Sunday, July 4, 2010

Spotlight: Dominike Stanton

Our latest spotlight has been recently hired by Marvel Comics. He is one of the most talented students to come through our department in every way. Dominike "Domo" Stanton has a solid grasp on design, layout, storytelling, penciling, inking, coloring, you name it. He is the renaissance man of comics. Domo is also a stand-up, solid, responsible, funny, and fun guy too. He is the total package. Oni Press has also recognized this and hired him to pencil, ink, and color a story for "Resurrection" #4. Expect to see wonderful things from this young man and remember his name: Dominike Stanton!

Q. Where are you from and what originally got you interested in sequential art?
A. I was born in Baltimore, raised in Forestville, Maryland. I actually learned how to read through comics. From what my parents tell me, I was always interested in the pictures, but as I got older, became more involved in the stories.

Q. What books (comic or otherwise) do you regularly read and why?
A. I used to read a lot of Marvel Comics titles like X-men and Spiderman. Though we don’t gain superpowers in the real world, the outer conflicts and inner struggles of many of their characters made them so much more relatable than what other comic publishers were putting out at the time. Now I’m kind of all over the place with, not only fictional books with interesting stories, but real life people who didn’t wear a cape to necessarily be called a hero. Whether they are biographies from some of my life heroes like Malcolm X, Tony Royster Sr., and Tupac Shakur, or non-stop action from comics like Tekkonkinkreet, Ultimate Spiderman, and Vagabond, all of these subject give just enough substance to entertain and inspired me to keep growing into a better person, artist, and storyteller.

Q. Who are your major influences?
A. As a beginning/rising artist, and even now still, I was always extremely interested in artists with more cartoony/expressionistic styles like Humberto Ramos, Chris Bachalo, and Skottie Young. Not to mention the amazing animation styles of Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar. Though these guys played a huge role in my development as a cartoonist. As I continue to grow, I find myself pulling influence from some of my closest friends and mentors. I don’t want to list names because I don’t want to leave anybody out, but the biggest two I can name without a doubt are Jerry Gaylord and Shawn Crystal. Jerry is also a rising Pro comic/caricature artist who co-founded the studio, Identity Comics, based in the DC-Metropolitan area. We all know the Rising Deadpool superstar himself, Shawn Crystal. Both these guys took me under their wings and definitely played an enormous part in creating the artist I am today.

Q. Do you have a specific process in your work and, if so, what is it?
A. After I receive an assignment, or written script, the first thing I always do are thumbnails. This part of the process takes me the longest, but is the most important. It’s where I figure out the layout of my page, spot my blacks, and lets me set the overall pacing of the page without having to do too much drawing. From there, if I have a panel with intense perspective, I scale the thumbnail up to an 8 1/2x11 sheet of paper, where I rule out my perspective grid and work it out. Then, I blow it up to 11x17, where I light box a quick doodle of my thumbs onto Bristol board, and work from there.

Q. What tools do you prefer to use in your work and why?
A. I use a .5 Pentel Graph mechanical drafting pencil with blue lead to draw. I like using mechanical pencils because I can get really fine mark-making with them that I can’t quite get with a regular pencil. I like using blue lead, not only because it’s my favorite color of all times, but also because If I plan to ink the piece after I draw it, the blue is much easier to clean up in a digital file than traditional lead. As far as inking goes, I’m still new and trying to find the right tools for me, but so far I think I’ve been getting pretty good results from using the Pentel brush with regular Holbein ink, Faber-Castell PITT pens, and Hi-Tec-C pens.

Q. Do you have any professional work that has been published? And are you working on anything currently?
A. I have gotten published work. I actually did an 8-page back-story, pencil, ink and color, for the 4th issue of Oni Press’s “Resurrection” series. Currently I’m not working on anything, but I am due to start some pages for Marvel Comics’ Deadpool Corpse series sometime late this summer, so stay tuned folks. I’m heading for the big leagues!

Q. Are you working on any personal projects and, if so, what are they?
A. I’d like to think of myself as a hired gun. For now, I’m happy with working with other writers, translating their written ideas into sequential pages. I have a few ideas, but currently suck as a writer. Working as a penciler with many different scripts should cure that sickness over time. Then maybe later down the line I might try to execute a story or two of my own.

Q. How do you juggle your workload between college and your freelance life?
A. Schedules help. BIG TIME. Telling myself exactly how much time I need to sleep, I subtract that time from each day so I know exactly how many hours I have to get whatever I need accomplished. Then I set a weekly schedule according to how much work I have to do, usually trying to leave at least two days open to anything.

Q. Who would you love to work with one day and why?
A. Hmm… I’d probably need a thousand foot scroll if I were to list all the people I’d love to work with. There are just so many people I could name, including some of my friends, mentors, and professionals that I don’t think I’d ever be able to narrow it down.

Q. Where do you hope to see yourself professionally in five to ten years?
A. Same thing we do everyday pinky. Try to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!! … Wait. Does that work here?

Check out some of Domo's work. And this is just the beginning of his career. We can't wait to see his work in the future!

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