FERGUSON’S 7 QUESTIONS WITH… RUAIRÍ COLEMAN

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Time for another dose of 7 questions. Answering this time is an artist with a lot of interesting stuff on the way (including a follow-up to Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag which I am very much looking forward to). Read on to find out more. It’s 7 questions with Ruairí Coleman.

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

My first published work was Zombies Hi 6 from Uproar Comics, back in 2012.

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

In the two years since I did that issue, I’ve really come to respect just how complicated a skill comic book illustration is to master, and that it is an endeavour that takes a lot of dedication and practice. Not that I was ever the kind of person who sat down, drew a page and said, “This is it. I am a comic artist. Hire me, Marvel!” I knew there was a lot I had to master even then (and I still don’t think I have), but I didn’t realise then that there was still so much that I was completely oblivious to: things like tangents, and composition that still makes my head spin. I basically knew nothing when I drew that first issue.

What’s your process for drawing a comic book?

Probably the same as most I’d say: I get familiar with the script, decide on the tone I’m going for etc, then do some thumbnails. I tend to do those digitally because it’s faster and economic, and i can quickly make edits if I have to. Some people like to blow their thumbnails up and use them as a guide to their final linework, but I like starting with a blank page and working everything out fresh. It lets me tweak a few things about the layout that, once I’m looking at it with fresh eyes, maybe might not work as I had planned. I’ve just taken the tentative steps into inking my work with a brush, rather than pens, so that part of the process is currently taking longer than it did and, while I’m still a little shaky, I like the results. I have to thank Declan Shalvey for pushing me out of my comfort zone. He said pens give you a dead line, and dead lines make dead artwork and he is, of course, completely right. I’ve done two pages of Zombies Hi #11 with the brush, so hopefully people will like the results when that book comes out later in the year.

What is the biggest influence on your work?

I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone looking at my work when I say my major influences are guys like Joe Madureira and Mark Brooks. Growing up, I always loved that Japanese style of art and comic books that use that exaggerated style always jump out at me. I love a lot of variety in comic art, but that’s the type of thing I have the most affinity for. I would study some Animes (like Ghost In The Shell) to see how they convey information about clothing and machinery in that simplistic art style – because it all looks really convincing, in its own way, and that’s what I really love about that style of art, how it conveys things in a very simplistic way. I’m always trying to simplify my own work, use less lines so it doesn’t look as messy or complicated.

I also love Greg Capullo’s art, it always has a great balance of black and white: I find a good contrast on the page always reads really well and looks beautiful. Compositionally, Declan Shalvey’s work is flawless, I also like Stuart Immomen’s work for that reason. It’s another part of my work that I need to develop, so looking at books they’ve worked on is a great study aid.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, at this very minute, I’m on a two week break back at home in Ireland. Before I left England (where I currently live with my girlfriend) I was working on Tim Skinner: Retconned, written by Andy Winter, a follow-up web-comic to Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag. I’m chipping away at that in between working on Zombies Hi for Uproar. Also going on in the background, I’ve completed some pages for Gavin McCumiskey’s The Woodsman mini-series that we’re hoping to get a Kickstarter going for. Those pages have been inked brilliantly by Cristian Docolomansky Cera, and once we get a colourist I think that will be going live. I’m also still doing concept work for a webcomic I want to put out with a friend of mine: once I clear all my other side projects, I’ll be able to concentrate on that more.

What do you have out now or coming out next?

Right now, or very shortly anyway, To End All Wars will be out. It’s a graphic novel/anthology commemorating World War One, which celebrates its Centenary this year. I have a story in there, researched and written by Andrew Luke, called “Brand of Britain” which focuses on the long-forgotten tale of Horatio Bottomley, a successful war recruiter, swindler and cad. He caused quite a scandal by orchestrating a huge racket involving War Bonds, which seen him going from having meetings with the Prime Minister to being almost completely written out of the history books. I thought it was a fascinating story and Pat Mills was suitably impressed to it give a shout-out in the book’s foreword, so kudos to Andy for his hard work. You can get the book on Amazon, among other places, and proceeds from the book go to Medicins Sans Frontieres, whom we have already raised over £2,000 for. Check that out.

You can also pre-order issue 10 of Zombies Hi, which I recently finished the artwork for, on Uproar Comics’ website. And League of Volunteers issue 5 has gone to printers so Rob Curley will be announcing the release date for that soon I would imagine, really excited to be getting my name on an Atomic Diner book.

What is your favourite Irish comic?

Hmmm… Tough call. I love what Gavin McCumiskey is doing with Innocent Tales, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what Tommie Kelly does with his next project, “The Great Work.” I’ve loved everything Tommie’s done so far. I’m adamant somebody should make a tv mini-series from The Holy Numbers.

EXTERNAL LINKS

Ruairí Coleman’s Facebook Art Page: www.facebook.com/swinginglead
Ruairí Coleman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ruairicoleman
Ruairí Coleman on Instagram: www.instagram.com/ruairicoleman
To End All Wars: http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com
Zombies Hi 10 Pre-Order: http://www.uproarcomics.co.uk/shopping/product/zombies-hi-issue-10-pre-order/