RICH INTERVIEWS: Steven Defendini Artist for Side-Kicked

First Comics News: Why did you decide to enter the “Breaking Into Comics” contest?

Steven Defendini: I had previously seen the work from Darby Pop at New York Comic Con last year, and was impressed with what they put out. So, I kept an eye on them because they had previously held “Breaking Into Comics” contests, and I really wanted to participate if another one came up.

1stYour story in Side-Kicked is “Gauntlet” what is it about and who are the main characters?

Steven: I illustrated the “Gauntlet” story that follows Atalanta and Frostbite as they discover each other for the very first time.

1stIn illustrating Atalanta and Frostbite what personalities do you bring out in them?

Steven: With Atalanta, I was trying to make sure that her body language always evoked a sense of confidence and discipline because she has been a hero for so long. As for Frostbite, I tried to make sure he was as expressive as possible to clearly convey his wide range of emotions as the situation developed and changed around him.

1stWhat type of powers do you get to draw Atalanta and Frostbite using?

Steven: Atalanta is agile and methodical, so I was able to display a wide range of movement. Frostbite has really visceral powers; it was a lot of fun to figure out how to visualize them. His abilities provided a large sandbox to play in.

1stHow did you feel when Darby Pop told you you were one of the winners in their contest?

Steven: When I found out that I was a winner, I was beyond excited. And after working with the crew over at Darby Pop, that excitement hasn’t diminished. Any chance to share my art with a broader audience…

1stHow has been a teacher helped you to be a better artist?

Steven: Teaching high school students really gifts you with the superpowers of multitasking and working in fast-paced environments. It also allows you to absorb a lot of visual information that is uncommon everywhere else.

1stWhat work did you do for Aspen Comics?

Steven: I had previously done an in-house holiday greeting card for Aspen.

Sidekicked Vol1.5 Cover
Sidekicked Vol1.5 Cover

1stHow do you make yourself a better artist?

Steven: I am constantly trying to improve, so I spend almost every night honing my craft and I try to pour that learning into the work. When I am not drawing, I try to read interviews, articles or watch videos from some of the artists I admire so I can learn from them, too.

1stWould you like to be a regular artist on a regular monthly comic series if so would it change your life?

Steven: I would LOVE to work monthly on a title, and I will be trying to accomplish that with a personal project that I have started working on. I teach by day, but illustrating books has always been my end-all be-all. So, if I landed that job, it would be the literal definition of “heaven.”

1stWould you like to draw a team book such as the Power Rangers?

Steven: “Team” books have always interested me because of the diversity that you can bring. The majority of the shows I watched growing up revolved around a team of colorful characters, so that has always been a huge influence on me.

1stIf you could be the artist on any Marvel or DC comic which one would it be and why?

Steven: I would absolutely love to work over at DC. The admiration I have for their character is endless, and every great memory/milestone I have related to comics involves DC. My end goal would be to work with Jim Lee or Geoff Johns, and I would love to work on Wonder Woman or Action Comics.

1stDo you like to build things such as a Batcave or the Hulk?

Steven: I also have a knack — I call it a “builders itch” — for sculpting. My day job as a teacher really helps me express that. And then, on my own time, I create sculptures that I often bring to cons/art shows to sell.

1stIf you could have one super power what would it be and why?

Steven: If I could have a super power, it would be flight. But the one I might NEED most is the power to control time… so I could accomplish all of my work ahead of schedule.

1stWhat would you like to say to the fans of your art?

Steven: I would like to thank my fans for supporting me with all their kind words and praise. As someone who is always looking to improve, it means a lot to hear that people enjoy my work.

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