|Self-portrait by Mike Hawthorne|
Sorry about that. Life, work, small monkey like creatures and large amounts of licorice got us off track a bit with these STUDIO TOURS, but we'll get back on schedule shortly. In the mean time, we got in touch with artist Mike Hawthorne, who happily showed us around his rather, ahem, messy studio.
Mike Hawthorne has worked for Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, Oni Press, and just about every other major comic company in the US. His work earned him an Eisner nomination for his work on Greg Rucka's "Queen & Country." He's currently drawing the new monthly Vertigo series "The Un-Men," as well as wrapping up his own series "Hysteria: One Man Gang." In the mean time, Hawthorne invited CBR into his home studio for a behind-the-scenes look at where he works his artistic magic.
By Mike Hawthorne
This is my "new" studio of sorts. I had the third floor to myself. I moved the drawing table to this much smaller space because this room is more uncomfortable. A comfortable studio makes you soft and you draw less. Hell, I had sofas in the old studio for God's sake. No good.
Also, this room is cheaper to heat in the winter (remember, I work in comics) and has a back door leading to a second floor balcony. It's a perfect place to smoke stogies, drink Greek coffee, as well as a great vantage point to curse and throw things at people.
The tools. That stand is really a kitchen stand thing with baskets to hold fruit and stuff. Now it holds rulers, triangles, oval templates and ink.
My temporary reference bookshelf. The main one is upstairs and books circulate up and down depending on the need.
Yes, that's a shotgun.
Some old paintings from college, the promo art from "Un-Men" and a print from my buddy and favorite underground cartoonist, John G., A.K.A. J - Grit.
My other table which is also a piece from a kitchen. You can see one of my stashes of puros, my half drank cup of Greek coffee and my brick. You never know when you're gonna need a fucking brick.
This pencil sharpener is older then I am. I've had it for as long as I can remember. This has sharpened my pencils since I was a toddler.
My bigger, hundred count humidor. There's a second fifty count one underneath it, in case of emergencies.
I make a lot of pages. This is to sort them by project. Three books going at once here. This is just a couple months worth.
Clipped to my table to remind me why I work. Still don't have a pic of my son in there yet. He just turned 1.
Some of my books. Just got that Popeye and "Basquiat" book for "Christmas." You can also see the Goon flask my buddy Eric sent me. Never been used.
Another old painting, really old, from college. I didn't save many at all from those days, maybe four or five. Oh, and a sling shot in front of it. Just in case I feel like terrorizing any neighborhood kids from my balcony.
My daughter's art work. Wish I had that dragon, I'd fucking rampage across the city.
My portable electro-shock unit. I have carpal tunnel, so I shock the shit out of it instead of popping pills to help with the pain when drawing. Plus, it feels cool.
What's on my desk this morning? "Un-men" pages, that's what.
Damn my work area is messy.
Ten years ago my mother died on the floor of the factory she worked in. All the money she had to her name was the $2.20 in change she was going to use to buy lunch that day. Everything else was lost, including her house. I keep this envelope that the coroner gave me in my desk draw to remind me of my old life.
I'll also look at it when I get too caught up in the comic's world and all the damned silly shit most people in the business try and pull. Helps me focus again.
The reference I have on the floor near my desk, as well as some old white zip tone.
Shitty pic of the page I was inking when I shot these pics.
The zapper. See earlier description.
A painted piece by my man, and favorite underground cartoonist, John G. A.K.A. J-Grit.
One of the old college paintings hanging in the studio. This was another study for a bigger portrait.
The wrap around cover for "Hysteria" #3, which hasn't come out yet. It's a long story, don't ask.
Can't work without music.
Another shot of my desk. You can see all the drawings from my kids on the wall. Sweet stuff.
Did I tell you about my studio brick?
A portrait of my good friend from back in the day, Vaughn Neal. If you're from Philly and know Vaughn, tell him I just put his face on the web and tell him I said, "Now the cops got a good pic of you, so behave. "
I use a scrap of paper to bring my brush to a point when I'm inking. Some day I want to make a collage with all those scraps.
Thanks, Mike. As we mentioned in our introduction, we'll be back on a regular schedule in just a couple of weeks, but in the mean time check out our previous participants:
- Joe Quesada
- Scott Kurtz
- Frank Cho
- Rick Remender
- Matt Haley
- Simone Bianchi
- Mark Waid
- Tony Moore
- Top Cow Studios
- David Lloyd
- Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
- Mark Millar
- Mike Norton
- Andy Smith
- Mike Allred
- Ryan Ottley