It’s 9:26 pm
If you read my review on “Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze” ,you know that Doc was my first foray into become a fanboy. It was while I was reading Doc and his amazing adventures that I then started reading The Shadow. The Shadow was Lamont Cranston,millionaire playboy who fought crime by clouding men’s minds. His motto of “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow KNOWS!!!”. I got to listen to several old radio shows of the The Shadow where none other then Orson Welles would play The Shadow!! It made for great fun and I have always held pulp heroes close to my heart. I collected the paperbacks with the amazing Jim Steranko cover art and also the short-lived DC Comics series.
It was with this in mind when I joined a group on FB dedicated to The Shadow. Different fans share their favorite Shadow moments be it book,comic or radio show.
When I saw this incredible piece of art from Louie De Martinis,I was blown away. I asked him if I could have permission to share it on my blog,now mind you,I do have a defense,I wasn’t aware of how BIG of artist Louie is!! When he said “I rather not”,I decided he would be worth talking to just so I could share this ONE picture with you all.
I asked Louie if we could talk for bit and he agreed to that. His work is world class and he is a highly sought after talent who has worked on some big projects.
I hope you enjoy our interview……
Please do not copy or download the pictures on this interview. They are copyright protected by Louie De Martinis. Thank you.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little of your background.
Sure, I’ll give you a quick background. I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada and still reside here.
My love for comics and animation started at an early age. When I had the chance, I decided to attend the Vancouver film school and graduated from the 2D animation program. Once out of school I got my start as a layout artist and background designer for a local animation company here in Montreal. Eventually I transitioned from animation to comic books. I now work from my home Studio.
Were you always interested in drawing? Did you draw a lot while in school?
My interest in drawing was always there ever since I can remember and it never waned. I was always with pencil and paper, all through my school years. As a kid, I was always doodling my favorite cartoon characters from Saturday morning cartoons like the old “Super Friends” animated television show. Not only was I trying to draw my favorite characters but I was also always trying to create and draw my own stories too. I was basically trying to copy my favorite comic book artists at the time.
What artists captured your imagination when your growing up?
The artists that really captured my attention and still do to this day, are Alex Toth, specifically his work in animation, those designs were very appealing, Frank Frazetta, Jim Steranko, Jean Giraud aka Moebius, Bernie Wrightson, Michael Kalutla , Joe Kubert, Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Drew Struzan, And of course the king…Jack Kirby. But the list goes on and on…. I love so many different artists and mediums it’s hard to name only a few.
Did you collect comic books as youth? If so, what three artists were your favorites and what made them special to you?
The first comics I ever collected were Archie comics. At the time, my local magazine stand did not carry any of the Marvel or DC titles. But…my luck would soon change. A neighborhood friend who had lost interest in comics asked me if I wanted his collection of old comics. “You kidding?? Of course, I do!”
You know the saying… “One man’s trash is another mans treasure” …. And man…what a find! All the way hidden in the back was a Batman comic by the great Neal Adams and right behind that issue was an issue of Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula by the late Gene Colon. I was completely blown away!! The level of artistry in those issues were stunning.Just before I left my friends house he said, “I’m going to toss these out as well, you interested?”
Three issues of oversized issues of Conan Saga featuring awesome artwork by John Buscema! I mean WOW!!!
I never looked back. Then and there began my obsession with comics.
How did you feel the first time someone called your work “art”?
I can’t really recall the first time someone called my work art, but what I can say is once I got work and broke into comics it felt very satisfying and when a fan tells me they love my work that just feels awesome.
(Courtesy of Louie De Matinis)
What goes into your process? How does Louie De Martinis create?
To get into the right frame of mind and depending on the subject matter/genre I’m working with, I’ll put my headphones on and listen to movie soundtracks. I’ll also watch a scene from a favorite movie of mine. My mind is constantly thinking about art, so when I’m out on a run or going for a coffee a cool idea my pop into my head I always carry a small sketchbook so I can capture my ideas quickly. These littles sketches are sometimes a solution for the piece I’m working on. For example, for the Shadow piece I shared with you guys here I listened to the old radio shows to get inspired and looked at some old comic books as well. Like I mentioned earlier, I love different mediums of art… classical, comics, movies, horror, westerns, architecture…. There’s art everywhere you look.
What are the three biggest advantages between digital drawing and free hand?
Which do you prefer if given a choice?
Working digitally is a time saver!! It’s just so much quicker to adjust your piece, make corrections, try new things quickly…But absolutely nothing feels better than putting pencil to paper. There’s a much more freedom, a free flow feeling. If deadlines are not a concern then freehand would be my preferred choice.
(Courtesy of Louie De Martinis)
How does a comic book get put together? Do you draw off what the writer wants or do they work around the artist?
Well, it starts off by getting a script from the writer if it’s for a comic or a synopsis of a novel if it’s for a book cover. I read that over a few times and write down any references I might need to complete the project. Once ref material is gathered I work on generating some quick thumbnails. If it’s a comic book I’ll I thumbnail all the pages so that I can get an overall idea of the issue will look. From then I work on the layout. To a final drawing I then proceed with colors using Photoshop. I will modify my style to suit each project. I picked this up from working in animation. for example, when I did the Penny Dreadful comics I was free to experiment and add textures etc.
What was your first professional job and how did you land it?
I worked as a layout artist on the animated feature Heavy Metal 2000.
How important is subject matter to you?
It’s very important. I love creating mood, lighting and atmosphere on the pieces I work on. Right now, most of the projects I’m currently working on have a supernatural / horror slant to it. This works out perfectly because there are so many more interesting elements you can play with on pieces like that.
Is there anything personal and unique that you put in your work?
I really like to add textures whenever possible, especially if it suits the project and subject matter. It just adds so much more feeling and depth to the work.
You drew the Penny Dreadful comic book for Titan. Did you meet the actors before starting your run? Does it help or hinder having a outside party make suggestions on a project like this?
Unfortunately, I did not get to meet them. That was just such an awesome show from the writing, the acting to costume design……. I wish I could have visited the set!!! The production values for the TV series were topnotch, I was fortunate enough to work on part of the merchandise line. They didn’t need to make any suggestions…there was just a wealth of artistry to draw inspiration from the show.
What three artists/writers working today would you like to work with on a book?
That’s easy. In no order, Kazuo Koike, Alan Moore, & Frank Miller.
Are comic conventions losing sight of artists as the main draw? It seems that movie/TV stars are the focus point and artists are stuck in the background. You thoughts on this….
It’s true that films and TV seem to be the focus point theses days. At the end of the day it’s a business. The conventions need a way of drawing in fans to attend the shows. But I think comic conventions will always have artists showcasing their work. It’s the backbone of the industry. There wouldn’t be any of this content without the artists the writers! One of the biggest shows n TV right is The Walking Dead TV series. There wouldn’t have been a TV series without the creation of the comic book.
What do you like to do when you’re not working? Montreal is a beautiful city…what are your favorite places to chill?
When I’m not working I like to get out of my studio to grab a bite or a coffee or go for drive on a nice day and just hang out with friends and family.
Thank YOU so much,Louie!! Your gift is so kick ass and I’m so happy to have had a chance to ask you 8 Questions about your craft. That Shadow picture is on par with of Steranko’s covers and I don’t say that lightly,you’re that good.
If you wish to see more of Louie’s wonderful drawings and artwork,please head on over to Louie De Martinis website to see what he is working on and where you can see him at a convention near you.
If you enjoyed this interview,we would love to hear from you. Feel free to drop a comment below and share your thoughts about Louie’s artwork.
Thank you for reading!!