What’s exciting about doing comics is that you are going to get to work with multiple artists as time goes on. With each, they bring their own experiences and talents to a project in ways you couldn’t begin to predict beforehand. If your lucky they not only design and bring your words to life, but sometimes offer you a view on a character you didn’t even know was there.
I’m thankful to have worked with Antonio Brandao on Gilded Age issue #3.
How long have you been creating art/working in comics?
I’ve been working full time in comics since 2008.
At what point did you sit down and decide to become an artist?
At some point I was working in graphic design and started doing some work in comics. The comic work started to increase to the point where it was impossible to keep both doing both, so I decided to chose my life time dream to become a comic book artist.
Have you had any formal training?
I had a few classes related to art in my graphic design course. Other than that no formal training.
What’s the first thing you drew?
My first professional work was a penciled 2 issue mini to an independent publisher.
What things inspire you to create art?
I always loved to draw so it comes naturally. I guess everything inspires me.
Favorite artists/creators? Influences?
My favorite artists… let’s see… there’s a lot! From the “classics” John Buscema and Byrne to Mignola, Oliver Coipel, Stuart Immonen,… too many to reference here.
How do you manage your daily life with the art? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2? If you have the old day job, what do you do? Do you do anything to market/promote yourself?
It depends. Sometimes I have some small side projects, and I have to limit my time working in comics but usually it’s a 9 to 5 thing. Unfortunately I don’t promote myself that much. Only the occasional sketch in my FB page.
What’s your process? Digital vs. by hand? What do you prefer?
Traditional all the way. Blue pencil, pencil, ink.
How do you work? Music while you draw? TV shows? Movies? No distractions?
I put some Youtube documentaries running. I guess I learn some stuff while drawing.
What have you worked on previously?
A lot of independent projects for some small publishers. Some private submissions for some publishers. A bit of everything honestly.
Are there themes and/or subjects you find yourself drawn to again and again in your art? Regarding comics, are there things that draw you in, something you see or read where you must put your own spin on the story/character?
I like to believe that I’m a versatile artist, and I tend to avoid repeating elements in my work. It might happen though…possibly unconsciously.
I always like to give my own spin to a character. Make it mine, without ignoring previous versions if they exist, of course. I especially like visually interesting characters. Something to make me push my limits.
Do you have a favorite thing to draw (genre, scenery, etc)? Least favorite?
I love to draw fantasy stuff, maybe because I’ve read a lot of Conan’s stories from John Buscema when I was young. My least favorite is the “slice of life” kind of stories.
What’s the most challenging thing about being an artist in today’s world?
I’d say that the most challenging thing is to make your work appealing enough, sometimes in very limited time, to attract new projects and keep your head above water financially. It’s a worldwide market, and your art must stand out. Managing several different projects at the same time is also very challenging.
Developing a work ethic is hard.
If you could go back ten years, what advice might you have for your younger self? Something you wish you knew?
Now draw more!
Practice makes perfect.
Don’t waste so much time.
What is your worst habit?
I drink and sometimes smoke.
Comic book wise, I sometimes tend to procrastinate things.
Goals? One year from now? Five years from now?
I’d like to make the jump to some big publisher in the next couple of years. Have some financial stability.
For the Gilded Age, you did the third issue of the comic. Had you ever done any Steampunk styled things before?
Nope. And I haven’t since. I must say that I loved the experience.
I think it’s because of your art that I now have to come up with a story for Vanessa (the Wolf-Girl). She comes across as so playful, I’m not sure if I knew that about her 100% before I saw her appear on the page. Did you have anything that surprised you once you finished a page?
I think that some characters get a life of their own in my head sometimes. It happens unconsciously… probably some hint I pick up when I read the script. Sometimes this gets reflected in the pages I draw. I only notice it when I review my work, and I see the character’s growth from the first pages to the last.
What are you currently working on?
I’m doing a 10 pages’ sci-fi story. A story for kids with super heroes and another sci-fi story for a Kickstarter.
Anything else that you’d like people to know about you (Hobbies? Passions? Favorite TV Show?)?
I love cinema! I think it relates a lot to comics. I also like going out with my friends and I’m an avid keeper of reptiles. Geckos to be specific.
Do you have a Bio that I can post at the bottom of the article? Best place to see your stuff on the web ( website)?
Well, I’m an artist/father, 39 years old. I was born and live in Lisbon, Portugal and I’ve been working in comics for almost a decade now. I grew up reading Marvel comics trying to imitate my favorite artist so I guess that my dream was to work in comics since I was a child.
I’ve been fortunate enough to do that for these last few years.
You can check my work at http://toze-barnabe.deviantart.com/
I want to thank Antonio for taking the time to answer all my questions. I’m always humbled by the skills artists provide my words to create something more than any of us could do alone.
John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.
His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!
He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!
And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!
He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.