Interview : Andy Park

 

Andy Park is a young and particulary talented artist, mainly known for his work on the comics adaptation of Tomb Raider. This interview was done by emails, end of february 2003 when I was part of the Comicverse website and completed for Latveria in december 2003.

Matthieu-David :Which artists influenced you the most ?

Andy Park : My early influences were all comic book artists. I fell in love with Mark Brightís artwork on Iron Man (the red and silver Iron Man-in my opinion still the best version). I also loved Alan Davis on Excalibur (and to this day, anything else he ever works on). But my all-time biggest influence will always be Jim Lee. I credit him more than anyone when it comes to my comic book career. I had a Jim Lee shrine on my wall throughout high school. I even had a newspaper clipping of an article he did for a Korean newspaper.

 

M-D : Speaking of Jim Lee, have you ever met him ? If so did you stay in touch ?

A.P : Yeah, Jim Lee and I know each other. But we don't regularly stay in touch or anything. I never got to know him in that kind of capacity. He's a cool guy. Oh, and fellow Korean brother!

M-D : What do you think of his work on Batman ?

A.P. : It's so cool to see Jim Lee drawing comic books again....and the fact that he's drawing characters like Batman, Superman, Harley Quinn, the Joker, etc! It's awesome! It brings me back to my high school days when I dreamt of becoming a comic artist too one day.

M-D : And who are your current influences ?

A.P. : The more current influences that come to mind are Joe Mad(I miss his stuff a lot), Mignola, Alan Davis, Adam Hughes, Silvestri, Alex Ross, Aron Weisenfeld, Eduardo Risso, Bryan Hitch, Jill Thompson, and Hiroaki Samura. I know there are so many more, but those are the ones that come to mind.

M-D :If you were a comic book character, who would you be ? and why ?

A.P. : HmmÖ.interesting question. My favorite comic book character back in the day was Phoenix. Not the Jean Grey one but the Rachel Summers one. But of course a male version of Phoenix. No, Iím not into that cross dressing stuff. The power of the Phoenix was just awesome. You could fly, read minds, move objects, and so many other things. It wasnít just one power, it was like a ton of different powers in one being.

M-D :With which writer would you like to work ?

A.P. : Iíd love to work with a bunch of different writers- Jeff Loeb, Kevin Smith, Chris Claremont, Alan Davis, Mark Waid, Neil Gaiman, the list goes on and on. Oh, Iíd really love to work with Joss Whedon (the creator of Buffy). Thatíd be a dream come true. Another guy that I put on that Joss Whedon pedistool is J.J. Abrams (the creator of Alias). Iím actually working with him right now on the Alias :Agent Bristow #0 issue. Heís an awesome writer !

 

M-D: What material do you use for your art ? what type of pencils do you use ?
 
A.P.:
I use a Staedtler Mars Technico pencil lead holder with a H lead (I like softer leads rather than a 2H which is what I used to use).  It loosens my drawing up.  I use click erasers for erasing and I draw on comic book illustration board(which is just a smooth bristol board).  That's pretty much it. 

I also do a lot of full illustrations.  So I'll use the computer to paint my art as well.  I use Corel Painter as well as Adobe Photoshope to paint my work.  After I draw it on paper I scan it in and use my wacom tablet to paint using the 2 programs. 
M-D: Could you describe your typical day ?
 
A.P.:
Wake up at about 9:30 AM.  Check email.  Draw/paint depending on the project I'm currently working on and do that till dinner time.  Have dinner with my wife.  Draw more if I have to or hang with my wife.  Pretty simple and typical.  I used to have the crazy odd hours- wake up at noon and work till 3-4 AM, but now that I'm married I can't do that(unless I want an unhappy wife).  

 

 

M-D : Is " Alias: Agent Bristow " a one shot or a monthly serie you gonna do ?

A.P. : Alias: Agent Bristow  is supposed to be a monthly book as far as I know, but unfortunately I'm just doing the debut issue #0. I fully illustrated that similarly how I'll be illustrating Hybrids: the Awakenings. It's definitely challenging doing everything from pencils to colors, but it's so rewarding.


