Gary Erskine Talks Comics

 

Gary Erskine is a wonderful artist, who has worked on everything from Judge Dredd and The Terminator to Hellblazer and JSA.

As a big fan of his I thought I’d introduce myself and ask him about his career. He was busy turning a blank piece of paper into a magical piece of art, but was more than happy to answer a few questions.  

 

You’re currently working on The Irons, which I love! Could you tell us a little about that?

GARY: The Irons: Hybrids is a future cyberpunk detective story referencing Blade Runner and Se7en and visually inspired by my work on Warheads and City of Silence. Liam Sharp’s new company Madefire approached me with the opportunity to work with Haden Blackman (the writer of Batwoman with JH Williams III) on something that would return me to this genre.

Is there any one issue or run that you are most proud of?

GARY: The Irons: Hybrids is being released an episode at a time for free on iTunes right now and I wouldn’t wish to spoil the surprise but the second/third episode chase is really exciting. The Madefireapp is providing new possibilities for me as an artist with different approaches for storytelling and includes parallax and motion in frame/panels. With the chase, the characters use their portal devices to ‘jump’ between time zones and locations in a kinetic/frantic sequence. So far this is my favourite episode but ultimately it will work as a whole.

Is there a character that you’d love to draw, but have not yet had the chance?

GARY: I have been fortunate enough to draw (or ink) most characters over the last 20 years or so but prefer working with my own right now. Maybe Conan? I prefer historical characters with texture and references. The richness of Conan’s world would be more interesting to me as it is as much a character to the story as he is. A return to Wolverine might be sweet too.

How do you find the experience of comic conventions and what was the biggest challenge anyone has ever set you (sketch wise)?

GARY: I love attending conventions and meeting the fans and fellow colleagues both here and in Europe. It’s the equivalent of our Christmas party and so much fun. The most challenging sketch? A smiling Dredd holding a potted plant. Bristol Expo. I have no idea why.

Who are your comic book heroes (writers and artists)?

GARY: It would be unfair to single out (and possibly forget) the people I have worked with. All have given me a wonderful career and opportunities to work with many companies on many stories with many wonderful characters. Inspiration that helped mould my style and approach would be from the Metal Hurlant/manga artists and writers I grew up with. Moebius, Enki Bilal, Howard Chaykin, Liberatore, Geoff Darrow and Otomo are major influences and still inspire.

Do you have any advice for people looking to get into comic artistry?

GARY: Work hard. Be brave. It really is that simple. With so many new challenges facing the industry right now and digital media, you have to work hard and be prepared to diversify. I also teach, arrange workshops with schools and libraries, storyboard for film and television and do concept and character designs.

So, what next for Gary Erskine?

GARY: I am now writing and publishing with my wife on our Roller Grrrls project. Set in the roller derby community, it is a story of the girls on the team and their daily challenges with life in general. Part drama, part soap. With the current market eating itself up with superhero/crime/horror genre books, we felt a departure was needed and are looking to audiences outside comics who maybe wish for something more based in reality (albeit a heightened one). We already have a sketchbook released to help raise funds and plan an ashcan for Christmas before the main magazine formatted release/series. More info can be found at www.rollergrrrls.com.

There are also some further projects that are slated to appear next year sometime including Daena, Incendiary.US and Dakota as well as working up a tentatively titled project called Island Life.

 

You can check out some of Gary’s work at garyerskine.blogspot.com

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