Bryan Baugh - Hack/Slash Interview

BRYAN BAUGH Artist of Hack/Slash

Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur for Jazma Online - (Posted: 5/23/2009)

Richard: How do you feel about getting to work on "Hack/Slash"?

Bryan: I feel great about it! The subjects that I have always been best at drawing are monsters, horror, violence, blood and guts, big, ugly, mean guys, and cute girls. So this type of comic is right up my alley.

Richard: What aspects of Cassie and Vlad does your art bring out?

Bryan: Well, Cassie, is a sexy girl who tends to wear skimpy outfits… but she has a toughness to her, a chip on her shoulder, an angst that makes her different from the sort of female characters I usually draw in my own comics. So it is fun to take a cute character like that and give her a mean edge. With Vlad, I am trying to bring out his more horrific qualities. In some of the past Hack/Slash comics I’ve seen, Vlad has been drawn too normal-looking… and just too "clean", in my opinion. Vlad is clearly inspired by 1980’s slasher movie characters like Jason Voorhees, who always had deformed mangled facial features, and filthy, jagged fingernails, and old clothes and muddy shoes... So I am trying to get Vlad looking more like that, trying to keep him true to his roots… trying to keep him a genuine horror character.

Richard: Who is the serial killer you get to illustrate?

Bryan: In the two issues I’m drawing, there’s a character named Samhain who seems to be a serial killer, but he has a surprising relationship to Cassie and Vlad. He is not what you would expect just from looking at him.

Richard: Would you like to work more on this title?

Bryan: Yes, I would like to draw more beyond the two issues I am currently doing. We’ll see what happens!

Richard: How do you start drawing an issue of "Hack/Slash"?

Bryan: I have a pretty visual imagination, so when I’m reading a new script, I see it playing out in my mind, just as if it was on a movie screen in front of me. Some images are more vivid than others. So then I do rough pencil sketches, really small, usually on 2 inch by 3 inch post-it notes. When I do those sketches I am just trying to recreate the images I saw in my head when I was reading the script. Getting those sketches the way I want them is the hardest part… that’s where all the thinking and effort gets done. Once I am happy with those, then it’s just a matter of transferring those images to the final boards, in finished pencil drawings and ink.

Richard: What are the tools of your trade?

Bryan: I draw with various-sized brushes and black India ink. The paper I use is 2-ply Bristol board. I prefer the smooth finish that seems to work better with brushes.

Richard: What is "Wulf and Batsy" about?

Bryan: Wulf and Batsy is a comic book series that I have been writing and drawing for a few years now. It’s about a big, horrible werewolf, and a female vampire, and the adventures they have as they wander the earth. In some stories Wulf and Batsy have bad run-ins with normal humans who are determined to destroy them… In other stories, Wulf and Batsy run into other monsters who may be friends or enemies, depending on the situation. In 2008, Viper Comics published 3 issues of Wulf and Batsy. Then I took over self-publishing the series with Issue #4. This summer I have a 200-page graphic novel coming out, which contains two long Wulf and Batsy stories.

Richard: What about these characters makes people love them?

Bryan: Generally speaking, most people tend to like monsters… and people always love an underdog. And in any situation, Wulf and Batsy are both of those things at the same time. Also, they don’t feel sorry for themselves. Wulf and Batsy tend to be pretty optimistic characters, despite their outlaw status. Nobody accepts Wulf and Batsy but they accept themselves. They are painfully aware that they are weirdos, but they are okay with that.

Richard: Why do you enjoy making How to Draw books?

Bryan: To tell the truth, I really never had any passion for doing instructional art books. It’s not something I ever would have gotten into on my own. But I got lured into that whole venture by my friend Steve Miller, who was doing several of them at the time and had really turned it into a lucrative career for himself. As I got into it, I realized that each of those books offered me an excuse to spend about six months doing my favorite thing in the world: drawing monsters and writing about monsters… and actually getting paid for it. So then it became like white-collar crime – the work was too easy and the pay was too good for me to just quit. But after doing three of them, I knew I didn’t have much more to say in that area.

And right after that, I suddenly got hired by Disney Animation, and found myself too busy to do any more How To Draw books anyway. I am thankful for the chance to do those books. They were a good opportunity and they provided me with an entertaining occupation for a couple of years. And there is an undeniably rewarding feeling to doing books that will be enjoyed by young people. But truthfully I don’t see myself doing any more of them any time soon.

Richard: What about drawing attracts you to doing it?

Bryan: Drawing is a way of spending time in your own personal imaginary world. I know that is an artsy thing to say, but it is the truth. And like most weird artists, I feel very comfortable in that other world, as opposed to this "real" world. My imaginary world is full of haunted houses and graveyards and swamps and dark forests and underground tunnels and monsters that eat people and drink blood. Which might sound awful to some people, but I feel very cozy there, and if I am away from it for too long I tend to get really grouchy. So I draw to keep in touch with that imaginary world and keep myself sane.

Richard: Which artists do you admire?

Bryan: Bernie Wrightson, Jack Davis, Graham Ingles, Jordi Bernet, Alfredo Alcala, Richard Sala, Lee Brown Coye, Basil Wolverton, Joseph Clement Coll, Franklin Booth. Those are the guys who spring to mind first when I think about my favorite artists.

Richard: Are you a big horror movie fan?

Bryan: Oh yes indeed. I have been a horror movie fan my whole life. I could do a whole interview about that topic alone!

Richard: How can someone contact you?

Bryan: I love hearing from anybody who is a fan of my art and comics. You can email me at: bryanbaugh@yahoo.com . Sometimes I get busy and am not able to answer every single message, but I certainly read them all!

Richard: Any last words for your fans?

Bryan: I just want people to know that I am a horror fan, who draws comics for horror fans. So, please check out my issues of Hack/Slash. I promise to make ‘em good and scary for you guys!

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