Oct 29, 2009
Strip Seasons Italy interview
*Did you receive any formal education in drawing or is it solely a matter of talent?
- Like everybody, I started drawing when I was a child. Comics were a natural progression, with others around encouraging me. I had the talent; I studied graphic design at university at the Anadolu University Fine Arts Graphics Design School. However I was kicked out in my graduation year for “being unsuccessful.” It’s ironic that I delivered a seminar at my school a few years later. Now I’m a professional artist, I can see that I received the necessary information from the school. Actually education never ends; an artist should never say, "OK, I’m satisfactory now," no matter how old they are.
*We see a vast imagination when we examine your works. What is its source? What feeds it?
- I can't say much about my imagination, it has no limit. If it does, no one can themselves be aware of this limit. I’m just lucky, as I can reflect this. I can't say if my imagination has a source or should have a source. It is debatable whether reading is a means for feeding the imagination, but it is a fact that I do read many books. I believe that keeping myself "pure" is a means of nourishment. I live isolated and plainly. I keep away from nightlife and all types of extremes. I do not even need a partner. It is only my deep love of animals that I cannot do without. I volunteer at charities for the protection of homeless animals.
*Your drawings display many different styles. Is this an advantage or disadvantage?
- I believe that an illustrator should be versatile; they should be able to draw caricatures, comics, industrial design, animated characters and even manga. I am aware that I fall far from the generally accepted approach. Most think that an illustrator should have a clear-cut single style. For me an illustrator should have many styles. This is how I have proceeded in my six years of professional life and I have a remarkable number of followers and readers in my country. For me, whatever the effect the period and the story should leave, the drawing should accommodate it. If you do otherwise and you get stuck in a fixed style, you are bound to become outmoded. What’s more, if you always walk the same path, you can't create a new one.
* What effect have technological developments had on your work? Do you keep up to date with them?
- Yes, I do. The online gallery sites in particular have been like a miracle in this field. You can work together with an editor who is on the other side of the world as if they are in the next room and you can publish a magazine together. You can also follow new trends, new albums, etc.
I am trying to acquire new products as much as possible. However, I also think that one should also make use of traditional means as well as keeping abreast of technology. Personally I would prefer to draw with paper and pencil rather than a wacom tablet. Whichever drawing software you use, when you leave paper and pencil, you will not get a result with the effect you desire. I hold the view that a person who has never used watercolor paint cannot successfully use the watercolor paint effect. These types of products and software are instruments that assist illustrators and facilitate their job. I like digital drawing but I don’t feel satisfied so long as I don’t hold a paper sheet of finished work in my hands.
* Do you think there are enough comic artists in Turkey, and do people show interest in this field?
- Humor magazine readers are fairly numerous, but comics are not read as much, although they are read consistently and regularly. I think humor magazine created this phenomenon. When you examine a humor magazine, you can find only maybe one real comic-strip story among many drawings. These are the people who knocked-out hundreds of wonderful illustrators and who were able to find a place in the magazine. If the magazines do not let illustrators make ready this platform, a reader base cannot be formed. It's a terrible vicious cycle and a real shame for genuinely good illustrators, who are underappreciated and even wasted. Instead of reading quality stories and widening horizons, the reader is exposed to meaningless cheesy humor focusing on vulgar themes. If it continues like this we will never have a comic culture. We will list Kara Murat, Tarkan and Karaoğlan, our local heroes created 30 years ago, and we will not be able to add anything to those.
*Let’s talk about the story “Craftmanship” you drew for the “Outlaw Territory” album published by Image Comics. How was this connection established?
- American editor Michael Woods reached me via an online gallery, Deviantart.com. He mentioned the album and asked me if I was interested. I told him I could do the drawing. This was my first serious work abroad. There are many famous authors and illustrators in the album. Greg Pak, Joe Kelly, Steven Grant, Ivan Brandon, Khoi Pham, Christian Beranek... The names include authors and illustrators of Hulk, Spiderman.
*What was the subject of the story given to you?
- It was the story of a hangman. Jack is a character whose job is to hang criminals in the Wild West. He is a man who is meticulous and who attaches importance to details like the length of the rope and the weight of the man; one who is competent in his job; one who performs his job without pain and rigorously. One day he has to hang a 13 year old boy whose guilt has not yet been ascertained. He is stuck between his job and his conscience, and he decides to rescue the child. This is where the action starts. Horses, an angry sheriff, rifles… Everybody is on horseback and a chase begins. Jack is arrested, but the child flees. Jack is sentenced to death and the man who replaces him is an idiot. He uses Jack’s workshop. The story does not have an upbeat ending. Frank Beaton is a really outstanding author, and our editor Michael Woods formed a perfect author-illustrator team with his excellent foresight. Some comics’ websites in the USA have spoken about the story Frank and I produced together.
*What kind of work did you perform? Were there any resources you used as reference?
- We Turks have loved the Western theme since the 1960s. I can say there is no one who did not read El Grande Blek and Capitan Miki in their childhood. In short, I was not far removed from the concept. So as not to make a significant mistake, I examined guns and location images of the era, however I did what I knew to date in the drawing stage. Looking back at it, I see that I drew the guns incredibly ineptly. In one frame, it even looks like a butterfly
*What is your American dream? Who are the comic book heroes you plan and want to draw?
- I have never had an American dream. If I was living in the USA I would definitely pursue something, but I do not have a great ambition or plans on this issue. When the project was offered to me I had drawn neither Batman nor Spiderman; I mean, there was no drawing in my portfolio that could come close to them. This work made me happy in the sense that I could transcend my boundaries. I would be happy to have the opportunity to work with those people again.
*Your favorite Italian illustrators?
- I admire Italian art and artists, especially Leonardo da Vinci, beginning from the Renaissance to the present day. My interest covers pictures, sculpture, fashion design, plastic arts, industrial design and graphic design and all fields of arts and design. You have had a considerable impact on global arts from the past to today. As far as drawing and comics are concerned, I particularly like the works of Claudio Villa, Corrado Mastantuono, Ferri, Galep, Ivo Milazzo and Corrado Roi.
*A classic question. As in all professions, how is it being a woman in this job? Why do men dominate the field?
- Maybe it is a matter of preference. The scarcity of woman illustrators globally is a known fact. I can’t deny this, much as I want to. However, in terms of talent and power we are totally equal. There are subtle nuances: Women’s drawing is more detailed, emotional and aesthetically oriented and inward looking; men’s drawing is more energetic, spotty and suited to expression. This changes, of course, depending on the illustrator, trends, styles and techniques used.
*Again a classic question. Is there any advice you can convey to those who really want to pursue this art professionally?
- I recommend setting an easy and achievable target and to practice drawing over and over. After achieving that target, choose one more, and another after that. That way, you don’t get demoralized and will have a lot of success. There is a common mistake. We set ourselves a major objective and it becomes unreachable in our eyes, which brings us down. Our life then becomes all about waiting for opportunities, but nothing falls in your lap through waiting.
… Thank you very much for the interview. Love from Turkey and may all your days be filled with plenty of drawings and illustrations!