Ferguson’s 7 Questions With… Chris O’Halloran


This time on 7 questions, we have a Cork artist who has been involved with the increased output from the Cork scene (more on that below) and has been highlighting art on the Irish Scene with his Irish Comic Art Picks for ICN. It’s 7 questions with Chris O’Halloran.

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

The first published work I had was in Gavin McCumiskey’s Innocent Tales #2. The short was The Woodsman and had me attempting to draw convincing rabbits and deers straight off the bat, as well as the ultimate hunter, which was kind of daunting. I was delighted with the opportunity though. A few months later with Turncoat Press we self published I’m Awake, I’m Alive which I drew a 15 page story for and was basically involved in every aspect of putting the book together. To round off 2014 I drew a story in the Cork Horror comic. 2014 was a good year for me and a great start to my published work.

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

Just about everything I’d say. I’m still learning really from project to project but I guess the main thing since then is for me to remember to take my time with it. I tend to rush things once I’ve spent a decent enough amount of time on a page to get it finished.

Getting feedback off everyone and anyone involved in comics is a great way to stay aware of what you’re failing or lacking in (and rarely, what I’m doing well).

What’s your process for drawing a comic book?

Over the last few months I’ve gone completely digital. I’ll do my roughs to inks all in Manga Studio using a cintiq. The actual process goes something like ‘get excited about comic, draw out roughs I’m happy with, enjoy drawing for first 30% of it, stress out, rush to get it all done, spend ages on minor details, finish, immediately feel dissatisfied with the pages, rinse and repeat’.

Before I even put the pen to paper (stylus to screen…) I’ll have the script and story running round my head constantly for a while, mentally making note of the shot I’ll use or most important aspects.

What is the biggest influence on your work?

I went to a con in London a good few years ago. Making comics was more an idea in my head at the time. I’d only really done sketches and pin-up style stuff prior. I ended up meeting Frank Quitely and talked to him for maybe 40 mins by myself. That was pretty cool. Same weekend I hung out with a bunch of guys working for 2000AD (and I was heavily into reading it at the time) and Stephen Downey too. Once I got back home I was pretty spurred on.

The big influence though is Will Sliney. He’s from Cork too, he did the same college course as me a few years before and seeing him rise through the comic ranks, release Celtic Warrior and consistently get better has been a huge inspiration. His help has really been the biggest influence on me to date.
Artist wise, though it likely doesn’t show, Frank Quitely, Mike Mignola, Brandon Graham, James Stokoe, Paulo Rivera, Sean Gordon Murphy, Francis Manapul, Adrian Tomine, Jaime McKelvie and at the moment Nick Dragotta’s work in East Of West is a big one (there’s more that I’m blanking on right now). Of course Sliney, Mooney and Shalvey, who I’ll always look to and owe.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m in the middle of drawing a story for the next Turncoat Press anthology. We’re doing Science Fiction this time around and I’m really in love with the story by Shane Ormond.

There’s also another book I’ve written a script for which is just getting tidied up. It’s a project I’m incredibly excited about.

What do you have out now or coming out next?

There’s the “I’m Awake, I’m Alive” the anthology we released last year. You can download that from Turncoatpress.com and the physical copy is still available in Waterstone’s in Cork and possibly the Big Bang in Dundrum shopping centre. There’s the Cork Horror Comic which was made by the Cork Comic Creator Meet-up and is a FREE download. Also, the prior mentioned issue of Innocent Tales #2.

There’ll be that new Turncoat Press book later this year so keep an eye out for that and more too.

What is your favourite Irish comic?

I find this an incredibly tough question and there really isn’t just one answer. For creativity, ingenuity and just a stellar example of the comics form, Bob Byrne’s Mr.Amperduke will always be up there and should be for everyone. Half Past Danger by Stephen Mooney is one of my favourite’s period. I’d happily buy anything to do with it and am eagerly awaiting the sequel. I’ll always flick through it for ideas or simply to see how stunning a dinosaur can look fighting a Nazi. Tommie Kelly’s Holy Numbers and Paddy Lynch’s Last Bus stuff are comics I think probably deserve a lot more recognition too.

Chris O’Halloran on Twitter: https://twitter.com/chrisohalloran
Chris O’Halloran’s Art Blog: http://chrisohalloranart.tumblr.com/