Illustrator and comic book artist Aaron Lopresti was born in January of 1964 in Portland, OR. He studied at the USC film school in Los Angeles and spent a year working at Tri-Star Pictures before moving back to Portland and getting a job at Art Farm Studios. He spent three years at Art Farm honing his skills as a commercial artist. In 1993 Aaron was hired by Malibu Comics to draw for the comic book series Sludge in the new Ultraverse line. Since that time he has created artwork for Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse. Some of the titles he’s worked on include The Hulk, X-men, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Avengers, Plastic Man, Star Trek, Superman and many more. He also wrote and illustrated the self-published Atomic Toybox and CHIX comic books. One of my favorite works from Aaron is his Fantastical Creatures Field Guide: How to Hunt Them Down and Draw Them Where They Live book. It is filled with great sketches and watercolors and also gives step-by-step instructions that show how to draw your own monsters and creatures. Aaron lives in Oregon with his wife and two children. Be sure to visit his website and spend some time looking around. You should also check out Aaron's Zazzle store.
What is your favorite pen to use?
Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I do my under drawing in Col-Erase light blue pencil and then go over that with a .3 mm HB lead mechanical pencil.
Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I prefer to paint but almost always color my comic art in Photoshop.
If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Almost always watercolor and colored pencil.
What type of paper do you use?
For comic work I use a 2 ply smooth surface bristol board. For watercolor work I will use a hot press watercolor paper.
What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Guns and cars.
Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I often buy online from Dick Blick or go to my local art store, Art Media.
Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I usually listen to talk radio. If I listen to music it is either classic rock or contemporary Christian music.
Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Read and collected. I still collect Gold, Silver and Bronze Age books. My favorites as a kid were Spider-Man, Captain America, Avengers, Man-Thing and Werewolf by Night.
What is or was your favorite comic strip?
It would be too easy to say Calvin and Hobbes. My favorite strip when I was a kid was "Shoe" by Jeff MacNelly. I kind of like "Mother Goose and Grim" now. I also liked "Bloom County".
What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"Dinosaur Ghosts" by Walt Disney Studios. It was a school book club order. I think I still have it. It had great drawings black and white Dinosaur drawings in it. I also read a series of books called "Matthew Looney and the Space Pirates." Also, Encyclopedia Brown mysteries and Alfred Hitchcock Present's "The Three Detectives".
Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Unfortunately, no. I went to film school instead. So as a result I am still learning.....the hard way.
Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
It is a blessing in that it allows you to sell and promote yourself with little cost. Also it is a great resource for information, products and communication. It is a curse because of pornography and gutless people that hide behind pseudonyms and post stuff (true or false) without repercussions.
Did either of your parents draw?
My mom did a little. My aunt was quite good at cartooning.
Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My mom, by far. My wife is very supportive now.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes. Most of the work ends up seeing print in my published "sketchbooks" but I do have several sitting around here full of drawings.
Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, I taught an extension course at the Northwest School of Fine Arts in Portland for comic art. I enjoyed and if and when I have time in my schedule I might do it again. A couple of my students went on to big things.
Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Talent dictates how good you can become. Passion dictates how successful you will be.
Do you collect anything and if so what?
Comics. Movie Posters. Some original art. Dinosaur sculptures.
If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I would like to be Bugs Bunny but I am probably more like Sokka from the Last Air Bender.
Are you a righty or lefty?
If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I would like to be a chef.
In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It is the biggest, coolest and messiest room in the house.
Do you play any musical instruments?
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Practice. Never think you are good enough and never give up.
Who is your favorite artist?
Either Frazetta or Leyendecker.
Thanks again Aaron!
Illustrator and character designer Peter de Seve provides the next set of answers.