AICN COMICS Q&@: Russ Sheath chats with artist John Royle about his new sketchbook and DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY!
@’s by DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY’s
While the convention sketchbook scene is a great place to discover rare or unseen art from your favourite artists, it’s also a great place to discover artists whose work you are less familiar with. DANGER GIRL fans will be familiar with John Royle's work for IDW in comics such as DANGER GIRL / GI JOE and the current DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY, ably picking up where 90’s icon and fan favourite J. Scott Campbell left off, penciling the adventures of an all-female team of secret agents.
In DANGER GIRL, Royle clearly channels the Campbell influence while bringing his own flare to the series, attacking DG co-creator Andy Hartnell’s scripts with the same trademarks of energy, insane action set pieces and sexy comic book ladies that made the original series a hit. It’s safe to say that in the hands of Hartnell and Royle, Danger Girl has taken on a new life as the Danger Girl mythos continues to develop. British readers in particular will be familiar with John’s art from his work for Marvel, DC and a host of others.
Taking his first step into the world of convention sketchbooks, I spoke to John about his new book sketchbook and his current work on DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY.
RUSS SHEATH (RS): John - tell us a little about your career and where fans might have seen your work?
JOHN ROYLE (JR): I've worked on numerous titles including DANGER GIRL, EXCALIBUR, WOLVERINE, ROBIN/IMPULSE, STAR TREK ACADEMY, ULTRA FORCE, PRIME, WHAT IF: ROGUE, Stan Lee’s ALEXA, SPIDER-MAN (UK), MARVEL HEROES, RAMPAGE (UK) and DEATH’S HEAD/DIE CUT.
RS: How did you break into the industry and who are your influences?
JR: I got my first break into comic on a Marvel UK series called KNIGHTS OF PENDRAGON and I have many comic influences but my two biggest are John Byrne and J. Scott Campbell.
RS: John - this is your first sketchbook, how was the experience of putting it together?
JR: It was great fun to do. The hardest part was keeping to a page count as I had lots of images I wanted to put into it.
RS: What can fans find in the book?
JR: The book is full of full color covers pages plus some black inks and pencil art. Character design sketches, rough layouts and final art. One of my favorite bits in the book is a double page showing a section of an image of Natalia from DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY #3 in which I show the progression of the image from rough layout, pencils, inks and then final full color artwork. If I was looking at another artists work that’s the kind of thing I find interesting to see and I hope any fans who pick up the art /sketch book will too.
RS: Most readers will know your work from DANGER GIRL and GI JOE / DANGER GIRL for IDW. Will we find other art in the book too?
JR: Yes of course there's plenty of Danger Girl but I've also added some of my Spider-Man work and various Marvel and DC characters I've worked on.
RS: Any personal favorite pieces in the book?
JR: The alt subscription cover of Natalia from issue two of the DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY series, the double page progression spread I mentioned earlier and a shot of SnakeEye from the DANGER GIRL/ GI JOE series.
RS: How can fans get the book?
JR: Anyone in the USA can buy it through my website shop which adds shipping, if you are in UK or Europe if you email me I can arrange it.
RS: What’s been the most fun about working on DANGER GIRL?
JR: Working with a great team, Andy, Rom and Esshwar are fantastic. I loved drawing the DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY series and it was a dream come true for me to bring back Natalia. I really wanted to do that story as she's my favorite DG girl. I think Andy had the basic plot idea for it way back on the first DANGER GIRL series and in J. Scott Campbell's DG sketchbook there a very early idea for April on one on the pages.
RS: DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY concludes with issue 4, can you spill any plans for what's to follow for you and the Danger Girl team?
JR: There is another series coming which I'm sure the fan will enjoy but I'll will tell only you Russ as it’s being planned out, if you blab I'll send the girls over to sort you out, although I'm not sure if that's actually a deterrent!
RS: A huge thanks to John for taking part. DANGER GIRL: MAYDAY is published by IDW Publishing. For sketchbooks and original art, check out John Royle’s website here
Follow Russ Sheath's blog Russwords here and @russellsheath on Twitter.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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