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Aaron Lopresti p2

Comics artist and writer Aaron Lopresti talks about his favorite humour writers, and keeping creative control...

READERSVOICE.COM: Humor is big in your writing, going back to writing and drawing Marvel’s What the…?! parody stories. What are some favorite humorous books or comics?

AARON LOPRESTI: I get labeled a monster guy which to a large extent I am but I really like humor. I will read anything Hilary Barta works on, he is just really funny and we share a lot of the same artistic influences. Bill Wray cracks me up a lot but some of his stuff gets into that area that I am not always comfortable with. His story about Superman’s baby sitter in the infamous Elseworld‘s 80 page giant is fantastic. As far as comic strips, I’m like everyone else, I like Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side. I used to really like a strip called Shoe that was by Jeff MacNelly.

I think the book I wrote and illustrated called Fantastical Creatures Field Guide, is pretty funny but that’s just me….

RV: You said on your blog that Michael Golden explained story telling and comic acting to you when you were trying to break into comics, and this helped you gain work from Marvel. I was wondering if you could remember a few of the tips he gave you.

AL: People always ask me that but it is hard to put into words. He told me stuff I should have and already did know but he explained it to me in a way where I could see it wasn’t present in my work (even though I thought it was) and how to get it into my work. The main thing was using exaggeration to create drama both in facial and body expressions. I realized that all of my characters’ expressions were the same and that my characters did not stand or move in real dramatic fashion. Thanks to him I was able to correct those issues in my work and quite frankly I still am working on those things to this day.

RV: How did you learn to draw expressions on faces?

AL: Looking in a mirror and looking at other people. And doing what Andrew Loomis suggested: Draw a face a day.

RV: I liked how your blog talked about some of your own publishing ventures like Saved from the Trash and other sketchbooks and Atomic Toybox, and working for publishers on books like The Fantastical Creatures Field Guide. What are some of the main business lessons artists should know about publishing?

AL: Squeeze as much control of your project as you can get out of the publisher. You are not always going to get the control you want but then you have to make the decision is it worth giving up something to get a project published. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. I always admired William (Bill) Stout for his business acumen. He has never been afraid to walk away from a project, even in Hollywood, if he knew he wasn’t going to get the creative control that he needed to make it as good as possible. I have rarely had that courage. But it always pays off in the long run. Would you rather have several mediocre projects floating around or one great one?

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-copyright Simon Sandall.