Q1: Before you introduce yourself and the type of work you are in, can you possibly share what we missed out on from your progress in 2011, events, commissions, projects etc?
A: Very frustrating discovery for me, to find out that I’m not eligible for any commission work. Well, I did get some questions about my willingness to do a freebie but even a $5-00 was considered as a very expensive demand from me… so no, I have no commission experiences at all.
Now, the type of work I am doing is visual narrative — sequential storytelling — or, to put it bluntly, COMICS. I am proud to call myself a comics artist or illustrator. I work for Dark Brain LLC [www.darkbrain.com] where I drew one episode of GRACE COMES HOME serial, inked a re-done first episode of the same series over another pencil-er - my first digital artwork experience! – and where I have co-created a PISSY PUSSY character together with Dark Brain Owner, Publisher & EIC Andrew Zar, Esq.
I live again in my native hometown, Serbia’s capital Belgrade – after 18 years of life in the UK, in London.
I love playing bass live, I enjoy all kinds of music but heavy rocking is the dearest to me, can’t stand blues but I love to bits reggae.
Q2: When did you realize your art was important, that your art was what you wanted to do, did anyone influence you, existing digital or traditional artists?
A: I was only three years young and sick in bed when my late Dad bought me that snowy winter night a magazine with FLASH GORDON drawn by Dan Barry. Learning that it’s all drawn BY HAND was a mind-blowing life-changing experience. I felt better… I wanted to know what happened to Flash and his party after the Scorpios’ ambush… and since my Dad was an architect frequently working at home, I had some idea of sitting at the drawing board and doing stuff in pencil, ink … And I simply knew when I grow up that I’ll do this for a living. I won’t drive a locomotion, be a fireman or a police officer or an actor — with three years of age I simply knew I’ll draw comics when I grow up, simple as that. Period.
Now, my influences — more talented friends and colleagues. Belgian master Hermann … Moebius/Jean Giraud, RIP… Alex Raymond … Frank Frazetta … Al Williamson … Wallace Wood … Mort Drucker … Frank Cho … Adam Hughes … Alberto Varanda … Claire Wendling … J.S. Campbell … Didier Crisse … Aleksa Gaji?, Darko Perovi?, Dražen Kova?evi?, RM Guera, Geto Savi?… Bane Kerac and many other Serbian terriffic artists, many of whom are working for French and Italian and US markets.
Oh, by the way, my name and surname are properly written BOJAN M. ?UKI? (Boy-ann Duke-itch).
Q3: Can you explain what your main tools are in creating your art?, and also would you encourage others to update their equipment or master what they have before taking on something new – is the need to update equipment or software programs important in order to producing art?
A: Like for musicians, especially those who never ever went to a school of music — LEARN NOTATION. Hence the advice for artists: LEARN PERSPECTIVE. It’s more important than anatomy, not because anatomy is unimportant but because impeccable anatomy shall look weird and awkward in badly drawn perspective, or spatial composition. No computer program can save you here, not even Google Sketchup. Get the books!!! Get the tuition from a geometry teacher – skip the boring mathematical doodah and learn how to establish horizon and vanishing points, how to deal with vanishing points outside the picture plane [outside the panel or splash or cover or whatever you're drawing].
Become familiar with Photoshop at least – and SAI, the best wee program there is for drawing!!!
Then — learn anatomy, proportion and figure drawing. Draw a lot, not just pro assignments but for your own improvement. AVOID AT ALL COSTS SPARE SHEETS OF PAPER, STUFF GETS LOST – learn to draw in sketchbooks, ordinary notebooks are fine, you don’t need those fancy-shmancy expensive ‘art sketchbooks’ from art stores.
Try various pencils – you’ll realize that in horrendous heat and dry weather paper ‘thinks’ that an HB lead is 3B! So have at hand harder leads. In cold and humid weather softer leads are better. AVOID THOSE CLICK-PENCILS WITH MICRO-LEADS, the so-called ‘mechanical pencils’ — unless you can’t draw with them because you’re used to them. Use wood-clinched ordinary pencils or lead-holders [clutch pencils] for 2mm leads like in wooden pencils.
