With Comic Con Melbourne fast approaching I thought we would shed some light on an up and coming illustrator in Australia so I sat down with Artist Alley regular Mitch Collins.
Chris Daniel: Straight off the bat – if you could describe yourself as an artist in one tagline, what would it be?
Mitch Collins: My Tagline would be Visual teller for your story.
CD: Going back to your origins as an illustrator, at what point did you realise this was a passion?
MC: I believe when I was around 5 or 6 years old I realized I loved to draw what I was watching on TV which was Batman: the animated series or Spiderman 1994 series, and I’d copy those characters on paper. And then when the MCU began to take shape and I began to widen my pop culture net, I began reading and collecting comics to which I then read into the behind the scenes of comics and that artists could do this as a career and made that a goal for myself. And then once finishing school and going into University, I discovered that there were other routes similar to making comics (the visual and storytelling aspects) that I could pursue to help progress my visual storytelling and art, that would also inform my comic book making process, which is storyboarding.
CD: You describe yourself as flexible when illustrating, taking into account your client’s vision to create something whilst also adding a personal touch. If it were up to you, what would your artistic style predominantly be?
MC: My personal style is my comic book style, that’s the one that I predominately use all the time, it’s a cartoon style of art which I’ve always drawn and have been drawn to.
CD: Everyone draws influence and inspiration from somewhere, are you able to narrow down your top inspirations? (comic artists, art in general).
MC: There are so many artists for that list! But all round Top 10 would be Chuck Jones, Gabriel Hardman, Patrick O’Keefe, Darwyn Cooke, Mitch Gerads, Gennedy Tartakovsky, Chris Samnee, Mike Mignola, Bruce Timm, Nicola Scott, John Brack, Christopher Nolan, Scott McCloud
CD: Naturally there is such a lengthy process that goes into a comic, but from your point of view, how do you describe this process?
MC: The process of comic book making always begins with the writer and their script or the collaboration between writer and artist. There is a lot of reading in making comics, I’ll read a script and break it down scene by scene and highlight the important scenes and moments that are crucial. Once I’ve read the script, I’ll move into thumbnail sketches/concepts of characters and pages to get a feeling or rhythm to the characters and pages. When creating comics it’s not only the art that’s important, it’s also the pages and panels, and the design of the book that help sell the story. There are a lot of rules to the design of comics, and along with those rules come tips and tricks that you can use to create a scene or page to tell a story in a certain way. After thumbnails and sketches are complete and approved by writer or editor, I’ll move into my full page pencil drafts, which could be multiple drafts, and I’ll scribble and sketch out the page, scan it and then send to the editor or writer for approval to move onto inks. Once approved I then blueline my pencils onto good solid paper for inking, and I’ll go over all the blue pencil lines with my pens till I get a final inked page, I then scan that finished page and remove the blue lines and edit a few details before it is sent to a colourist.
CD: Outside the realm of comics, what other work have you done?
MC: Outside of comics I storyboard, illustrate and animate for various local and overseas clients. I work mostly on explainer videos for agencies, and this year I’ve began moving into UX and UI storyboards and designs. It’s all Narrative based art, which helps influence and expand my visual storytelling skills.
CD: What are you showcasing at Oz Comic-Con, and can you tell me a bit about it?
MC: So at Oz Comic Con I’ll be showcasing my original art and promoting my work, I’ll have a tease for Mine and Ryan K Lindsay’s One shot Skyscraper, being released within in the next 3 months, and I’ll be with Gestalt helping promote Talgard printed edition on sale at Oz Comic-con.
CD: And to wrap, pop culture in Australia is such an evolving landscape – how do you describe the industry from a professional standpoint?
MC: The industry of comic-books within Australia and self published creators is becoming more popular thanks to the exposure of comics with the MCU and digital expansion of the comic book purchasing through Comixology and Amazon (everything is easily done online) and I see the Australian industry progressing nicely thanks to events such as Oz comic con to act as platform for the industry to grow and can’t wait to meet and see everyone there.
To check out more of Mitch's work pay a visit to his stall at Oz Comic Con or check out his website https://www.mcillustration.net/