Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Guest – Shane Oakley!

1) What was your first published work?
If you mean getting-paid-for published work, that would be a 4 page strip - The Great Cool Challenge - for the short-lived UK tabloid sized comic BLAAM! It was back in 1988, written by an obscure writer called Neil Gaiman.

A big thrill to do on even bigger pages(A2). It's a little embarrassing to look at now, but I'm still fond of it; there's a freedom, a pre-digital unspoilt rough and ready energy. Back then my art was all very much an experiment, a trial and error 'see what sticks' approach. I worked with anything on hand; markers, brush, dip pen, letraset, a very cheap airbrush, tone, collage and big dirty thumbs.

Currently I'm returning to that way of working/thinking, It's very liberating and refreshing, and helps keep you from becoming too reliant on photoshop trickery.

2) Who or what inspires you?
That changes a lot. The older I get, the further I'm looking back for that original source, and often I find it's things less obvious as a specific artist or writer; it's people and places, images/associations conjured by music, smells or tactile sensation. Could be a tub of play-do, or a theme tune, or my grandfather in his greenhouse on a sunny day. Sends me like a Tardis to who I was and what made me.
And that does include comics, books and TV; the 70's primarily, which I think - and I'm biased - was a golden age for a child who loves escapism. I'm regularly looking at magazines, comics and illustrated books from that decade. Never fails to impress, and I learn stuff all the time.

Not much on the racks that does it for me these days, all a little too cookie-cut and bland. There's a few exceptions, among them Darwyn Cooke, Mignola, Eric Canete, D'Israeli, etc. Real stylists with personalty and individuality. Mostly I'm looking at EC, Eisner, Toth and re-reading/re-ogling classic 20000AD; Ian Gibson, Mick McMahon and Kev O'Neil - they're my holy trinity.

And when I have time to surf the net I'm drooling over animators blogs; animation was my first love, and unlike comics, it's an affection that has never left me. But the constant guiding force in my life - my muse - is my beautiful wife, Suzanne. I would've given up years ago if it wasn't for her encouragement and input.

3) What would be your dream job to illustrate?
Well, at least a dozen of the half-born ideas scribbled down in notebooks stuck in my cupboard draws. One of which is a sequel to Frankenstein; it's a VERY wild leap from the Mary Shelley book, a two-fisted pulp adventure cum steampunk romp. Other than that, I'd pretty much consider it a dream come true if I was drawing Robo-Hunter or The Angel Gang or Faceache or Werewolf By Night or The Spirit or The Shadow or Lobster Johnson or Kirby's version of The Demon. A lot of dream.
Editors - call me! We'll do lunch.

4) Tell us a bit about the art you've sent?
It's from a 10-page adaption of The Haunter of the Dark I drew for The Lovecraft Anthology, Vol. 1, published by Selfmadehero.

Few of my finished works leave me feeling satisfied, I see the faults and not much else. But these 10 pages make me happy, make me feel I can tell an involving story without having to compromise or restrict my style and approach to storytelling. They came out just as I wanted them to. Whether you hate it or love it, least it's pure me.

5) What can we expect to see from you next (what are you working on)?
Juggling a lot at the moment, projects have piled up and crossed over, but sometime this year Channel Evil will be finished and released as a trade. Also writing and drawing a 5 page strip for Accent UK's Zombies 2 book. Dave West and co put out fine comics and I like to do my bit for the Small Press, especially since they're local lads.
…and right now I'm busy doing some design work outside the comics industry.

6) If you hadn't become an artist what do you think you'd have ended up doing?
Nothing. I'd be a dole-scrounging drunken pot-smoking bum. A deadline-free bum. A happy bum.

7) Where can we see more of your work (web links)?
On my studio floor and at http://shaneoakley.blogspot.com

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