Yes, Alex Garner, the super cool Comic book digital painter! He plays video games too!
The guy is really cool and down to earth! He is very humble about his fantastic art which was refreshing. I remember following his work in the late 90’s and his current stuff is simply mind blowing! Without further hold up on with the interview!
Questions by me. Answers and Eye candy by *AlexGarner!
How did you break into the biz…do you remember your first published work?
In late ’92, I sent some work to Jim Lee for a talent contest he hosted in the back of WildCATS #2. I wasn’t very confident with my pencils at the time, so I only applied for an inking position. The four who succeeded in the contest were J.Scott.Campbell, Brett Booth, Sal Regla, and myself. I believe my first published inked work was on WildCATS #0 over Brett Booth’s pencils. And I did such an awful job on it that soon after, Brett kicked me to the curb which freed me to work with Campbell. Obviously, that turned out to be a very good thing for me as Campbell and I became a pretty successful penciller/inker team for the next 6 years on such series as Gen¹³ and Danger Girl.
What keeps you motivated to churn out fantastic colors on a regular basis…(I guess besides paying bills!)
I hate to say it, but some of it is just 11th hour dumb luck. Honestly, I usually have to work very hard to get my palette working at all. There are those artists out there who have the innate ability to pick the perfect color scheme from the get-go, but not me. No, I have to constantly wrestle with Photoshop just to produce something that will function at a minimal level. So, this means I sometimes use bright and flashy colors to compensate for a lack of pre-visualization, which is odd because my personal preference really lies with much more desaturated, earthy palettes. But also, the characters I paint tend to wear pretty garish outfits, so it’s usually counter-intuitive to dial down the bright colors. These are super heroes after all.
Sadly, almost every one. Only a very few times have I ever felt completely satisfied with a finished piece after it’s done. A vast majority of the time when I look back at my art, I wince in frustration at what might have been. But if there’s one good thing that comes from all my negativism, it’s that I have a constant and obsessive need to improve.
(Awesome piece here by the way…at least I think so!)
What are some challenges you face with deadlines. (Or to put better -do you have problems with the many deadlines you face?)
Usually the challenge for me is in the beginning stages of a painting. If I’m not “on” and in-the-groove, then I’m just scratching and clawing to put together any sort of functional composition. That’s when I usually lose a lot of project time and then the stress sets in. But generally, I’m pretty good at not over-booking myself with too many deadlines. I believe it’s really important to be able to deliver a product when you say you will. Otherwise, you develop a professional reputation for flakiness that’s really hard to shake.
How long have you been a gamer? What games do you currently play? Favorite Game ever?
When I play, I’m mostly on World of Warcaft with my friends. I usually don’t have time for a lot of other gaming. However, I did recently finish Bioshock, which was really excellent. Off the top of my head, my all-time favorite games are Diablo II, Resident Evil 4, and Zelda: Ocarina of Time. For me, those were three timeless gaming experiences.
What artist do you admire?
These days, I really gravitate toward Craig Mullins. In my opinion (and many others), he’s the gold standard for digital painting and speed-painting. Adam Hughes is also a tremendous influence on me as well. A truly gifted and great guy.
What makes a good illustration to you?
You know, that’s a tough question to answer. When I look at any good illustration, I tend to focus on what strong elements were brought to the table and I try to dissect the artist’s thought processes behind them. It’s such a case-by-case basis for me. For instance, I really like the artwork of bothMike Mignola and Joe Madureira, but they couldn’t be more stylistically different in their approaches.
Is there a dream project out there right now that you wish you could work on?
Nothing specific at this time. My primary focus is just to become a better illustrator and then go from there. I’ve only been painting for over a year, so I still have a lot to learn.
Favorite character to illustrate?
I’ve been illustrating Illyria from Angel so much lately, I guess it’s her for now. Rogue and Ms. Marvel have been fun recently too.
Big thanks to the man himself AlexGarner! The guy went from inker to digital painter! Gotta love that!