by Jason Thibault
Jason Shawn Alexander has worked very hard to get to where he is today. He’s moved to different states to live in the proximity of his heroes and soak up their knowledge. He’s experimented relentlessly with different techniques. At a relatively young age he’s conguering the comics world and the art world simultaneously. He’s going to make us all work a little harder.
First professional work (piece / year) and maybe a quick story behind it.
Depends on what you call professional. I self published for a couple of years out of High school…. but I hardly call that work professional. The first thing I got paid for was a creator owned book for Sirius Entertainment called Empty Zone. It was one of the short stories I was self publishing and, much like most of the early work I got, I met the publisher at a convention and handed them my previously published stuff. Then they called about Empty Zone.
Self-taught or formally educated? (or mixture of both, mentors etc…)
Self taught. But I think that deserves more of a definition. I think most people think of self taught as natural talent that you just draw and draw and it refines itself. No. it means taking on the work of a school, yourself. I was a sponge with art. I would copy artists I loved, push my own work, force myself to open my eyes to art I didn’t understand yet…. I’m fairly proud of my art book collection. And finally, i moved to North Carolina after meeting George Pratt. I spent a year hanging with him in his studio, learning how to push and mature my work method and then meeting Kent Williams who has since become one of my best friends. We shared a studio for a couple of years and I learned a lot by watching him or asking him things. Since then, I’ve put away a lot of the other influences I have and try to work from myself. Find my own voice.
Tools of the trade: Taking a quick glance over at your pens, brushes etc…what tools have you mainly been using over the last few years?
Gillott 303 nibs. any sharp brush I can find and not spend a lot on. Razor blades are a must.
Favorite brand of ink:
Dr Ph. Martins Black Star Hicarb. Nothing beats it.
Type of paper:
Between Strathmore cold press water color paper 22×15 or when I really want to do something different with the ink, Arches water color cold press 18×24 cut in half.
Image from Dead Irons – Dynamite Entertainment
Which artists or creators do you return to for a quick boost of inspiration? Who are the masters of ink?
Masters of ink? Ralph Steadman. Barron Storey. Rico Lebrun. Leonard Baskin, Jose Munoz. Those guys make it hard to look through an entire book without just drawing your ass off.
Once a client has handed off an illustration job to you, how do you first tackle the job. Could you provide us with a quick overview of your process?
After looking it over, I try to figure out the approach that would best fit it and what i want to try. More realistic, more experimental, etc. Then I try to get the feel for it, sketching out ideas for the characters. And then, really, just trying to top my last project. I honestly try to work like I think Andrew Wyeth
or Ralph Steadman might see what I did. I try to put my mind into never hacking out a single panel. I want to leave something behind after I’m gone and I want to be fucking impressive. So, To prep for a project I just try to get in a mind space that will allow me to totally invest myself.
Page from Dead Irons – Dynamite Entertainment
What’s currently sitting in your mp3 / CD player / turntable?
Jr Kimbrough, Jack Owens, Tom Waits, and Tool.
What’s hanging on your walls and what is your favorite piece of art that you own (not created by you)?
I have a painting that Barron Storey gave me after I house sat for him. I still can’t top it 😉
Page from Dead Irons – Dynamite Entertainment
Last novel you read and last movie that you saw (that you’d recommend)?
In the middle of Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson. Would recommend, Pop. 1280. Movies…… Blindness was great. But my favorite movie of all time that I recommend is Jacob’s Ladder.
Current and upcoming projects?
Dead Irons. It’s for Dynamite. Great horror western script! My best work to date. Comes out early next year. I’m finishing a script with a writing partner that will begin to pitch after this. Getting back into creator owned and writing. It will be the coolest story I’ve ever worked on. Something different, even for comics. I promise.
What would you tell an aspiring artist who is working his ass off but still needs and wants to break through to the next level?
Don’t rush. No short cuts. Even when I think I’ve considered every element on a piece, I see somebody that makes me realize I could have done more. And since we are talking about ink, draw every day, but do it with your inking equip. I carry my little bottle and quill with me to the coffee shop. I only sketch with ink. It really does make you a stronger draftsman and inker. That will refine your eye and your hand even more.
Abe Sapien – Drowning – Issue 3 Page 18 – Dark Horse Comics
For more info on Jason head to the following places:
http://studiosection8.com/ – the NEWS page is a blog that gets updated with everything!
http://jasonshawnalexander.com/ – his personal work.
http://bloodandwhisky.blogspot.com/ – The blog
Abe Sapien – Drowning – Issue 3 Page 19 – Dark Horse Comics