I discovered Loston Wallace when I found the most excellent site for aspiring sequential artists that is PencilJack!
Loston is the kinda guy that is always there to give great constructive tips! He has the chops to back it up too. Without further ado here is the Loston Wallace interview!
1.) You draw in the classic style. What keeps you from doing the more modern thing?
I actually look at drawing as being something that's not bound by styles. I do commercial artwork, so I tailor the style to fit the project. However it is very true that I do like classic styles. It's what I know best, and what I like the most, and I'll make no bones about that. I grew up on classic comics--the kind printed on newsprint that you could get for under half a dollar. My art heroes were comic book veterans like John Buscema, Don Newton, Wally Wood, Neal Adams, Berni Wrightson and Jack Kirby. The sort of artwork they produced inspired me then, and still inspires me to this day. I'm often consider to be an "old school" artist by fans and other artists in the comic industry. I've never liked that term, but I do appreciate comic book artists of yesterday, and my artwork reflects that. I'm an artist who believes and who gets excited by artwork that reflects comic book tradition. Alex Raymond, Hal Foster, Frank Frazetta, Wallace Wood, Al Williamson--these are the artists whose artworks excite me. My artwork is in part a tribute to the great comic book legacy of the comics of yesterday. These comic traditions still live and dance freely inside my head. The artwork I try to produce is the sort of artwork that I personally love to see--what makes me happy. I think every artist producing work must first please themselves with their work before they can please others.
As far as "modern" comics go though, I think it's important to realize that there's always something good in every generation of art. Many of today's artists draw upon Japanese influenced manga and anime art, as well as other outside influences. It's a real mash-up these days, but there are some extremely talented artists working today. Pick up a copy of DC'S WEDNESDAY'S COMICS and you'll quickly realize that guys like Ryan Sooke and Karl Kerschl are no slouches!
There are many modern artists working today that are steeped in great comic book traditions of the past. Bruce Timm and Darwyn Cooke both owe a great deal to classic artists like Dan DeCarlo, who worked for ARCHIE COMICS for decades drawing BETTY & VERONICA, JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS, and even MILLIE THE MODEL for Marvel Comics back in the day. You can't help seeing the work of artists like Wally Wood and Jack Kirby in their work either. You can tell that these guys grew up reading mags like Warren's CREEPY, EERIE & VAMPIRELLA or books like THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN. It doesn't take an art genius to see some of those same influences in the artwork of Eric Powell either. Who hasn't looked at Mike Mignola's artwork and seen the Jack Kirby influence to the figures, etc? Comic traditions of the past are still very much alive today. You just have to know where to look for them. Modern superhero comic artists across the board owe debts of gratitude to greats like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Buscema, Gene Colan, Gil Kane, etc. These artists defined superhero comics as we know them today, and the new generations can't helped but be influenced by the works of the past.
I loved classic cartoons growing up--Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, the Jetsons, the Flinstones, Pink Panther--I liked 'em all! I get excited when an old Hanna Barbera cartoon shows up on Boomerang, or even cartoons like THUNDARR, THE BARBARIAN! Man, that's the stuff for me!
2.) Can you tell us a bit about your influences and how they shaped your art?
I'm a child of the '70s and '80s, so I naturally loved and read the comics of these eras growing up. In addition, I inherited a lot of '60s comics, so I also got to experience that classic era. I can't possibly list all of my artistic influences. There are far too many to name. Here's a short list: Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Buscema, John Romita Sr, Don Newton, Frank Frazetta, Doug Wildey, Steve Rude, Mark Schultz, Dave Stevens, Berni Wrightson, Nestor Redondo, Alex Toth, Gil Kane, Brian Bolland, Bruce Timm, Dan DeCarlo, Darwyn Cooke, Al Williamson, Gene Colan, Joe Kubert, Will Eisner...this list could go on and on.
I will say that my favorite comics growing up were books like BATMAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN, and Warren Comics. In my teens I discovered EC COMICS via reprints and was blown away by WEIRD SCIENCE and the science fiction comics of the '50s. I loved the horror mags too! I remember buying Charlton Comics off the spin racks. When I was five I got my hands on a copy of DOOMSDAY +1 #1. On the cover there was a splash down landing capsule floating in the ocean next to the Statue of Liberty, which was mostly submerged under the waves with a burned out NYC in the background. That comic had a major impact on me. It was some of John Byrne's earliest comic art with Joe Gil providing the story. It was about astronauts returning to Earth after a nuclear holocaust had occurred. The nuclear fall out had thawed out a prehistoric Mammoth and a Bronze Age man, and they meet them both in the first issue! Astronauts, nuclear armageddon, a Mammoth attack and prehistoric man in one comic--Wow! What's not to like??!
