Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Daniel Campos may be slightly new to the full-time comic world, but his work is already making waves. Most known for his sketch cards for Marvel via Rittenhouse and his work on BloodRayne, Mr. Campos is also doing work for many smaller companies. He currently resides in Southern New Mexico, USA.

Daniel Campos’ website: http://stalk.deviantart.com/
Interview by: Sherry McCarty

CreativEnd (CE): Thank you very much for taking your time out to do this interview, Mr. Campos. I know you are very busy.

Daniel Campos (DC): The pleasure is all mine! I appreciate you taking the time out to chat a bit with me about what I do.

CE: Let’s start off with an easy question: From when did you start to draw? What were they mostly of?

DC: My earliest memories of drawing go back to elementary school and a lot of doodling in coloring books and Big Chief newsprint tablets. I remember much of what I drew had to do with cartoons and movies like Empire Strikes Back. I used to really enjoy drawing the Hoth battle scene with all the AT-ATs and Snowspeeders shooting lazers at each other. Ah, simpler times.

CE: What got you into comics? What titles were you a fan of when you were younger?

DC: I’ve always had comics in my life to some degree or other. Even before being aware of why I enjoyed them I would tear through my uncle’s collection which consisted of everything from the Warren horror comics to his Archies and Caspers. When I drew I guess subconciously they all seeped into what I was doing. In middle school I got hip to a little underground comic called Faust produced by Rebel Studios and it really opened my eyes to what could be done in comics beyond the standard mainstream stuff. As a younger fan I was into pretty much everything I could get my grubby mits on but books like Faust, Uncanny X-Men, and manga like Battle Angel Alita were instant buys.

CE: What projects are you currently working on? Any creator owned works?

DC: Currently I’m juggling about fifty different projects because I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to folks. Mainly sketch card sets ranging from my usual Marvel stuff for Rittenhouse Archives to sets for other publishers and companies. Having just gone freelance full-time I’ve got some spare moments where I’m developing a few ideas I’ve had banging around but it’s way too early in the game to really talk about that just yet.

CE: Who are some of your influences?

DC: HA! We’re going to be here all night with this question. I’ll try to distill it down to this: I’m pretty much influenced by everything and everyone around me to some degree or other. Even the stuff I don’t like because I’m a firm believer that if something isn’t to your taste you should still learn about it to better understand why you don’t like it. Currently I’m really digging the artistic stylings of guys like Eric Canete, Chris Stevens, Mahmud A. Asrar, Yildiray Cinar, and Stuart Immonen along with my all time faves like Adam Hughes, Claire Wendling, J. Scott Campbell, Travis Charest, Ashley Wood, and Marc Silvestri. I feel really bad because I’m not listing even a small percentage of the folks that inspire and motivate me. I’m a very old school guy so I dig the masters like Wally Wood, Will Eisner, and of course Norman Rockwell. I always feel ridiculous citing him as an influence because who doesn’t like Rockwell, right?

CE: If you could work on any title/character in the world, what/who would it be?

DC: My dream project would be to do a run on Uncanny X-Men but with the team that ran in the late 80s to the early 90s just because I don’t have a clue as to what’s going on in the book today. I’d also love a shot at doing some Image updating like a run on WildC.A.T.s or Cybernary as well. Actually there’s a ton of cool Image characters I’d love to take a stab at.

CE: Who would you love to work with in the future?

DC: As far as writers are concerned I’m pretty open but I’d love to get my hands on a script from Mark Millar, Jason Aaron, or Joe Casey. It would be an honor and a kick to draw something from a Chris Claremont script too. From the artist front, I’d love to have someone like Tim Townsend ink something of mine especially since I’m horrible at inking and always ruin my pencils but I’d never want to torture the man that way. The day my buddy Nei colors something of mine officially is the day I’ll be in the ICU of the local hospital probably dying of shock because she is just the definition of awesome.

CE: Your females are very sexy; are they your favorite to draw?

DC: Thanks and yes! I adore the female form in all it’s shapes and sizes. There is just something about the gentle curves and slopes of a female body that makes me oh so happy to draw it.

