Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Loston Wallace - Cartoonist Survey #256
Comic book artist and illustrator, Loston Wallace was born in Clintwood, Virginia in 1970. He began reading comics when he was four years old, and from that time on he knew he wanted to draw comics. He attended the Joe Kubert School of Art from 1994-1996. In 1996 Loston began his career as a full-time freelance artist. That same year he married Carolyn Waterson, whom he met while they were both at the Kubert School.
His first assignments were providing artwork for the role-playing games industry. Since he began in 1996, he has contributed illustrations for over 65 different role-playing game books including, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Deadlands: The Weird West, Shadow Run, Battletech, Mechwarrior and others. Due to his popularity in the role-playing and comics community, he has been a featured guest at many of the large gaming and comics conventions such as Dragon Con, Gen Con and Heroes Con.
Loston started illustrating Superman and Batman children’s activity books for DC Comics’ Licensing Department in 1998. He continues to produce drawings of licensed DC characters for story books, movie tie-in books, coloring books and more. Just a handful of the books he has worked on include, “Batman: Deep Freeze”, “Batman: Race Against Crime”, “DC Ultimate Color/Activity”, “DC Super Friends: Flying High”, “Superman 400-Page Special”, and “Superman Returns: Thank You, Superman!” He provided artwork for the Catwoman retrospective, “Catwoman: The Life & Times of a Feline Fatale” and two Krypto the Super Dog books which are based on the popular Cartoon Network series. In addition to DC characters, Loston was hired in 2006 to illustrate the official “Spider-Man 3 Sound Book” that tied in with Marvel’s “Spider-Man 3” movie.
In 2001 he was able to combine two of his childhood loves, comics and dinosaurs, when he penciled the 40-page Cavewoman one-shot comic Klyde & Meriem for Basement Comics. Other comic books he has created drawings for are Elvira, Mistress of the Dark for Claypool Comics and Lorna, Relic Wrangler for Image Comics. In 2002 he was honored by being invited by Jim Keefe to guest pencil a Sunday strip for King Features' comic strip Flash Gordon. Loston’s illustrations also appeared in the Weird New Jersey magazine, five of the books in the Weird U.S. Barnes & Noble book series and in an episode of the History Channel's Weird U.S. television show.
Loston and his wife Carolyn live in Durham, NC. Be sure to visit his website and DeviantART to see much more of his amazing artwork.
What is your favorite pen to use?
I'm primarily a brush inker. I prefer the Raphael Kolinsky Red Sable 8404 #2 and #3 brushes. When I ink, I use Speedball Super Black India Ink. I do use some pens though--the Faber-Castell Pitt artist's pens. I haven't used a dip pen in many years, but I used to years ago.
Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, I draw in pencil first. I use a wooden pencil. Can't get a whole lot of dynamic lines with mechanical pencils. They're meant for details and noodling. I prefer HB, B and B2 graphite.
Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both, but mostly I do digital color via Photoshop.
If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Sometimes I get the chance to use Dr. Martin's Watercolors.
What type of paper do you use?
I use regular copy paper for layouts and roughs, and Strathmore 500 series Bristol board, 2-ply vellum primarily. I also use the plate finish sometimes.
What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I don't hate to draw anything. I'm always up for a challenge. Certainly there are things that I don't enjoy drawing as much as other things, but I try not to run and hide from things when I draw. You'll never get better at drawing things if you avoid drawing them. They'll just remain your artistic weaknesses. That's no good. Artists should try to get better and should work to master drawing anything.
Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I used to get all my art supplies from the Joe Kubert Art Store when I lived in New Jersey, but I usually buy from dickblick.com these days.
Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Not really. I have of course, but usually I listen to an old time radio show, an audio book, or just put the television on to listen to in the background.
Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I sure did. I had comics before I could read. My favorite was BATMAN.
What is or was your favorite comic strip?
FLASH GORDON. I got to draw one of the Sundays for King Features once. I was very partial to CALVIN AND HOBBES, THE FAR SIDE, and adventure strips like THE PHANTOM and PRINCE VALIANT. I always loved how Stan Drake drew THE HEART OF JULIET JONES.
What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I had several of them, but I remember sleeping with the STAR WARS STORYBOOK under my pillow when I was eight. I have a copy of that book in my studio.
Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
The first 24 years of my life I was self-taught. There weren't any art classes or even art supply places where I grew up. I learned quite a bit on my own, but I attended the JOE KUBERT SCHOOL OF GRAPHIC ART for two years, before turning pro in 1996. I honed my skills at the school, and learned a lot on the job as an illustrator.
Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Neither. It has its pluses and minuses. Mostly though, I think it is a positive thing.
Did either of your parents draw?
Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents were pretty supportive, but my wife has been the most supportive, I'd say.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
Not really. I draw every day, and my studio is filled with stacks of sketches and doodles. Those usually wind up in the sketch books that I sell at conventions.
Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I substituted once, and I often share my knowledge with other artists on the PencilJack Forums. I know I'd enjoy being a teacher, because I've technically been one for over a decade!
Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Skill and passion are both vital to becoming a professional artist, but I don't think you have to have a whole lot of either to have fun drawing. It depends on what your goals are. If you just draw for a hobby, there's nothing wrong with that. I think that having fun is the one ingredient that you need, whether you're an amateur or a pro.
Do you collect anything and if so what?
Comic Books from the 1950s-1980s. I particularly like '60s Marvel Comics.
If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I'd like to think I'd be Bugs Bunny, but I'd probably be more like Foghorn Leghorn. Heh.
Are you a righty or lefty?
If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I'd want to be a paleontologist. I've always been fascinated by Prehistoric life. Dinosaurs, in particular.
In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
My drawing desk is a large black table in the middle of my studio. If it's messy, I'm working. An electric pencil sharpener that I bought back in 1993 still sits atop the desk, and I'm still using it to sharpen my pencils. Told ya that I loved dinosaurs...
Do you play any musical instruments?
Oh hell no! In Elementary School I was the kid in music class with the maracas. Heh. Sometimes the teacher would let me use the gong or the triangle.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Don't lose perspective. Remember that drawing should always be fun. You should always try to do better work every time you draw, but don't stress so much about being perfect. No artist is perfect. Just work to get better and better with each drawing you do, and have a good time.
Who is your favorite artist?
There's no way in hell I can give you a single favorite. I like far too many artists. Some of my favorites would include: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Neal Adams, John Buscema, Frank Frazetta, Doug Wildey, Alex Toth, Don Newton, Al Williamson, Bernie Wrightson, Mark Schultz, Bruce Timm, Darwyn Cooke, Steve Rude, Gil Kane, Gene Colan, John Romita, etc. I also like illustrators like Andrew Loomis, Franklin Booth, Frank R. Paul and Virgil Finlay.
Thanks again for taking the time to participate Loston!