I was lucky enough to speak with another wonderful artist, Tradd Moore. The illustrative mastermind behind the hyper-gore comic The Strange Talent of Luther Strode. We talked about everything from the X-Men to the role the Internet plays in bringing people together to create wonderful new comics. Thank you again to him for taking the time to speak with us and give an inside look into his artistic process.
What is your earliest memory of being interested/around comics?
Ah, it’s tough to say. I don’t remember ever not being interested in comics, you know? I think my first memorable obsession, though, was with the X-Men. My dad used to travel a lot for work and would bring back various comics for my brother and me when he’d return home from a business trip. For whatever reason, I immediately gravitated towards and fell in love with the X-Men. There was no turning back from there!
Do you think you would ever want to work on an X-Men comic?
Absolutely! I’d love the opportunity to tell some stories about all these characters that I’ve grown up loving. Maybe something along the lines of Claremont and Miller’s Wolverine or Whedon and Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men. A run/mini/arc that tells a complete story and has some finality to it, you know? That’d be amazing.
When did you decide it was something you wanted to do as a career?
It was actually always something that I wanted to do and I never wavered from pursuing it. All the other kids in elementary school wanted to be astronauts and dolphins and the President, or whatever. I just wanted to draw comics. Well, I also wouldn’t mind being a dolphin, but I’d be a dolphin that draws comics.
How did you assemble the team for Luther Strode?
The team assembly was all Justin Jordan’s doing! He came across my work via deviantArt and liked it enough to contact me about collaborating on the Luther Strode pitch he had brewing. This was in 2009 and I was going into my senior year at SCAD. I had the pencils and inks for the pitch finished that year, but we didn’t add colorist extraordinaire Felipe Sobriero to the roster until mid 2010. He and Justin were familiar with each other through various comic message boards and Justin ensnared him somehow or another. I assume crime was involved. Long story short, after taking a year to get the team all assembled, we finally pitched the project to Image and thankfully got the green light!
Do you think sites like Deviant Art have greatly helped people get into making their own comics? Finding artist, even if they are across the world, and things?
Oh, without a doubt. Making contacts and establishing communication with folks is a breeze these days and art sharing sites/communties like Deviant Art, Tumblr, Blogger, etc. are all particularly fantastic. Speaking from personal experience, Deviant Art has been a huge part of my artistic career. I’ve come in contact with so many unbelievable artists and creators on there I can’t even keep count. I get inspired by people on there every day. And when you’re surrounded by inspiring things, how can you NOT be inspired to create something yourself?
So yeah, I think the internet in general has helped a lot people get into making comics. To me it makes the comic community not seem like such an exclusive club. Anyone can make anything, post it anywhere, talk to anyone.
How did you pitch Luther Strode?
The pitching process was quite simple, truth be told. We just followed the instructions listed on the “Submissions” section of Image’s website! We included:
- A cover letter that introduced the concept of the comic as well as the creators
- A brief issue by issue breakdown of the series
- The finished cover and first six pages of finished artwork (inked, colored, lettered)
And that was that. Here’s a blog post that Justin wrote that elaborates a bit on what was included in the pitch, just incase anyone is curious.
What is your creative process when drawing out the panels?
I always start by thumbnailing out the whole script. The thumbnails are just little sketches (mine are about 2″x3″) laying out the framework of the pages, but they can be deceptively grueling for me from time to time. This is where pretty much all of my important story telling decisions are made. I send those off to my team to get their approval, then it’s on to rough pencils. Here I’m essentially just transferring my thumbnails to the full size page and fleshing them out a good bit. I like to keep the pencils loose so that I’m free to be more lively with my inks. Once I get approval on the roughs, I jump right into the inks and finish the page off!
What is it like working as a team versus by yourself?
It’s great! Well, both ways are great, but I feel like working on a team definitely makes the work process more streamlined and less stressful for me. Justin, Felipe, and I (or whoever I’m working with on a project) are always bouncing ideas off of each other as well as commenting/critiquing/praising one another’s work. It’s a really positive and inspiring work environment, for sure. Decision making is a lot easier with a team, too. Often times when I’m working alone I’ll scrutinize my work too harshly and over analyze things, which can be paralyzing when it comes to making crucial decisions. Then again, when you work alone you can do whatever you want, which is pretty awesome. So yeah, that inherently makes you feel kind of cool. Even if you aren’t.
Any advice for those hoping to start a career in making comics?
Work hard. Work often. Be persistent. Be kind to people. Have a web presence. Choose projects you care about. Seriously, have a web presence. Have fun!