FAF: Mega-Drop interview with Clark Bint

Has the city of Portsmouth impacted your work?

I’ve visited it before – there’s a great sense of history to be felt there. Especially with the docks and the Mary Rose – I’m a sucker for British history, especially from cultural and technological standpoints. It’s important to be reminded of all the successes and failures that people on this island have experienced, and artefacts like the Mary Rose really are like a time capsule into how Britain has changed. These are the kinds of themes I love to draw.

What attracted you to illustration?

Being creative has always been a part of who I am, and I guess drawing was just the direction I chose to go in. I get to work in different fields such as video games and music, but visual storytelling in particular really is something that I connect with. I love that entertainment aspect and I’m fascinated by that craft, and how it can be used in different ways for escapism or for some sort of social or political awareness. Where I get most excited to get work done right now is on the indie comics scene, which is boasting a ton of great, refreshing content.

Whose work do you find inspiring/ influential?

This is always a tough one for me to answer – if you look straight at my work, I guess the likes of Moebius, Dave Gibbons, Frank Quitely and R. Crumb are the obvious influences. I love all their works, especially how they incorporate details and humanity into their storytelling. But I’m also influenced by artists like Picasso, Jack Kirby and Goya to name a very select few. Not so much for their styles, but how their work changed throughout their lives based on their ever-changing perspectives on life. ‘Style’ is just a consequence of observation and expression – that’s a lesson they’ve taught me. That’s stuck with me more than anything as I develop as an artist.

What’s your opinion on the impact Comic Conventions have on indie artists?

From what I’ve experienced, I think they’re a great way for artists to meet other artists and writers on a social level, especially ComicCon and Thought Bubble. I do see that there is a bit of a problem for indie artists to hold up against the more mass-marketed aspects of these conventions, though. 

It’s like having a small clothing business on a busy high street – the majority of people who go to the bigger conventions already know what pop culture properties they want so see or invest in. That’s where I’ve seen some pressure for artists to create content based on existing properties instead of their own (and experienced it myself). It’s less risky and is easier to sell – making a living is still hard to do for a lot of artists – but it means that some great original works are overlooked. 

Of course, that’s not to say that audiences aren’t open to new ideas and stories, and it’s a great feeling being able to make a sale with something really original and personal, potentially reeling in one new customer to the indie scene.

From what I’ve experienced, I think they’re a great way for artists to meet other artists and writers on a social level, especially ComicCon and Thought Bubble. I do see that there is a bit of a problem for indie artists to hold up against the more mass-marketed aspects of these conventions, though. 

What has impacted your methodology/ approach to making art?

Working in more traditional methods has really influenced how I draw. There’s a great organic feeling to working on paper with a multitude of different materials, and this approach is probably because of growing up surrounded by my Mum’s art projects and materials, sprawled everywhere in our house and makeshift studios. Sometimes I’ll leave my desk, and just scribble in my sketchbooks on the floor until I get the image I have in my head; my work space is in a constant state of flux. It’s one of those processes that only makes sense to me – my prelim work looks like it was made by Charlie from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, to be honest.  

What’s your latest project?

Right now, I’m working on Issue 2 of Frank At Home On The Farm, written by Jordan Thomas. Our first issue just got funded on Kickstarter, and will soon be available to buy! It’s a horror set in 1920’s England, about a WW1 solder returning to his farm only to find his family missing, the local villagers to be strangely ignorant of his farm’s existence, and his nights plagued with horrific trench nightmares. It’s the isolation of The Shining mixed with the body horror of The Fly remake. It’s a lot of fun to work on, and I’m really excited to visually unfold this script. It’s really going to stick with people, that’s for sure.

How would you describe your work?

Another tough one to answer – playful? I like to experiment with comic layouts, though I’m pretty traditional when it comes to technical illustration. I have a pretty theatrical approach to comic storytelling, and I really like to make the most of it as a motionless, visual platform.

If you could collaborate with any artist, historical or contemporary, who?

I’d love to work with an artist like Kim Jung Gi – travelling around, working in public places and filling sketch books with all kinds of amazing worlds, visual gags and compositions. One of my favourite things to do as an artist is draw out and about in public, and collaborate on murals and stuff. I love to ‘yes-and’ with a pint in hand.

Describe the work your dropping around Portsmouth

One of the pieces is a Judge Dredd piece I entered to that 2000AD competition last year. It never made it to their social media pages though, so I took this opportunity to show it off in a city instead, since I’m rather proud of it.

The second piece is a Wally Wood-inspired space cadet. He’s up in space, but down on luck.”

Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to mention?

We’re currently working on issue 2 of Frank, but I’m also available for commissions and other little projects right now!

Where can your work be found?

You can start with two comics that I’ve worked on with Mad Robot Comics! I drew both Murder Most Mundane and the ongoing Frank At Home On The Farm, written by Jordan Thomas. I also have a website at clarkbint.com with further work, and I have an Instagram that I like to spam with WIPs, doodles and general artistic buffoonery. That’s where I currently post most of my stuff.

You’d also find my work on Steam – I’m the visual artist on the newly-released Skirmish Line, a WW2 strategy game by Snarky Ant.