THE GRAPHIC HEADSTONE: GREGBO WATSON, COMIC ARTIST!

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         GREGBO WATSON, comic artist for Zenescope Comics “Down the Rabbit Hole.”

Deadwest: Howdy Scream Freaks, and welcome back to the Graphic Headstone! I was just mulling around the ole’ graveyard here when I stumbled across this here rabbit hole, and you’ll never guess who I found trying to come through to the Crosslands! Comic Aaahh!rtist, Gregbo Watson, best known for his work on a more mature Alice in Wonderland in Zenescope Comics’ mini-series “Down the Rabbit Hole.”

Gregbo Watson: I also drew 8 Upper Deck trading cards featuring Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor for Marvel! Would you mind helping me out already?

DW: You look stuck there, partner. How did you find yourself in such a tight jam?

GW: I was chasing this white rabbit for its pot of gold, and it tricked me into climbing up this narrow opening. One push back is all I need, come on!GR08

DW: Hold up there now! Let’s make a deal. You let me interview you for the Scream Freaks, and I’ll give you a swift kick back to your reality. Deal?

GW: Whatever, just hurry it up!

DW: Yeehaw! Alright, you said you first broke into comics back in the 90’s?

GW: Yes, I got together with a company called Destiny Comics back in 1997, and they talked with me about coming up with a “creator-owned” independent comic for them to publish. I was soooo green back then, but I came up with a story/character called “The Flea.” It did reasonably well for an indy comic and can still be found on eBay. I was promoting it at the conventions when I found out I was gonna be a Dad. My son was born 3 months premature, so I knew I would have to devote a lot of time toward him. Comics take so much time to produce, and the travel involved with promoting a book to make it successful was grueling . . . especially back then. So I had to give it up for a while to raise my son.

DW: And now your boy’s come of age, and you’ve been able to set your sights on that sequential horizon again?

GW: Pretty much. He travels everywhere with me now.

DW: Clever. You successfully raised a strong young back to help carry the heavy burden that is a comic artist’s work schedule.

GW: (Laughs) Yeah, it is a labor of love, but my son and girlfriend love it.

DW: You draw and ink (and sometimes color) your own work. How demanding is that for 25 comic pages within a month?GR07

GW: I am working every day all week. I get up around 8:30-9:00 A.M., and work ‘til Junior comes home from school. We talk for about 30 minutes about his day, and then I am back at it until dinner time. I break for dinner, we watch a TV show or 2, and then I am back at it until the wee hours of the morning sometimes. I also do a LOT of commissioned art in there as well, and being an artist means I’m obsessed with detail. Needless to say, my work does take some time.

DW: That sounds like a lot of damn work only crazy people would take on! Just out of curiosity, how fast can you draw and ink one modest comic page? Do you give yourself a deadline per page like 1 or 1 ½ a day?

GW: I try to go as fast as I can, but I’m more about the quality of the art so some pages take a lot longer than others. Regarding the detail I like to put in, I can crunch out an average of a page and a half of penciled/inked artwork per day if rushed and decide that sleep and social interaction of any kind isn’t gonna happen. It also depends greatly on the page/art content of the piece I am working on; I can zoom through a page of close headshots talking. But a chase/fight scene taking place in Grand Central Station would obviously take longer. Being a comic book artist is a lot like directing a movie I would imagine. You’re in charge of wardrobe, direction, set design, lighting — it’s all on you. Now, imagine you’re having to do all of this with a gun to your head because you’re up against crazy deadlines — and there’s no cheating with art, because it’s going to be there forever. So you better get it right.

DW: Does the comic company provide you with any art supplies?

GW: I am always trying out new materials, so I usually pick up my own. Hobby Lobby LOVES me (laughs). Being a classically trained illustrator and painter, I’m always trying out new techniques and materials. I think that helps an artist to grow and for their work to expand.

DW: Does the company at least pay for the shipping costs for you to mail them your work?

GW: All of my work is delivered digitally to the publishers. That’s the way it’s expected these days.GR04

DW: Okay, so you were in the middle of the comic business, took a break to do the family thing, and then jumped right back into the game? Was it that simple to transition back into comics as a career?

GW: I was posting my art everywhere on social media, and various publishers saw it and contacted me. Promoting yourself in the business is much easier today through social media then it was back in the 90’s. In the old school days, it was much harder to get your work seen.

DW: Speaking of which, what’s been the best promotional tool for you and your work, and what’s been the biggest waste of time?

GW: Good question. For me Facebook, Behance, DeviantArt, and Twitter have been the best. I haven’t found one that was a waste of time really. In art, as long as your work is seen, you’re doing right. It only takes the right person at the right time and place to see it once.

DW: Gotcha. Do you prefer drawing monsters or super heroes?

GW: Oooooooh. That’s tough. Superhero babes in a pin-up style are my favorite. However, if there are no girls in the piece . . . Monsters hands down.

DW: What’s been your proudest work you’ve produced so far after so many hours of sleep sacrificed?

GW: It’s hard for me to choose, really. Some of my Alice stuff for Zenescope Comics, the Thor art I did for Marvel/Upper Deck, and some of my pin-up girls that I’ve done recently. My pin-up girls have been getting a lot of attention lately and I enjoy doing those. They are quickly becoming some of my favorite pieces. Plus they are “easy on the eyes,” making the long hours go by faster.gr17

DW: What are you currently working on, and is there any future projects coming you’re excited about?

GW: I have several upcoming projects, including a personal one I can’t disclose yet that I’m really excited about! I’m also doing a pin-up calendar that is gonna rock! Man, not being able to disclose some projects that I am working on drives me nuts!! I am a big kid and fan myself, so I wanna shout what I’ve got coming up from the rooftops sometimes, but it’s the nature of the business that I have to keep some things hush hush. I will give a hint about the personal project . . . think 2 of my favorite things combined . . . monsters and pin-up girls!

DW: How can people best reach you, what projects are you most interested to work on, and are you still open to commissions?

GW: People can reach me through Facebook, Twitter, www.gregbo.com, and other online avenues. They can also come see me at the conventions and store signings I do. Yes, I am always open to commissions. Right now I have a commission list heading all the way into mid-April, but I love doing art and making folks happy, so I am always willing to add to that list.

DW: Hmmm.

GW: We done yet?

DW: I can’t think of any more questions. Okay, I guess you kept your end of the bargain.

GW: Finally.

DW: Let me just get a running start here, and . . . putrid polecats!

GW: What? What is happening?!

DW: I think I see that rabbit you were chasing. A pot of gold could buy a lot of drinks at the Howl-Inn!

GW: Where are you going? Come back!

DW: Just sit tight a little longer, and play dead if you see any werebears. Sorry to run Scream Freaks, but I can’t pass up this treasure hunt. I’ll see ya’ later!

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  1. Trackback: SCREAMING AT BIG FANDOM GREENVILLE! | Screaming Soup!

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