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Creator Spotlight 2024 – GARY ERSKINE

I’ve been a Gary Erskine fan since I was twelve, but I know not everyone is as super-nerdy as myself. Could you tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get started in comics?

I was working at Forbidden Planet Glasgow in 1989 when Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett, and John Carnell were touring with the Sleaze Brothers comic. I showed them my Dredd samples after the event had finished and Dan offered me a short story for the new MARVEL UK anthology Strip magazine. My first pages impressed editor Steve White enough that he put me forward for the artist on Knights of Pendragon, a new title that would feature Dian Thomas and Captain Britain along with new environmental superheroes and a heady mix of Arthurian legend. Dan Abnett was the writer along with John Tomlinson and Andy Lanning inked my pencils. Once that six issue series was released there was interest from 2000AD and DC Comics as well as MARVEL stateside and the series continued for 18 issues. WARHEADS followed and the momentum continued from there.

 



What is it, in particular, about comics that you love?

I love telling stories through art and working with writers helping bring their ideas to life. Most comic book fans will have enjoyed reading comics when younger but along the way I felt I wanted to play a more active role working on favourite books and characters and stories. Comics have an ability to bypass language with strong sequential art telling the story as much as dialogue and captions. I teach comics at college level and feel it is the most creative medium for telling stories visually and allows for plenty of experimentation. There’s always something new to inspire and try out.
 

 

We really missed you at Portsmouth last year, in particular your workshop – which I’ve been trying to catch in full for years! Your talk this year is slightly different, more of a presentation – could you tell us about it?

I love doing workshops but materials and time to complete the tasks are always an issue to get the most out of the hour long session. A presentation allows me to share the knowledge fully and show examples that are familiar and easy to remember for everyone attending. I feel it is a better use of the time and more rewarding for those attending who are able to continue with the ideas presented in their own time.

 

 

You’ve worked with some great writers over the last few years – as an artist, what makes for a good writer or script? (And would you rather write your own scripts now?)

 

A good script should carry the story but also allow the artist to interpret and add what they feel with bring more to the book. Working with a writer who trusts the artist is always welcome.


What are you working on right now / what do you have coming out this year?

 

Our steampunk inspired book First Men on Mars with writer Paul Mathews should be released very soon. I also teach Sequential Narrative at college level and host workshops for schools and libraries as well as presentations and guest lectures at various creative industry venues. Plenty to keep me busy along with commercial design work but I still like working on comics.



What will you have for sale at the show?

 

I will have my sketchbook at the show which features process pages and concept work as well as my favourite covers and commissions, along with a variety of A3 prints, and some original art. Plenty of banter too.



What’s left in the world of comics for Gary Erskine to conquer? Do you have any dream projects that you’d love to tackle?

 

I have been fortunate enough to have worked with many great writers on popular characters and film related IP but still enjoy the challenge of working with new writers on different characters with new publishers. Every opportunity is welcome.