3.) Do you prefer hand drawing/inking or digital or a combination of both? Tell us about your process.
I prefer to draw and ink by hand. I find digital inking to be a little cold and the line work often doesn't seems to have the same sort of energy that my hand inking has. I prefer to ink with a brush. I use Raphael Kolinsky Red Sable 8404 an 8408 series brushes--usualy the #3 and #2 brushes, which give me the best results. My ink of choice is Speedball Super Black India Ink. Properly maintained, this is one of the best inks available today.
I do like digital coloring though. I think Photoshop has been a great boon for the comic industry. Done with the right amount of restraint, PS coloring can be very effective. Dave Stewart is a colorist that really impresses me. He is an artist, and not just a coloring technician. He shows restraint where it's needed, and his coloring always compliments the storytelling. I love his approach!
I also enjoy having saved scans of my artworks. Often I sale the originals so it's good to have hi-rez scans of the pieces that could be used to make prints, etc.
4.) What tools are your favorite for Penciling/inking etc?
I use wooden pencils--the kind that you need a pencil sharpener or knife to sharpen. I've tried lead holders, but I don't care for them much, and I break mechanical pencils. Mechanical pencils aren't great for drawing spontaneous and energetic lines, IMO. They're for doing fine detail. I need a solid pencil for doing figure work, so I like the wooden pencils best. I often use those green Design pencils. I use H, HB, B, & 2Bs, depending on what sort of line I'm looking for.
As I mentioned above, I ink with brushes primarily. It's the old fashion way, and not at all modern, but it gives me the best results. I think a lot of modern inkers ink digitally because they find the brush to be a little intimidating to use. It takes time to develop brush inking skills. You have to put in a lot of work with the brush before you learn proper control, etc. It can be a scary thing I guess, and I think that's one of the reasons that a lot of modern inkers have turned to technology. I think that's too bad really, because most of the digital inking I've seen is fairly lifeless and mechanical. Some energy seems to get lost in the process. Also there is the issue of original art. There is a market for selling original artwork, and selling the original art is a great way for an artist to get additional income. Digital artwork produces no originals so you can only sell print outs.
Recently the ROCKETEER: ARTISTS EDITION was released containing scans of Dave Steven's inked pages from both of his ROCKETEER series. Dave was an amazing artist, and one of the greatest inkers in comic book history. I love that that book has been made available to modern artists. I hope it will influence a few of the digital guys to look into trying their hands at doing some traditional inking.
5.) Any future projects you are working on we should look forward to?
LORNA RELIC WRANGLER is a comic book that's coming out next March through IMAGE COMICS. Micah Harris, writer of the HEAVEN'S WAR graphic novel, created LORNA, and is the writer. I provide pencils and inks on the main story in the first issue. The art style I'm providing for LORNA is more animated in nature, along the lines of artworks by artists like Dan DeCarlo, Bruce Timm and Darwyn Cooke. LORNA has two industry mega-stars providing some incredible covers for us for the first issue debut!
Beyond LORNA, there is another green lighted IMAGE project down the road with Micah Harris. This one will be a horror anthology which will task me with providing some traditional comic stylings that are more akin to the sort of artwork you might find in the old Warren Magazines. I'm really looking forward to drawing that book!
6.) Where can we find you on the web and buy your stuff?
I have a website: http://www.
And I have a DeviantArt gallery: http://lostonwallace.
Many of my books are available on Amazon.com and other places. There are links to some of them on my website front page. These include movie tie-in books for kids, as well as DC Comics licensing books for kids. Here is a list of a few of these:
SPIDER-MAN 3: DELUXE SOUND BOOK http://www.amazon.com/dp/
SUPERMAN RETURNS: THANK YOU, SUPERMANboard book: http://www.amazon.com/
BATMAN: RACE AGAINST CRIME http://www.amazon.com/
SUPER FRIENDS: FLYING HIGH: http://www.amazon.com/dp/
SUPER FRIENDS: BRAIN FREEZE: http://www.amazon.com/
SUPER FRIENDS: IN ACTION!: http://www.amazon.com/dp/
SUPER FRIENDS: DANGER FROM THE DEEP:
I want to thank Loston for taking time to answer these questions!
Come check out PencilJack! You won't regret it!