DAN SCHAEFER, often hired as an inker of comics over the past sixteen years, is a man of many talents:
Penciller (a pile of sexy pin-ups for a website, 500 stunning drawings for the Fleer Marvel Sketchograph Cards), Print Advertising Designer (co-winner of two Clio’s), Logo Designer (Adidas, Kansas City Wizards Soccer team). Cartoon Storyboard Artis(from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to WildCATS), and Art Seminar Teacher.
Dan got started onhis comic artist career while in his second year of college in the up-and-coming comic mecca Portland, OR. He approached inker Ron Randall and asked him if he needed an assistant. Two weeks later he got a call and assisted Ron on seven issues of Warlord for DC Comics. This led to numerous assistant and small press jobs for companies like Eternity and Blackthome. He went on to get a New Talent job on Power of the Atom #4, then a couple of issues on First’s Sable — and was in the thick of the professional comics business.
Dan always gets a lot of support from his wife Sue, who is a theater and film wig master. “There are a lot
of similarities between comics and theater, which makes our life both easier and harder. Sue appreciates my involvement in comics.”
“In ’86 I was part of a group that met for drawing sessions at Steve Mattson’s home studio. It was very enriching to jam with professionals like David Jackson, Gary Martin, Ron Randall, Randy Emberlin and, occasionally, Chris Warner in a relaxed setting. That was a great time for me – we drew off of each other’s creativity.”
From his group involvement, and the influence of Karl Kesel, Dan was introduced to the complexities of good brush work. “The craft of inking – handling surfaces and textures, line weights and various tools – requires more than just control and a steady hand. The brush is a very organic tool that makes things look round and pliable. You can create real weight and depth that are mandatory for solid drawings that leap off the page.
“Randy Emberlin, Art Nichols, and Chris Wamer really made me understand how to use the dip pen and its sharp, more mechanical appearance. Figures become more modern with a crowquill, and so a balance of the pen and brush gives me the flexibility to create many different looks and styles.”
With the use of computer art becoming more prevelant, Dan is well on his way to mastering the digital approach. “I’m eager to add the computer as another tool in my arsenal.”
As for his dream projects, Dan says: “I’ve always wanted to work on the Teen Titans. I was considered for the job by Dan Jurgens when they were choosing a new inker, but it didn’t happen. Batman, Doom Patrol, Metal Men, Dead Man. I’ve always liked the quirky, off the wall titles. I’d like to work with Mark Campos again because his work is terrific as well as Al Rio again, who has a fun style. I would love to work on a Babylon 5 comic – I’m a huge fan of the show and I believe in it. I think it’s the best thing on TV and deserves artists that are passionate about the characters.
When asked about his drawing influences, Dan refers to Moebius, Manara, Vallejo, Frazetta, Byme, and Adams. Outside of comics, however, he’s spent a lot of time in museums in Europe and in the states, and gives most of the credit to artists like Goya, Turner, Whistler, and Ingres.
“Without their example, I wouldn’t have much direction as an artist. Also, my work as an assistant early on was extremely enjoyable. It gave me a view ahead to the world I was heading into and what I would be facing artistically. I sometimes start with the backgrounds when inking a page because it’s reminiscent of those days and it makes me glad to have been a part of it all.”