spiese asked: What was teaching at MICA like (I am a current student and am curious as to what I am missing)?
It was fine! There were parts I liked and parts I was not so hot on. I had a lot of good students and comparatively few bad students. I gave long critiques (probably too long, if you ask some of my kids), and I joked a lot. I would recommend asking some of my former students, but I don’t know if any of them can take time away from piloting their private jets and puffing on their expensive gold plated cigars.
mscorley asked: Do you try to spend time each day in your sketch book just to draw for yourself to improve OR do you end up spending the majority of your pen to paper/tablet time on work alone? It seems like all my time is for work and I get the suspicion I'm not growing artistically as much as I could because of it.. do you fear thats the case with yourself? BONUS Q: Favorite Male and Female FF character?
My time is almost exclusively spent on work, though, as I said, a chunk of that work is for my own stuff. As long as I’m working outside my comfort zone in some regard, I’m going to be improving. I try to stress a new thing in each piece, if time allows. I get tired of the work if it’s too easy.
johansome asked: Love you're work, and have for a long time. Who are your artistic influences, classic or modern? If you could draw a new story about anything, what would it be?
I think Ive answered that first part a while back, so I’ll just tackle the second.
The cool thing about self-publishing is that I DO get to write and draw whatever stories I want. I mostly want to make adventure stories. I don’t want to get super specific, since I’m in the early stages of a lot of stuff, but yeah. Fantasy Basketball is a good barometer for future stuff.
muchadoabouthotties asked: Does having an interactive online presence (like answering tumblr asks) help you get jobs and (if yes) is it a significant source of work?
I don’t think I’ve gotten any “job” jobs from tumblr, though I have from being active on Twitter. Cultivating a good relationship with your (ugh, I hate this term) “fanbase,” and generally being helpful and congenial, is a good way to act. Since I self-publish comics and sell prints and stuff, a chunk of my income comes directly from you guys.
mikeluce asked: I might have missed it, but what happened to the Hobbit illustrations?
It became too difficult to manage the schedule while we were doing Picturebook report, and the whole thing fell apart. It was very labor intensive to do one large piece, every month, based on something you really cared about, while also trying to pay bills and work on other things. My process at the time was more time intensive, as well. I sometimes miss it, but I’d rather be making work based on my own material.
sergeantmoonwalk asked: All I want to say is thanks for the inspiration. You're one of my top favorite artists. Since you asked for questions, though, what would you recommend in terms of digital art programs? Are there any particularly good ones? I got an art tablet for Christmas, but I don't like te program it came with.
I chiefly use Photoshop CS6, Manga Studio EX 5, and Google Sketchup (for 3D modeling).
thegoodnaysayer asked: Do you have any advice for other illustrators and/or comic artists when it comes to "making it" in the industry?
Mostly it’s just to try to figure out what type of work you like to make and why. Make as much of that work as you can and show it to people. There are a lot of different avenues for illustration these days, and it’s most important to figure out what drives you to make artwork first, rather than try to fit your work into a prescribed template for what you think illustration or comics are. You might flounder in one part of the industry but blow up in another. It’s important to figure out what your strengths are and where you can best utilize them.
I never really wanted to make comics. I don’t live and breathe them, like I know a lot of people do. I don’t actually read very many, and they weren’t a part of my life growing up. After a few years of working, however, I sort of came to terms with the fact that I’m more a story-teller than a conceptualist, and comics are obviously a good avenue for telling visual stories. They’re more effective than, say, a series of finished illustrations. And I was always a doodler. These things sort of fit together, though it took me a long time to figure that out.
I don’t even feel like I’ve really “made it” in the industry, no matter what kind of work I’m doing, despite all of my money coming from drawing. There’s always something I could be doing better.
rlopezortiz asked: If Lebron and KD were D & D characters. What would they be? Not sure about Lebron but KD would be some kind of elf.
Lebron is a half-giant and KD is an Eladrin — they both have gamebreaking stats and are way over-levelled (very good question, btw).
caseyboots asked: You're a real color master, I'm wondering if you've got any tips or resources on the matter? I am a great admirer of yours.
I think trying to keep things simple, using tried and true color pairings as your guidelines is helpful. I like to think about each piece as having a dominant color (or color pairing) and then support colors. Look back at my work and there’s probably one or two “key” colors, which all of the other colors respond to. It’s a real struggle for me, sometimes. Lots of trial and error.
My only real, solid advice is to date kalidraws.
alkarinque asked: ooh! how many thumbnails, typically, do you go through before you find one that feels right for the image?
I used to go through like, 20-40 discreet thumbs before hitting on something I like, but because I’m sketching digitally these days, it’s sort of hard to tell. If I’m working on my own stuff, it’s less like thumbnailing and more like revising different iterations of the same image until I land on what I want. If I’m doing client work, then it’s typically 2-3 sketches, usually with a few false-starts. I’m less methodical with my process than I used to be.