Friday, February 8, 2008

Spotlight: Doug Dabbs

Every so often we will be focusing on a specific student doing exemplary work in a Spotlight post. We’ll also have a slideshow of their art in the right column and post a Q&A from the student. But, we thought, who should be the first? The answer was pretty easy: Doug Dabbs, the first student the ATL SEQA Department campus had and the first to spend all four years here to earn his BFA! Now as a Graduate student Doug is continuing his art evolution and brings us our first Spotlight Q&A with some exciting news about some professional work he's doing!

Q. Where are you from and what originally got you interested in sequential art?

A. I was born and raised in Nashville, TN. It was there where I originally became interested in sequential art. In the third grade, my teacher assigned us a reading assignment which we had to do a report on. I never read comics before, so I asked if I could choose a comic to read. Surprisingly, she said yes. She didn’t care what medium of literature it was, she just wanted her students to read.

Q. What books (comic or otherwise) do you regularly read and why?

A. I think I have become more picky on my reading material, because there isn’t a monthly book that I always pick up. I usually read trades by artists and writers who influence me.

Click here to expand/collapse the rest of Doug Dabbs' Q&A.

Q. Who are your major influences?

A. Man, this could be a long one, but I’ll try to keep it under a hundred. Just to name a few (in no particular order) – Domingo Mandrafina, Juanjo Guarnido, David Mazzucchelli, Sean Phillips, Jorge Zaffino, Rodolphe Guenoden, Mike Mignola, John Paul Leon, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner, Frank Miller, Alex Toth, Benoît Springer, and some guy named Jack Kirby.

Q. Do you have a specific process in your work and, if so, what is it?

A. Typically, I start with breakdowns, which focuses on the composition, pacing, and design. I don’t really concentrate on the drawing aspect, which if you ever see them you can tell. When that is done, I scan the breakdowns and print them out on a fresh page to pencil over. When the pencils are done, I scan those in, digitally remove the breakdown images and print out the pencils as blue line with black borders. I print out my pencils because the paper handles the ink much better when there is no graphite obstructing the ink. When the inks are done I scan those in, digitally remove the blue pencils, tighten up the ink and Bam! a comic page. Actually, this is the short version of my process and many people do things differently.

Q. What tools do you prefer to use in your work and why?

A. For penciling I use a blue Col-Erase color pencil. It erases easy and has a great feel to it. For brushes I use the Pentel Color brush, and the Pentel Pocket brush. I fill both of them up with Holbein Black India Ink, not the Special Black. The regular ink is a bit thinner and can go through the brushes better without drying.

Q. Do you have any professional work that has been published? And are you working on anything currently?

A. I have worked for Desperado publishing as a Production Assistant. On the business side of comics, I helped design several of their books. I also received a production credit for their The Art of P. Craig Russel art book, where I touched up the art and prepared it for print. As of right now, I just received the opportunity to do a fill in issue for Oni Press’ Resurrection. I will be handling the pencils and inks, and it’s scheduled to be out sometime in June.

Q. Are you working on any personal projects and, if so, what are they?

A. Making my life work.

Q. How do you juggle your work load between college and your freelance life?

A. You just make it happen. I know that’s a hack answer, but it’s true. If want something bad enough, you have to make it happen. I’m married and I work as well, so you just have to use your time wisely. You can’t feel bad for yourself; someone out there always has it tougher than you. If there was a formula to making everything work, there would be a lot more successful people out there.

Q. Who would you love to work with one day and why?

A. There are a lot of people. The most mainstream right now is Ed Brubaker. Everything he does is great. If I learned to speak Spanish, then Carlos Trillo. Hey, if I’m shooting high I’ll just throw in Alan Moore and Frank Miller as well.

Q. Where do you hope to see yourself professionally in five to ten years?

A. Teaching. I would really love to teach art to college students. It seems very rewarding and you can really make a difference to a lot of people. On the side I could be doing my own book or collaborating with someone. That way I could have freedom on my art and not have to worry about a month to month comic schedule.

A small sampling of Doug's work:

1 comment:

Olumuyiwa Ajagbe said...

great interview guys. Doug, you're a motivated! You definitely have that "just do it" attitude, which is great to rub off of. I also never heard of some of the artists you mentioned. Good job.