same bottle of mustard that never seems to run out. I think I’ve had it since college, I’m not sure any more.
What's your favorite food? HUMAN REMAINS!...or a really nice grilled salmon steak.
What are your favorite interests --Movies? Music? TV? Any hobbies? Sports? I’m a big nerd so I really like computer games and I also paint and play miniature games. I’m a big movie coinsure, and watch them any chance I get. I’ve also played most role-playing games out there at one point or another. I love a good book, and currently I am reading the George RR Martin series “Song of Ice and Fire”, and can’t say enough about how good it is.
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories? I’ve always enjoyed toying with conversational dialog and one on one interaction. But the weight of an intricate story with sub-plots and character development and twists and such its better left to the professionals.
What's an average day in your life like? Walk us through a typical day. A Typical day for me is like most people. I wake up, I work, I eat, I do something to take my mind off work, and then I go to sleep. It’s the NON-typical days that are worth telling about…
Do you have any great, unsold projects in your files that nobody's gotten to see published? I feel like I’ve always got some great concept idea I am waiting to hatch out. Sometimes I change my mind, and others stay with you until you find the right people to develop it or the right time.
If you weren't a comic-book artist today, what would you be? I think Id want to be an art teacher. As they say: those who can’t do, teach.
The single thing you'd most like to be remembered for in your life is... The guy that stopped that whole 2012 Zombie Apocalypse thing from going down. “That’s was a close one!” they will say when they look up at the big bronze statue of me “Good thing we had that guy around…”
Any other tidbits of info about you that you like to share? Uuummmmm…Timbits……(Canadian humor)
Gabriel – Self Published Tolerance ltd. – Self published Guardians of Order: BESM RPG supplement “Hotrods and Gun bunnies” – interior art
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