Name: Brett Parson
Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: Simon Bisley’s Lobo
Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Barney from “Tank Girl”
Latest Work: “World War Tank Girl” published by Titan Comics.
TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Parson: I guess my style is a mix of Cartoon/Animation and old school comics. There’s a little bit of everything I grew up loving… from “He-Man” or Don Bluth to Ren & Stimpy and Jack Davis. And a little dash of a retro 70s vibe in there somewhere.
TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Parson: They were definitely one of the biggest parts of my life as a young artist. I think I always wanted to be a cartoonist. My mom used to staple little blank books together for me when I was little, and I’d fill them in with stories… usually Ninja Turtles, Indiana Jones or Ghostbusters. Later, when I discovered underground stuff like R. Crumb, “Tank Girl,” “Love and Rockets,” “Judge Dredd,” and “The Maxx,” I saw that comics didn’t need to have DC or Marvel style art/stories and didn’t need to play it safe for kids. That became what I really wanted to do.
TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Parson: I was pretty obsessed with Simon Bisley as a kid in middle school. Kevin Eastman used to own a comic book museum near where I live, and I would go there all the time and just study the originals. Bisley, Richard Corben, Frank Miller, Jaimie Hewlett, all kinds of killer artist’s stuff came through there. Looking back I was REALLY lucky to have that place so close. Then in high school when I stumbled on “Danger Girl” by J. Scott Campbell, that really melted my brain!
TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career in comics? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Parson: I spent close to a decade after I graduated just working a day job and doing freelance illustration on the side, self-publishing my own books when I could. I’d basically given up on the idea of “breaking into” the comics industry. Marvel wasn’t accepting portfolios, and I didn’t even know if the big guys would go for my style. My plan was to develop something creator-owned and pitch it around, or do a Kickstarter.
TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Parson: A few years ago Alan Martin, the co-creator of “Tank Girl,” came across some of my stuff online. He contacted me about possibly working together on some “Tank Girl” comics, and we’ve basically been working together since. It was really Alan taking a chance and giving me a shot that led to my career in comics.
TrunkSpace: A lot of people say that breaking into comics is the hardest part of working in comics. How long did it take you before you started to see your comic book dreams become a reality?
Parson: Yeah, people always talk about how impossible it is to get into the business, so I really didn’t think too hard about it. I just kept doing my thing, trying to have fun. I started posting all my stuff online… I figured if I was good enough something would eventually come along. I really wasn’t shopping a portfolio around at all, so if it wasn’t for social networking outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and DeviantArt, I doubt that I’d be drawing comics professionally today.
TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when you’re sketching or doing warm-ups?
Parson: Not really. I’ve always been more into making stuff up and drawing from my imagination. I used to draw ugly, weird-looking Batman faces to warm up, but usually I just doodle random stuff to try to get things going.
TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that you’d like to work on in the future and why?
Parson: Tank Girl has been pretty amazing. It’s been one of my all time favorite books since I was a kid, so getting to work on this title has been like a dream come true. Other than that, I’d love to get a chance to do an old school Lobo book, or maybe Ghost Rider. I feel like those characters and worlds would be a blast to draw.
TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Parson: At the moment I’m just happy to be doing what I love for a living. If I can keep drawing comics for years to come, and make ends meet… then I’m pretty happy. I get to be home with my daughter, listening to music, and drawing cool stuff!
TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Parson: Not being afraid to have fun, and be yourself.
TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you sue the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Parson: For a long time I’ve been going probably 95 percent digital. The control and speed it allows has been my best friend when it comes to doing a good job while trying to meet tight deadlines. But I’ve been getting back into doing things traditionally more and more. This series I’m working on now – I’m only using the Cintiq for rough-layouts and coloring. I’m doing all the finished pages with pencil and ink. Nothing really compares to that feeling of a soft pencil on paper. It’s one of the best things in the world.
TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Parson: I guess the main thing is, be sure that you LOVE drawing comics. You won’t get rich, so if that’s what you’re looking for go into animation or illustration. And be patient, don’t expect things to always go your way or fall into place immediately… it takes lots of patience and persistence. Messing up. Falling on your face. You really just have to love it.