10 Questions for Loston Wallace

Superman by Loston WallaceLoston Wallace met his wife Carolyn while both were attending the Joe Kubert School of Art. They now live in Cary, NC, where Loston has been working primarily as licensing artist. His projects include illustrating children’s books for DC Comics. He’s also pencilled several comics, included Cavewoman: Klyde & Meriem for Basement Comics, several issues of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark for Claypool Comics, and has even pencilled a Flash Gordon Sunday strip for King Features. He’s now pencilling and inking Lorna Relic Wrangler, which will be published by Image Comics this summer.

You can find out more about Loston at his official website, www.lostonwallace.com, and his DeviantArt page.

Question 1: When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics for a living?

I’ve been reading comics since I was four years old. I’ve always wanted to draw comics since that time.

Question 2: Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?

Maybe my karate instructor, the late Vernard Whitaker. He taught me a lot more than just karate. He taught me that I was worth something as a human being.

Question 3: Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?

A lot of comic artists and illustrators have had an impact on my work. Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, John Buscema, Bernie Wrightson, Don Newton, Doug Wildey, Mark Schultz, Steve Rude, Dave Stevens, Neal Adams, Bruce Timm, Darwyn Cooke — the list is very long one. Currently, Mark Schultz and his amazing artwork inspire me to do better work.

Question 4: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

Anything other than drawing! I love to watch old black and white movies — Universal monster films, ’50s sci-fi thrillers, and that sort of thing. I’ve even been known to read a good book every now and then.

Spider-Man by Loston WallaceQuestion 5: Describe your typical work routine.

Well, I often work at night rather than during the day when I’m faced with a tight deadline, but I sometimes work during the day when time isn’t as much of a factor. I often do a few finger stretches before I start in on drawing. I usually draw about 3 or 4 hours until it’s lunch time, then I try to get some food into my system, and I enjoy a short break before I go back to work. If a deadline isn’t too pressing, I work an 8 hour work day, then have dinner and take the evening off. If a deadline is looming, then I sometimes continue to work after dinner for several more hours, taking short breaks when I can. Whatever it takes to get the work done. Making deadlines is extremely important, so I do whatever it takes to meet them.

Question 6: What writing, drawing, or other tools do you use?

I pencil with wooden design pencils. For years I used a 2-H, but now I’m using a 2-B with improved satisfaction. I ink with a Raphael Kolinski Red Sable #3 brush. My ink of choice is Speedball Super Black India Ink. I typically use copy paper to sketch out layouts and rough art, then I transfer roughs onto 400 or 500 series bristol board, using a lightbox. This keeps the finished artwork and the surface of the paper cleaner, and I like that. I have been known to draw straight onto the bristol on occasion. I use a Mars plastic eraser, a Staedtler electric eraser, and a kneaded eraser. I also use french curves, circle templates and ellipse templates, and a nice metal ruler.

Superman by Loston WallaceQuestion 7: What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?

Probably the layout stage of things. I enjoy creating panel compositions and determining the POV, etc. There are usually dozens of different ways to layout a single panel’s content, and it’s satisfying for me to try to find the best solutions to tale the story as clearly as possible, and as exciting as I can without losing that clarity. It’s a bit of a juggling act, but in this instance, I enjoy the juggling.

Question 8: What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?

Financially speaking, it would have to be the Spider-Man 3: Deluxe Sound Storybook, but on a personal level, I’d have to say it was the Superman Returns: Thank You, Superman storybook. I got to create my own style of drawing on that book — my own Superman design, to some extent. Despite being very ill during the project, I managed to make the deadline — with some help from a few of my best friends — and the end result was a gorgeous looking book that I’m very proud of. It’s thrilling to know that some kid’s very first Superman book was one that I illustrated, and set the style for. Yeah, I take a lot of pride in that.

Question 9: We’ve all met very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?

Don’t get into drawing comics because you think you can be a super star. Get into comics because you love storytelling. Because you love the medium and the craft. When you love something, you never tire of it, and you never give up on it. You celebrate that love and that can propel you to doing your best work. You can take pride in that.

Question 10: Time to get philosophical: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?

Life is short. It’s now or never. Live for today because you never know if you’ll see a tomorrow. If you want to be a professional artist, writer, etc, then you have to get on the track now. Get out there, pay your dues and get the show on the road. No one will come knocking, you have to get motivated, obtain some skills, and then acquire some work. If you have a love for comics and you want to draw comics. You are your only obstacle. Determination and persistence will eventually prevail.

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