FUMETTOMANIA INTERVIEW: DOUGLAS KLAUBA

banner_FMpresenta_Klauba_468x60_modificato nel 2016Introduzione

di Mario Benenati

Haïfa è un’agente di autori di comics e di illustratori, che lavora per delle Gallerie espositive tra Montreal e Parigi; l’anno scorso ha organizzato un evento dedicato a Barbara Canepa, con tanti artisti che hanno realizzato dei tributi disegnati poi esposti e venduti a Montreal. Da una serie di messaggi su FB, ci siamo conosciuti, ad Haifa sono piaciuti alcuni artisti legati a fumettomania, tra cui Giuseppe Orlando, Alessandra Bracaglia, Barbara Nicora, ed il passo successivo è stato quello di coinvolgerla, nei limiti dei suoi impegni di lavoro, nei nostri progetti.
Questo è il suo primo intervento, lo pubblichiamo nella versione originale in inglese ed in italiano.
A nome mia e di Glamazonia do il benvenuto ad Haïfa Adam e la ringrazio per la sua passione e professionalità.
Mario Benenati

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Article:

You might know the City of Chicago for the President of United States Barack Obama, or maybe for the some of the biggest names in the sports industry, The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are one of the most recognized basketball teams in the world. During the 1990s with Michael Jordan leading them, the Bulls took six NBA championships in eight seasons (only failing to do so in the two years of Jordan’s absence). The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey Ligue (NHL), who began play in 1926, have won four Stanley Cups. The Blackhawks are the 2010 Stanley Cup champions. And who could forget the fire in 1871 that had almost the city disappear, but i know Chicago for its most beautiful museums, art galleries that i have come through in my Comics career. Follow me as i take you to the world Of Douglas Klauba, one of my favourite american artists of all times, extreme precision, so talented, and a technique that is out of this world !

fm_19bis_CrAvengerDouglas Klauba has created cover artwork for books featuring such famous characters as Zorro, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Doc Savage, The Avenger, The Spider, and The Phantom, among others. His dramatic style, influenced in part bythe pulp magazine and early movie poster art of the 1930’s thru the 1950’s, is known as “Heroic Deco” and has earned him acclaim from collectors and clients around the world.
Doug’s cover paintings for The Phantom from Moonstone Books are recognized as fan favorite sand quickly became Moonstone’s signature cover artist for not only the Ghost Who Walks but also for a number of their pulp and crime titles.

Being a fan of pulp characters and golden age comics for a number of years seemed to prepare Doug for his collaboration with Alex Ross on the Dynamite Entertainment monthly series Project: Superpowers. For the debut issue #0, Doug was one of the artists on the story, working on the present day pages in front and back of the issue. For the continuing series, Project Superpowers Chapter Two he painted two page origins preads of heroes from the golden age such as The Black Terror, The Death Defying ‘Devil, and The Green Lama.

In addition to hispublishing work for companies including Harper-Collins, Dynamite Entertainment, DC/Upper Deck, Olympian Publishing and Moonstone Books, Klauba is also ahighly sought-after commercial illustrator. He counts among his clients IBM, Paramount Parks, Pappasito’s Cantina, the Bradford Exchange, Crossway Books, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bears and Radio Archives, just to name a few.

Upcoming projects include Cursed Pirate Girl: “The Royal Portraiture”, a series of crime/noir covers for Radio Archives collections of old time radio detective shows, as well as developing “New Dreaming Men”, an allages sci-fi pulp adventure series with writer Aaron Shaps. Plus more!

Doug’s paintings have been included in the art annuals of Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art and the Society of Illustrators. His painting “Mercury Jack” was among the 250 works exhibited in the Spectrum Show at the Museum of American Illustration and his painting “da Vinci’s Dream” was awarded Best in Show at the 2005 World Fantasy Convention.

Bref. Interview

1. at what age did youknow you wanted to be an illustrator/comic artist ?

Douglas Klauba: I can not think of a time that I was never an artist or knew what I was going to do. My family supported me in my interests, especially because both sides of my family have artists, designers, performers and creative professionals. Growing up I was very aware that my uncle was a Chicago illustrator and designer that worked for one of our large newspapers. He was also a fine artist and we often visited hisgallery shows (and still do). Anything visual excited me as a young developing artist and early on I was very curious about anything “fantastic” like science fiction and fantasy.

Because of the wonderfully and brightly colored comics, I was drawn to them. I started out collecting Classics Illustrated, mostly because I was a good reader and enjoyed books like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Three Musketeers…. A lot of those comic books were passed down to me by my father and uncles. By the time I hit my teen years I had a great group of friends that shared my interests. We often collaborated onour own comic book stories, published fanzines, made Super 8 movies and recorded “old time radio” dramas. So, I have always been on this path to pursue my interests. I was always surrounding myself with comics, illustration, film and music.