CE: What are your favorite types of art to create? (i.e.: sketch cards, covers, pages, commissions)

DC: All of it actually. I’m just a goof for art and as long as I have something in my hand that lays down a line and a surface to place said line down, I’m good to go. Each aspect presents it’s own set of challenges and rewards but I truly love it all even the frustrations.

CE: Your blog, Zombies Love Comics, is very nice. Do you find that updating that helps you to do more work? How about your devaintART page? Do the comments help to motivate you?

DC: Thank you, I’m always wary of making my blog into something ridiculous but when it’s full of chicken-scratch art what can you do, right? I’m actually very, VERY, bad at updating stuff online because I’m so busy in the ‘real’ world that I don’t get to jack into the Matrix as much as I’d like. Updating on sites like my sketchblog and DeviantART is bittersweet because sometimes it’s a lot of work that goes under the radar. It sometimes feels like I’m posting my heart out and no one really cares unless I’m doing some kind of fanart or catering to some fandom so the people that do take the time to really think out their commentary make my day. As for the comments that I get on my art I’ve been lucky that most of them have been positive which is always nice and appreciated. I don’t think it’s a question of motivating me so much as reassuring me that I’m doing something right in my work.

CE: What motivates you to draw?

DC: Good question. I’m essentially always on when it comes to drawing. Whether it’s doodling on a napkin at a local restaurant or drawing up stuff for someone at a convention I’m always good to go. One thing that does really get my juices flowing is to take a peek at some really great artwork either on DeviantART or in my large collection of art and sketchbooks.

CE: You had a few jobs before getting into comics. Do you find that experience one that helps you create better works?

DC: I still don’t feel like I’m in the ‘biz’ as much as everyone tells me otherwise. I guess I have yet to lose that fanboyish way of looking at the industry that helps to keep me excited about the work I do. That aside, I know any and all life experience can help make you a better artist as long as you’re willing to be open to learn and not be narrow-minded in approach. If life has taught me anything is that there is no such thing as a problem, just a cleverly disguised opportunity.

CE: Is there anything that you find essential when you sit down to draw (other than a pencil and paper)?

DC: Music. This is why I love my iPod Touch, it is amazing and I carry it everywhere. Also something to drink usually water or Dr. Pepper in a big glass so I don’t have to get up from the table very often.

CE: Of all your works, which is the one that you like the most? Why?

DC: The next one I finish. It’s another stepping stone in my path to being a better artist and the journey is a long one.

CE: Do you have any advice for the struggling artist out there?

DC: Stop struggling. Really. It’s just that easy, keep drawing, keep making mistakes, take your lumps, and do it all over again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Don’t be afraid to be hard on yourself and tell yourself you suck even if mama and granpa and all your little buddies tell you otherwise. Be objective because in this day and age there is this feeling of self-entitlement going around where everyone thinks they do the best work ever and that is just not true.

Pick your art apart, pick apart the art of your favorite artist. If you’re sitting there worshipping someone drawing comics your wasting your time because they make mistakes too except they are just better at hiding it than you are. Also be aware of the time you put into your craft. If you’ve only been serious about art for the past year don’t get frustrated when you can’t produce art on the same level as a person that’s been serious about their craft for decades. That’s just ridiculous and unrealistic. This one is really important and some folks will have issues with it but you need to stop trying to be as good as the next guy if you want a career in comics. You need to be better than the professionals getting paid the big bucks to make it and you need to bring your best work to the table always.

On an artistic tip, study everything. EVERYTHING. Not just your fave comics or anime or manga or whatever they’re showing on Cartoon Network this week. There are so many resources available just online now from anatomy to layout to perspective that it makes me sick. There is no excuse for an artist to not get better in today’s ‘information at the tap of a button’ reality when just ten years ago you still had to go to a library or talk to a pro to learn about this stuff. If you say to yourself, “I just like manga so that’s all I’m going to learn.” you’re limiting yourself as an artist who wants to work professionally in any other market. Of course now you can just have a wacky YouTube video and be famous for nothing so take all the above with a grain of salt.

CE: Thank you very much for your time!

DC: Once again, my pleasure.

See full article at: Creative End.

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