Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Questions 29: Dennis Culver

Dennis Culver is a professional illustrator and cartoonist located in Portland, OR.   He is currently finishing up the artwork for the graphic novel Odd Schnozz and the Odd Squad to be published by Oni Press in 2011 written by Jeffrey Burandt.  He has also written and drawn "Timejam" for Jam! Tales from the World of Roller Derby published by Oni Press.

I have been following his daily sketch blog of the Batman Inc family.   Chris Sims of Comics Alliance recently wrote up his recent Batman Inc sketches.  He has done several series, one of the batman villains and the Wire characters.

You can follow him on twitter  or check out his daily sketch blog.

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
I'm wrapping up the art on a graphic novel from Oni press called Odd Schnozz and the Odd Squad and I am in the early stages of co-writing and illustrating another unannounced ogn also from Oni.

DD:   What is your artistic Process?
As far as illustrating I do everything, soup to nuts, digitally at this point on a Wacom tablet using Manga Studio which is an excellent program for rendering comic books. The only time I break out ink and paper is for commissions.

As far as writing, uh... that's all digital too.

DD:   When you are story illustrator, what is your interaction with the writer?
The few writers that I've worked with have all been very good about putting everything I need in the script and if I encounter any obstacles I can usually hammer it out with them over IM or the phone. All of the story development is usually hammered out by the time I come one board so it just a matter of execution at that point.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue which is an epic sprawling manga about Japanese folk hero and samurai Miyamoto Musashi but it also a comic about craftsmanship and anyone that pursues any sort of skilled endeavor would probably get a lot out of it. I'm convinced the book is as much about Takehiko's journey as an artist as it is anything else.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
Oh man, this really depends on the person. If they're into crime stuff like the Wire I'd probably recommend Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips or the Parker adaptations by Darwyn Cooke. Westerns or horror? Definitely the Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt. This is a really good time for genre diversity in comics right now especially considering all the reprint material being released. If I know what you like I am certain there is something accessible and good out there to read.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?
There are a lot of skills that I would love to download into my brain like making websites do what I want but as far as something I would like to actually devote my time to learning? Probably just acquiring and improving my skillset as a storyteller.

DD:   What's the most important thing you've learned?
Done is beautiful (some days I am still learning this)

DD:   Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I don't have a collection so much as things collect around the house like books and comics. I try to only keep things I consider essential and I gave up bagging and boarding years ago. My favorite books are probably my out of print Alex Toth art books, which I assume most of it will be reprinted soon by the massive IDW collection coming out later this year. I'm curious if they'll have the By Design stuff since there was a lot of copyright kerfluffle about that but if they don't I totally own it!

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?
I love the crime genre and the more crime comics on the shelves the better.

DD:   Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.
I do not own one. A friend of mine does and I think about mugging him for it every time I see him.

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
TV is the Wire and my favorite movie is The Limey

DD:   How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?
I feel like I've learned a lot about all aspects of craft and the industry just mingling and hanging out with comics people in Portland. I don't think I'd be where I'm at without it.

DD:   What was your first comic convention?
The first show I ever attended I want to say it was called Suncon in Tampa, Florida which is my hometown. It was a small show but Mark Texeria was there and he was acting out all the cool ways the Punisher would murder and maim people in hand to hand combat. It was awesome.
The first show I ever exhibited at was the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco. I had a minicomic called Funwrecker. I made 100 and I sold them all so it was a good show.

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Seeing people you only ever talk to on the internet is nice. Putting names to faces. I love talking shop with other creators too.

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
I have no other marketable job skills.

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
Super Torta here in the Woodstock neighborhood makes the finest burrito north of California.

DD:   How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I moved to Portland in 2006 with my girlfriend now wife, Wendy. The comics scene was a definite draw for us to move here and we were ready to get out of California for a while.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?
The part where it's not cold.

DD:   Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
I heard there's a hat museum. I'd like to go there and imagine possible crimes for batman to foil.

DD:   Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media? or conversely, how would you feel about writing a comic of a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond?  What would you explore?
I love comics so I'm not really interested in other mediums right now. As far as adapting something I think Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi would make an excellent comic book. it's the perfect setup for telling all kinds of stories with over the top action.

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