Friday March 8, 2013
Comic artist Zid is living his childhood dream
ZIDíS success came through sheer hard work and patience. Born and raised in the Klang Valley, this 29-year-old Mara University of Technology graduate is now living his childhood passion Ė drawing comics.
Hereís what he has to share after landing a gig with one of the top comics publishers in the United States.
On achieving that breakthrough:
(I am) Living my childhood dream. Comics have been an important part of my life since I was a kid and the transition from reading to drawing comics is indeed an exciting experience. Having achieved one milestone, itís quite scary having my work open to public scrutiny and on a global scale.
(Anyway) I think it happened at the right time where I am at this age that I just think of it as a job. Itís great, but itís like any other work I do and (I need to) maintain (a high degree of) quality and discipline. It keeps me sane that way. If it happened when I was much younger, I might have been too overwhelmed!
How difficult was it to break into mainstream comics?
For us budding artists in the early 1990s it was a matter of confidence in approaching (publishers) and getting our works exposed. The Internet has certainly opened the doors (and boundaries) for aspiring comic artists. You just have to post your stuff (http://www.mohammadyazid.com/), make cold calls, or e-mail your portfolio.
This has certainly bridged creative offerings with the demands of publishers on a global scale.
In terms of Son Of Merlin, it has been a challenging assignment. In the early stages, I presented all my previous work (e.g. Retrojak, City Of Dust) to the creative authorities from Heroes & Villains Entertainment and Top Cow. What won them over was my close-to-realistic approach in City Of Dust (a title written by Steve Niles in 2008 for Radical Publishing). However, this project took forever to finish due to its highly detailed layers of paint, unlike the usual flat colours / dual tones we see in (most) mainstream titles (I was also working without an assistant).
In order to meet their expectations, I had to figure out a way to be fast but at the same time achieve the desired quality. Hence, I ďmarriedĒ the style we often see in character concept / production art with matte painting for the backgrounds.
I had to study scenes in movies for reference while I worked, so that the panels would look like screenshots from a feature film. A lot of reference to realistic postures was also used to make the visual effects (hey, itís a book about magic after all) look believable.
(At the time of this interview, Zid was just three pages away from completing Son Of Merlin.)
There are talks happening currently which I am not allowed to disclose publicly. Itís big. (Hopefully) it will materialise.
As for my dream project, I would be over the moon if I could work on either Superman or Batman. Even if itís just a one-shot. (To stretch things further) Something along the likes of an ďAll-StarĒ (project), if I could be picky. But seriously, I am content with where I am for now and happy to work on just about anything that brings food to the table.
On the domestic comics scene:
(Sadly) our scene is still in its infancy. We have a lot of talent but thereís not enough readership to ensure the presence of a sustainable industry. Also, the job opportunities are not encouraging, as the remuneration is not enough for aspiring artists to earn a comfortable living.
Who are your inspirations?
I enjoyed reading Neil Gaimanís Sandman. Other than that, when I read comics my focus is on the artwork and not so much on the script. That said, Iím a big fan of interiors by Alex Maleev, Greg Ruth, John Paul Leon, JH Williams III, Paul Pope, and Rob Haynes.
Zid will be having a meet-the-fans and autograph session at Earth 638 (2nd Floor, Kelana Mall, Jalan SS6/12, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03-7804 8380, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) tomorrow (3pm-6pm). There will also be a Mini Toy Fair from noon till 9pm.