M-D : On which comic book would you like to work ?

A.P. : Iíd love to work on some X-men books, a Buffy book, and a book called Hybrids : the Awakening (Shameless self plug- thatís my creator-owned book for those who donít know) !

 

M-D : If you hadnít worked in comics, what would you have done for a living ?

A.P. : Iíd be working in the Animation field. Iíd love to work for a studio like Disney, Dreamworks, or Warner Bros. I love animation- especially feature animation.

 

M-D : what is the latest animated feature you saw and enjoy ?

A.P. : The latest animation feature? Hmm.... I'd have to say Spirited Away. That was an amazing movie. I loved the story, the characters, everything about it. Hayao Miyazaki is a genius.

M-D : Whatís your favorite movie ?

A.P. : Braveheart- It had all the elements I love in a movie- action, adventure, suspense, comedy, romance, and inspiration. I could watch it over and over and still be in aweÖ.

M-D : Whatís your favorite book ?

A.P. : I donít think I have a favorite book.

M-D : Whatís your favorite song ?

A.P. : I donít know if I have a favorite song. I guess right now itíd be Neon by John Mayer.

M-D: Speaking of music, do you listen to something when you draw ? music ( what
kind? ) or radio shows ?


A.P.: 99% of the time I have the TV on while I work.  My wife makes fun of me b/c I'm always singing along with all the commercials.  She's amazed that I memorized all of them.  But I like to watch a variety of show-  CNN for news, FX for reruns of Buffy, WB for Pokemon or the Jackie Chan Adventures, E! for a variety of different celebrity shows, and occasionally the Discovery Channel and HGTV for the home designer in me.  I will put away the pencil and concentrate exclusively on the tube when my fav show are on though- Alias, Smallville, 24, and Scrubs.

M-D : Whoís is your favorite comic book character ?

A.P. : I donít think I have one right now. But like I mentioned earlier, Phoenix was my all time favorite- her and Iron Man that is.

M-D : Is there a comic book character that you really canít stand ? which one and why ?

A.P. : Not really.

M-D : What is your best achievement so far ?

A.P. : Probably my Tomb Raider run. Before that the most consecutive books I did in a row was 4 issues. I did a good 16 issue run on Tomb Raider. Iím proud of that. Even though itís hard to look at my past work and not cringe Iím still proud of the fact that I did my best work at the time. I never slacked off. I worked my butt off and hit my deadlines.

I guess now Iím pretty proud of my newest endeavor- my creator-owned bookÖ

M-D: Did you have some hard times in your career ? which ones and how did you
 
A.P.: I've been very fortunate in my 9 years career as an artist.  I've been very blessed with having great opportunities that have led to more great opportunities.  I was the artist on the Tomb Raider comic book series from it's inception in 1999 to 2002 and since then have been a freelancer doing everything from creating my own book to magazine illustrations to various covers to a children's book to video game concept art.  I like the variety of being a freelancer, but it is more unstable.  One month can be jam packed with work and another can be more sparce.  But I still haven't hit a real hard time in my career yet.  Oh man, I hope I'm not jinxing myself (crossed fingers....). 

M-D : Whatís the weirdest drawing a fan asked you ?

A.P. : I was asked to draw Lara Croft nude by some lady in Germany. She even volunteered to model for me nude. I declined of course. But that was definitely an interesting experience.

M-D : About your latest project : " Hybrids " : What can you tell us about it ?

A.P. : Hereís the premise to Hybrids: the Awakening: Legend tells of an island where both humans and hybrids coexisted together. It was a society marked by peace and prosperity. But peace is always short-lived. Tension caused by an inner evil ultimately erupted in war between the two races. Hatred, betrayal, and death filled the land. The island was covered in blood and fire. Then the Great Rain fell. It rained until there was nothing left, until there was only silenceÖ

History says that some humans survived and began a new life in a new land. They were the Ancestors, the new beginnings of the human race. The Hybrids were believed to be extinct.

