Friday, February 24, 2006

Frazer Irving

While he may not be a household name in most comic circles, the man's talent is purely undeniable. Frazer has been in the comics industry for several years, he's produced works for 2000AD, DC, Marvel and Darkhorse. I first became aware of his impressive talent on his most recently completed project, Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witchboy. Out of all the artist Grant Morrison has chosen for the Seven Soldiers series it was Mr. Irvings that pulled me into the story the most. When researching his other work I was just as blown away by his dynamic use of lighting, line work and detail. Despite what has to be a hectic schedule (Mr. Irving is an acomplished musician as well as an illustrator) I was able to get a few questions answered by this amazing artist.

MM: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

FI: Born and raised in Essex, in the bit which is now part of London, UK.

MM: When did you first become interested in art?

FI: Probably when I was several minutes old. I've always liked pretty pictures,
especially drawings.

MM: What got you into comics?

FI: I was probably given them as a child to keep me quiet, and the magic of the different art styles mixed with the dynamic stories just won me over. Probably Spiderman.

MM: So I read that you were a musician, did you play an instrument? What type of music did you play?

FI: I kinda still do I play bass, currently the proud owner of a nice Rickenbacker, and I play in a band at the moment, doing a mix of stoner-rock and jazz-funk, tho we need to find a singer asap...

MM: Tell me about 'The Man Who Learnt to Fly'. This graphic novel seemed to be a turning point in your life. What was the impetus of its creation and is it still in print?

FI: The impetus was basically my desire to write and draw a 30 page strip to
see if I could actually do it, and it kinda mutated once I had finished the first chapter. I spent the last year of college and the first year after college working on it in bits until I finished all 7 chapters. Sadly there were only a handful of copies printed and sold so it's SUPER rare, and I have only one copy myself.

MM: 2000AD was your first venture into being a professional comic artist how did you land a gig with them?

FI: I'd been sending in art samples via mail for about a year, but it was a meeting at the 2000 comics festival in Bristol that I finally got my first opportunity from then-editor Andy Diggle. he seemed to have more faith in my personal work than in any of the samples, which was a bit of an eye-opener i must say.

MM: What was your first foray into doing work for American companies?

FI: I think it was drawing Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained for DarkHorse
in 2002.

MM:Do you prefer working with one over the other? What are the differences working for 2000AD vs. D.C.

FI: Difficult to say. Pressures and demands are different for both, and
once one has accustomed to the new rhythms it's difficult to go back again.
Currently I really like doing work for the american market, partially because of the subject matter and also because I get to play with longer stories, something which always bugged me about 2000AD. But both are great.

MM: I see that you've done art for Wizard's of the Coast. Do you prefer doing single pieces of art or doing sequential artwork?

FI: To be honest, it depends on the stories/subjects. Instinctively I'd say single images, as I can control them better, but the rewards from a good strip are far greater so it's impossible to nail down a preference.

MM: I have to admit that I've only recently discovered your work through your recent work on Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witchboy. Honestly I was blown away. I've kept up with all of the series to date and they've all been blessed with some great art teams but to me Klarion's art set such an appropriate mood for the denizensof limbo town, it really pulled me into the book. Was there a particular inspiration to the style you employed on that book?

FI: Not really I knew I wanted to mix line art with colour, and so I just allowed space for both to exist side by side, but the actual style of drawing came instinctively as I read Grant's script.

MM: How was it working with Grant? Are there any writers you'd like to work with in
the future?

FI: Grant is great to work with, as I feel he caters the stories to suit the artist as well as making the stories very interesting for me to read. Dream team writers would be Alan Moore, Si Spurrier, Garth Ennis and Myself.

MM: Can you tell us about your process in creating work? How do you create a finished page, what tools do you use? How long from start to finish does it take to create a finished book?

FI: Currently I do everything aside from inks on the mac. I start with a page set up[ in photoshop and scribble layouts on it, then build it up to "pencils". Then
I print that out as a blueline and ink it with brushes/pens, scan it back in and then paint the colours on. A finished book can be done in less time than you would imagine, but that's only if I sacrifice sleep and social life to make up the hours. I currently have an assistant taking care of some of the more mundane tasks so I can get more drawing done.

MM: What project are you most proud of and why?

FI: Tricky. The Necronauts probably, because it was my first proper gig and it really held together well, tho I am also very proud of myFrankenstein adaptation as I did all the pacing and transposing myself, but then there's also Klarion which I am very fond of...this kinda question is very much like "which of your children is your favorite?".

MM: What projects are currently on your plate? More work for DC? Has Marvel offered you any work? Do you have plans to do any more creator owned work?

FI: I really can't say I've had offers and noises from both, and I have every intention of doing creator owned work but when it'll take place is a matter for me to sort out after I've finished Iron Man.

MM: Thanks for your time Frazer, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. Please keep Preptime' aware of any projects that may come up in the future. A lot of us here are big fans of your work and we'll do what we can to continue to support it.

FI: Sure thing.


buckshot said...

Great piece, man. Irving is definitely one to check for.

Our first interview... I'm so proud!

Melanism said...

He;s an amazing artist and look forward to some indie work.

Definately deserves a DC Solo.

DrNO said...

Great interview. I love the guys work.

JRennoldz said...

He totally blew me away on Klarion! Great, great, great interview. Awesome stuff man and I am going out to cop Inevitable ASAP.


The PTP is making moves...

KangolLove said...

I've never read any of the books he's done, but I'm liking this artwork.

MR. MAJOR said...

Thanks for the feedback guys. I really want to to send a special thanks to Frazer for not only being an amazing talent but for also being this humble little blog's first interview. If you haven't picked up Klarion do yourself a favor and cop it now and check for his Inveitable Ironman series as well.I agree with Mel too, Frazer definitely deserves the Solo treatment from DC. Thanks again Frazer.

justinshock said...

nice work!

neo said...

Wow just seeing that Iron Man..he's got me hooked already..

diptheoria said...

Great interview; his stuff is up there with the best for me.

Did anyone here see the thing he had in the Telegraph magazine (!) the other week..? I think it was called "Beneath". It was kinda clunky at the end, but actually pretty interesting.

I see he's mentioned it on his website, but there's no links or anything. And I heard there was meant to be an amimated version of it coming out. Anyone else know what I'm on about..?

gregwerg said...

The animation of Beneath is here:

It's an ad. And totally bizarre. But I kinda like it. Everyone I know who's seen it feels totally brutalised afterwards - in a good way :)