When my editor at Dark Horse, Patrick Thorpe, asked me which artist I wanted to work with on Dark Matter, I had a difficult time offering a name. Yes, there are plenty of comic book artists whose work I greatly admire but, being a relative newcomer to the field, I didn’t feel right pitching someone for the project. Rather, I preferred to pitch the visual style I envisioned for the series. I sent Patrick some samples of the look I was hoping to achieve, comic book covers and panels from a variety of artists. Soon after, Patrick emailed me a name: Garry Brown. As is turned out, I was familiar with Garry through his work on Incorruptible and thought he would be perfect for Dark Matter.
And he was. Also, a pleasure to work with.
Garry did the art for all four issues (including the covers), and also did the cover for the trade paperback (that collects the opening four-issue arc) which hits the stands October 10th. And for those of you wondering when we’ll see the next chapter in the Dark Matter comic book series, well, that’s entirely dependent on how the trade sells. So, if you want more Dark Matter, then support the series by picking up the TPB in October. In the meantime, Paul and I are hard at work trying to set it up as a t.v. show.
But, for now, I hand this blog over to the uber-talented Garry Brown…
Sparrow__hawk writes: “@Garry Brown: I’m in awe of your amazing talent! Thanks for bringing Joe’s story to life.”
BG: Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Thanks to everyone who picked up the book. I had a great time working on it and I hope you enjoyed it.
Ponytail writes: “Do you work mostly with pencil and pad or on the computer?”
GB: I work both traditionally and digitally. I’ll do pencils digitally with my cintiq, then print that out blueline on the art board and inks it traditionally. I prefer the look of real inks.
“What has been your favorite character to illustrate over the years?”
GB: Well, i’m relatively new to comics so I haven’t illustrated many different characters. I had a lot of fun with the Dark Matter characters.
“What was your most fun project ever?”
GB: Probably Dark Matter. Getting to be involved in the creation of a whole new world was exciting, plus working with talents like Joe and Paul was really great.
“Who is your boss, the writer or publisher?”
GB: Both, the editor and the writer(s), i think.
“When working, what is a typical day like for you?”
GB: Checking/replying to emails first thing. Then checking over the previous day’s work for mistakes or clean up, then onto a new page. I try and get at least 1 page penciled and inked in a day.
“Have you ever suggested a dialogue change to the writer?”
GB: No, that’s not really my place. I’m there to bring the writer’s vision to the page.
“Who is responsible for the sounds effects, (wham!, krsh!, foom!), you or the writer?”
GB: The writer mostly, but the artist can add a few if needed.
“Did you or have you ever hidden humorous images in Dark Matter or your other drawings just for your personal amusement or entertainment? (I thought I saw a picture of Joe’s dog in Dark Matter 4 – pg 1, 3rd pic)”
GB: Ha, not on purpose. I’m not against it, though.
“What did you draw as a kid and when did you know you were pretty good?”
GB: I think I drew mostly my own random stuff. My town didn’t have a comic store so I didn’t really know that many characters as a kid. I think I eventually started drawing Batman, Spiderman and Judge Dredd.
“Thank you for taking the time and answering our questions!”
GB: You’re very welcome.
Dasndanger writes: “Firstly, let me say that I really enjoyed the art in Dark Matter. I think it captured not just the essence of the characters, but also the gritty atmosphere of the story, from pencils to colors. Well done!”
GB: Thank you very much. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was fun working on it.
“1. Thank you for making the samurai lad so pretty. Did Joe coach you on that, perhaps suggesting that there may be a couple female readers in need of a long-locked, manga-esque character?”
BG: Yeah, that was in the scripts. We went through a few different designs of that character until we hit the right note. The script called for a slightly androgynous look.
“2. Who determined the coloring for Dark Matter – you, or your colorist?”
GB: It was all the colorist [RYAN HILL].
“3. Do you ever do your own coloring?”
GB: Yeah, when I do covers mostly. I did all the covers for Dark Matter, including the colors. Plus I did about 20 covers for the Incorruptible series and a few others.
“4. Have you tried your hand at writing a comic? If not, is it something that interests you?”
GB: I have. I’ve got a few projects I’ve created. Some are just ideas, some have full scripts. It’s just getting the free time to work on them that’s tough.
“5. What are your thoughts on the state of the comic book industry, and the future of the medium?”
GB: I’m not sure really. I’m still kind of on the outskirts of the industry. I’ve been ‘pro’ for a few years now and I still don’t know much about the mechanics of the industry. I’m pretty sure people shouldn’t be afraid of the inclusion of digital comics. I know a lot of pros and publishers don’t give them much credence, but I think it’s a good way to open up the industry a bit more.
“6. Do you think that the over-sexualization of female characters in comic books, especially when it comes to the artwork, keeps female readers away?”
GB: I do, yes. It can be a little strange to see all the male characters in fullbody armor/suits and have all the women wearing nothing but a bathing suit. Add in the fact that the women are all drawn radically out of proportion and I could see how it might put people off.
