Darby Pop Publishing’s sold-out Side-Kicked trade paperback book is back in a Vol 1.5 edition. Featuring two new origin stories created by the winning entries from their most recent “Breaking into Comics” contest. One of those stories will feature the art of newcomer Gary Deslauriers. I had a chance to chat with Gary about this project.
Martin Boruta: Gary, many thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.
Gary Deslauriers: You’re welcome.
Martin: You won the 3rd ‘Breaking Into Comics’ contest put on by Darby Pop Publishing. How did you hear about the contest and what motivated you to apply?
Gary: I met the fine folks from Darby Pop at a convention last year. We had neighboring tables. Since then, I’ve kept an eye on them via social media and became aware of the “Breaking Into Comics” contest. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get published work out there.
Martin: I read that your day job is as an elementary art teacher? Do you incorporate comic books and sequential art in your classes?
Gary: I do a few lessons every year on sequential storytelling. I also do a few classes in the community. Mostly figure drawing and the like but superheroes are almost always the end result.
Martin: How do your students respond to comics in the classroom?
Gary: The kids love it. The consensus is that it’s more complicated than they thought, but I get great results.
Martin: You have an MA in Art Education from Rhode Island College so, obviously, being an artist is something you wanted. Was it comic books all along? Or did you have visions of something else for your future?
Gary: It was always comics. After I graduated with my BA, I did the convention thing and bombed. I was younger and had a ton to learn about storytelling. Recently, I was in a good place to try it again. I had instant success this time — or so I thought. Instead, I kept bouncing from editor to editor over various projects and I’ve even done some work that was never published. Needless to say, I’m really thankful to Darby Pop for giving me a chance to draw for them.
Martin: Your first story for Darby Pop will be included in the Side-Kicked Vol 1.5 trade paperback. I understand it is a story featuring the origin of the Flying Fox and Jolt’s partnership. Were you familiar with the characters before or is this something new?
Gary: I was actually familiar because I scooped up the first printing of Side-Kicked from them at the convention.
Martin: Was the work in the Side-Kicked Trade Paperback your first published comic book work?
Gary: This will be my first published work.
Martin: Art is typically a solitary endeavour. But in the comic book world you work with writers, sometimes inkers and letterers. Did you enjoy that collaborative process? Did Richard Casey provide you with a full script you just illustrated or was there room for you to express your creative side?
Gary: Richard supplied a pretty complete script, but there were new things that we collaborated on. A new villain and new weapons, for example. I got to create some looks.
Martin: Some of the aspiring comic artists are always asking … pen and ink? Paints? Full digital? What does your art desk look like?
Gary: Great question. I’m a process junkie. I’m always trying to figure out how my idols do stuff. I actually have two desks. I do my layouts digitally on a drawing tablet. I find the undo button very liberating. Once I have the pages roughly how I’d like them, I print out a light copy and ink by hand. There’s something about that tactile experience I really enjoy. Most of my shading is ink wash on this project; I like the look and “the happy accidents” the wash creates. I then scan them back into my computer and color them digitally.
Martin: What can we look forward to from Gary Deslauriers?
Gary: I don’t have any immediate projects lined-up. I do stay busy with commissions and, of course, teaching. I hope I can use this project to catapult me into steadier work in comics.
Martin: Well Sir, many thanks again for sitting down for this interview.
Gary: The pleasure was all mine. Thank you.
Side-Kicked Vol. 1.5 will be available at your local comic shop July 26th, 2017
Issue: Side-Kicked Vol. 1.5 | Publisher: Darby Pop
Writers: Russell Brettholtz & others | Artists: Miguel Mendonca, Bong Dazo & others