Artist Tom Foster first came to our attention last summer at the Comics Launchpad event in Birmingham with a portfolio full of talent. He came back on the scene at ThoughtBubble where he was runner-up in the 2000AD Portfolio Competition (behind another of our Disconnected artists, Gavin Mitchell – we borrow from the best :-)).
When writer Rich McAuliffe presented his typically gentle script to us, it was Tom that sprang to mind. But you’re probably wondering: who is he? It’s hard to believe that Disconnected will be Tom’s first published sequential work, but it’s easy to see that it won’t be his last….
How did you get into drawing / writing comics?
I’ve been drawing all my life and I’ve been putting comics together for almost as long, but I first started to take it seriously when I saw Mark Bagley‘s work on Amazing Spider-Man in the early 90s. I was still in single digits at the time, but I swore I’d work in comics when I grew up.
What have you produced / had published?
Although I’ve not had any sequential work published yet, I’ve worked professionally as a graphic designer and freelance illustrator on a number of projects. I was the illustrator for the film ‘The Yes Men Fix The World‘. It got good reviews, but few have seen it.
What’s your process for drawing / writing comics, ie, how do you work?
I always start with thumbnails. I never used to and, as a result, my layouts sucked.I’ll do my research at this stage too, digging out images of whatever mad shit has been written into the script. Good reference material is invaluable and makes all the difference between visuals that look grounded in reality and those that just look made up.
Next, if the script requires human characters (and most do), I usually do a bit of photography to work out the posing/composition/clothing wrinkles etc. My brother has been a very patient subject for this and regularly suggests a twist or gesture I hadn’t thought of. I try to lay out the page roughly with these photographs and get a printout to scale so that I can use this as a basic guide for how the page should look.
After that it’s just hours of drawing, rubbing out and drawing again. I try not to be too slavish to the photography and will completely change the facial features of most of the characters as well as adding lighting and detail of my own. If it looks like it’s been copied from a photo, it doesn’t work.
What’s your comics dream, ie, what would you love to do?
If I can illustrate Amazing Spider-Man, I’ll have done what I set out to do. After that, it would all be a bonus.
Disconnected, featuring Tom’s art, will go on sale at Bristol Expo on 12/13 May 2012. To pre-order your copy, contact Lizzie by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.