Comics and graphic novels are an art form in their own right. Manga, anime, Marvel and DC comics - they all have their diehard fans and, not surprisingly, some notable artists and illustrators are simply born to sketch these cultivated cartoons.
One young artist, David Lovell, is thirteen years old and a Cass Art enthusiast, with a talent for drawing comics and an imagination for story-telling. His idea of a great day out is to visit our Islington Flagship and shop for drawing materials so he can continue creating his comic books.
It may be that Back To School time, but David will leave the fruit-drawing curriculum in the classroom and carry on drawing his own comics at home. We wanted to share his extraordinary cartoons, and find out where it all began (incidentally, it began with a blue hedgehog. But do read on for more detail.)
Hi David! Please tell us - how did you get into drawing?
I started drawing from as early as I can remember, but I had a massive fascination with stationery! In year 4 I drew a picture that was inspired by a screen print and then realised that I was actually quite good at art. I always wanted to paint pictures that would hang in galleries but my good friends Jo and Olly, who are three years older than me, were really good at drawing cartoons and taught me how to draw Sonic.
I then got hooked on drawing crazy cartoons until I was introduced to Anime. After that my friends and I would spend hours at school during breaks drawing Manga (with pointless ideas that at the time we thought were cool). I had a really great teaching assistant who I introduced Manga to and we would debate about Naruto for hours. I initially created my comic 'Blood Wing' as a leaving present for him when I was 11 years old.
What is it you like about comics, and how did you discover them?
I discovered comics when my older brother Syd introduced me to an Anime called 'Dragonball'. I instantly fell in love with the art style, the expression and the exciting story that could go from serious to comedy at any moment. The comic book that I am now making was one of the first stories that I completed when I was 11 years old. I've since developed the story many times and even though the art work was pretty primitive back then, it was so great that I was free to put in whatever I loved about comics and Manga.
My current favourite comic out there is 'Chew' by John Layman and Rob Guillory. I got to meet John Layman at the London Super Comicon in March (I totally geeked out!) and he was very supportive of what I was doing. I also really love 'The Walking Dead'. Unbelievably, they have the first ten books at my school in the Library!
How do you make your comics, and where do your ideas come from?
Well most of my ideas come from the original comics I drew, but my main influences are from Japanese Manga like 'Hunter x Hunter' and Naruto or Anime movies like 'Akira', 'Spirited Away' and 'How'ls Moving Castle'. I spend hours and hours researching artwork and stories to improve my own.
The story of my comic book 'Bloodwing' revolves around Haku, an ex-leader of the 5th group of the skulls (a group of people with special abilities that run Tokyo) who tries to escape his past. But after two years he gets caught up investigating a case where now 15 members of the Skulls have been assassinated by a shady group of ruthless killers. When he starts to connect the dots he is forced to go back to his old group and find the man who ordered the attacks.
Which art materials couldn't you live without?
I work on many different types of Bristol Board paper, but have recently fallen in love with Canson Illustration Paper (90lbs). I always use Winsor & Newton Black Indian Ink applied with a Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Hair Brush (from sizes 00-3). My drawing pencil is an H Derwent Graphic Pencil, and a Daler Rowney Simply Rubber. Sometimes I draw with the Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens in grey.
I also use Deleter Screen Tone, which I wish Cass Art would sell as I currently get it from Japan and it's £10 for four sheets!
What do you want to do when you grow up?
I'm really clear that my goal is to make comics for Image Comics. I want my comic to be published by them.
Do your art classes at school help with your artwork?
I mainly work on them at home as we follow the curriculum of drawing fruit!