This time we have a special 7 questions / WIP combo with artist Stephen Downey. After the 7 questions, there will be a Work In Progress on a Noe: The Savage Boy page. Stephen will be selling copies of Noe and Jennifer Wilde and doing sketches at DICE (details on his site). On to the questions:

What was the first comic work you did that was published?

I suppose technically that would be Warrior Z, a 10p comic that I printed through my school photocopier at 11 years old. A pretty small print of probably around 10 copies, but I gave the profits to Trocaire, and someone benefited from it.

10 years later I had a few strips published in Small Axe comics, a Belfast based anthology, but Cancertown, a 150 pg graphic novel, was my first major work.

What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?

That readers never see the pencils, only the inks, so don’t rush through that part.

What’s your process for drawing a comic book?

After reading the script I doodle some images on Manga Studio page, then arrange them into layouts. I do the whole issue like this, take/find any reference I need and turn the layouts into very rough pencils. I either print the pages out in blue line and ink over, or sometimes ink straight in Manga Studio.

If I’m toning or colouring the page, I do that in Photoshop and letter in Illustrator.

What is the biggest influence on your work?

I would say it’s definetely other artists. I’m getting a kick out of Al Williamson and Alex Toth at the minute. Good comics always inspire, Scalped, DMZ & BPRD being a few good examples of what I’m reading.

What are you working on right now?

Noe The Savage Boy for Atomic Diner, and some interactive comic panels for a TG4 documentary. I have a few other projects on the slow cooker.

What do you out now or coming out next?

The first Jennifer Wilde series with Rob Curley & Maura McHugh just wrapped up, and another one-shot called The Wilde Hunt with Kaz Mahoney has just went on sale. Noe #1 is on the shelves, and #2 will be along shortly. I also supplied the art for a Judge Dredd fan strip in the next Zarjaz comic.

What is your favourite Irish comic?

I really enjoy Patrick Brown’s Ulster Cycle story. I read the comic online the odd time, but I’m really a fan of the print collections he puts out every few months. He’s dedicated himself to telling an epic tale and doing a great job.

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Stephen Downey’s website www.stephendowneygallery.com
Stephen Downey Irish Comic Wiki http://irishcomics.wikia.com/wiki/Stephen_Downey

Stephen will be appearing at Dublin International Comics Expo, running September 28th and 29th in Dundrum. For more details on the convention, follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DICEInfo, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dublincomicexpo or on the Big Bang Comic’s website www.thebigbang.ie