Calgary-born artist, Ian Navarro, had trouble figuring out where his talents in illustration would take him after ACAD.
However, there was one thing he knew for certain: he wanted to mesh his livelihood with his lifelong love for drawing.
“I didn’t want to do design, editorial illustration wasn’t really working out, and I was sick of working miscellaneous dead end jobs,” Navarro said.
“I had the cliché ‘light-bulb’ epiphany – ‘why don’t I try illustrating comic books?’ Coincidentally the ‘light-bulb’ went off whilst at a comic shop.”
In 2010 Navarro was contracted as the artist for Lore, a locally created zombie comic that was written and produced by Joel Gardiner and Jeff Hodgsons.
He was in charge of every visual aspect of the comic including artwork, pencilling, colouring and inking, which is why the first issue alone took him four months to complete.
“Lore was my first comic experience and it was my first time working with a script,” he said. “The experience helped solidify my decision to draw comics.”
The comic also allowed his creativity to reign free with some of the most vile creatures known to man: zombies.
“They’re so versatile,” Navarro said. “The best part as an artist drawing zombies is designing them; designing their faces with all the scars and what body parts they have or don’t have. You can draw them with arms, no arms, legs, no legs – anything goes with drawing zombies.”
Navarro was first introduced to zombies through the movie Dawn of the Dead, which he admits “freaking scared the hell out of him” back in the day, but he has since become a huge fan of zombie driven work, especially in comic books such as Walking Dead and iZombie.
However, most of the comic books Navarro buys are for the artwork rather than for reading.
“I’ve bought a lot of comics, but haven’t really read any of them yet. Have Watchmen, haven’t read it, I have the Dark Knight, haven’t read it. Most comics I pick by my favourite artists,” he said with a laugh, naming Olivier Coipel and Jim Lee as some of his favourites.
Due to his love for the human anatomy, a lot of Navarro’s personal work includes superheroes from the Marvel and DC universes. His dream is to one day work for these two industry giants – a dream that no longer seems so far out of reach.
After finishing his work with Lore, Navarro spent his time working on his portfolio for FanExpo, a comic convention in Toronto. There he was hoping to impress the Marvel and DC representatives in the portfolio review panels.
“I actually didn’t sleep the night before because I was nervous about making the review list,” he said.
However, he was one of the 10 chosen individuals who had their portfolios looked at by Marvel.
Even though he takes a natural approach to his art, saying he draws everything by eye, Navarro can still easily tell a story with his illustrations – which is what Marvel liked most about his portfolio.
Currently he is putting together samples for the company, working off of X-Men, Spider-Man and Thunderbolts scripts, hoping that one will score him his dream of an artist byline on a Marvel title.
To check out other work by Ian Navarro, check out his website/blog here.
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