(Above: Above: Hey, Frank sent me the correct page to post! Thanks, Frank! Tune in next time when we see what happens when Brian lays some colors over it.))
A quick note before we get into today’s interview with our inker extraordinaire, Frank E. Stone: Now that the San Diego Comic-Con panel schedule has been announced, don’t forget to clear some space on SUNDAY from 12-2 PM as Mike and I will be signing copies of the book at the Arcana booth! More details soon! Now, take it away, Frank!
1) How did you first become a fan of comics?
As a kid, I dug newspaper comic strips and paperback reprints of Charles Schulz’s PEANUTS. Then the SPIDER-MAN newspaper strip began in the late ’70s (yeah, I’m old — what’s your point?), which soon led me to seek out Spidey and his fellow superheroes in comicbooks, and I’ve been a fan of the artform ever since.
2) How did you start getting into art? How did you start inking specifically?
Like most people, I started drawing at a young age, but never lost interest in it. My earliest subjects were characters from the aforementioned comic strips, as well as my favorite cartoon characters, Popeye the Sailor and Underdog. I’m primarily self-taught, learning mostly through “osmosis” — observing and practicing, and applying what I’ve absorbed.
By the early ’80s I had started learning about the specific materials and tools used by professional comicbook artists, including bristol board and india ink, so I started practicing with a variety of those items, and developed a fondness for “finishing” my drawings with ink. From there, it was more osmosis to get the hang of the techniques that are unique to the inking discipline.
3) What made you decide to take the Hero House assignment?
Mike offered it! We met in the spring of 2007 when we joined a local artist group (since dubbed the San Joaquin Graphic Arts League), and he liked the inks on the drawings in my sketchbook, so he told me about the HERO HOUSE project and invited me to “try out” by inking one of his drawings. He liked the results, and here we are!
4) What was the hardest thing you had to do for Hero House?
Ink all those brick walls Mike drew! But seriously, folks — it was probably getting used to the idea of buckling down for a full-length comic art project that wasn’t one of my own. Still, I got into the groove pretty quickly — and by the end of the first chapter, I was really hitting my stride.
5) What was your favorite part of working on it?
The ease with which Mike’s drawings lent themselves to inking — his pencils are pretty tight and clean, so I didn’t have to “improvise” much. And this quality was only enhanced by the highly individualistic characters and comprehensive environments. The pages were a real pleasure to work with. And getting to ink (via blueline recreations) Ed McGuinness’s cover drawings was a bit of a kick, as well!
6) What’s next for you?
Hopefully, figuring out the end of my own graphic novel, THE ASCENDING MAN CHRONICLES, so I can finally finish it. And I’m continuing to collaborate with Mike on commission drawings for one of his regular customers, who pays me an additional fee for inking.