Artist's block? I just sketch
Marvel Comics artist Adi Granov is the designer behind Iron Man's trademark red-and-gold armour seen in the movies.
The 36-year-old, based in northern England, will be here this weekend at the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC). He speaks to My Paper about his job as a comic artist.
How did you get started as a comic artist?
I had always drawn for fun, and, at 14, I started going to art school in my native Bosnia. When I was 17, I was hired by a magazine and I've been a professional illustrator since.
I worked at Nintendo as a concept artist for a couple of years, before becoming a freelance illustrator for game, film and comic-book companies.
About 10 years ago, Marvel contacted me and offered me work after they had seen a comic I worked on.
Did you read a lot of comic books when you were growing up?
I found art - especially comic-book art - fascinating. My main source of entertainment as a kid was comic books, especially French and Italian ones. They shaped the rest of my life.
How exactly were you involved in the Iron Man and The Avengers movies?
I was a consultant, designer and illustrator. I helped design the various characters, including Iron Man and his villains, and did illustrations for action scenes.
After talking to the directors, I would paint images depicting scenes that we thought would look good in the movies, and then they would use them as guides for storyboards and, eventually, filming.
Which is your favourite Marvel Comics character?
I have a few...I like the Hulk because of his dark nature and the duality (of the character). Then, there's the sheer fun of drawing him.
I like Galactus and the Silver Surfer, as they are so iconic and have great design elements.
And I like a lot of the X-Men, especially the girls, like Scarlet Witch, as she is visually elegant and striking.
Do you ever get 'artist's block'?
As a professional artist I can't afford to have artist's block as I have to meet deadlines.
Occasionally, I run into hurdles, but I try to look at the problems from a different perspective and sketch out many ideas, which kind of opens up the floodgates, and then I can keep moving forward.
Recent Hollywood blockbusters have helped boost the popularity of Marvel Comics. Is this a good thing?
I think it's a great thing as long as it exposes these characters to new audiences and makes them acceptable to the mainstream, as opposed to them being stuck in the underground, where they have languished for years.
The movies are based on the comics, so there are a lot of crossovers in the stories, but as long as the films aren't ruining the characters, I don't think this can be a bad thing.
What is your advice to young people aspiring to be comic artists?
You have to work hard and be smart about it.
Good work always gets noticed, but in order for it to be commercially successful, it has to be mainstream enough for the comic companies to want to publish it, and readers to buy it.
The most important thing is the quality of the work. If it looks great, then everything else will fall into place.
Adi Granov will be signing autographs at the Super Alloy by Play Imaginative booth at STGCC at Marina Bay Sands on Saturday and Sunday. A one-day pass to the event costs $19. Visit www.singaporetgcc.com