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.
1st: Your 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.
1st: In 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.
1st: What 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.
1st: How 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…
1st: How 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.
1st: What work did you do for Aspen Comics?
Steven: I had previously done an in-house holiday greeting card for Aspen.
1st: How 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.
1st: Would 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.”
1st: Would 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.
1st: If 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.
1st: Do 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.
1st: If 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.
1st: What 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.