Monday, March 07, 2011

Questions 31: Dustin Weaver

Dustin Weaver was born in Alaska, and moved to Portland in 2006. He has worked on a many prestigious comics projects including X-men, Star Wars, King Kong, and Jodi Picoult’s NYT best selling novel The Tenth Circle.    He is a member of Periscope Studio and contributes to their sketch blog.  He worked with writer Jeremy Barlow on the western "They'll Bury You Where You Stand" which was just published in Outlaw Territory Volume 2.     He is currently working with Jonathan Hickman on the amazing S.H.I.E.L.D series which gives us the secret history of the organization.  The first trade was just solicited last month.

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
I am working with writer Johnathan Hickman on S.H.I.E.L.D. for Marvel Comics.

DD:   What is your artistic Process?
My process is constantly evolving. It used to be that I would draw a fairly detailed print-size layout of each page. Then I would photocopy that layout to 11 by 17 and light box it onto comic art board. Then I'd finish it up. Nowadays, I'm drawing my layouts slightly larger than print size, but not by much, then just inking the layout. After that I'll scan it and clean it up a little in Photoshop. I'm on a steady path towards fussing over things less and less.

DD:   When you're a story illustrator, how involved are you in the writing?
To date, my involvement in the writing has been none to very little on just about everything I've worked on. The only story that I've had a significant impact on the writing end of things has been a western called "They'll Bury You Where You Stand" that I did with writer Jeremy Barlow. That story has just been published in Outlaw Territory Volume 2.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
I would recommend the work of Osamu Tezuka, both to comics fans and non comics fans, but especially to comic creators. Tezuka has been called "the god of manga," but he's more than just that. I think he's probably the greatest comic creator there's ever been. I wouldn't be surprised if his work is one day taught in schools. It took reading a few of his books before I really understood how great his stuff is, so give it a chance to sink in. I would recommend his Phoenix series. Also Ode To Kirihito, MW, and Ayako are really fantastic.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
I have recommended the manga series Death Note to a lot of non comic readers and it has almost never failed to hook them in. It's got a great premise, it's one of the smartest cat and mouse stories I've ever seen, and it's highly addictive.
I've also had good success recommending Akira, The Saga of the Metabarons, and just about anything by Dan Clowes.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?
I don't know. I'm actually not into learning skills. I like HAVING skills but not learning them. I don't have the patience. If I could just know how to play the piano that would be GREAT!, but learning to play the piano seems so horrible to me. That's why I draw. Drawing is something you can do as you learn. You don't even realize you're learning, you think you're just doing... Actually, come to think of it, I'd like to learn how to make comic books. I can see that happening. The piano thing, not so much.

DD:   What's the most important thing you've learned?
Wow! That's kind of a big question. Do you mean in my career or in life? I'm actually not sure on both counts. In life I feel like I want to say something about understanding that almost everyone is not too different than me in that they have doubts and insecurities and want to feel accepted and that I should reach out and give them what I would want to have given to me. That I should treat others the way I would want to be treated. Maybe that seems like an important  lesson for me because I've never really learned it. It seems I learn it over and over again and the lesson always slips away. I think I just want to be treated a certain way and I don't want to treat others that same way. I don't know why. Fear probably. As for my career. That's also a tough one. I'm going to have to say, don't draw naked. Unless you're really used to being naked, it can just be too much of a distraction. Really slows your productivity down.

DD:   Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I'm not really the collector type in that I don't seek out obtaining items for the sake of a collection. I am a fan of certain creators and will seek out their work and buy it if I think I'll want to look at it again and again and reread it. But I'm also cool with borrowing books. So yeah, I have a collection but the things in it that I value most aren't necessarily hard to come by or worth much. That said, the things that I'm currently most excited about in my possession are The Katsuhiro Otomo Anthology books 1 and 2 that I recently got.

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?
I don't have a favorite genre of comic. It doesn't matter to me if it's superheroes, crime, space opera, horror, or romance, if it's a good comic, I'm capable of liking it.

Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.
I do not have an iPad. I also don't have an iPhone. I don't have face book and I don't do twitter. I have a little flip phone with no internet. I try to keep my computer away from me and only ever use it to e-mail the people I'm working with and look up reference for stuff I'm working on. I'm not a technophobe or anything. I'm just afraid that I'll become addicted. It's happened to me before. I'll post something or put some kind of comment out there and become obsessive.  "Has anyone commented on it? Now has any one? How bout now? How many people read my blog? How do I get more? When is this person going to respond to me? OH feed-back. It's positive. It's not enough. I need more. Maybe if I comment on other peoples stuff more they'll comment on mine. I'm going to reread what I wrote as if I were this person so that I can imagine what they think of it. This person likes what I wrote. What did they like about it? I need more!"

I never really get what I want out of it. Ultimately, all of it leaves me feeling disappointed and hours of my day are gone.

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
My Favorite TV shows of all time are Mr. Show, The Prisoner, Twin Peeks, Aeon Flux, Kids in the Hall, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Arrested Development. I enjoyed Lost but I can't see myself going back and rewatching any of it. I'm currently getting caught up with Mad Men and I just finished watching the fourth season of Big Love and I'm enjoying those. I always like Community and 30 Rock whenever I catch those. I think An Idiot Abroad might be the best travel show ever and I generally like what Ifc is doing lately.

