Interview with real people, knowing true stories and learning from a fellow creative, this is UCreative Spotlight.
Hello UCreatives! It's a brand new month so its time to give you another dose of inspiration from a fellow creative. This time, we bring you an amazing artist whose works are seen as you flip the pages of some of your most favorite comic books and graphic novels. Let us welcome, professional comic artist and penciller, Peter Nguyen on our latest spotlight interview!
Q: Hi Peter, welcome to UCreative! How are you and how’s Hawaii?
Thanks! Hawaii is great right now. We just had a series of rainstorms but I can’t complain, its Hawaii.
Q: Give us a little background about your art and what you do.
Right now I’ve been a penciller for DC and Marvel and I had a brief stint in animation right after college. So I dabble in that field here and there.
Q: When did you start drawing?
I’ve had a preschool teacher who told me I’ve been drawing since I was 4 or 5 but I don’t remember any of that. So I can only assume it has been a really long time.
Q: Of all fields in drawing, why comic art?
Well the bare bone answer is that I love the characters. I've been an avid reader of comics since I was a child and grew up with them. I also liked the idea that as a penciller you get to play as Director. You get to cast your own characters, set them in a scene and choose the angle that you think works best and find appropriate lighting. You basically control almost everything and you can be praised for your choices or if they are bad you can be blamed for them.
Q: How did you land on your first job in the comics industry?
I was a part of a Wildstorm competition back when I was in college, I didn't win but I was very lucky they remembered me years after. My first published work was in 2009, I did “Secret Six” for DC comics and that was my first full issue ever. They paired me up with Mrs. Gail Simone and it was a huge learning curve for me. Looking back at that issue, I’m glad I got to finish it from start to finish and I appreciate everyone being so patient with me. Between the competition I also found a job at a local studio in California on the cartoon “Wolverine and the X-Men”, which I also considered as my first job.
Q: What are your tools and equipment in drawing such amazing characters?
When I get a comic book gig, I just use a regular .05 mechanical pencil. I’ve stuck with staedtler for a while but I just found a couple new pencils in a recent trip to Japan that I’m starting to really like. Also, I use other tools to color/ink my own stuff. I like using deleter nibs/(random)brushes to ink my stuff. I then use Photoshop to color my work. Also at conventions I use Copics for commissions but I never carry that stuff to my professional work usually.
Q: Can you share us your creative process? From where do you start?
I start like I think most pencillers do. Maybe a couple of sketches on the script and layouts and thumbs and carry them out to finish with pencils. I think all the choices really come in the layout stage and I try saving the more exciting panel for last as a reward.
Q: You've drawn a lot of comic characters from Marvel, DC and other universe. Any personal favorites?
I have to say , I really enjoy drawing D listers. I think it’s only because the A listers have been drawn a thousand times and it took a while for me to get my own version of that character down. Catwoman has always had a soft spot for me at DC. At Marvel, Black Widow and the X-Men are always fun to draw. I guess I like drawing leather. lol
Q: How do you spend your free time?
I love being outdoors which sadly contradicts drawing, for example I just went hiking over here. I feel that it clears your mind a bit and you can get back to drawing table energized.
Q: Any major influences? Who or what inspired you to make a name in the comics industry?
Oh man, it’s hard to name them all and I feel like it changes all the time, I don’t know if could name just one person.
Q: Your idea of a dream project.
I think a dream project right now is to be with characters that I really enjoy drawing or grew up reading. I’ve hit a couple so far but I would love to draw the rest someday.
Q: How do you deal with creative block?
Creative block is a hard question. I feel like I am attacked by it differently each time. I guess a hard deadline is the biggest motivator or creative block. But recently I've had a change of scenery, I find that it helps sometimes and it forces you to think in a different environment. But if you're crunching for a deadline, changing areas can be time consuming.
Q: If you are not a professional comic artist today, what would've been your career and why?
I think I would love to be a teacher if I weren't an artist. My mom is a teacher and I always like the idea of shaping a young person’s future or guiding someone to finding their dreams. A little cheesy, but yeah that’s the Peter in an alternate timeline.
Q: Given the chance to be a comic book character/hero, what or who would you be and why?
I always say I would want to have a complete control over magnetic powers. Create a massive metal studio in the middle of the ocean and get some privacy. Or Skip LA traffic but never have to leave my car behind. Just got to worry about metal objects when i sleep.
Q: Upcoming events/works you would like to promote?
Sadly it hasn't been announced yet, but I’m doing some stuff for DC digital at the moment and it has a huge nostalgia factor on me. I will also be attending the Seattle Comic Con and the Mega Con in Florida on March hence starting the beginning of my conventions for 2013.
Q: Any piece of advice to aspiring comic book artists out there?
I think that when I was trying break in, there was a series of setbacks, only because there are no real classes in sequential storytelling that was accessible to me. I soon learned that getting critiques advice from other professionals on the show floor really helped. They helped me figure out some storytelling tips I didn't see before and some people really went out of their way to help me. So don't be afraid to ask for help. Also don't give up!
Q: Thank you Peter for spending some time with us. Anyone you would like to be thankful for?
It’s Tuesday and this interview :)
Got inspired? Who else do you want us to feature on our next Spotlight? Share us your thoughts about our featured creative or might as well suggest an artist by commenting below. Stay awesome UCreatives!