Welcome to part 2 of our Nashville Comic Con guest interviews! Today we have Diana Greenhalgh. Diana has done work on characters like Red Sonja, Nova, and the comic series The Illegitimates (a personal fav of mine). Check out our conversation below and make sure to head out to the Con this weekend and stop by her booth to say hi!
4LN – How did you get your start as an inker/artist in comics?
Diana Greenhalgh – Its funny, I didn’t intend to become an inker. I actually wanted to be a penciler when I started out, but I quickly realized my inking skills were stronger than my penciling. And I do enjoy inking, so that worked out – I focused on my strong points and started to pursue inking in comics while working on learning new techniques and improving my skills. When I attended my first comic book convention, I was amazed at everyone I got to meet and talk to. I was very lucky in who I met starting out, and even luckier to learn hands on from some of the artists I really look up to. I learned quickly and started working as an inker.
Even though my strengths were initially in inking, I still love to pencil so I never gave that up. I did (and still do) pinup illustration in my spare time, and a few years ago I also started to work as a trading card and sketch card artist as another way to keep drawing.
4LN – Was this something you wanted to do at a young age or did you pick up an interest for it as you go older?
DH – I’ve been a total bookworm since I was a kid, and I’ve always been creative, but I didn’t really discover comics until I was a teenager. I started out reading Catwoman comics (and quickly figured out how to start with the beginning of a new story arc) and the Crimson series from Cliffhanger. I loved to write and draw for myself, so it wasn’t that big of a leap to imagining some of my creations as comics. But it wasn’t until I met one of my best friends in our senior year of high school, that I really got the bug. She was a huge comic book fan and was even creating her own, and she told me flat out that if I didn’t do something with my characters, she’d do it for me. She wasn’t kidding, either! Soon after that, she gave me my first ever comic art boards, and exposed me to a lot of other comics out there. The rest is history…
4LN – Are there any specific artists that have had a significant influence on you?
DH – Agh, that’s a toughie. That would be a very long list. I’ve met a lot of artists, been fortunate to learn from some of them, and there’s so much out there that I’ve been influenced by. I’d have to say that Andy Park and Randy Green were major influences when I started out drawing. More recently I’ve been influenced by Carlo Pagulayan and Adam Hughes.
As an inker, there’s Jonathan Glapion, Tim Townsend, Richard Friend, Scott Williams, and Sandra Hope. There have been many others I’ve learned from as well, but Sandra was actually a particular influence on my inking from the beginning. I mentioned before that I read the Crimson comics, and Sandra inked the series so I felt really exposed to her work then. I actually collect original inks from my mentors and other inkers I look up to, and my collection includes a page from Crimson, the scene where St. George is knighted. My collection also serves as an up-close study guide for me.
4LN – Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on, or just something that you’re particularly proud of?
DH – Noooo don’t make me choose…. haha… If I had to pick one (now), I would probably say Nova #25, which I worked on back in 2009. The opportunity came about thanks to a friend and fellow inker, Jeff Huet, who brought me to his editor. It was the first chance I had to see my work in print from one of the Big Two. I did 9 of the 22 pages, and they were actually over Kevin Sharpe. That one book created a great friendship and team later on – it turned out that Kevin’s significant other was a friend of mine, she put us in touch after that and we were able to team up on other projects.
I’ve been illustrating sketch cards for trading card companies for a few years, and its hard to say which one was my favourite. Each set gives me the opportunity to draw some of my favourite characters, and especially female characters. My specialty in pinup illustration has been pinup girls or “good girl art”, which came in handy when I worked on sets for properties like Vampirella and Red Sonja. I’ve also done a Batman set (unfortunately the only DC set I’ve worked on to date), and many Marvel sets. There are a lot of Marvel characters that I like, and the sets give me a chance to draw my favourites along with some of the more fun but obscure characters that are out there.
4LN – Any upcoming projects you’ve been working on that we should keep an eye out for?
DH – Well, the hardcover for The Illegitimates just came out at the end of August. That was my most recent project as an inker, actually over Kevin! Now I’m working on a one-shot for an independent creator with Kevin on pencils, inking a short story for an unannounced project, and I just signed on to do sketch cards for a few more sets for Upper Deck. I’m looking forward to drawing more Marvel characters – especially with a couple of the movies coming up.
4LN – What is the best advice you could give a young artist interested in pursuing a career in comic books?
DH – Make sure you have a good day job while you *practice* your skills. Most artists need time to practice and apply what they’re learning, in order to improve and grow to a level where they’re ready to start pursuing work. You need to support yourself during that time and even afterwards.
Because freelancing isn’t reliable – I tell people this: I can have work one day out of the year, or every day of the year. Its not guaranteed. Be responsible with your money, because that time will come when you need something to fall back on until you can find more work.
If you decide to go to school, be very, very careful in choosing where you want to go. There are a lot of “schools” out there that aren’t worth your money or your time, and you can learn a lot on your own and from other artists. I do recommend classes in life drawing, storytelling, storyboarding, colour theory – those are classes that can be taken individually at many schools and will give you a basis to build on. But you also have to be open to learning. Accept critiques and feedback, and apply what you can to help you improve. An artist who can’t or won’t accept a critique won’t go anywhere.
4LN – Lightening Round! These questions shouldn’t require too much thought. Just answer with the first thing that comes to mind.
All-time best Saturday morning cartoon…
DH – Argh! Its actually been years since I’ve watched cartoons. I think one of my faves was DuckTales.
4LN – What comic series do LOVE right now?
DH – I’m really, really behind in reading comics. I’m kind of embarrassed! Let’s say The Illegitimates 😉
4LN – Last concert you went to…
DH – Linkin Park in 2004. Obviously I’m far more likely to buy myself some new graphic novels than I am a concert ticket…
4LN – Favorite 90’s movie
DH – Jurassic Park. Or Goldeneye. Its a tossup. I loved the animatronics but I also really liked Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond.
4LN – If you could choose, what comic book character would you most like to work on professionally?
DH – Wonder Woman or Wolverine, most likely.
4LN – Last question: You’re trapped on a desert island and can only have 1 beverage source for the rest of your life. You’re choices are Capri Sun, Sunny D, or Tang. What do you pick?
DH – Ew, you know you can use SunnyD or Tang to clean your bathtub? I’ll go with the lesser of 3 evils…. Capri Sun haha.
As I mentioned above, you can stop by Diana’s booth at the Nashville Comic Con this weekend, and you can also find her online at these sites: