Nate Stockman: Art Picks
Creator Art Picks, where we ask comic creators about the comics and artists they like and that influence them. Nate Stockman is an Irish comic book artist currently working on the Image Comics title ‘Reyn’.
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?
There were 3 main artists who stuck their claws into me at a young age. The first was Jim Lee. I was the perfect age for his X-Men relaunch as I was already engrossed in the cartoon. X-Men #3 was the first comic I bought myself in Forbidden Planet! He was the perfect artist for my teenage self. He drew tough guys and beautiful women!
Another artist whose name I learned early was Sal Buscema. I was reading English reprints of Spider-man from the local newsagents and once I saw Sal’s work there was just something about it that grabbed me. I remember reading his and J.M.DeMatteis’ Death of Harry Osborn story and was floored by it. To this day I think Sal is one of the most criminally underrated artists. He’s still producing incredible work today. A buddy of mine bought me a Spidey commission from him last year. For a man in his late 70’s his line is as crisp as ever!
The trinity is completed by John McCrea. I met John when I was in my early teens at an annual local show put on for cartoonists from all over the world (Rathdrum International Cartoon Festival). It was a fantastic show where a bunch of artists took over a small town for a week and set up galleries, talks, workshops and all sorts. There were a few comic artists sprinkled in the mix, John being one.
I was already a total comic dork and seeing John’s work blew me away. He was drawing the Demon and then Hitman over the few years there I met him. I’m sure I wrecked his head but he was super nice and patient and to this day I’ll still buy anything he does. It just so happens he’s doing the work of his career right now on Mythic and Section Eight!
That festival was the first time I saw original art too. I had always assumed professional artists got things perfectly right every time. But seeing the originals I could see white out, Paste ups and all sorts of corrections. It was a real eye opener.
Do you have a biggest influence or favourite artist, one that’s maybe affected your style or storytelling more than others?
If I had to pick one artist who I could only ever read their work and no one else’s ever again, I think maybe Stuart Immonen. He’s basically perfect. He’s the total package. I’ve been a fan of his since his Legion work and he’s transformed himself into the best, most versatile artist working right now. I love that there’s no drama or scandal coming from him too. He’s an absolute pro who gets his work done in a timely manner and to an incredibly high standard.
Influence wise I think I’ve always been drawn to a certain type of artist. Animated, Energetic and stylized but not at the expense on telling the story. People like Immonen, Sal Buscema, John McCrea, Erik Larsen, Chris Sprouse, Ryan Ottley, Jason Pearson, Mike Weringo, Humberto Ramos, Olivier Coiplel and Bruce Timm all spring to mind.
Recently Chris Samnee and Matteo Scalera have been blowing me away too. I don’t know how any of them influence me directly. I’m not great about thinking or talking about art. I guess I’m the sum of my influences filtered through my own life experience. That sounds so pretentious haha.
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 have a couple favorite artistic runs. The McCrea drawn Hitman is probably my all time favorite comic series. I’m also a massive Legion of Superheroes nerd. Chris Sprouse’s run on Legionnaires and Olivier Coipel’s Legion Lost and the subsequent Legion series stand out as particular gems.
Do you have a specific favourite page or sequence from an artist?
Hard to beat this Himan page…
What’s your favourite comic book cover?
Hard question! The first one I thought of was Legion of Superheroes #61 though by Stuart Immonen. I think that’s the first time I’d seen such a minimalist cover on a superhero comic. It really sticks out in my memory. That issue also has one of my favorite sequences. Before reboots were the norm the Legion did it first! Reality is being destroyed so the team sacrifices themselves to save it (As you do) and there’s a great double page spread of some of the highlights of their adventures throughout the years. Then we focus in on the 3 founding members standing together as everything fades to white. Immonen interiors again. I’m sounding like a broken record with this guy!
Who’s your favourite artist right now?
As I mentioned earlier I think everyone should pick up the work of young gun Sal Buscema. He’s a real up and comer! People should also be on the lookout for James Harren. He draws Rumble for image and has done BPRD and Conan stuff for Dark Horse. He’s a beast. I’ve never felt more worthless as an artist than when I’m looking at Harren’s stuff.
I’m going to shamelessly plug myself now too. I’m currently drawing Reyn for Image Comics and also drew Anti-Hero for Monkeybrain/IDW, Both collections are available through comic stores or digitally through Comixology.
Reyn recently won the Knobell prize for “Best and most outstanding visual literature in the field of graphic comics literature and sequential art storytelling”. It’s a new, but prestigious award that is definitely legitimate. Like winning ten Eisners at once.
Anti-Hero won “Best Daffodils” at the International Agriculture awards 2015. That may have been a mix up but i’ll be damned if I’m giving back that trophy!
Follow Nate Stockman on twitter for rants and doodles @stockmannate
Questions compiled by Chris O’Halloran