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Sticks

By Blazej Szpakowicz     May 14, 2006

Welcome to the latest edition of the DCG Artist Spotlight!

Our victim today is Sticks.

Comics2Film (C2F):What is your background in art?

Sticks:My father had an advertising agency while I was growing up, soart supplies were pretty easy to get a hold of. I guess this iswhere I got my love of design. he'd also bring home HUGE reams ofpaper, 1,000 to a pad, from the printing houses for my brother andI, so drawing was always something we did. Add to this the fact thatI spent quite a bit of time in hospital when I was little (no, notTHAT kind of hospital, smart ass, I had club feet {all fixed now}.),so I had plenty of free time.

When I got older, I did all the things artistic people my age did,airbrushing (I was awful!), designing posters and programs for schoolplays and stuff and drawing comics. I didn't get a computer untilmuch later, but fell in love really quickly and, with the help ofMANY friends, got to be pretty ok at different stuff. I had my owndesign company for a few years, finally selling and closing down shop.I now work in a sculpture gallery with my father, buying and sellingsome of the most amazing stone sculpture from the Shona sculptors ofZimbabwe. These guys are insanely talented and almost completelyself-taught. Any training comes from others who ARE self taught.

C2F:What do you use to make your art?

Sticks:If I'm doing one of the vector pix, which I've been concentrating onlately (Unfortunately... or fortunately, most of these have beenpaying jobs, so not much time for the DCG, although I really, reallywant to get back to you all!), I generally do an initial sketch inpencil on paper, just to lay it out and get general dimensions. ThenI either scan it in and use it as a guide, or completely ignore itand use the thumbnail in my head to create it, whole cloth, on thecomputer in Fireworks. I would use Illustrator for this initial design,and certainly use it after, to make sure everything lines up properlyand looks right, but I do prefer the tools in Fireworks for the basicdrawing stuff.

The other stuff I'm "known for" is Poser. I have found a couple ofREALLY good skin textures that I use for pretty much every pic. Forthe clothes and costumes, I will occasionally use pre-done stuff,but usually start from scratch, texture-wise and create them inPhotoshop or PSP.

I guess what got me noticed was my lighting. I try to use everythingI've learned during real life photo shoots and film shoots when I'mdesigning the lighting for my pictures. I prefer a nice, simple feel,as I think it adds a little realism, with just a few lights. I find itmore dramatic and... well... to be honest, it covers up many of theflaws and "CGI-ness" that poser has. I actually opened Poser the otherday for the first time in a lonnnng time and realised how much I missedit. Who knows... you may be seeing something from me soon. I hope so.

C2F:How/why did you start producing art?

Sticks:Well, I fell in love with comics really early, because of my time inhospital, and always wanted to be an artist. I remember the first timeI learned how to draw an arm and the way it felt when I realised thatthere were muscles underneath skin and it makes things move and lookdifferent. I was about 8 or 9 and my artwork changed dramatically shortly after that.

I guess I've been producing art for as long as I can remember. I know mymom has some pictures from when I was 11 or so and... I gotta say,they're not horrible!

C2F:What's your favourite of your own work?

Sticks:I guess my favorites would beCyclops and, of course,Laetitia Casta as Novawhich people seem to like. I think they're probably the most successful.The Cyclops one still makes me feel proud. I love the way it came out.

C2F:What's your least favourite of your own work?

Sticks:I still like all of the stuff I've done, but the least successful wouldprobably be SueStorm and Oh,Cap'n, my Cap'n (Although I still lovethe name. Spelling it cap'n is always funny!) as they look the most "Poser-y."

C2F:What do you think is your strongest asset as an artist?

Sticks:I guess a willingness to learn, even at my age!

C2F:What do you still need to work on?

Sticks:My willingness to learn, but only at my pace. I'm pretty pigheaded.

C2F:What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from?

Sticks:There are certain characters that I love and certain storylines that I love.Those are really the ones I try to do. I also get stupid ideas that Ithink are funny and kinda have to see done.

C2F:What's your favourite work(s) by another artist(s)?

Sticks:God, now you're asking the hard ones. There are so many that amaze me.

Essex'smoody pieces from early on were such an eye opener to all of us.

Android'swork is simply remarkable.

Lordmesa'sstuff is oh-so cool. I love it.

Agh! There are so many incredibly talented artists. I couldn't just pick one!

C2F:Who are your favourite comic book and/or mainstream artists?

Sticks:Tony Harris and Wade Von Grawbadger's work on Starman still satisfies me onmany, many levels. Will Eisner, of course, was a genius. John Byrne is stilla favorite, although he does phone it in much of the time. Alan Davis, too.

The guy that does 100 Bullets [Eduardo Risso] is amazing.

I love comics so much that, basically, unless you are a complete and utterhack, I'll love your work.

C2F:Where do you think the DCG should be headed?

Sticks:I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer that, as I've been lurking so much oflate. I would love it if we could get back that feeling of community thatwe used to have. Not sure how we can do that, though...

C2F:Who's your favourite comic book character?

Sticks:Jack Knight, Starman is probably my favorite character, but I have a secretplace in my heart for Nightcrawler that will never be usurped. Wait. He hasa tail?

(Sorry. Old joke. REALLY old joke.)

C2F:Of the numerous media in which you've worked -- manips, Poser, Fireworks, etc-- which do you prefer?

Sticks:I love a good Poser piece... well, I hate them when they're better than mine,but... when it's done right by someone who knows what they're doing.

I'm not so hot on sketches being shown, unless it's as a "Part of the process"series, then, I think they work.

I dunno. For me, I think my Poser stuff is the best recieved, but the vectorstuff it pretty cool, too.

I guess I prefer successful pieces, rather than the medium.


For more of Sticks' art,check out his DCGgallery.

Interviewer:Blazej Szpakowicz

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