An Interview with a Comic Book Artist (Part 2)
Jake Myler’s credits include comic book art for adaptations of iconic properties such as Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers, Finding Nemo and Fraggle Rock, as well as comic book cover art for Darkwing Duck, Monsters Inc and Walt Disney’s Comics. Jake also collaborated with writer Jim Pascoe to make the Original English Language manga series Undertown, published by Tokyopop.
Make sure to read part 1 of this blog post for more info on Jake Myler.
Do You Have a Personal Library? What Are the Prized Items In Your Collection?
"For the longest time, I collected as many comic books as I could, so after a while I just had too many books for my small apartment. Recently though, I realized that I just don't need it all so I've whittled it down to comics that might help to re-read at a later date or comics that mean a lot to me. There's a section of reference books with backgrounds or photography since sometimes you need to know how to draw something complicated like a classroom or supermarket. I also have a lot of artbooks, my favorite among them being artbooks filled with videogame concepts. There are a few rare ones in there like the Breath of Fire and Summon Night artbooks which I could only find in Tokyo at the gigantic Mandarake book store."
Have You Had Any Experiences Working With Librarians?
“Oh yes! Looking for historical clothing reference to draw a comic about dragons and castles, I had been slowly going through the books in my school library. But I was at my wits’ end because all I was finding was mostly text and not much to go on visually. Asking the librarian on duty, she showed me how it was possible to search the database of magazines, and this increased the amount of material that I could look through by a thousand-fold. I was really glad that I wasn't timid about it in the end and went to ask for help.”
(NOTE: SMCL provides access to online databases and other research resources through our e-branch. And don’t forget to talk to a librarian if you’re ever in need of some research help!)
What Do Libraries Mean to You?
"Libraries are a great thing, especially for me. When you have all these books around you, tables to sit and read and take notes [at], it provides a place to really concentrate and get stuff done.
I thought that when I left school, I would never need to enter a library again and would have no use for them. But I found that there is no substitute for a library and getting a lot done! Furthermore, having the books there up on the shelves, you never know what happy mistake you'll make as you pull out the wrong book from a shelf or see something interesting that you never thought of. And that happy mistake might inspire you to go in a whole new direction with a drawing or a whole story! So I find it's good to go to a library with a plan, but also with an open mind!"
What Is It Like to Work On Franchises Like Finding Nemo and Fraggle Rock?
"Working on things like Finding Nemo and Fraggle Rock was great since it let me do things that I would never do on my own. They're not my characters and I had to pay attention to how I was drawing them so that they'd stay on model and be recognizable, getting those characters to act the way a wild and crazy Fraggle would act, or behave the way a forgetful Dory would behave. While drawing them I learned a lot about expression. And working with those characters was just so much fun!"
What Does the Experience of Collaborating With a Writer Feel Like?
"It's actually a blessing in disguise. I'm always asked by friends and family whether I'd rather write my own story, but actually it's a big load off my shoulders to only need to focus on the drawing aspect of things. To be able to focus and figure out how to make the comic look it's best and not worry about plot and character motivations. I've also been fortunate to always work with really nice writers! So that probably helps too!"
What Are You Reading Now? What Do You Read Over and Over Again?
Do You Have Any Advice for Aspiring Comic Book Creators?
"To get started, just don't be afraid to keep trying, no matter how many times you might fail. Whenever you get those feelings of doubt (and they happen to everybody), just ignore them and keep pushing forward. If you're a writer, or an artist, or both, just keep working because with every task you put before yourself you'll improve! You can never get worse! It may be painfully slow, but keep working! Whenever I drew a 24-page comic for a contest, and then lost, I would look at the first page and the last page, and there would always be a little improvement [from beginning to end], and that made it worthwhile!"
That's All Folks
You can follow Jake Myler on Twitter under the handle @lazesummerstone.
Photo credit: Jake Myler
Intern Anthony Andora still wishes he could draw.