One of the best things about my job will be talking to a variety of comic artists, and today I’m bringing you the very first interviewee – Liam Anthony.
Please grab a cuppa and learn a bit more about what Liam does, and enjoy the interview.
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Liam Anthony. I am a visual designer and web developer from Brisbane. I write and draw the comic strip series Dampman, and produce the comic book series Shadowsix with my co-collaborator Anne Morrison. In my spare time I play the drums.
Why do you do what you do?
I create comics because I want to. Simply that. I love it when people warn me “sorry to crush your dreams, but you’ll never make a dollar from this” whenever I tell them I’m working on a comic. I tell them I’ve played in bands that toured the country, so I kinda know what to expect! Nobody really makes money from music, either!
What’s your background in comic-art?
When I was a kid I used to draw comic strips in my schoolbooks. Originally I wanted to be a film-maker when I grew up, and would draw these comics like the storyboard to a film.
When I was studying at Southbank Institute of Technology I drew a comic book as part of my final assessment, which was an early version of what would become “Shadowsix”. I was discovering Australian comics around the same time too – titles like From Above, Carmen, Machineland, and The Soldier Legacy – this inspired me to create a comic series of my own.
What work do you most enjoy doing?
I specialise in a lot of different graphic design jobs, but my favourite work I enjoy the most is developing posters for touring bands. For drawing, I guess I’m too much of a purist for the traditional pencil-and-inking style compared to using a graphics tablet.
What themes do you pursue?
Well, both my comics Shadowsix & Dampman are both superhero comics. Though a lot of my stories are based on personal experiences I had growing up, I guess. I was the “weird kid” at school, and even now as an adult because I don’t live the life of “married, kids and a mortgage”, I’m probably still that “weird kid” to some. Dampman and Shadowsix share that theme, and there are many ways you can write about it. In Shadowsix it’s depicted in a more serious way, with Dampman it’s in a more comedic way.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I was showing Joe Jusko some pencil sketches of the Dampman stories when he was in Brisbane for a convention. He skimmed through the pages and said “This looks good. I can’t read it right now, so tell me what it’s about.”
I reply “Dampman is about a clumsy superhero who believes his superpower is ‘being moist’. However, when he tells people this, he inadvertently incapacitates them, unaware this is his true superpower”. Joe’s wife, who was with him, bursts out laughing and snatches the book out of Joe’s hands, saying “I hate that word! Let me read it!”
What is your dream project?
I am a big fan of space opera sci-fi – Star Wars, Macross, Firefly, Valerian & Laureline (which is being made into a film for next year), even the old Voltron cartoons. I would love to write a science fiction comic series once Shadowsix is done. I have ideas for more future projects, but nothing solid yet.
What is your favourite or most inspiration place in Brisbane?
My favourite place in Brisbane is probably Mount Coot-tha Lookout. I regularly go on walks up the hill.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
I wasn’t given this advice directly, but it’s a quote from the famous graphic designer Paul Rand, which is “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good”
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To keep learning. Always improve your skills no matter what it is you’re doing. I’m not terribly proud of my art on Shadowsix #1, and I’d like to think I’ve come a long way since then, and will continue to keep improving in the years to come. Never stop learning.
List 3 things you couldn’t do without to make your art
Paper, pencil… and coffee.