Artist John Howard has worked on some of my favourite indie releases in recent years and in particular, Royal Descent from Vital Publishing and I’m even lucky enough to own some of the original pages from that title (as well as some other sketches) but he’s a name that hopefully more will come to recognize.
What was the first title you worked on?
“Talisman” (a strip within a Small Press anthology called Rapid Fire by Underfire Comics). This was when I got serious about doing Comics properly. I went to a Small Press convention (Caption) and showed my stuff around. There I joined Underfire Comics and worked with writer Colin Dinnie on his stories. This allowed me the experience of working from a script, meeting a deadline and also seeing my work in print which is a bonus for any artist starting out.
How has your work changed since then?
I’ve become more disciplined with my inks, attention to detail, not to mention storytelling.
From the moment I saw my work in print, it allowed me to see the imperfections and what wasn’t being picked up by the scanning process. I’m not afraid to say my first printed work was very scratchy and weak. This allowed me to work on line weights and composition.
Who are your main influences?
John Romita Jr has been a constant for me growing up. I really loved the storytelling and his figures always seemed at ‘act’ well with the dialogue. There was body-language in the figures. I read issues like Star Brand, X-Men, Punisher and Iron Man with his work inside.
John Byrne is another great along with JRJR that the figures were much more alive compared to other artists’ work and Byrne’s art had different approaches on each book, like the more thicker linework on “Avengers: West Coast” to the zip-a-tone style he used on “Namor” and “Omac”. His anatomy was always solid, great expressions too and his rendering was inspiring.
At the moment liking a lot of Ken Lashley’s stuff – Very bold inks with so much energy that I’m checking out his convention sketches as well as his printed work.
What comics are you reading just now?
Seven to Eternity (Jerome Opena is awesome)
What’s the best thing about creating comics?
So many to list – Doing Art for a living (so working late never feels like overtime), working with other creators and fulfilling a vision which is very satisfying.
What are you working on just now?
A project for Devil’s Due (which i can’t talk about yet due to disclosure agreement but trust me it’s awesome) ,”Arcade Tales” for Dr Alan Meades at CCCU (Canterbury Christ-church University) and I’m doing a Kickstarter book called “Ferrofluid” with Jerry Willoughby.
Also, I’ve recently finished Royal Descent #4 for Vital-Publishing which has been now collected with previous issues into a trade-paperback (which gives a nice sense of accomplishment).
You can check out a gallery of his work over on his Deviant Art page and you can keep updated on what else he’s working on over on his Facebook & Twitter pages. You can also get hold of some of the Vital Publishing titles he has worked on over on their website.