Hello, and welcome to our second installment of the monthly “Interviews With The Industry” series. This monthly post seeks to get you a different look at the people who make comic books work through interviewing some of it’s most interesting people. This month’s offering is our very first creator. He has created two web based comic series at silversparrowcomics.com and is one of the nicest presenters on the con floor. Today, we are talking craft and passion with Brian Delaney.
Deaux: Alright Brian, thanks for making time to do this. We are glad to have you as our first creator on Interviews With The Industry! My first question is: What is your official occupation and your place in the world of comic books?
Brian: This is great, thanks for the opportunity! I am a Product and Graphic Designer by day and comic artist and writer at night.
Deaux: How long have you been making comics?
Brian: Since I was a boy. My first comic was about my dog, Samson. He was a hyper, golden retriever. Our family pet. I drew him in a Superman style cape and tights. In high school, I became very frustrated with my artwork and focused on writing short stories. In college, I was studying art and fell in with a group of guys who were starting a campus lampoon. They liked my artwork and wanted to know if I would work on it with them. I was much more comfortable with my abilities as an artist and started writing and drawing my own comics again. Over the last twenty years I have been writing and roughing my own stories while half heartedly shopping pages of other peoples characters at cons. This (all) led to an epiphany of sorts in 2006 at the Wizard World Arlington (convention). I am doing this all wrong. I need to do my own thing, my own way on the web.
Deaux: I think you are a little young to fight for the patent on Krypto, but Samson sounds like he was a great character!
Brian: As a dog in real life, he was for sure.
Deaux: Does The Silver Sparrow or Bloodmachines series generate any sort of extra income for you? (I notice that you don’t have any banners on your site)
Brian: At this point not really. This is passion play for me. Something that I enjoy.
Deaux: We know all about that at Comical-Musings (WINK). So what you are saying is that you go and knock out a 40 hour per week job and then work on your passion in the off time? That’s INTENSE! How do you do it?
Brian: It can be. For sure. I was tired of telling people that I do this sort of thing and them looking at me like, “sure you do.”
Deaux: Well, I saw you banging out some impressive little sketches at an in-store appearance, are you usually a pen and ink guy, or do you prefer digital painting with the tools of your day job?
Brian: I try to write all the time; notes regarding plot points, character motives, etc., in sketchbooks that are always near me. I pencil my panels on a clipboard that I can work on anywhere. I have a guide that I print out on laser paper and draw right on that. One of the things I realized was that if I don’t make this thing fit my lifestyle it will not happen. So I do not make it any harder than it already is.
Deaux: That’s cool and different than I thought that you did it!
Brian: Thanks man! You know I don’t have a preference. I really have to be quick with The Silver Sparrow and BloodMachines. So my technique choices are driven by a need to be fast. For a while I was drawing, inking and adding tones in SketchBook Pro with the thought that it would speed things up. I could scale things. Move things around, undo. The problem was I couldn’t let go of the imperfections. I would draw a line and undo. Draw a line and undo…for half a minute! When I ink on paper I usually don’t redo things. I have to let go or I won’t get anything done.
Deaux: You said that you have had to draw mainstream characters in the past at cons under duress, do you have a favorite mainstream character? Are there any current titles that you like to read?
Brian: I will always have favorites! Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Man and Hulk. I don’t read many mainstream comics anymore… I have been meaning to pick up Chris Bachalo’s new X-Men comic… Wolverine and the X-Men. In general I read Manga currently. 20th Century Boys, and Naruto.
Deaux: I love Wolverine and The X-Men! Your taste in intake makes perfect sense due to the Asian influence in your output. I read all of The Silver Sparrow and Blood Machines webcomics before this interview (all of our readers should read them AFTER this interview). Are they technically Manga?
Brian: I don’t know (laughs to himself). Really they’re my style. A mix of my artists heroes, John Buscema, Moebius, Katsuhiro Otomo growing up and of late Masashi Kishimoto and Naoki Urasawa. It is drawing in a style that fits me and reflects my influences in a real organic way. I don’t really force anything in regard to my style.
Deaux: So it is “Brian” style (didn’t mean to pigeonhole you there).
Deaux: In mainstream comics, there has been a real departure from finishing out backgrounds and a lot of artists have been accused of being lazy and skimping on important set pieces. I would say that this is one of the very strongest attributes of your art. Your meticulous attention to the background provides strong settings and looks really professional. Is that a “manga” thing, or a “Brian” thing?
Brian: I came up with a term that describes my style for an interviewer at the DCC last month, “AmeriManga” I don’t think it is original…but, it came to mind at the time. You know, I really try to write and draw the panels so that you could follow along without reading a word. Certainly, I am not successful at this all of the time, but part of that means adding enough detail to create a setting. To make sure that the reader has a point of reference for where everyone is in relation to each other and what they are doing.
Deaux: I would say that you are successful in that. What do you feel seperates The Silver Sparrow from other web comics?
Brian: Good question. I think one of the things about webcomics is that everything is very personal and individual. They don’t have to conform. My webcomics are unique only because they are mine.
Deaux: I can honestly say that I get the same “vibes” conveyed from your comics that I got from you in person. Professional, engaging, and friendly.
Deaux: Yours is the first Manga that I have ever read and appreciated. The reason that I wanted to interview you for Comical-Musings was because you were so very kind and pleasant to meet at your appearance at my local comic store on Free Comic Book Day. I’m not sure if I could say the same for your peers on that day. How important do you think that it is to be a “nice guy” in the comics business?
Brian: Well, you pay me a great compliment, thanks! You should try 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa. Very Western in feel and what a great story teller! Regarding the nice thing, I’m just being me. I am the same guy at work, at home or at the local comic shop. I really try to treat people the way I want to be treated. It takes someone a tremendous amount of courage to talk to a stranger let alone ask them questions about anything! When I put it out there to meet someone, compliment them or whatever…I don’t want to be slapped down. It hurts.
Deaux: It was great talking to you Brian and I hope that our little corner of the internet can increase the size of yours.
I’m glad that Comical-Musings got to interview Brian Delaney, not only because he is a nice person. The truth is that he puts a lot of work into his craft. His website is top notch, his lines are clean and where everyone is trying to make a quick buck these days, Brian is trying to promote, share, and enjoy what he is doing. We, as people who enjoy entertainment media, need to embrace creators like Brian. When your craft is driven by passion and not just a paycheck… that is where true innovation and creativity thrives. Go like Silver Sparrow Comics on Facebook. Most of the things that we promote involve purchasing something, but Brian’s webcomic is free to read at silversparrowcomics.com. Go read them and tell him if you like it. He makes regular appearances at retailers and conventions and will give you a sketch if you come talk to him. It is kind, talented, and humble people like Brian Delaney that we need to rally around as a community. Thanks for checking out Comical-Musings today and stay tuned next month for when we will bring you an interview from another interesting personality in the world of comics.
~ Scott Deaux ~