Monday, 6 January 2014

Exclusive Interview with 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt Winner -Rom-

I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt Winner -Rom- a few questions on being a winner of the contest.

How does it feel to be a winner of Top Cow’s Talent Hunt?

This victory happened at a particularly hard moment of my life, so it has meant a lot for many reasons, some of them unrelated to my strong desire to work in the comics field.
When Matt Hawkins sent me the long-awaited email informing I was one of the winners, I had just finished dinner, and it was the last thing I could expect. It has been both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

These are the feelings I brought with me for the whole creation of Aritifacts #33. And, thinking about it now, this still is the way I feel, excited and terrified.

What influenced you in becoming a comic book artist?

I have always drawn. I've never been brought to the real painting and I was more interested in creating characters and environments on paper. I guess it was a natural path, as often happens.

What comics or artists inspire you?

To be honest, I don't read many comics and my inspiration can come from there as from a movie or from a coffee took at the window, looking out.

Personally, I come from a family that never looked favorably at things like comics, so I could read my first one very late, at age 16. It was DNA2.

Anyway I was already drawing and painting since childhood, and when I finally was able to take contact with the comics world, it has been a desired outburst, rather than a specific search of inspiration through other artists.

How does it feel working for a company like Top Cow?

I only have one thing to say: I entered one only contest in my life and I did it when it was the one held by Top Cow.

I've put a lot of hope and energies I didn't thought I could have, at the end of 2012. Anyway Top Cow's production always had a special place in my heart and sure it was worth the effort. It was a strongly desired thing.

How does it feel to work on a series as popular as Artifacts?

I couldn't ask for a better prize.
It was a pleasure Top Cow has put me working on Tom Judge, one of the main characters on Artifacts.

What do you prefer drawing the most, emotional dialogue sequences or exciting action?

I like action, even if it has always been quite rare I was given the chance to prove myself in that field, probably because I mostly worked on covers and illustrations, rather than on comic pages, during the past five years.

However, I must admit treating characters' expressions is another thing I like to deal, and this happens to have more chance to be emphasized during emotional dialogue sequences.

Were you a fan of Artifacts prior to working on the series?

Yes, I've always been interested in the whole Top Cow's production.
When they told me I was one of the winners, before knowing on which character I would had to work, I figured how much I would liked painting a issue about Tom Judge or Ian Nottingham or Aprhodite IV, alongside Jackie, of course!

Knowing well the Artifacts' universe helped me a lot as I was working on issue #33.

How do you feel about working alongside a fellow winner of Top Cow‘s Talent Hunt?

Kenny Porter has put together a very beautiful plot. I immediately felt at ease with his way to tell a story and everything was so natural. I think he had a perfect understanding of the characters he decided to put into play. It was a great experience and I must confess I'm sorry I hadn't the chance to interact directly with him, during the processing of 'The teacher and the preacher'. If there will be the chance to work again with him, I surely will do it!

Are you planning to work on any more issues of Artifacts and if not what are you planning on working on next?

At the moment I'm working on two other Artifacts issues. I like the idea to have the chance to work with Top Cow again.

And yes, I still am excited and terrified.

What advice would you give an aspiring artist about tackling Top Cow’s Talent Hunt in the future?

Back with my mind to December 2012, as I was closing the pages for the Talent Hunt, I've to say I strongly desired having the chance to work specifically with Top Cow, rather than simply working with a major publisher. I was focused on them.
This certainly does not sound like the suggestion you asked for, I think people are very different each other and each of them have their own motivations to enter a contest. Anyway this reminds me to why I tried it.

I can advise to always evaluate your own work with a wide open eye, as much as possible free from personal mental filters we all have. Being honest with yourself is one of the keys to keep improving.

I'd also say to constantly remember what part of the work is an actual request from the publisher and where instead there's room for interpretation, for your style, so that it's both the publisher and your art can valorize and respect each other. I think it's very important to carefully choose who you want to be selected from and then work hard to prove you deserve to be chosen.

Artifacts #33 is on sale now.

I already posted the preview for Artifacts #33 on my interview with the writer Kenny Porter, but -Rom- very kindly gave me some high resolution pictures from the issue that I thought I'd share (just click the pictures to view the full image).

You can also follow -Rom- at