STUDIO TOURS: Artist Matt Haley

Wed, January 3rd, 2007 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Andy Khouri, Editor

CBR's STUDIO TOURS launched last month to amazing response, with the likes of Joe Quesada, Scott Kurtz, Frank Cho and Rick Remender opening their doors to fans and allowing them a glimpse into these artists' creative process. Our ongoing series of weekly STUDIO TOURS continues now with an inside look at the workspace of artist Matt Haley.

Known for his highly detailed and striking artwork, Matt Haley is one of DC Comics' most featured cover artists in recent years, creating memorable artwork for titles like "Hawkman," "Firestorm," "Wonder Woman," and "Birds of Prey." Haley also co-created with writer Andrew Cosby his own series, "G.I. Spy" for Boom! Studios, and has seen his work featured in multiple video game character designs and packaging. He worked as on SciFi's "Who Wants To Be A Super-hero?" and will return to provide illustrations for the show's second season, and also illustrated the "Superman Returns" comic adaptation for DC Comics, a project he talked to us about in June.

Matt invited CBR into his home studio in Portland, Oregon, and shared with us the following photographs and commentary.

The room is a pocket studio just off my dining room in my house, and only measures 12'x8', so actually standing in the room and taking pictures was a challenge. This is where I spend about half of my day (chair omitted for clarity), usually in the morning, as my commercial work is mostly digital. Currently I run a G4 Powerbook (which runs my Cintiq tablet) for crucnhing art, while the G5 iMac right above the tablet does everything else, including blasting hair metal at me. My old Epson scanner is to the left, and my computer reference books and copies of my pencils are stuffed into the ungainly mess at the right. Just below that is my Epson R1800 printer, which I use to create limited edition prints on fine art paper.

There's also a box of manga stuffed under the desk.

Yes, Blade Runner is one of my favorite films.

This is the view as you enter the studio. Again, my digital workstation setup is to the left. The windows help to keep me from going batty, although Oregon doesn't provide much sun in the winter. To the right is my big old drawing board, which raises and tilts almost perpendicular to the floor, thus saving my lower back from a lot of grief. I spend the latter half of my day drawing (and sometimes inking) by hand on paper here. Just because I work digital doesn't mean I want to lose my facility with analog tools. Besides, I still pencil my comic book art by hand, so there are actual pages to look at later!

Just above the windows is my treasured copy of 1950's Communist paranoia, a Civil Defense manual, so I know what to do with all the bodies.

Yes, I have toys, and if you spent all day in here, you would too. Most of them are things I've wanted since I was a kid, working at home makes surfing eBay hard to avoid. While most of my music is on various hard drives in here, I keep hard copies of the music I can't live without.

The rear of the studio, again showing my drawing table. Just to the right is where I keep a lot of the pencilling and inking tools, brushes and a lot of different kinds of ink (I still haven't found a blend I swear by, as I tend to mix my inks).

Just above my files sit the obligatory shelves full of reference material and Japanese toy magazines, which can usually be found in comic art studios the world over. Fortunately, my boss is forgiving of how cluttered I keep my workspace.

If you're reading this and want to pursue a career as a freelance artist, get a calendar (which you see just to the right of my table). The X's piling up on it contribute to a refreshing feeling of panic as the deadlines near. Just to the right and slightly obscured by the table are my Art S. Buck art mannequins. Go get them. They are so poseable and the faces are so detailled, no penciller should be without them.

Just the view from my drawing chair to the doors that lead out to the wetbar, and freedom. On the wall is a poster from a '70s "blaxploitation" film. Actually, I'm not much into them, but I loved the illustrations they used on the posters.

The studio setup is unique in that once the doors are closed and the blinds are drawn, the room becomes quite hidden away from the rest of the house, where I can work (and listen to hair metal) undisturbed, and unembarrassed!

Thanks, Matt!

Next week, Simone Bianchi!

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