When I arrived at the American Academy of Art in Chicago I had intended to be the best comic book illustrator I can be but by the time I had finished the program, the school had given me the skills and interests beyond what I expected. After I left art college I immediately was employed at an illustration studio that provided design and finished art for Chicago ad agencies and design firms. Before I knew it, I eventually became the senior illustrator and “forgot” about comic books and pursued commercial illustration. Skip ahead a number of years and still a comic book fan who attended conventions (as a fan) I began to incorporate my interests more and more into my commercial portfolio. Seriously, my portfolio was professional BUT it only showed what I can do and not what I wanted to do. Which was pulp inspired paintings, film and entertainment inspired paintings and mostly comicbook characters. That eventually started once I began working with Moonstone Books.

fm_19bis_ToBeCont12. where did you study andhow long did it take?

D.K.: I studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. I took as many classes as I can there, in both departments: fine art and commercial art. Once I had a strong interest in pursuing illustration I immersed myself in every medium I could get my hands on, watercolor, pastel chalks, oil paint andacrylic paint. After graduation, all these skills were later used anddeveloped further at the studio. Later on, I left the studio, moved to San Francisco and studied at the Academy of Art University. There was an opportunity there for me to study with all of my favorite illustrators: Thomas Blackshear, Kazuhiko Sano and Drew Struzan.
I re-did my portfolio, ranout of money and returned to Chicago and started my own studio. It was an exciting time for me and look back on it with wonderfulmemories. It truly shaped me into the illustrator that I am today.

fm_19bis_OriginMrFace3. You worked with Alex Ross, could you tell us about your collaboration ?

D.K.: We both went to the American Academy in Chicago, we have mutual friends and we’ve often crossed paths over the years. Eventually, we became good friends, sharing very similar sensibilities, interests and saw each other in our social circles. I would invite him to shows and Alex would inviteme to shows. Alex also inspired me into seriously pursuing comic book illustration, full-time. I admire his work. He’s an artists’ artist. An artist that other artists admire for their workmanship and craft. Alex had been seeing my work at Moonstone, specifically The Phantom covers I was painting and some of my paintings that were in the Spectrum art annuals. So, he called one day to catch up and chat abit. He then asked if I would be interested in working with him on upcoming projects. I, obviously and immediately said, “Yes”! I consider Alex a master of comic books. I’m proud to call him a friend but I saw a great opportunity to see comics through his eyes and learn how he works on a comic book project.

I was initially asked to contribute pages for the debut issue of Project Superpowers. I did page layouts and Alex looked them over for me. Fortunately, I did pretty good and later on Alex recommended that I would illustrate the Origin backups in the following series, Chapter Two. That was more of a collaboration as I rarely received scripts for the origins. Alex handed me rough layouts to work from, which actually worked well. Alex basically wrote those origins a lot easier as drawings instead of typing them out. Again, it was an incredible learning process for myself as an artist. I’ve often stated it elsewhere, but I’m happy to tell you that Alex is great to work with. He’s incredibly gracious, professional and thankful for your effort. Andwhen I would “nail it” in the painting, he would send amessage and say stuff like, “this is great”! and “greatjob”. I am very thankful that Alex let me work in his super hero arena.

4. i saw your last exhibition at the Century Guild art Gallery in Chicago, tell us more about it.

D.K.: Century Guild is my favorite gallery in Chicago. I am not aware of another like it elsewhere. They have incredible works of art, from original art nouveau paintings, drawings, ceramics, jewelry and antique parlor to contemporary symbolist works of art. They have one of the most exciting booths at San Diego Comic-Con and also a publishing group, Olympian Publishing that publishes wonderful artbooks, prints and my favorite comic book, Cursed Pirate Girl. I have a long relationship with the gallery and when they were planning this current exhibition around silent film they called an asked if I can contribute black and white portraits of silent film starlets. The owner of the gallery, Thomas Negovan had seen my preliminary work for my own series in development, New Dreaming Men. They were a series of painted black and white portraits of the characters – and he liked them very much. He wanted the starlet portraits in the same way and I was thrilled to be involved. And happy to say the portraits are selling very well. Also New Dreaming Men is moving along fine and the plan is to havethe “prologue” (or first chapter) ready for Comic-Con this summer. Time is ticking away….

Please feel free to go and check out Douglas on these pages:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/douglas.klauba
Blog: http://douglasklauba.blogspot.com/

fm_19bis_batmanCovers for Moonstone Books:
Legacy of the Invisible Man
Kolchak:The Night Stalker series and prose collections
The Phantom (trade paperback collections, first monthly series, prose collection)
The Phantom: Generations (cover collaborations with artist and friend Ruben Procopio)
Jack Hagee: Private Eye
The Lone Wolf
The Spider
Doc Savage Radio Scripts
The Avenger (Limited Edition cover)
Zorro (prose anthologies)
The Green Hornet (soon to be released prose project)

Sequential work for Moonstone:
“Raja Yah”, 10 page. black and white story for Moonstone Monsters series: Ghosts.

Sequential work for Dynamite Entertainment:
Project Superpowers #0
Project Superpowers Chapter Two (series of two page origins)

Misc:
Collectible card illustrations for DC VS (DC/Upperdeck)

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