I haven't really gotten to see many movies lately. What I have been into lately are podcasts. They are perfect for listening to while I work. My editor, Nick Lowe turned me onto Radio Lab and Dan Carlins's  Hardcore History. I'm also really liking a lot of the comedy shows like WTF with Mark Maron, The Nerdist, Comedy Deathray Radio, and the Pod F. Tompcast. The Ricky Gervais Show might still be the gold standard.

DD:   How does the Portland comics culture shape your work?
As a member of Periscope Studio here in Portland, I'd say the culture has had a big impact on me, at least the culture of Periscope Studio anyway. I don't know about the comic culture that exists outside of the studio. Even though there are a lot of creators in this city it's kind of an insular activity. It's something you do hunched over a table or staring at a glowing screen all alone in some hole.  

DD:   What was your first comic convention?
I went to the San Diego Comic Con in 97 for one day as a fan. I brought some art to show publishers. I sat in line and got a portfolio review from the editors at Wildstorm. It was really cool. It wasn't till 05 (I think) that I attended as a professional with a table. That was also at San Diego.

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
I do enjoy doing sketches for people. The pressure of having to come up with something, draw it relatively quickly, and in front of people is kind of exhilarating. I normally hate anyone looking over my shoulder as I work, but in that setting I'm okay with it. It's also great to see people in the industry that I don't ever get to see and hang out with. 

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
The cop-out answer is that I'd do something like story boards or video game designs. Making movies is another cop-out answer. Another kind of cop-out answer is that I'd be a bum. I've left myself no back up plan, so I would be screwed. I'd be living with my parents and working as a paperboy like Chris Elliot in Get A Life.
All of these sorts of answers I see as not really wanting to give the subject much thought. But I'm going to try to really answer the question. In a hypothetical world where comics don't exist nor do any jobs where drawing is involved, what would I have done? I remember thinking that acting would be something I would like to do, but I don't see that working out. I actually think I might have pursued a career as a stand up comic. I've always been a stand up comedy fan. When telling people what I do for a living, I wouldn't have to say almost anything different. "I'm a comic artist." "I'm a comic." Almost the same. The wardrobe is the same. I wouldn't have to go buy suits. And I also think there is a similar sensibility between comic fans and creators to comedians and comedy writers.
So there you go. I bet that's the longest answer to that question you've gotten.

DD:   What comics do your kids like?  What was/is your favorite character?
I have one kid who is only 17 months old. So she's not really into comics. She does like looking at that Yo Gabba Gabba board book comic that Oni put out.

As for my favorite character. I think my favorite characters to draw are still Wolverine and Batman, same as when I was a kid. But my favorite comic character is probably Kaneda from Akira. He's one ballsy juvenile delinquent.

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
When friends are in town I like to go to Pine State Biscuits or The Jam on Hawthorne for breakfast. For lunch, maybe a food cart like Brunch Box, La Jarochita, or get a Schnitzelwich from Tabor, the Czech  cart. All of which are conveniently right in front of Periscope Studio.  For dinner, I don't know. There are a lot of great places to go. One that maybe people don't know about is Sparky's Pizza on Belmont.

DD:   How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I have lived in Portland for over 3 years now. I moved here because I was living in Oakland, CA, I had lived there for only a year, I had broken up with a girl, there was nothing left for me there, and I was wondering what I would do. I was thinking that I could stay in the bay area or maybe move to Seattle where my best friend D.J. lives. I was working for Dark Horse at the time and that year at Comic Con I was hanging out with Dark Horse people and they convinced me that Portland was the place to be.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?
I like all of Portland. If I have to get more specific than that, I'd say I like Southeast Portland, Even more specific I'd say I like the neighborhoods around Hawthorne and Belmont. More specific than that? I don't know, Yamhill St. More specific? The corner of Yamhill and 33 Ave. Even more specific 10 paces south east from the north east corner. Specifically 2.5 feet above the ground. There inside that cubic inch of space is the nexus of the universe. If you sit in that spot long enough something will happen. I don't know what but I bet it will be really special.

DD:   Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
I don't know. There are a lot of places I haven't been, but I don't know that I'm particularly wanting to see something more than another.

DD:   Would you like to Illustrate for another media? Conversely, how would you feel about Illustrating a comic of a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond?  What would you explore?
Well, I do like comics and I would rather draw for comics than for any other media. If I were to do a comic of a character or property from another media, I might like to do a Twin Peaks comic. I don't think Aeon Flux has really been done properly in comic form. I could get in touch with my cartoony side and do a Mario Bro. comic. Maybe an adaptation of Crime and Punishment. Oh, I'd like to do a Where's Waldo comic in the style of Tintin set in the 40's and have Nazi's tracking him all around the world. "Vere is Valdo? You vill tell us vere he is." There are probably a lot of things I'd like to do.

1 comment:

Linda said...

you are a very funny guy!