Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Terry Beatty - Cartoonist Survey #234

Born in Muscatine, Iowa in January of 1958, Terry Beatty is a cartoonist, illustrator, teacher and a sculptor. He teamed up as co-creator and artist with writer Max Allan Collins (“Road to Perdition”) in 1979 to create 'The Comics Page', which was a weekly syndicated comics page containing jokes, activities and a puzzle-comic starring private eye Mike Mist. Though the feature was short-lived, the character Mike Mist carried on, appearing in issues of Mystery Magazine and as a back-up feature in the 'E-Man' comic book. With Collins, Terry also co-created and drew ‘Ms. Tree’, which went on to become the longest-running private eye series in American comic books. ‘Ms. Tree’ got her start in 1981 in Eclipse Magazine and soon spun off into her own comic book. First published by Eclipse; ‘Ms. Tree’ was then published by Aardvark-Vanaheim, Renegade Press and finally DC Comics, who published ten quarterly 48-page issues that ran into the early 90’s. Terry’s other work with Max Allan Collins includes the detective/horror four-issue series ‘Johnny Dynamite’ for Dark Horse, and a graphic novel sequel to “Road to Perdition” called “Return to Perdition”, for DC's Vertigo Crime line that is scheduled to be released August of this year.

Terry spent over a decade inking various “animated-style” Batman comic book series for DC including: ‘Batman Adventures’, ‘The Batman Strikes’, ‘Batman and Robin Adventures’, ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’, ‘Batman Beyond’, ‘Batman Gotham Adventures’ and more. During this time he was awarded two Will Eisner Awards. The first one was in 1998 for Best Graphic Album-New for ‘Batman & Superman Adventures: World’s Finest’ and the second one was in 1999 for Best Title for a Younger Audience with ‘Batman: The Gotham Adventures’.

The works from Terry that I am most familiar with and really love are his cover paintings for Dennis Druktenis’ Scary Monsters and Monster Memories magazines. These wrap-around covers are just beautiful to look at and apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way as he won the Rondo Award in 2007 for Best Cover Illustration. A big fan of monsters, he created artwork for Monsterwax’s Shock Stories trading cards which were released in 2009. As a sculptor Terry has created numerous resin kits including his “Beatty’s Beauties” series, a sideshow freak series and many more. He recently designed a Green Lantern model kit for Moebius Models and created the box illustration for it. As if all of the above isn’t enough, Terry also taught in the comic art program at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design from 2005 to 2009.

He recently moved to the Kansas City area with his wife Erika and their son Kirby. Terry is also a proud grandfather with grandsons, Dawson and Tristin who were born to his daughter from a previous marriage, Elizabeth. Visit his website where you can see more of his work and also purchase original artwork. Follow him here on his Scary Terry's World blog. You can purchase the Shock Story trading cards through Monsterwax and you will soon be able to purchase the Green Lantern model kit here at Moebius Models.

What is your favorite pen to use?

Lately I've been using the digital pen tools in Manga Studio. Otherwise I'm more of a brush guy.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?

Yes -- if working on paper -- usually a mechanical pencil. If digital, I'll do blue "pencil" preliminaries.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?

For commissions -- by hand. For printed work -- Photoshop.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?

Colored inks.

What type of paper do you use?

Strathmore bristol -- smooth surface.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Traditional telephones (with the curly cord) are a pain -- as are motorcycles and drawing someone getting in or out of a car.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?

In Minneapolis I shopped at Dick Blick, PenCo, Art Materials and the Art Cellar at MCAD -- just moved to the Kansas City area and haven't sought out a shop yet. Will likely be doing some mail order.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?


Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?

Often. Rockabilly, hillbilly, early rock and roll, exotica, swing, surf guitar, roots country, British invasion, punk, garage band...

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?

Yes. I read 'em ALL. Probably would have to choose Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four -- though Lee/Ditko Spider-Man might be my answer on another day.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

Tough one. I think it's a tie. Foster's Prince Valiant and Segar's Popeye.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?

As a child? Probably "Jungle Tales of Tarzan." And yes -- I still own a copy. Along with many other E. R. Burroughs books.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?


Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?

A blessing in that it is allowing artists to reach their audience directly, without the interference of publishers/editors.

Did either of your parents draw?


Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?

My mother, I suppose. Though she never really "got it".

Do you keep a sketchbook?

I do -- but have slacked off from working in it lately.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?

Yes, I was Visiting Artist and then an adjunct instructor at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) -- and yes, I (mostly) enjoyed it.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?

Perseverance is more important than both.

Do you collect anything and if so what?

Too much to list. Character toys, model kits, art, books, music, movies....

Are you a righty or lefty?


If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?

I'd be fronting a rockabilly band or hosting a late night TV horror movie show.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

A flat surface surrounded by lots of stuff.

Do you play any musical instruments?

I own a guitar. I have yet to learn to play it.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?

Only do it if you MUST.

Who is your favorite artist?

Jack Kirby.

(Watch this two-part video of Terry reviewing some monster models.)

Thanks again for your time Terry.

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