Comic Creators Anonymous – James Calderbank

Writer/Artist James Calderbank made an impressive contribution to the ComicHaus anthology and his more recent work is crammed with that same level of potential.

What was the first title you worked on?

I’m a student just about to graduate from Falmouth University in Cornwall where I’ve been studying Illustration for three years. My visual style when approaching comics has changed completely over this time, initially drawing more traditionally I was published towards the end of my first year of university in Comichaus’s monthly comic anthology. I wrote and illustrated a short story titled The Return, set in an alternate reality where the Apollo 11 mission went wrong and the soviets got to the moon first. It was really exciting getting published for the first time. I especially felt honoured that the cover art to the issue I was in was drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, the original artist behind Judge Dredd! I learnt a lot from the project, my original lettering was pretty awful so they got someone else to go over it, they did a far better job than I ever could have so it’s really opened my eyes to how important good type is and also why comics often have so many different jobs to them.

How has your work changed since then?

During my second year of university I rediscovered my passion for model making, I grew up making and painting model kits and started to incorporate these model techniques into my comic work. Some of my most recent projects have been looking at merging three-dimensional pieces with drawn imagery and I’m just seeing where i can take this really. As part of my final year at university we visited big publishing companies in New York such as Sterling books and Harper Collins to show them our work. The feedback i got was pretty promising so I’m just going to keep pushing this visual style and hopefully see what opportunities it gives me.

Who are your main influences?

I’d say my main influences have been artists like Graham Rawle and Shaun Tan, they’re the people who have shown me that incorporating model making into my work is a viable method for telling stories.

What comics are you reading just now?

I’m a massive fan of the ‘The Fall of Dead World’ series by Dave Kendall in the pages of 2000AD right now, He’s been illustrating the origins of the Dark Judges and Deadworld and his visuals really bring it to life! (excuse the pun) I’ve also been reading ‘The Forever War’ comic series based on the book of the same name by Joe Haldeman, its one of the best sci-fi war novels ever made so I highly recommend people read the book or check out the comic, the panelling is fantastic!

What’s the best thing about creating comics?

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I’d say the best thing about creating comics is that you get to tell new stories, that’s what it’s all about for me. A lecturer in my first year once asked me if I felt comics could change the world. While there are many potential answers to that question, it may sound strange but it still haunts me and makes me want to keep pushing what I do, I feel they can and that’s what drives me.

What are you working on just now?

I’ve been working on a short story set in the far future that deals with our legacy, the protagonist explores the world while finding things that piece together what happened to our civilisation which has long since vanished.

You can check out more of James’ work over on his website and keep track of what he’s working on over on his Facebook & Instagram.


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