QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Stephen Mooney
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
My name is Stephen Mooney, and I’ve been working as a pro comic artist for about 7 years.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
A Teen Wolf miniseries for MTV/Image.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
The fact that you get to orchestrate and direct the visuals of the story, and the satisfaction that comes from the fact that it’s pretty much all your own work(save maybe the colours) right there on the page. I used to work primarily in animation, and while those were some great jobs, your designated piece of the pie tended to get a bit lost in the crowd. So basically it’s an egomaniacal thing. Also, the fact that you can work from pretty much anywhere. And the groupies.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
The isolation/seclusion and long, long hours can lead to some lonely times. Lack of exercise, i.e. sitting on one’s hole all day every day is a killer.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
Through the Tintin and Asterix books my dad used to bring home from the library back when I were a nipper.
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
Adam Hughes, Travis Charest, Jim Lee, Barry Windsor-Smith, Drew Struzan.
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
Pretty much all of ’em; Blue animation pencil, HB mechanical pencil, Pitt pens, brushpens, radiograph technical pens, bit of dip-pen sometimes. Not really one for the digital art, save for a lot of photoshop use for touching up pages once they’re drawn and scanned.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
Um…. i don’t know that I’m actually proud of anything per se, more like what am I least unhappy with. It’s a well-worn cliché, but it’s probably fair to say that I’m my own harshest critic. I drew a Mummy series a few years back that I think holds up pretty well. Some of the Angel covers I drew. A few of the Eclectic Micks pieces here and there.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Maybe all of the times I’ve been encouraged to improve my networking skills amongst fellow pros and editors. I think it’s fair to say that once you get to a certain level proficiency-wise, and have mastered the discipline side of things, that it all comes down to who you know and timing, just like any other career.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Dunno. It’s pretty much all been good I think. I tend not to listen to the types who hand out the bad stuff. I guess the worst advice I could think to give would be to tell an aspiring artist that it was ok at any point to take your foot off the gas. Because it never, ever is.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
It’s aces. Such a melting pot of creativity and diversity. That and it seems to me to be thriving; our generation really seem to be giving it socks. We have many fine representatives in the various ‘scenes’; pro, indie, the chewy centers. All good stuff. Long may it continue.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMICS IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Maybe some more regular output from our top indie guys. The books when they come out tend to be excellent, but all too infrequent. And I realize that it’s easy for me to sit in my ivory tower where I actually make a decent wage from drawing, but I do think that the one thing that can kill our indigenous books is the stop-start nature of it all, that killer lack of forward momentum.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Maybe somebody could throw me that Batman book I’ve been hankering after?
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Darwyn Cooke’s ‘The Hunter’ and ‘The Outfit’ were the last things I read that knocked me on my ass.
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 🙂 )
Well the only advice I can give is if you aspire to be a pro artist; I’ve never made my own independent books(though would love to some day.) I imagine it’s the same basic requirement though. Draw, draw, draw all day. Every day. Seriously, everybody says the same thing for a reason. Myself and Stephen Thompson sat in a room drawing all day every day(around school hours etc) for like 6 or 7 years before either of us got our first pro job. That said, we played a lot of Mario Kart too. But only after drawing. To make it in this business you need to have the chops and the discipline to sit down for at least 10-12 hours 6/7 days a week and put your nose to that grindstone. And then keep it there, never let up. Your passion for it needs to be immense, because no matter how good or fast you are, that guy hot on your heels is better and faster. You need to WANT it more than anything else, and more than anybody else. And, um… enjoy it!
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
Stephen Mooney has worked as a professional comic artist for the last 7 years on books such as FreakShow, CSI, The Mummy, (lots of)Angel, The A-team, Strangeland, and Teen Wolf. He also freelances as a storyboard artist for various advertisements, video games and animated projects. He likes long walks on the beach, and puppies. Big fan of sandwiches.