have been collecting comics on and off for many years now, and like most, I have developed a particular liking to certain artists and writers. A huge favorite is the one and only Warren Louw. He is spectacularly gifted with the pen. Born in Cape Town and raised Johannesburg he grew up to draw the key comic book publishers. I love the clean cut smooth style. I am particularly drawn to this form. He is a self-thought wizard. While he has done a lot of various genres like video games, art books, and magazines to name but a few.
Here at Nerdgasm, we were lucky enough to grab an interview, in between his mad schedule. So check it out below and be sure to see links to his art forms further below:
It has only been a few years since I started following your work as an artist. But in that short time, you now are one of my favorite artists. My favorite piece being the Catwoman from the wedding saga that you have signed and I got slabbed. It was not my first CGC but my first that I didn’t already buy sealed. It has become a sentimental piece as I met you at my first and only (so far) Comic Con. As a fellow South African it means the world to me knowing that we have an iconic artist like you.
So let’s start off with the where and how did you get in drawing?
I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember so there was no specific reason I can remember for beginning other than finding it quite fascinating. Probably from genetics as it does seem to run in the family. That then filtered into my ever-evolving passions, from dinosaurs, animals, landscapes, vehicles, then to people, video-game and comic art.
Who is your favorite character to draw and why?
It depends on what my mood is, so that varies between Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Powergirl and Black Cat. Harley Quinn taking the lead however just because of her range of attitude and emotion I can play with.
Which artists have inspired you?
It’s changed over the years but the biggest ones would be J Scott Campbell, Adam Hughes, Loish, Tetsuya Nomura, Range Murata, Takuji Kawano, Artgerm, Ilya Kuvshinov, Sakimichan and many newer additions I now follow on Instagram such as Derrick Chew, Kim Jung Guis, Mirka Andolfo, and the list goes on.
How did you get picked up by the larger publications?
They all found me online. I always just made sure to showcase the very best of my abilities and I left the rest to the Universe.
What are the challenges a comic artist faces?
It depends on the artist. For me, it’s been time management when meeting deadlines while trying to manage a balanced life outside of just art. I personally feel that as a creator, to only focus entirely on one creative expression such as creating visual art can cause a life to be very out of balance. We are far more than just artists and need to nurture our existence in greater fundamental ways for our soul to flourish.
Meeting deadlines can be stressful, how do you manage? Or what do you do to de-stress?
Attitude and intention are critically important – confidence knowing I’ll make it no matter what. I’ll then schedule the days I have on my whiteboard so I can see the time I have on my side and that does make the situation appear far more doable than what any fears might try to make me believe.
There have been very few occasions where life gets in the way and I’ve had to ask for a day extra and it’s been no problem. At times I’ll even be given more days extra than necessary so it’s always worked out, but communication is very important when dealing with your client and deadlines.
A point on time management… It’s taken me a while to learn this, but the more you can build a confident relationship with the time you have, time then opens up to you and your process becomes more smooth. This is in contrast with the fears of not having enough time, over-stressing and letting the situation crush your confidence. Then time closes in on you and your process is not a smooth one. There is most certainly an organic nature about time that directly interacts with who we are.
How do you draw inspiration to create covers?
I’ll need to learn about the characters personality and portrayal and then from there I’ll have an image in my mind in terms of the attitude and emotion I want to express. I’ll also research existing art and cosplay references to see what aspects might fit my vision. Then I’ll just start playing around with dynamic poses that flow and once I’m happy with my composition I’ll take it further
There has been ongoing speculation that the printed world of comics is going to crash soon? What are your thoughts on that?
There’s no doubt that the print quantities have dropped significantly over the decades due to all other forms of entertainment surfacing, however, there is still a strong enough community of readers and collectors to still keep it alive for quite a while.
As a creator, it’s always important to diversify your abilities to also be able to fit into more than just one specific thing so that if something does happen, you do have options available.
How closely do artists and writers work?
As a variant cover artist, I have nothing to do with the writers.
I have told you my best piece of yours, but what is your favorite piece that you hold dear?
It’s yet to be released but it’s a variant cover for Harley Quinn and Vampirella #1. After that, it would be my Batman #50 wedding special cover of Catwoman.
Any tips for young artists?
Study the fundamentals!! I can’t stress this enough. There is a general order to this, however. You want to build your fundamental foundation from the art of compositions – basic forms and flow and build on that, working your way eventually into the finer details. For example, if you want to learn how to draw people, don’t start with learning muscle anatomy. That comes much later. Start with doing the gesture and flow studies as your basis, then break down the human form into its simplest shapes and then after studying numerous poses via gesture and basic form studies, then you can start introducing muscle anatomy and more.
Make sure to do your studies repetitively. If you’re studying a hand, draw that same hand 10-20 times over or whatever it is. It’s the same with learning how to play an instrument, do martial arts or anything really. Repetition is how the brain learns.
I know we all want to be seen but don’t make getting followers or likes a priority! Yes, sometimes even I myself can even get caught up in that but just make sure to keep your ego in check since you can easily lose yourself to the dark side. Keep your passion for creating, challenging yourself, going outside your comfort zones and learning as the goal! Over time, you’ll see that life supports those who are committed to their passion (life purpose) and even more so, those who are willing to face their fears.
Oh, one more thing! Taking on the path of being an artist, your commitment will be tested often. You will consider giving up countless times with the struggles you’ll face. You just have to pick yourself up and keep at it time after time after time and you will prove to yourself that your love for creating is indeed unbreakable and that you have what it takes to move to the higher levels.
It’s a never-ending journey to learn to become your own best teammate. No need to be cruel to yourself at all when you can’t get something right. You got to keep the love and support for yourself especially when you’re struggling. If you don’t know how to do something, it doesn’t mean you’re useless and pathetic. It just means you need to do more studies in that specific area, that’s all.
You’ll eventually come to learn that the path of being an artist is far more than just about art. That this is the life path we’ve chosen to grow our soul through. This journey, however, has two outcomes. Will you follow the light, creating passionately in the name of expressing yourself to the fullest, pushing your own boundaries and loving the process of helping the universe expand into only more of its infinite magnificence. Or will this path become unconsciously corrupted by the dark side of past trauma, now in pursuit of status – the fear of not being enough, forever trying to prove yourself as worthy at any and all costs. A path that no matter how hard you try and how far you go, your darkness is always right behind you.
Will we see you at Comic-Con Africa this year?
I’ll see you there!