QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Rob Reilly
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
My name is Rob Reilly. I’m a middle-class Irish-American comic book artist who is a decendant of Celtic Warriors and the “Patron Saint of Artist Alley”. My credits include creator-owned project, Convention Confessional, two short stories for the Shrek comic for Ape Entertainment as well as two 100 page yet to released kid friendly graphic novels in addition to many pin-up for Image comics. I have recently completed a new creator-owned project, A.K.A. which I collaborated on with long time friend and writer, Steven Walters. A.K.A. was successfully funded through Kickstarter and is set to release soon.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Well as I mentioned, I just finished my latest creator-owned title, A.K.A. However, while I’m overseeing the colorist’s progress, I have picked my next project and will be working with Justin Gray on a new creator-owned kid friendly title.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
The endless possiblities. An artist’s abilitties are they’re only limitation. Personally, I hope to be like the creator’s from the 50’s, they did everything (romance, western, sci-fi, superhero, etc) I don’t want to be pigeon-holed. Don’t ever assume that since you draw a certain way, you have to work on specific genre of work. This is why I specifically wanted to draw A.K.A., I wanted people to see that though I draw in an animated style, I don’t have to be limited to kid friendly titles.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
Drawing vehicles and the business end of things. It’s a tie really. Both consume endless amounts of time that you’ll never get back! HAHA The business stuff is important but takes away from the creative aspects of making comics.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
From my dad. When he was a kid, he was a huge nut for comics. So, naturally when I was a kid I had access to comics as soon as I could recognize shapes! haha I do remember my parents taking me to the small local non-sports card shows and getting to meet artists. When I was 12, I remember bringing samples for them to critique.
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
Currently, Mke Hawthorne, Ryan Ottley and Corey Walker are my biggest influences. I referenced and learned a lot from them while working on this recent project. Specifically the way they illustrate and pace action & gore.
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
Staedtler H pencil, Micron 01 & 08, Sharpie and Strathmore britol (11″x17″, smooth, 100lb) paper. I’m very particular about what I use to work with, it’s weird. I buy this stuff in bulk, usually I’ll have at least 50 pencils, 24 pens and 12 pads of bristol in my studio at all times. I ran out once and wasn’t able to do anything! HAHA
I recently purchased a Cintiq and hope to get more comfortable with Photoshop and be able to digitally color my own stuff. Specifically a book I’m looking to write and draw in the near future. it’ll be more work but I’ll be able to save money.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
As much as I love this new book I just finished, I have to say that my first creator-owned project was a true labor of love. That book prepared me for all future projects in the comic book industry! I learned how to market my project, deal with a printer & distributor and was able to get my name out there in trade magazines like Wizard. I wore many hats and learned a lot of lessons (many the hard way) .
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Work on your perspective. I read a few books and was able to really make the world I was creating so much more believable. Though, I’m always looking to improve and expand my artistic voice.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Just be yourself.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
I’ve been so stuck at the drawing table these days I didn’t know we had one! HAHA
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Strengthen the Irish Comic Community and possibly forge friendships as well as working relationships for future projects.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I’d like to see more affordable rates for convention costs for both fans and creators. Eventually they’ll price themselves out of existence!
Digital comics are definitely the wave of the future. Look at music and movies, pretty much all entertainment is available at a click of the mouse. However, if people continue to pirate this forms of entertainment, eventually people will stop making comics, music and movies. No one’s going to work on something for years and NOT make a dime on it. I hope that comics will become more affordable, since printing costs will be diminished, thus increasing readership so that creators can continue to bring us new and exciting projects.
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Destroyer by Cory Walker and Robert Kirkman. I absolutely loved that book! The plot and character were very well written but the art just blew me away. I have 2 copies of every issue, one set for reading and one for the studio for reference.
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START MAKING THEIR OWN COMICS?
Don’t wait! Stop talking about it and do it. For artists looking to improve upon their skill set, I recommend reading books on perspective and take life drawing classes. Draw everyday, that is really the best way to improve.
When it comes time to print/publish your book. Kickstarter is great avenue! It really is the best and most direct way for people to support the arts. There’s no middle man, you and the fan.
As far as dealing with a printer, shop around and never take the first estimate. They usually mark up their fees by 40%. Granted, they need to make a profit but don’t have to bend you over in the process. Print is on the verge of extinction, negotiate the price. Even if you save $100 that’s still a good deal!
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the superhero titles of the two big companies. However, please do not limit your tastes just to them. There are tons of independent titles (both web and in print) out there that are just as good if not better. Take a chance on a new and unknown title!
Rob Reilly is a working comic book artist who is the creator of “Convention Confessional” and Co-Creator/Artist on the “A.K.A.” mini series. Reilly has worked on licensing properties for Dreamwork Animation as well as completed two All-Ages Graphic Novels for Ape Entertainment. He is always looking to secure work with DC, Marvel and other companies.