An interview with a real up and comer in comics.
The first Saturday of May A.K.A. Free Comic Book Day. Like many of you comic book fans, I went to my local shop, Comics Unlimited, to participate in FCBD.
I picked up three free comics. Secret Wars #0, All New, All Different Avengers and Chakra: The Invincible. However, I bumped into someone as I searched for any good finds in the store. None other than Dave Bardin, one of the artists for the Chakra comic!
Always interested in someone who plays a role in pop culture, I asked Bardin for an interview. He accepted and we discussed his role in the comic, advice for other artists, and Graphic India.
Preston: How did you get involved with the Chakra comic?!
Bardin: Late last year, Sharad Devarajan (CEO of Liquid Comics and Graphic India) contacted me, asking if I’d be interested in working on Chakra. Sharad had seen my work online and thought that my style would be a good fit for a few Chakra stories. I said yes, received a few scripts from the writer, Ashwin Pande, and went to work!
Preston: There were a lot of different writers and artists for this book. Will you continue to draw for the Chakra comic?!
Bardin: Well, I am contracted for more issues of Chakra. But sometime last year, Graphic India asked me if I wanted to start working on a few of their animated properties and I jumped at the chance. I’ve been doing character and environment concepts and designs for not only the Chakra the Invincible cartoon, but also a cartoon called Sholay Adventures for the last year now. Graphic India has a lot of shows, comics, and other projects in various stages of production and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work on a few of them. So, in addition to the Chakra stories still being in front of me, I’ll also be working on other Graphic India projects in the foreseeable future!!
Preston: Where or how did you hone your skills?!
Bardin: I was always drawing as a kid and knew from a very early age that I wanted to draw for a living. I was an art instructor for many years, and teaching art to my students helped me to strengthen my skills as an artist. The turning point for my art was when I started taking art classes at Cal State Fullerton. I had a lot of fantastic instructors and it was there that I learned a lot about color theory, design, life drawing, and digital rendering. During my time at Fullerton, I was starting to see a significant amount of progress in my work—I was leveling up in my work almost weekly. Seeing these improvements motivated me to draw every second that I could. Drawing constantly and learning from other artists helps me to continue honing my skills!
Preston: How did you get into the comic book industry?
Bardin: You know, I wouldn’t say that I’m even “in” the comic book industry at the moment. Right now I’m a freelance illustrator, so I’m constantly juggling multiple projects here and there for a short time, finishing them up, and then I’m off to the next. Some months I might be penciling comic pages, or storyboarding a commercial, or working on designs for an animated show. Eventually I’d love to settle into one focus more than another but for the times being I just stay busy drawing.
Preston: Are there any particular characters you like to draw?
Bardin: I love drawing pretty much any superhero. I tend to lean more towards the classic character looks. With just how crazy and far out there some of them can be, how can you resist drawing them? But I would have to say that my favorite characters to draw are Batman and Spider-Man. Batman is fun to draw because you can get so much expressiveness out of those ears on his cowl and that long, grim face of his. Spider-Man is great because of how flexible and posable he is, and his costume is still one of the best-designed costumes of all time. (I love drawing all of that wrap-around webbing.)
Preston: I met you at Comics Unlimited in Huntington Beach. Why were you at that particular store?
Bardin: I grew up in Huntington Beach and Comics Unlimited was my neighborhood store for most of my life. I moved to LA about 7 months ago to be closer to all of the entertainment work, and even though there are some awesome comic shops in LA, I had to go back to Comics Unlimited and get an issue of the comic I worked on when it hit the shelves. It felt like a full circle kind of thing. Here is this comic shop that I practically grew up in, and now I’m there picking up a comic that I worked on. It was a really great moment.
Preston: Any advice for any artists out there?!
Bardin: I know it’s been said so many times before but: draw, draw, draw, and then draw some more. The repetition of sketching and drawing constantly is the best way to consistently improve. Also, take lots of life drawing classes. When you’re drawing a model, try pushing the pose even further than what’s right in front of you; try to create a small narrative within that model’s stance. Once you start feeling comfortable enough to post your work, do it. Get your art up on all of the main social media platforms, submit your work to contests, and start getting your name and your work out there. We live in an amazing time where it’s more possible than ever to build an audience and share your work on a massive scale.
Preston: When’s the next Chakra issue?
Bardin: I personally don’t know when the next issue of Chakra will be coming out, but the Chakra comics are available as motion comics on Rovio’s Toon TV. You can check out my stories and many, many others over on that platform.
Preston: What is the relationship between the artist and the writer like? Do you work together or does the writer fully trust you?
Bardin: Working with Ashwin Pande on Chakra has been a great experience. He writes the scripts and then emails them to me. After I’ve read through the script a few times, I layout little thumbnails of what each page will look like. Then, I email the sketches back to Ashwin so that he can give me any notes he may have, and finally, I start penciling and inking the final pages. One of the first notes that I received from Ashwin was, “Don’t forget to have fun.” It set a great tone for working on the book because I have a lot of freedom to do just that: have fun!
Preston: Finally, you drew stories in the Chakra comic. What was your favorite to draw and why?
Bardin: Honestly, both stories were fun to do, but a lot of it has to do with the characters I get to draw and design. So, if I had to pick one, it’d probably be the Blobby storyline! Blobby is just so wiggly and malleable that there really isn’t any wrong way to draw him. Doctor Singh is another one of my favorite characters to draw. Since he’s an inventor, I imagine that he is always working on little mechanical devices, so I love drawing him with expressive, almost elegant hands and long fingers!
Preston: Well thanks for answering my questions.
You can follow Dave Bardin on Twitter or DeviantArt. Just follow the links below.
Thanks for reading everyone and have a Marvelous Day!
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