Also, learn to ink with brushes and nibs — unless you’re so used to markers and rapidographs. Photoshop is okay for inking, so is Manga Studio but for digital art I find SAI the best digital tool EVER.
Now… you can hardly find a more competent and better artist today than Frank Cho. Lo and behold – he pencils with 0.7 Pentel P207 micro lead pencil..! And he inks with Pigma markers..! I see that Adam Hughes and J.S. Campbell [users of 2mm lead-holders for penciling] also use markers for inking, not nibs or brushes that Hughes inked with until recently…
Try Magic Markers or Tom bows or those Co-pics if you feel you need them – never ever chase equipment because your favoured artist uses it and your type of art doesn’t require it.
Strive towards the equipment and tools you know you’ll need, don’t collect markers that’ll dry up and die without being applied on your art. Don’t get into the race with the rest of the world because they’re constantly inventing new stuff and equipment. The best digital artists, surprisingly, remain faithful to the old versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter or whatever they’re using.
If you want to be professional, you’ll have the least time to experiment. You’ll need all the time to produce and pay the damn bills and rent and for food, then you need to eat, sleep, have a semblance of social life from time to time… even fornicate…
BE READY FOR A LOT OF SACRIFICE AND DISAPPOINTMENTS. You won’t be eating every day unless you’re in demand all the time.
Q4: Everyone endures a long or short process of learning and adapting, as well as the ability of mixing up styles from existing tutorials. How was your experience of learning your own art? And what would you suggest to others who are trying to learn of their own ‘art’?
A: It’s a trap… I simply cannot learn from my own art anything but disappointment..! But, I can learn from the others, on YouTube.com or on Deviant Art or from [printed or online] publications about artists and their art and from socializing with other artists.
Or in an art school.
I don’t know about the British or other foreign educational art experiences, the majority of Serbian colleagues who are NOT self-taught told me that they’ve learned the most on their own and that art college or academy never managed to fulfill what they needed.
Style is something that emerges FROM WITHIN YOU somehow … usually during desperate times or under the deadline pressures. What we wrongly call ‘style’ is actually ‘the drawing/painting manner’. If we’re prone to fall under influences easily, we try to imitate the mannerisms of our art idols, swiping Campbell’s female sexy poses or the way Hughes draws hair or Frazetta’s vigorous approach to action and composition or Alex Raymond’s elegance or Brian Bolland’s discipline and organisational impeccable illustrational results …
Frank Miller used to be artistically inferior to his contemporaries but he managed to exploit his own limitations and WITHIN THEM to find his own strength, still drawing quite unconvincing hands, for example… and then, during his stint as John Romita JR’s writer he managed to learn something new apparently because since then Miller draws quite convincing hands. I love the way he reinvented himself with the ‘noir style’ for SIN CITY. Poor me, I didn’t realize that he was competing with Mike Mignola, who’ll slosh more black ink onto the drawings..!
I used to adore Earth Mignola walks on till HELLBOY. He changed his drawing approach thoroughly and I’m not belittling it – no..! It just doesn’t do the deed for me as FAFHRD & THE GREY MOUSER or IRONWOLF etc.
Q5: How would you describe the important elements of creating ‘art’? is it important to create a guide or notes of what to do and what not to do when you begin the long process of creating an art piece?
A: There are definitely people like that – Leonardo Da Vinci used to make mathematical preparations (!!!) for his drawings and paintings..! Others make a lot of elaborate sketches, trying this or that … others tend to be instinctive like Jack Kirby and just hyper-produce without looking back…
So, if you’re not afraid of the blank space on paper or your computer screen, just dig in and make it happen.
Or, if you have problems … scribble. Make small thumbnails, quick doodles that’ll encourage you to be more self-confident for the final phase. Don’t be frustrated with artists capable of drawing a triangular shape of the horse’s ear in the upper left corner, finishing with horse’s hind hooves in the bottom right corner, with hyper-detailed naturalistic rendition of the animal in-between..! Some guys just can’t do it – so approach the drawing with broad strokes, unfinished SHAPES defining what’ll come later, use kneaded eraser/putty rubber to save the paper’s surface from scratching with the ordinary rubber eraser and leave pale ‘guidelines’ to help you put in deffinitive contours which define those almost geometrical free-hand shapes.
