July 30, 2010

I went to Comic-Con last Saturday and got to talk to two of the giants in the world of comic book art: Geof Darrow and Art Adams.


The first thing that struck me about Geof Darrow’s booth was that it was clear he was underpricing his own work. The con was in its third day and most of the sleeves of his portfolio containing original art were already empty. What was left hardly still seemed quite reasonable.

–I was curious to know if there was any digital component in his work and there is absolutely none. He’s 100% analog. In fact, he doesnt’ even scan in his work, preferring to simply mail it to the publisher.

–Darrow essentially starts what you would call the “finished” drawing after he gets the idea for the overall composition. He doesn’t do a whole lot of redrawing. The longest he’s worked on a piece was “about two weeks” – he said the cover for the “Fallout: New Vegas” thing he did was a big pain – mostly because of how specific the notes he got about what needed to be in it. The other picture he remembered taking a lot of time on was the two-page spread of Hollywood and Vine in “Hard Boiled.”

–After finishing the two-issue “The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot” comic, he didn’t want to do another one because he was tired of drawing windows. He started to do some sketches for The Big Guy and Rusty the boy robot TV series, but stopped because they were going to ask him to report to an art director. I asked him if he designed “Po the Obliterator” and he didn’t know who that was.

His non-use of black space comes from the influence of Moebius on him. He did have some black shadows in his drawings when he was very young.

–He was really pissed off that his cover for Conan 25 got pulled. He wants nothing to do with Conan ever again. If his cover is released as an alternate cover (which it may, it will be against his will).

–He had worked on an anime version of Shaolin Cowboy and showed me some test footage on his computer. The footage consisted of Shaolin Cowboy fighting a giant crab with a VW bub mounted on top of it and then a centipede lizard thing walking toward the camera followed by an endless parade of legs.

–He uses toys for reference more than photos. He also just makes up a lot of stuff. There’s a glove in that Conan cover which I was certain he saw somewhere, but he just made it up.

–He doesn’t know what his next project will be. The Shaolin Cowboy anime stalled out for now due to money issues.


–Like Darrow, there is no part of Art Adams work that is digital. Every now and then he will use some white-out.

–Adams seems to make more changes while drawing than Darrow. From rough pencils to finished inks, gestures and expressions are altered, sometimes drastically.

–He says he erases far more than he draws.

–Like Darrow, the longest he remembered working on a piece was two weeks – his amazing King Kong print.

–He described his inking process as “pulling the drawing out of the fog.” He definitely doesn’t go into cruise control when inking and spends a lot of effort deciding what to emphasize.

–He is certainly not known as being one of the faster artists working on comics. I believe his pace is due more to him being a perfectionist than the level of detail he puts in.

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