Monday, June 4, 2012

CBNAH Interview: Tyler Kirkham

Utah born artist Tyler Kirkham has become one of the biggest talents in the industry, kickstarting the engine of an illustrious career at Top Cow Comics. The 29-year-old shone on books such as 'Witchblade, Tomb Raider and Strykeforce'. since then, Kirkham was instrumental in DC's post-Blackest Night era, reaching a brilliant crescendo in the 'Green Lantern: New Guardians' book, where he and Tony Bedard continue on the adventures of Kyle Rayner and his companions. Renaldo chatted with him about Green Lantern, his influences and his background in comics. Check it out after the jump.

CBNAH: How did you get into art? What age and did you attend art school, if so?

TK: Well I've always been into art. My brother read comics when we were kids. He read spider man and I got into X men and Wolverine. 

Throughout school I got in trouble for drawing to much. I never went to formal art school. Just tried drawing as much as I could. Doing my own comics. 

CBNAH: When did you realise you wanted to draw comics for a living? How did the newspaper gig transition into the Top Cow job?


TK: I really got into comics when Image was founded and knew I wanted to be a comic artist!. I had my parents take me to conventions so I could show my art around and meet editors. In the meantime I got a gig drawing cartoons for the local newspaper in high schooI eventually met an editor at Top cow that hooked me up with a small indie project. The Gift. I then made my way to Top cow and rest is history.

CBNAH: Who were your greatest inspirations family-wise and art-wise (your artistic icons/heroes) growing up and entering the industry?

TK: I was huge into early image. So guys like Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee and Todd McFarland. I also really loved Mark Texira's art on Wolverine.

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?

TK: If it weren't for a friend I had living in LA I wouldn't have made the connection with the Top cow editor that gave me my start. He took my work into the Top cow studios. I then was able to directly talk to that editor through email or at conventions. Also my parents taking me to conventions really helped.

CBNAH: What’s your best piece you worked on? (book-wise or client-wise etc) and also, your favourite moment ever as an artist?

TK: I would Say the Green Lantern stuff is my best stuff to date. I also still love my Superman Darkness books. These are mainly due to the inker Batt. He inked those books and is Inking Green Lantern. I would say the best moment is meeting people that buy the books and have followed me throughout my career.

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.

TK: Well since I've always worked on deadline books. I try to get my layouts done and approved by the editors so I can then concentrate on doing the pages. I look at a calendar to see just how many work days I have for the deadline. Sometimes I Blow up my layouts and use a light box to trace them on the board. So I have a base to start with. I then finish 3 to 5 pages and scan them in for the editors. If approved I get them out to the inker. 

CBNAH: What is your favourite character/place/thing to draw?

TK: At the moment the Green lantern Universe. Its so diverse, and always has something new to draw. I love drawing aliens and alien worlds. 

CBNAH: What would be your artistic dream project or collaboration to work on, if you could pick anything in the world?

TK: One of my own stories, and unlimited time to work on it=)

CBNAH: Do you practise alternating styles in your art?

TK: Yeah I do that sometimes. For example, the book I was working on before Green Lantern. Mysterious ways looks completely different from my Green Lantern stuff. Its a dark and gritty book. So I put a ton of rendering lines and shadow. Green Lantern being a super hero book and I'm using a cleaner slick style. 

CBNAH: Which is your preference – comics or non-sequential work?

TK: well I really only know comics and graphic arts. That's what my background is in. I enjoy doing digital paintings here and there. I do enjoy looking at classical art Like antiquity stuff.

CBNAH: What advice do you have for upcoming artists?

TK: If its something you really want to peruse it mainly takes practice. It doesn't matter where you live. If you are good enough and can get your work online I think it will get noticed. It all comes down to actually being good enough. There are tons of comic art books and cd's now to help draw. You just have to make its your own and get it online or in front of someone. If you get a chance, go to conventions. That's the best place to talk to the editors, artists and publishers. 

CBNAH: Future plans – art-wise?

TK: Well I will be working on Green lantern New Guardians for a while I'm sure. I also have a children's book coming out in December. My Best friend's a booger. Through Arcana studios. I just wrapped up a graphic novel with the friends that we are gonna release in 2012 called The Monarchy.
Well see what else pops up=)

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