Super Hero News:
How did you break into comics as an inker?
Andy Owens: Like most inkers, I started out as a
penciller. I would go to conventions and stand in line for portfolio
reviews. I noticed that if there were say, 100 people in line, 97
were pencillers, 1 was a colorist and maybe 2 were inkers. At the
same time, a buddy of mine Jason Gorder broke into the business as
an inker. So, I did the math and started concentrating on inking. I
would bartend at night and come home and practice inking till the
sun came up. I did this for almost 2 years when I met Art Thibert at
San Diego Comic con. He liked my work and was looking to fill out a
studio of inkers. I was hired on as an inking assistant. Which was
basically an apprenticeships. I learned all of the ins and outs of
the business. I then moved on to my own work, starting at Top Cow
and then moving on to Dark Horse, Marvel and eventually DC.
SHN: What brought you to the Shield?
AO: Scott McDaniel and I were looking around for
our next monthly assignment after finishing Trinity
and the Shield was one of several projects offered
SHN: Had you been a fan of the Shield
prior to getting the assignment?
AO: Not really. I do remember reading it in the
70's or 80's when I was a kid. I remembered the look of the
character but I couldn't have told you the story.
SHN: You are inking Scott McDaniel's pencils on
this series. The two of you have done a lot of work together. Is
that intentional, or just that the two of you work for the same
AO: Scott and I are a team. We've worked together
for 7 years or so. In this business, when you find a penciler/inker
combination that works well, you try to keep that team together. I
was a fan of Scott's work for years and when the chance to ink him
came along, it was a dream come true. Right from the beginning, we
fit really well. What he wanted from me and what I wanted to do with
his pencils was exactly the same thing. It's a rare thing nowadays
to find a partner that you work so well with in this industry. And
we get along great, which always helps.
SHN: In this series you have a colorful super hero
set against tanks and the desert. How do you ink the pages to get
the desert feel while still leaving the hero light enough to be
AO: I always try to separate the backgrounds from
the figures. It's much easier in a place like Gotham for instance. I
can make the figures slick while making the surroundings as gritty
as possible. When we went to Superman, it was much
more difficult as Metropolis was pristine as opposed to Gotham's run
down, dark and dirty alleyways. So the approach to the desert in the
Shield was somewhere in between. A little texture
and grit, but not too much.
SHN: As the inker do they give you a copy of J.
Michael Straczynski's script to reference or do they just give you
Scott's art and have you ink it without a script?
AO: Personally, I like to have the script on hand.
But when it comes to getting it, sometimes yes and sometimes no. It
depends on the editor, sometimes they'll send it and sometimes I'll
have to ask. A lot of times I don't need it since Scott's
storytelling is so great. In this case I got the first batch of
pages and didn't need it, so I didn't ask for it. So I still haven't
seen the script.
SHN: Do you ink with pen and brush or do you
digitally ink the pages?
AO: I ink with pen and brush. Unless you are inking
your own pencils and doing it all on the computer, I don't see a
need to ink digitally. I saw this post once of this guys digital
inks and he was stating that it only took him 14 hours. It was a
decent piece, but all I could think was, I could have done it in 4
and done a better job. What was the point? I don't know, I just like
the old school approach. Actual tools on paper.
SHN: What is next for you after the Shield
AO: We have a Bizarro backup story
in Strange Adventures coming out soon and now we
are starting a new series that I'm not sure if I'm supposed to talk
about yet, so I'll keep it's name and info to myself. I will say it
is a team book with different characters than the usual.