In the end – use the approach which is appropriate for you, don’t struggle with masochistic self-torture, ‘Oh I gotta do this like that because Dave Gibbons does it like that’ because what works flawlessly for Dave Gibbons MIGHT NOT WORK FOR YOU and your nature, temperament and abilities. Instead of getting frustrated and willing to give up, find your own way and stick to it bearing in mind that your imagination works the best if it’s like parachute – open when needed.
Q6: It is very common to endure the ‘struggles’ and the ‘weight’ of art around you, what were the struggles that you encountered and how would you suggest to others on how to cope with it?
A: It depends on individual’s nature … there are blokes and blokettes who get frustrated and discouraged when they see somebody else’s art, it shatters them and they retrieve into self-pity, sulking, desperate excuses that they’ll never be ‘that good’ etc.
Then, there are others who see the stuff and get inspired – some try swiping FOR EXCERCISE the stuff to learn, others brave enough attempt to try things on their own without swiping [I'm the swiper but I don't steal other artists' compositions and characters in my comics out of respect to big guys in the business] and they’re like those rock musicians always eager ‘to lean into it’ and ‘let the hair down’.
Personalities … some are easy going, relaxed, others are tense, rigid … to some drawing comes naturally, easy, it simply flows whilst others struggle and it takes forever so you wonder, ‘Why on Earth is this person doing this instead of some office work or whatever else?!’.
My struggles were quite devastating – I LACKED THE NATURAL TALENT FOR DRAWING!!! But I loved COMICS so much that I made a vow never to cease the struggle – and I’m still struggling away even today in my age approaching ominously the OAP’s..! I owe everything to my more talented friends and books by Burne Hogarth and later George Bridgeman, Pogany, Andrew Loomis, John Buscema’s DRAWING COMICS THE MARVEL WAY … Walter Foster’s instructional booklets … AND A SPECIAL TIP OF THE HAT TO THE ANIMATION GREAT, PRESTON BLAIR – without his books about animation drawing I’d be lost forever in frustration and drawing inabilities!
Q7: Besides the current field of work you are in, do you have anything outside that you would like to share with us? Any other future plans that don’t involve creative art?
A: I’d love to reform my band, FATAL CELLULITE OBSESSION which used to do quirky covers… I love performing live, shredding bass and singing, rolling on the floor, doing harmonics on bass string with my tongue and other horrendous misbehaving escapades.
Yes – I’m an attention seeker and far from bashful… I’m a lampoon and entertainer.
My ambition is to be taken seriously by some pro musicians I know who’d invite me to lay down some bass tracks on their recordings so something musical remains after me – nothing to be revered, just the document that I did something worth serious attention, not just clowning around with a guitar-shaped thingamajig with 4 strings.
Q8: A few artists go by a quote or a motto to keep reminding them selves to work hard and think positive if they are to encounter ‘a bad day’. So are there any words you want to share out to others that may inspire them to work hard and continue working. An inspirational quote to motivate others?
A: ‘Do it NOW’.
Or ‘What you can achieve today don’t leave it for tommorrow’.
But my best[est] personal quotes are those stolen from Dennis Hopper [I'm too old to grow up] and the Belgian cartoonist genius Andre Franquin who said something along the lines of ‘A lot of life passes by and it lasts for so long that in the end we realise how short life is’.
Q9: Any predictions of what the future holds for art?
A: Digital[isation] shall save comics.
But gouaches, watercolours, oils, mixed media, crayons, charcoals and pencils shall always remain there. Some things simply cannot be swapped with a ‘perfect computer program imitating pastuose strokes on canvas’. No, real canvas shall always be there and I am not afraid that classical approach to art making shall perish.
