Art influences Part Two - Comics, here I come!
What got me to where I am now? My last blog covered my early school years, where we left off with me deciding to pursue inking. My friend Dimitrius was drawing up a storm, and I just wanted to add some black lines on those pages:) We decided to work up some sample pages and go to local comic conventions. I was inking with rapidograph ink pens and markers, as I was not good with crowquill pen/nibs. Luckily, early on I met comic pro Mark A. Nelson, who had worked for Dark Horse on Aliens and other properties. He looked at my work and told me to learn how to use a brush... best advice I had ever gotten! From then on, I practiced, and practiced, to learn how to control a brush.
As time went on, I got more proficient and started getting interest in my inks. I worked for a few smaller independent companies, including Brainstorm and London Night (during the height of "bad girl" comics), but never broke into the Big Two (Marvel and DC). I got a little notice from Top Cow at a convention once (thanks Renae Geerlings:), but that was right before the industry went on lockdown in the mid-late 1990s, during which I got a phone call from a Marvel editor (Ralph Macchio [not the Karate Kid]) about how he liked my stuff, but didn't have any work available.
It was around this time I started to create my own art. I had played around with airbrush and painting, influenced by Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Hajime Sorayama, Olivia, and other popular artists at the time. I had picked up some new skills from my comic work and started working on Pin-Up art and freelancing. For the next 10-15 years, I was selling commissions and creating pieces to sell on eBay, sprinkling in some comic art here and there. I became aware of sketch cards in the early 2010s and started working for a few companies, including Breygent and Leaf. I was able to get work from Upper Deck, who had the Marvel license, and finally got to draw Spider-Man, Hulk, and characters I grew up loving!
Let's wrap this up with my coming to work at Heritage Auctions. The freelance art wasn't bringing in enough to support the family, so I started looking for a job, and stumbled upon an ad for Heritage.
I had moved to Dallas a few years before, and happened to be near their world headquarters. After interviewing and some time, I was lucky enough to get into their Comic Department specializing in comic art... it almost felt like I was born for this job, it was awesome!I was so happy, I stopped "doing" art and focused on the job and "studying" art. That was fine for a couple years, but I started getting the "itch" to create again, and here we are...
I don't know what the future holds... I am thriving at Heritage and i'm back to working with Upper Deck on sketch cards. I have dozens of pieces in progress and plans for a dozen more. So is the life of an artist:)
Featured image art Luxura/Baby Angel X #1 cover by Mark Kuettner and Adam Braun