“7. I understand you’re Scottish. So, what’s really under a kilt? ;o)”
GB: Ha, as i remember, Kilt etiquette is you only go commando when going to war. If women are present, you remain contained.
Spendrup writes: “Do you listen to any type of music when you work to get inspiration?”
GB: Yeah, I set my ipod on random. So I get everything from Black Keys to CCR playing. Although, lately I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks. Mostly Stephen King.
“Did you came up with the look of the Ferrous Corp guys on your own, or was it all in the script?”
GB: I think that was a collaboration. I came up with a few designs and we picked what we liked. I just like drawing gas masks, haha.
Airelle writes: “Garry Brown, thank you for the great work on Joe and Paul’s project. Did you have a favorite character to draw in this project? thanks for your time!”
GB: Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you liked the book 🙂 I liked drawing all the main players actually. I guess if i had to pick it’d be Marcus Boone [THREE]. He had a good face.
Randomness writes: “What drew you to Dark Matter?”
GB: I was told about a possible sci-fi miniseries by my editor at Dark Horse. I’m a huge sci-fi fan, so I was really excited about the prospect of it.
“What do you think of the story?”
GB: I really enjoyed reading the scripts. I didn’t get all 4 at once, so I was reading them almost like you guys were. I’d finish drawing one issue then get the next script. It was a great read. I think it’s got a lot of potential to expand the universe we created.
“What’s your favorite Dark Matter scene?”
GB: I actually enjoy the scenes were people are just talking to each other. Having debates/arguments. I guess that’d be the dramatic scenes.
“What character do you like the most?”
GB: I probably like Griffin Jones [SIX] the best. I think he’s got a lot of depth and conflict in him.
“What has it been like working with Joe and Paul, two greats behind Stargate?”
GB: It’s been great. Being involved in creating something with these guys has been a blast.
“Are you a Stargate fan?”
GB: Yes, since the movie actually. So that’s a while now. Really liked Universe. I would have loved to see where it went.
“Do you hope Dark Matter will be a long running series?”
GB: Sure, I’d love to get back into that world. Also I’d like to know where the story goes from here. A lot of possibilities.
“What’s your favorite hobby?”
GB: I’m slowly getting back into songwriting/music.
“On a whole what has it been like working on Dark Matter?”
GB: A great experience. One of my more creative to date.
“Are you a foodie?”
GB: Yes, i think.
DP writes: “What happens to a project if an artist drops out partway through its run, given the need for stylistic continuity for this kind of work?
GB: I don’t think stylistic continuity is a must. It’s certainly nice to try and keep a flow going, but it doesn’t bother me.
“What can be done within a work group to minimize the risks of losing stylistic continuity in a project?”
GB: I think editors would make sure the new guy had all the previous artist’s pages and designs to keep him more on model. You would certainly have to keep the look of any previously designed characters/environment the same.
“Please correct the jargon I used in the above questions. I need to know how to express this correctly. You really don’t want to know how much I already cleaned up the language from how I’ve heard it expressed.”
GB: Ha, seemed fine to me.
“How much do you use computers in the early stages of submitting a rough draft of a drawing? How digitized is your final product?”
GB: I do layouts, pencils and coloring digitally. I do the inks traditionally.
GB: If it’s a character design, then it’ll go through a few different iterations until everyone is satisfied. I think it’s the same with every new series.
“What do you think of those internet sites where artists can bid for freelancing jobs?”
GB: I haven’t heard of them, but it sounds terrible to me. Artists don’t really get paid much, so if you have a lot of people lowballing jobs, then it hurts the rest of the industry. Artist should have a price and not feel like they have to take scraps in order to get a job.
“Are there any cryptic signatures in your work, like a Stargate director putting a pineapple in each of his SG-1 episodes?”
GB: Not yet, but that pineapple idea is a good one.
jojo writes: “For Garry: Do computers affect or help your work in any way? ”
GB: I work a lot on the wacom cintiq which has increased the pace at which i can work by about 50%. So it has helped me a lot. In comics the deadline is king. You can’t afford to miss it. Your editor has trust in you and you’re contracted to do certain work by a certain time.
“Do you do other work besides comic books and graphic novels?”
GB: Yeah, I’ve done a few album covers, posters, storyboards and concept designs.
“Is it difficult to get jobs?”
GB: It’s extremely difficult to get work. It’s a lot like acting or writing. A lot of it has to do with being in the right place at the right time and being ready to go.
“Is it possible to do your work from any location or do you have to be located in a certain city?”
GB: Yes, in comics you can work from absolutely anywhere.
Ponytail writes: “Joe I had one more question for artist Garry Brown, if you don’t mind… I think some others have touched on coloring but what exactly is the job of the colorist and why can’t the Artist do that too? Why the separation of duties?”
GB: I think it’s the same reason that sometimes there’s an artist who pencils, then another guy inks and another guys colors. It’s all to do with time. The thought is that while I finish a page of inks, I the give it to the colorist to color as I am still working on another page, that way cutting down on the time it takes. A production line sort of thing.