GW: Hi Dave, Please tell us a little bit about your Job and what you do.
DF: Currently I’m a penciller for Marvel Comics and I draw a range of Marvel superheroes.
GW: Did you have your family’s support to work in comics or was it something that had to grow on them?
DF: My mother was very supportive, but for the most part, everyone else had to really see that it could actually be a viable job before they were convinced. It’s understandable because everyone equates artist with starving, but there are actually a lot of jobs where artwork can lead to a fulfilling career with a good income.
GW: Do you have any traditional training or education?
DF: I don’t have any formal training, but everything I learned about comics I learned from working at Top Cow Productions, very much like an apprenticeship. It was great because I was given a lot of guidance, but never forced to conform to any one style.
GW: What was your first year in comics like, did it have an impact on how you drew or the kinds of things you were forced to draw?
DF: My first year in comics was very difficult and very unrewarding. It was a lot of learning, getting my feet under me and trying to adapt my work to fit the wide range of things that I had to draw, like characters that I wasn’t familiar with or comfortable with. I had so little to draw upon at the time that everything was a challenge.
GW: How much work are you expected to turn over in a month’s time? How often do you wait until the last minute?
DF: The amount of work I’m expected to turn in can vary depending upon what I’m working on. In a general sense I’m expected to turn in four pages a week. I don’t really let things go to the last minute, I’m always working, but I do know how to waste time during any given day and I don’t take things seriously enough until the deadline is looming.
GW: How much impact does the writer have on the look of what you pencil? Does the added input, if any, speed the process up or bog it down?
DF: The writer always has a huge impact on what I draw because it’s impossible for me to draw Wolverine doing something cool if they’re writing about some anonymous guy standing around reading the newspaper. The best writers really speed things along because they make great visual choices and I can just follow their lead. The worst writers box me into clunky storytelling and don’t think visually enough to include essential information at the right times in the script.
GW: Moon Knight is a great Character. How difficult is it in today’s market to bring a character to the table like Spiderman, Batman etc.?
DF: It is virtually impossible by the very nature of the business now days. Characters have such a complex history and people want to see those adventures continued, they want to stick with what they are familiar and comfortable with. Even though new concepts can sometimes really break through, it is very difficult to maintain the success because there is such a strong nostalgia factor to what people buy.
GW: Looking over the past few years, you have worked on some pretty amazing comics and worked with a variety of the top companies in the business. At this point are there any personal projects you want to move forward with?
DF: I have a project that is very dear to me that I’m developing right now. I’m hoping to be able to do something with it in the relatively near future.
GW: Outside of comics have you worked on any film or game designs?
DF: I’ve done design work for Terminal Reality, X-Men Legends and a few other miscellaneous things. I’ve also done some design work for the Watchman movie coming up with Zack Snyder.
GW: What are the main differences between comics and production design?
DF: Comics are a chance for me to tell a story visually and really explore the characters I’m working with. With design work it’s more of a chance for me to really express myself creatively.
GW: Have you developed a favorite character or reoccurring theme in your work over the years?
DF: I suppose the favorite character I’ve developed over the last few years would have to be Aphrodite IX for Top Cow, but I don’t really see my work as thematic, it’s not really where I’m coming from.
GW: At this stage in your career do you rely on an agent or manager, if so how involved in your work are they?
DF: I do, my wife Meredith is my agent, manager and all around whip-cracker. She basically stares me down all day, every day, so I guess I would say she’s fairly involved. She’s also my loudest critic and a great collaborator.
GW: What kind of work lies down the road for you?
DF: I’ve got a series coming up with Jeph Loeb, which is very exciting because he’s a renowned TV producer and writer. I also have very strong plans to put out some more of my personal work in the future.
GW: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Dave. Any advice for upcoming artists? Anything to avoid?
DF: Never agree to something that you can’t finish and always bring everything you have to whatever project you’re on because it’s your resume for the next thing you do. Try to find what it is that you love about your drawing, what motivates you to do it and what it is you want to express.
*All images courtesy of David Finch.