David Edwards received international acclaim for his work as an Illustrator and Cartoonist. His website ArtCore hosts a number of his works. He took some time to give us an exclusive interview.
JS: There aren’t many comic book enthusiasts in South Africa, least not as many as before, even though it’s picking up again. How does an illustrator from small town East London manage to thrive in this art-form?
DE: I think there are more than you might think…plus of course there are the ones who haven’t discovered that they are yet. Your blog, for example, proves there are many enthusiasts out there and I believe we are only scratching the surface. As for creating comics it’s simply a case of following the dream and acting on it. I started making comics as a kid and since recently re-focusing on the comic book side of my art (when I started collaborating with writer Arno Hurter), have been fortunate to have had a few short stories published internationally.
JS: You have a very impressive body of work that includes storyboards, comic books, cartoons and sketches. How did you manage to find yourself doing this as a full-time career and where do you draw your inspiration from?
DE: While, I guess, the ideal is to specialise in one field, the reality I found was the need to diversify. I enjoy the variety of what I do. It basically all comes back to one thing and that’s drawing. I have been fortunate to be able to make a career out of something I really love doing.
Music and movies are probably the main sources of my inspiration with a good dose of dreams and reality thrown into the mix. There are also many great artists out there, living and past, who do inspire.
Here is a quote from artist Andrew Loomis in a book about drawing, which struck a chord with me: ’I assume that the desire to express yourself with pen and pencil is not only urgent but almost undeniable, and that you feel you must do something about it. I feel that talent means little unless coupled with an insatiable desire to give an excellent personal demonstration of ability. I feel also that talent must be in company with a capacity for unlimited effort, which provides the power that eventually hurdles the difficulties that would frustrate lukewarm enthusiasm.’
JS: One of your more popular works includes doing a comic book series with Arno Carstens, called the Muse. Tell us more about this project and the mediums you used.
DE: Arno Hurter, my writing partner, had a concept of doing a modern take on the Faust fable. Chatting to Arno Carstens after a gig I found he was yet another comic book enthusiast and the connection seemed obvious. We did an eleven page introduction chapter, before being swallowed up by other projects. I’d like to complete it someday perhaps in a slightly different style. I work almost entirely digitally these days, using a Wacom tablet & stylus working in Painter and Photoshop.
JS: Tell us more about Speed art. What is it and how do you do it?
DE: The ones I’ve done so far are recorded sketches taken to a degree of finish usually about 60 – 90 minutes, which are then sped up to just a couple of minutes. There are various screen capture programs you can use for this. I use Blueberry Flashback. I plan to do more ambitious pieces as well as some tutorials next year.
JS: Does the term “struggling artist” ring true even for a brilliant illustrator as yourself?
DE: I’ve done pretty well considering. It can take a while to make a name for yourself especially in today’s global village. I must admit that I wouldn’t mind finding a patron, even if it’s just for a couple of years, which would allow me to work on projects with huge potential, without having to worry about paying the bills. Join the worldwide revolution – spread the wealth.
JS: Have you considered leaving South Africa to explore the possibilities of doing artwork at a bigger production company like DC Comics or Marvel?
DE: Not seriously. When I was younger I was keen to work for 2000AD. I would prefer to work on original material for an independent publisher. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind doing a short story or two featuring Batman. I’d like to go to one of the big Comic Con’s in the USA in the not too distant future, to check out the lay of the land and do some promoting of our own titles. Ultimately I’d like to start a studio with top talent to produce a variety of titles and link it to a program to develop young aspiring comic book artists.
JS: What has been your favourite piece of artwork to work on so far and what can we expect from Dave Edwards in the future?
DE: Favourite…that’s tricky. Aren’t artworks like children? You love them all equally. In recent memory, I really enjoyed working on the ‘Lomax Alien’ mainly because it started as something entirely different in mind, to what it turned out to be. A bit of playing around I thought turned out quite well. As for the future, of course no one knows but I would like to see the launch of the ROXY comic and watch as it grows into what it can become. We are planning the comic as a super-storyboard for a potential film. It’s got summer blockbuster written all over it. I want to do a couple of graphic novels and perhaps a coffee table book a few years down the line. Did I mention that it all starts with the dream…?