My name’s John Farrelly and I’m a cartoonist, caricature artist and illustrator. Check out
. I’ve had a lifelong love of comics, and have contributed to Northern Irish legends
which were around in the nineties.
It’s a 16-page comic for a museum, believe it or not. The amount of research has been unbelievable! Time-travelling mayhem!
The initial idea and thumbnails. After that, it’s work.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
It’s the fact that a page you spend up to a week on a page and it’s is devoured in about 10 seconds.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
I’ve had comics in my life for as far back as I remember. My father used to buy a pile of them every week for my sisters and me, not least because he read them himself. He loved Victor
comic but his favourite was Andy Capp.
I read 2000ad, Eagle, Buster,
– they were my favourites. I also read the DC Thompson
ones like Warlord, Topper, Beano
– the usual. I loved British comics. I then got into Marvel
was a big favourite for me. I preferred Marvel
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
I have loads, but I would say Brian Bolland. Not because I’m anywhere in his league, but he inspired me a great deal with his realistic depiction of Judge Dredd, which I adored. I prefer realism and he was second to none in depicting my favourite all-time character. I loved most of the 2000ad artists, but I really got into the old EC stuff the last few years – Wally Wood especially. I adore the old Weird Science and Tales From the Crypt. Also, I had some American cousins who introduced me to MAD magazine and the sickeningly talented Usual Gang of Idiots.
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
HB mechanical pencil, any A3 paper I have to hand, Staedtler pigment liners in various sizes, black Sharpies and fat black markers. I use refillable Promarkers for colour work (if it’s an original someone commissions) and colouring pencils (no particular brand). And of course, the computer and scanner using Photoshop for stuff that is to be printed or to go on the web.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?I used to be most proud of Long Coat and Leather Jacket which appeared in DNA Swamp, but that whole venture left a bad taste in my mouth so I kind of abandoned the characters. I do a newspaper–style comedy superhero strip called Captain Wonder which I think is a good piece of work.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
“Like yourself.” (That was from the legendary Alan Grant’s wife Sue.) Though “never buy frozen prawns at a car-boot sale” would come a pretty close second.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
I don’t remember. I usually ignore bad advice.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
Truthfully, I don’t know much about it. I really don’t read many comics any more, mainstream or small press. I’m into telling stories and whilst comics fulfilled that role for me in the past, I have pursued the novel as a means to tell my stories.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMICS IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I love to see anybody get work out there. The Irish are a nation of talented storytellers, so if you have one to tell, a small press comic is as good a place to start as any!
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I would like them to be cheaper! Have you seen the price of graphic novels?! It used to be comics were a cheap form of entertainment (in monetary terms, not quality). You used to be able to buy them with pocket money, now you have to take out a second mortgage!
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
The Ultimates, I think. I just loved that. Mark Millar’s writing and Bryan Hitch’s gorgeous art made a devastating combination and blew me away. Also, Blacksad, which is just amazing.
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START MAKING THEIR OWN COMICS? (And don’t say DON’T : )
Do it. It’s a wonderful form of storytelling, combining words and pictures in such a unique way. However, be prepared for long hours bent over the drawing table and highs and lows that no drug on Earth could ever come close to. Printing has never been cheaper and the internet is a brilliant way for a would-be comic artist to get their stuff out there. It’s never been easier to be a published artist!
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
What does Occasional Furniture do the rest of the time?
L. John Farrelly has just published his first novel – well, half novel, as it’s in two parts – The Legend of Navin Holt: Zombie Hunter. It started life as a comic, but after doing just a few pages, he thought “this is never gonna get done” so he wrote it as a novel! You can buy it on Amazon.