Greg Capullo has been producing some kick-ass work on Snyder's Batman, and with Night of Owls bringing the Bat to centre stage, Renaldo sat down with him for a chat.
CBNAH: How did you get into art? What age and did you attend art school, if so?
Greg Capullo: I’ve been drawing since I was a small child. My Mom has a picture that I drew of Batman & Robin that I did at age 4!
The only art lessons were in high school. I took all the classes, but got failing grades because I rarely completed project. I was a bit of a bad boy.
CBNAH: When did you realize you wanted to draw comics for a living? How did you break into mainstream comics?
Capullo: I’ve wanted to draw comics for as long back as I can recall. I “broke in” by visiting the MARVEL offices and speaking with Editors and heading their advice. I eventually hone my skills to a level that got me work.
CBNAH: Who were your greatest inspirations family-wise and art-wise (your artistic icons/heroes) growing up and entering the industry?
Capullo: Oh, God. There were many. My Mom and her sister could both draw well, but they weren’t my source of inspiration. Frazetta, Mort Drucker. Chuck Jones, John Buscema, Neil Adams, Gil Cane, John Romita, Gene Colon, the list goes on and on.
CBNAH: Was it easy breaking into the art/comic illustrator business? What was your first job like and how pivotal were your friends and family in supporting your career?
Capullo: It wasn’t easy. I faced many rejections before making it. My first illustration work was actually in advertising. It was cool to get paid for drawing. I had a couple of friends that were very supportive, but a “pivotal” friend was comic inker Kevin Conrad. We were rival artists through high school and close friends. He DID go to art school and encouraged me to get a portfolio together after he’d managed to become a successful local illustrator in the ad market. A side note is that we frequently visited Marvel together early on. He’d always wanted to be a comic artist as well. There’s a very long story surrounding all of our past events together, but suffice it to say that he played a major role in my life.
CBNAH: What’s your favorite piece you worked on? (book-wise or client-wise etc) and also, your favorite moment ever as an artist?
Capullo: I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of cool gigs. I mean, X-Force, Spawn, my own character the CREECH, done album covers for Korn & Disturbed... But, honestly, doing BATMAN is the most fun that I’ve ever had. So, I don’t have a “favorite” piece. But, my current gig is the shit. ...So far, he says with a wink.
CBNAH: How do you map out a job once you undertake it? E.g., Going from concept to sketch to finished product…especially on comics.
Capullo: I read what the writer gives me and let it play like a movie as I do. Than, I try to pick the best movie stills/frames from the reel in my head and organize them on a page. That’s pretty much it. Once I’ve laid it out lightly on the paper, I evaluate the shots, change anything I fell is not the best choice and start whirling away. That’s it.
CBNAH: What is your favorite character/place/thing to draw?
Capullo: I like character nuance. Body language, expression, etc. I think A lot of what I put so much time into gets missed by the casual reader. As an example, There was a scene in Spawn were Sam & Twitch were in a bar, sitting in a booth talking. Well, Sam is kinda of a obese, not so classy, sometimes clumsy bear of a guy. So when I had him reach into the bowl of nuts on the table, I had the bowl tilting off the table from the weight of his heavy hand, roughly diving in. If Twitch were to grab some nuts that wouldn’t have happened.
CBNAH: What would be your artistic dream project or collaboration to work on, if you could pick anything in the world?
Capullo: Man, I dunno. Batman is pretty fucking awesome. How ‘bout the CREECH meets BATMAN?!
CBNAH: Do you practice alternating styles in your art? How would you describe your main style?
Capullo: Hmmm. I just do what feels right for what I’m working on. I’m capable of drawing very realistically--did a LOT of life drawing. I can be very detailed or very open, tight gestural, etc. I just do what I feel is appropriate for the job at hand
CBNAH: How was it like doing work with bands such as Korn, Disturbed etc?
Capullo: Korn was a piece of cake.
Disturbed was a nightmare. Todd was on vacation with his family when the job came along. So, Terry Fitzgerald (president of TMP at the time) served as the liaison between Disturbed and me. He was too polite in dealing with Disturbed and allowed the band to erode my deadline time addressing irrelevant points. So, I ended up working ‘round the clock, which is why I look so pissed off on the cover of the album, to get the painting done on time. Todd came home, took some of the credit and the rest is history.
CBNAH: Any plans for more creator-owned stuff a la the Image stuff you did e.g. The Creech?
Capullo: I have a large portion of the third story arc written for the CREECH. It’s only a matter of time.
CBNAH: How's it like working on Batman w/ Scott? Any extra pressure now that the new 52 is launched, up and running?
Capullo: As I mention, I love doing BATMAN. Scott is AWESOME, BATMAN is awesome, DC is treating me well. The first issue was a nightmare as far as feeling the pressure of relaunching an icon like BATMAN. But, I’ve settled down now. So, it’s all good.
CBNAH: What advice do you have for upcoming artists, especially in a country as my own where the norm and focus is on medicine, engineering, etc., and where art doesn’t thrive as an industry?
Capullo: Those are all great jobs! Thanks to modern technology, It doesn’t matter as much where you live. If you’ve got talent you’ll get work. And, there is the key. WORK. You’ve got to want it bad and strive hard for it like anything else.
CBNAH: Future plans – art-wise??