Generations passed. What was once fact became lost in the uncertainty of time. This is the story of a brother and sister orphaned at an early age then lifted up to the highest ranks of society. Now both are troubled by visionsó his from the past, hers from the future. And their links to a race long thought to be extinct will be revealed. They will discover a society only heard about in rumor and legendó the Hybrids.

Two worlds will collide once again. The question is Can they prevent history from repeating itselfÖ

 

M-D : How did you get the idea of Hybrids ? 

A.P. : How this book was born really began in my first year at an art school called Art Center College of Design. I designed a character for an assignment that eventually evolved into this story. I would play with ideas here and there during my Tomb Raider run. But the concrete idea was developed right after I finished Tomb Raider #20. I went to a coffee shop pretty much everyday for a couple of months just brainstorming and designing a new world. It was so fun.

It is constantly under development to this day (especially since I am seeking to bring on a writer to help flesh it out).

 

M-D: By the way, what surprised you the most when you first arrived in Paris ?

A.P.: I was just in awe in how beautiful everything was.  I love the architecture and there's just so much to see.  But unfortunately I barely had any chance to see any of it.  I only got to see Paris looking out of the car window.  Although I did get to go up the Eiffel Tower.  That was cool...and cold!

Oh the other thing I remember was how nice the fans were.  They were so kind to me and many tried to speak English to me even though it was difficult for them.  I appreciated that alot.

M-D: Is there a question no one ever asked you in interview and what would be the answer ?

Hmmm...  here's a question:  Now that it's been a couple years since my run on Tomb Raider, what do I think of that work looking back at it now? 

I'm very proud of the body of work I did on Tomb Raider.  I was the artist on that title from it's inception in 1999 to about the beginning of 2002.  I did a total of 16 issues.  So i'm very proud that I did a significant run on a book and for the most part made all my deadlines.  The other thing I'm proud of is that I feel that I did the best work I could have at the time and didn't sacrifice quality in order to hit deadlines.  I put my all into the book. 

With that said, I am proud of what i achieved, but it's tough to look at those past issues I've worked on.  What do I mean by that?  Well, as an artist I'm always trying to improving myself.  But as a result, will look back at past work and see all my flaws/shortcomings.  I look back at my 16 issue run on Tomb Raider and I see a lot of flaws/ things I'd do differently today.  Bear in mind that this is a good thing.  It means I'm growing as an artist.  But on the negative side, I don't like alot of the work i've done in the past.  It's a bit embarrassing to look at sometimes.  There are still issues/pages that I've done that I'm quite proud of, but to be honest, I'm not really crazy about a majority of the issues.  I'm probably more proud of issues 1,2,13, and 14(in the original American versions of the comic book).

 

M-D: And since My website is on Dr Doom mainly,  How would you describe the character: DR DOOM?

A.P.: To be honest I'm not totally familiar with the character.  I don't know him that well.  I didn't grow up reading Fantastic Four.  All I know is that he is an intellectual.  He's evil, but still retains his humanity (is that fair to say).  He's always composed and regal.  He's not an animal.  So that would make him a very interesting villian.  He's like the antithesis of Mr. Fantastic.  It's just like Magneto and Professor X.

M-D: Who do you think wrote Dr Doom the best ?

A.P.: Ok, this I really can't answer because I didn't grow up reading stories with him in it.
M-D: Who draw Dr DOOM the best in your opinion ?

A.P.: Again, this will be difficult for me to answer.  I liked Jim Lee's Dr. Doom.  But the image that sticks out the most in my head was a cover where Dr. Doom in crouched down on the ground and he's all thrashed looking.  His cloth and armor is all torn up and it looks like he's about to go beserk.  Do you know what issue and artist that was? 

M-D: Yep Actually i do, it's the cover of "Secret Wars" #10 done by Michael Zeck ! I love this cover !  :) 

Thanks a lot Andy !

Check his personal website at : www.andyparkart.com