Monday, March 17, 2014

Meet Source Point Mondays: The Amazing Joshua Werner

As art director, Joshua Werner is the main driving force behind Source Point Press. He’s responsible for creating the SPP website, nearly all the covers for Source Point Press’ books, and of course lending pencils/inks/letters and everything else to SPP’s flagship comic book title, the Jack of Spades.

Josh lives in the Mitten where he spends endless hours behind his work desk, working his right hand until it cracks open and bleeds awesomeness out onto paper. He continues to be a pencil/mouse/paintbrush-for-hire, and each and every new job works to infect the world with his unique eccentricity. He would like to be buried with a bunch of retro video games, in hopes that once he’s dead he’ll have more time to play them. 

The look of your art in Jack of Spades is different than anything else your fans have seen.  What was your inspiration for the specific look in Jack of Spades?
The great thing about the Jack of Spades comic book series is the ideas that Trico Lutkins put into the script offer up so many great visuals. Never has there been a “superhero” book quite like this one, so I owe it to the scripts to make the art uniquely appropriate for them. Spade’s costume and the style of writing offer up a throwback pulp feel, and I do my best to accommodate for it. I try to blend my own comic book style along with ink washes and high levels of contrast to create a style reminiscent of old black-and-white movies. Some characters along with the casino atmosphere give me opportunities to play with retro looks that I’m fond of, and the combination of everything seems to really click well with the scripts. Drawing in this particular style is a lot of fun for me!

With publishers like Dynamite printing pulp-style comics, what do you feel separates the Jack of Spades from other retro titles?
I’m a big fan of Dynamite’s pulp titles, but I think Jack of Spades takes a bit different route. Rather than grabbing an old pulp character and trying to bring him back, Trico’s story offers up something completely new. I think it’s important to mention that Jack of Spades isn’t a straightforward pulp comic, it is much more than that and doesn’t limit itself to a particular genre. What emerges is something that can appeal to more readers. Fans of indie titles and fans of large-company superhero titles can both really appreciate the story and visuals offered here.  A rich complex storyline with characters you can immediately latch on to, and visuals that feel comfortable and familiar while still being fresh and edgy. 

What scenes have been the most fun to draw?
I really enjoyed laying out the action sequences in both #0 and #1. It was especially fun (and a bit challenging) to draw Spade taking on a room full of guys all at once. But I also enjoy intense conversations. I love building up the subtle details with a growing argument, the mouths opening bigger, the veins starting to show, the changes in body language. That stuff fascinates me. 

Which scene was the most nerve-wracking to draw?
Pretty much any new setting. Taking on the mall interior for the first time, and trying to establish the area without delving into too many detailed backgrounds. Taking on the casino interior for the first time, and dealing with multiple characters doing things in that space. I tend to get nervous and question my abilities at times like that, but then I get lost in the work and the problem solving involved in laying out each panel and I basically forget to doubt myself. And the next thing you know the scene is done and worked out great!

Fans may notice that Trico and yourself sometimes put easter eggs into the comic. Any hints on something that fans should look for in issue #1?
Hmmm… I often stick all sorts of little things into the panels and then immediately forget that I even did it, haha. I guess when a new setting is introduced, and there’s some detailed background shots, always take a look around at the objects and things. You may learn more about the story from those items. And always pay attention Doc’s nerdy and funny t-shirts, haha. 

What advice would you give to a young artist wanting to create his or her own comic book?
First things first, do your research. Comics aren’t just drawings, they’re intended for print. Make sure you know the best way to lay out your pages for the printer before you put pencil to paper, it will save you time and work later on. Also, be true to yourself as an artist. Your style is unique and important to your comic. Be you! Then… Don’t be intimidated by the task! :) When you first start, you’ll put hours into it and then suddenly realize you’re still on the first page. Don’t worry, it’s not impossible, and once you’ve built up the momentum it will eventually get easier and quicker. Just remember, every project worth doing is worth finishing

Where can fans find more of your work?
You can find all sorts of my work on the web. Trading cards, t-shirt designs, CD covers, the works. Head on over to to surf the blog and all its goodies. Then “like” the facebook page at for very frequent art-related updates. Then check out the Instagram page for some exclusive pictures of works-in-progress and other things @AFLIllustration. Then if you want, come chat with me about nerdy stuff on Twitter @JoshuaFrantic. :)

Don't forget to pick up a copy of Jack of Spades #1 THIS Saturday March 22 at Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, MI and get it signed by the amazing Joshua Werner!!!