Latest Wednesday’s Heroes member, Craig Johnson II took some time to answer our usual batch of questions. If you’ve got something you’d like to ask him just leave your question in the comments!
Where are you from, where did you grow up?
I am from the greater Los Angeles area, specifically Hawthorne in the South Bay area.
Do you have any formal art training or self-taught?
I attended the L.a County High School for the arts and hold a degree in Comic art from the minneapolis college of art and design.
What’s the first thing you can remember drawing?
I cut my teeth at the age of five on Looney Tunes, Batman and Ninja Turtles.
Tools of the trade…what are your favorite “go to” tools. Pencils, pens, inks, paper, paint, etc…what are we guaranteed to find at your drawing table? (can you provide a photo of your workspace?)
My go to tools are bristol paper, Staedtler mechanical pencil with 2h lead , Micron pens, Copic markers, white gel pens and prismacolor pencils.
Do you have extensive reference files or does it [your art] mostly come from your head?
I use photo reference for pointers on form, shading and gesture.
Who are your art heroes? Who’s work makes you want to do what you do?
My art heroes are Jack Kirby, Mike Mignola, P. Craig Russell , Daniel Acuna, Moebius, JH Williams III, Brian Bolland, Kevin Nowlan, Daniel Clowes, Kyle Baker and Tim Sale.
A similar, but different question, what artists have had the most influence on your own work? When we look at your work – who might we see in there?
I feel like in my own work there’s a bit of innate Howard Chaykin, Garcia-Lopez, Tony Harris, Bolland and maybe a tiny bit of Nowlan.
What project have you done that was most the challenging or has given you most satisfaction? What work are you most proud of?
My current graphic novel project, “The Legend Of Pinky”, has proven the most difficult project, because I am doing it all by myself , after having not done actual long sequential comic stories for about five years.
It is also a period piece, which requires a lot of research if you want accuracy. Being your own boss and editor on something of course has many built in pitfalls for an artist.
Where do you draw inspiration from? When you sit down in front of a blank page, could you describe your thought process for us?
I’ve always been heavily influenced by the aesthetic of classic Judge Dredd /2000 ad books, when it comes to doing sci-fi and fantastical stuff. Other than that my greatest influence comes from classic film, particularly crime/noir. I draw inspiration from the language and composition of vintage poster illustration and comics, as well as the cinematography of certain filmmakers. When I sit down with a blank page it all starts with the central figure, nailing the right expression and pose.
Can you picture a day in which you no longer use pen and paper – an all digital work flow?
I am currently doing my personal project , The Legend Of Pinky completely digitial, in the miracle program Manga Studio. I also intend to do the same for a Detroit based comic project I’ve been enlisted to write and draw starting later this year.