Q10: I’m sure you have sites you would like to share with us of your work, so please do share them with us here for fans and followers to keep an update of your progress.
which also has the link to my Face Book page on the right. A lot of drawings there, in my FB gallery.
Then there is http://boyann.deviantart.com
No Tumblir, no other galleries. That’s it.
Oh, there’s something on YouTube:
And I can’t resist the links to my musical escapades:
And that’s all. Really nothing else remains unless someone’s made something I’m not aware of – and I doubt it.
Q11: Last year I asked a question regarding ‘art theft’ this year will be no different. Do you have anything you would like to share out regarding ‘art theft’ and maybe also shed some light on what artists should do when exposing their art work on the vast world of the internet.
A: It happens, there are infamous thieves flogging redrawn/copied drawings as their own or as forgeries of other artists’ endeavour, pretending it’s the genuine article.
It’s the risk everyone takes because anything out there for public viewing and ‘consumption’ is prone to imitation or ‘purest form’ of theft.
There is a Serbian newspaper PRESS that stole from me… they used and published my Sunday comics pages and didn’t pay me from April 2009, even challenging me if I dare to sue them. I didn’t because of stories regarding their connections with the dangerous underworld people and political powers working together with the ‘goodfellas’ types. They owe me for four unpaid Sunday comic strip pages – they did it to several other artists and nobody dares to raise a voice, fearing retribution or no more chances to work at all.
Q12: I didn’t get the chance to include this question for 2011, so here it is for you. Everyone has their own opinions regarding the meaning of art, or the definition of art. Any chance we can hear what you think art is from you?
A: It’s something some amongst us have to do. It’s not the proverbial urge ‘to educate the masses’ or ‘say something important to the world’. It’s simply the urge to do it and most of the so-called ‘ordinary people’ think of that as irresponsible lecherous attempt to avoid ‘real work and hard graft’ and get easy through life — I cannot remember how many times I’ve heard that unintentional insult, ‘Oh good for you, you don’t need to do any real work, you just sit and draw funny pictures’.
What is art is described the best by a self-portrait panel from a comic by Robert Crumb where he’s shown pen in hand feverishly inking with a dialogue balloon, ‘I`ll show `em… I`ll show `em…’.
Moebius – rest his soul – had said, ‘Nobody does this to remain unknown’. Who knows — maybe it’s the equivalent of ‘Chester was here’ grafitti or a toilet scrawl … I don’t know. I honestly tried on three occasions to give this up and be ‘a normal man’ with ‘normal job’ and I’ve failed miserably. So I prefer to live miserably drawing comics than to live miserably with a dead-end mundane job with less than miserable earnings but favoured and applauded by the society despising as vagabounds people choosing art as their vocation.
Q13: And finally for the last question to round off our interview, ‘a picture says a thousand words’ or ‘tell a story’ out of your current portfolio, do you have one that you favour the most and why? Is there a subliminal message within your work?
A: I loathe most of my pictures in spite of liking the creative process whilst they were drawn. I’m my own most ruthless critic.
If I had to chose just one drawing — then let it be this one:
‘The night Selina said NO to Brucie’. Idea stolen from Adam Hughes who drew this differently and with funny word balloon, only Robin is visible and Batman’s arm. Spontaneously figures appear to be drawn in the vein of the great Wallace Wood with a hint of Bruce Timm.
Q14: Ok so this is optional, just out of curiosity what annoys you the most in your field of work? Do you get a lot of requests on art collabs, interviews, features etc etc?
A: Hard to say for the moment, as I thankfully haven’t encountered any problems yet. I am open to discussion in regards to do commissions depending of the project that is, and as for interviews, this is my first and in due time I hope to venture out more and be able to discuss my progress with khuan again next year or any other interviewers who may find ‘me’ interesting I’m one click away from you.
What annoys me the most..?
My own desperate horrendous slowness. I’m so hopelessly slow, cannot draw quickly to save my life.
Frustrated guitarists unable to achieve the sub machine gun warp-speed in their solos are advised to practise slowly, with metronome, gradually increasing speed till it reaches the stratospheric heights.
I wish there was a recipe like this for drawing faster…