The Hulk has smashed his way from comic book art to the big and small screens multiple times.
Daredevil has blindly saved the lives of many, and now actor Keanu Reeves is half-mortal, half-God in his new comic, BRZRKR. Often what people do not see, are the artists behind the comics. Ron Garney, comic book illustrator for Marvel, and alum of Southern, has been illustrating comic books since 1989.
“Not long after I left college, really. After a number of years, I sort of fell into it. It’s been 35 years or so, now,” Garney says.
When Garney attended the university, he majored in art and psychology. He did not know about comics until in his last year of school. One of the bartenders that he worked with had a comic book behind the bar and he decided to look at it. Later on, he found out a man who worked for Marvel lived near him, and Garney contacted him. The rest is history.
“You get to be a cinematographer and tell a story all rolled into a book. That’s what’s so unique about comics and it captures moments. Each panel is a moment that it captures, and I found that very appealing, so I just started pursuing it,” Garney says.
Garney originally wanted to play sports growing up but was better at drawing. In the generation he grew up in, he was considered the “weird kid” because he was always better at drawing than playing sports. Today it is different. Due to Marvel and DC taking over the cinema screen, a serious career in the arts has become more mainstream.
“I understand that you don’t find things out until later, at your age [students] really don’t know. The world is a big place, and you have your whole life ahead of you, and so many opportunities and things you might be interested in. So, it’s a hard choice to be looking at. The universe revealed itself,” Garney says.
Garney says he wishes someone would have explained to him how much commitment was necessary for the job.
“It’s a huge commitment to be in a room and just work all day. And I’m not complaining. It’s just very isolating and especially for a guy like myself who, I was a nightclub manager and bartender, I was always out. I was very social so it’s a bit of a culture shift for me,” Garney says.
Garney’s high point, creatively, was Daredevil.
“There’s just something about that character in particular, and where I was going artistically with my black and white negative spaces and the way I was arranging panels and rendering, I was inking all my pencils, and I felt really hooked into something,” Garney says.
His other high point, is now working with Reeves on BRZRKR, which is on its fifth comic in the first volume.
“There is a lot of hefty competition. A lot of great people out there have to persevere and believe in yourself. As far as the illustrating aspect, there are so many good guys now, you have to really know what you’re doing. In other words, when I say what you’re doing, really get into the draftsmanship and then the knowledge of camera shots and the knowledge of storytelling
and perspectives,” Garney says. “And all kinds of artistic things you need
to know because drawing comics is probably one of the more challenging in the field of art.”
While it can be difficult, Garney says, if it is something you love you will persevere through the difficulties and go after the things that seem challenging.
Do not shy away from learning certain drawing techniques, such as drawing a building from the ground up.
“You might have the greatest figure in the world, but if you support it by an environment that’s half done incompetently, for a lack of matter, unless a praise of term, then it’s going to just bring the rest of the work down,” Garney says.
Story by: Sofia Rositani