Creator Art Picks, where we ask comic creators about the comics and artists they like and that influence them. Dee Cunniffe is a comic book colorist who has worked on Granuaile: Queen of Storms, Lightning Strike and Black Mask Studio’s Maday series.
Who was the first artist you took notice of when getting into comics, that made you realize it was someone’s job to draw or just made you aware of creators?
The first artist that really made me notice that comics were written and drawn by actual people was José Ortiz with his work on The Thirteenth Floor, written by Alan Grant and John Wagner, which appeared in the short-lived Scream! magazine in the early 80’s. After the thrills of this strip I made sure I read the credits box, which I had previously skipped over. I wanted to know who wrote/drew every strip I read in comics like Eagle, Action and 2000AD. Its probably why I still feel bad about not watching the credits of a movie ’til the end – everyone deserves recognition for what they do.
Do you have a biggest influence or favourite artist, one that’s maybe affected your style or storytelling more than others?
I’ve always loved the work of Victor Ambrus. His Dracula book was a favourite of mine as a child (and still is) I could spend hours poring over the pages studying at every detail and nuance. I’m not sure whether he is much of an influence over my style, but he certainly made me want to work in the visual media.
Do you have a favourite artistic run on a series, or simply a love of the way one artist draws a certain character or team?
I loved Marc Hempel’s run on the Sandman – not a lot of people do. I really enjoyed his stylized approach to the characters – particularly the heavy shadows and angular expressive faces. What struck me most was the balance of sharply defined geometrical shapes – startling in their beauty, but almost unnatural – his pages resemble stained glass windows.
Do you have a specific favourite page or sequence from an artist?
The 4-page spread in Sandman Overture #1 by J.H. Williams III is fantastic. His approach to all the different styles and characters shows his masterful artistic talent. – and his drawing skills are matched by the mighty coloring prowess of Dave Stewart. Pretty much all of the pages in Overture are genius.*
What’s your favourite comic book cover?
The cover to Sandman #1
is amazing – it broke the rules of what a comic cover should look like. Dave McKean knows how to do a cover! The Sandman covers were never really descriptive of what was in the issue, more a conceptual idea of the story to come. Dust Covers
is still my go-to book if I’ve got artist’s block. And I own a signed copy of #1 – one of my most treasured possessions.
Who’s your favourite artist right now?
I’m loving Matt Taylor right now – his work on Wolf is great. And his Zero stuff is fantastic. I think the pages of his unfinished book The wild Frontier which he stuck up on Twitter recently are crazy-good! I’m hoping he can get his schedule on track to make this book happen.*
Is there a current underrated artist or up and coming one you’d like to highlight?
I think Daniel Warren Johnson
is one to watch. I’m delighted that his webcomic Space Mullet
is getting collected by Dark Horse. His wordless story Green Leader
is a great piece of work.
*I’ll come clean – I’ve done flats for these books but that doesn’t color me biased!