Richard Cox Interview April 30, 2011 – Posted in: Artist Interviews, Blog, Featured Columns – Tags: copic, interview, Richard Cox
Richard was recently interviewed by Copic Marker Brazil for their new website.
Since it was published in Portuguese on their site, I thought it’d be nice to have it presented here in English. Enjoy!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Richard Cox?
I’m a 30-something illustrator and web designer/developer living in the Southeast United States. I have a BFA in Studio Art and have been drawing and painting since before elementary school. My earliest published work was for TSR (Ravenloft) and Firefly Games (Cyborgladiators, Monster Island), while most of my more recent work has been in the form of sketch cards, predominantly for Rittenhouse Archives and their Marvel Universe licenses. My primary medium is (no surprise here), COPIC markers, but I also work in watercolor, oil, and
Photoshop per client needs. I have 3 dogs, and collect Godzilla toys from the 60s and 70s as well as Wonder Woman art.
2. What is your soundtrack for the moment?
Right now, the new RADIOHEAD release and the Daft Punk TRON soundtrack. I’ll also often stream something from Netflix or play a DVD.
3. How is your day divided? Tell us about your daily routine…
It always starts with coffee and walking the dogs at about 6 AM. Before I do any work, I’ll always do some reading and answering e-mails/notes/messages. Then I’ll read at least a few pages of a comic book. That tends to get me good and wired for creating. I’ll then start pounding out art until either lunch or a dog has to go out, and continue usually until around dinner. During the week I tend to do my deadline work, and on weekends a combination of commissions and personal or exploratory work. And get out of the house as I can. That last bit is a requirement.
4. When did you know you wanted to become an illustrator and which steps have you taken to make that happen?
I think I’ve been wired for it from toddlerhood. One of my earliest memories is drawing Spider-Man in crayon when I was probably no older than 5 or 6. Throughout middle school I was drawing Gatchaman, Ultraman, and Star Blazers. I’ve been illustrating pretty consistently since – barring a hiatus in my late 20s. Steps I’ve taken? I’ve drawn constantly most all of my life, and have gotten a formal art education. From there I’ve been constantly learning new techniques and methods and building a portfolio of work. I’ve gotten my share of rejection letters from numerous publishers, but I’m a little embarrassed to say that I easily broke into sketch cards once I tried. I also have to say, though it might sound like pandering, that once I started producing work in warm and cool greyscale COPICs, my profile and commission work really took off – and I got my first sketch card work. I have to credit and thank Adam Hughes for that. It was his COPIC work that initially inspired me to try them.
5. What project/commission was most challenging or has given you most satisfaction?
Well, my first Marvel card set (MARVEL 70th ANNIVERSARY) was extremely challenging, as it was my first card set. I totally underestimated the work it would be, but learned my lesson and think my latest Marvel set (DANGEROUS DIVAS) is some of my best card work.
My recent 11×14 Black Widow commission was very satisfying to work on. It’s one of the few pieces of art I’ve done that I just felt in my zone from the pencils onward. No second guessing at all. I’m currently working on a Captain America piece I’m throwing my heart into. I just hope it turns out well! [It did! Check it out below! -Craig]
6. How is it to work with Marvel characters?
It’s great since they’re the characters I grew up with. There’s a real history there I can play with. I’ve also met some great people — both friends and fans — because of my Marvel work, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.
7. What are you working on right now?
Well, I have work on three different trading card sets announced so far this year – Marvel DANGEROUS DIVAS (March), BETTIE PAGE PRIVATE COLLECTION (June/July), and DUNGEON DOLLS from Bad Axe studios in the Fall. I’ve been asked to participate in a fourth set, but can’t really talk about that one yet. My first base cards will be included in two of those sets, which is just awesome.
In addition, I’m working on a personal comic project, although I can’t say what format it’ll end up in — maybe a digital download, maybe a web comic, or maybe both. I’ve not figured it out yet, really. I’m doing it for myself, and so just having fun. I’m also doing some original illustrations for my 2010-2011 sketchbook and I’m very fortunate that I get a lot of commissions to keep my weekends interesting. I have to give a lot of credit for that to Craig at Wednesday’s Heroes for that. He’s been awesome to work with.
8. Where do you draw inspiration from? Could you describe your thought process for us?
First and foremost, the world around me. Beyond that, I think it depends on the work, and how much detail a client asks for. The less detail, the more I get to noodle and design ahead of time. I talk a lot about composition and color theory, because they’re very important, but I don’t usually get into that until I have a clear idea of the emotion or feeling I’m wanting to get across. Then I try to come up with a clear composition to get across the idea. I would guess in relation to 11×14 work, or commissioned individual sketch cards, I do 1-3 prelims before I start penciling, but mostly I have a basic composition in my head before I start drawing at all. Usually the prelims are just to see if what’s in my head actually translates to paper or board. Then the color theory comes in, to enhance the emotion and composition. Needless to say, when I’ve a deadline looming, this process becomes VERY streamlined. To put it nicely.
9. Who is your favorite artist(s) today?
Oh wow. I’ll try to keep this list short, and in no particular order: Alphonse Mucha, J.C. Leyendecker, Adam Hughes, Gil Elvgren, George Petty, Lucien Freud, Picasso, Chrissie Zullo, Jack Kirby, Olivier Coipel, Neil Adams, Carravaggio, Eric Canete, Winslow Homer
10. What role Copics play in your life?
COPIC is central to my artwork. Most all of my tools are manufactured by COPIC. I have complete sets of warm, tonal and cool gray sketch markers, as well as (I estimate) about 50 color markers. All sketch. Ink refills of course, and the awesome wire stand (2 of them). My 5 inking pens are also COPIC SP Multiliners. All of my illustration output is produced in whole or in part using one COPIC product or another.
11. What advice would you give to the young who want to follow your steps?
Don’t just study illustrators or comic book artists. Don’t even START there. Study the world around you. Draw it, paint it, take photos, whatever. Use the world around you to learn how the human body and nature REALLY work, and lighting. In short, Look. Always look, examine, and study. Educate yourself in “fine art” as well because, when it comes down to it, a lot of the Renaissance masters were illustrators, and you will learn SO much from contemporary painters of the human figure. Think. Read. Think some more.
12. What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself working on and what sort of projects would you be interested in doing?
By the end of the year people will begin seeing my Personal Project. I’m going to be striving to continue to expand the reach of my work, producing a greater variety of pieces. Keep going at the commissions, as they force me to think outside of the box, and continue to hopefully create high quality sketch card work. Experiment more when I can. I would love to help organize a gallery show of local illustrators and cartoonists, but that’s a pretty amorphous idea in my head at the moment.