Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Interview with James Silvani

We were lucky enough to interview comic-book artist and commercial illustrator, James Silvani. On top of working on popular comics such as Darkwing Duck and Richie Rich, the other thing that caught our eye was the Disney character mashups with Star Wars characters. These are just few of the many that Mr. Silvani created. You can check out more of these mashups on his tumblr site.

Q: What made you want to do the Star Wars mashups?

A: Most of those were actually convention commissions. There's not a lot of working American Disney comic artists around these days so my frequent collaborator Amy Mebberson and I usually have that market cornered at most conventions. While it's fun for most people to get a straight Darkwing Duck or Stitch drawing at  Artist Alley, I prefer the challenge of mashing up those characters with the attendees' other favorite fandoms. The key is making those mashups work in context. Mickey as Luke Skywalker is all over official Disney merchandise. But knowing how to make Linguini from Ratataouille work as Luke is a real payoff for both me and the customer.

Q: What artists inspire you?
A: The first comics I remember reading were the Carl Barks' Disney Ducks comics. It showed me that action and humor could blend well together. John Severin's Cracked magazine work was also huge for me. Again, his humor and action plus his unparalleled draftsmanship really gave me something to strive for.  I also used to read a lot of newspaper comics. Peanuts, Popeye and later Calvin and Hobbes all taught me about efficiency in storytelling

Q: Are you currently working on any projects?
A: My current comics work is mostly drawing the comic book companion to the Dragons-Riders Of Berk show (based on the "How To Train Your Dragon" movie) that's running on Cartoon Network. I also just started working with Acme Archives creating artwork for both… surprise, Star Wars and other Disney properties. My first Star Wars prints should be out in time for Christmas. Next year there will be some real treats for those who followed my Darkwing Duck comics run or fans of the Disney afternoon in general.

Q: Do you read comics? If you do, what are some that you are currently reading?
A: I live on Maui and we don't even have a comic shop here so it's tough to browse through what's current out there.  I usually pick up things from individual creators that I like. I make it a point to always get Eric Powell's The Goon, Bill Willingham's Fables and Los Bros. Hernandez' Love & Rockets. I also grab anything by Darwyn Cooke, Jeff Smith and Roger Langridge.

Q: You have about 20 years of experience as a freelance artist, what changes have you seen in the industry? 
A: As far as comics go, Superhero comics died for me over that 20 year span. The best superhero stories during that time were told in the DC Animated Universe and more recently in the Marvel cinematic universe. 

Q: What advice do you have for new artists?
A: Draw, Draw, Draw! Everyday! And don't superheroes, draw what you see around you. Draw your family, your dog, your car, your neighbor that you hate. When you can figure out how to translate what you see everyday to the page, it will help you infinitely in bringing what's in your imagination to life. 

We just want to thank Mr. Silvani for this great opportunity. You can check out more about James Silvani below:

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