Today, I am introducing you to James Silvani. Mr. Silvani is a cartoonist and illustrator who has done work for Disney, Dreamworks and more. If you have seen the Darkwing Duck comics that are out now, then you know this great illustrator’s work. Mr. Silvani will be attending the San Diego Comic Con in July. I gotten the opportunity to ask Mr. Silvani a few questions about what he does.
James, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Sure. I’m a comic book and licensing merchandise illustrator. I provide art for everything from apparel to children’s books. I’ve been doing this since *mumble*mumble* (1990) and I live in Hawaii.
Can you tell me when you first realized that creating illustrations was something you absolutely had to do?
Since always. I was very fortunate to have parents that encouraged me to draw while I was growing up. I liked it because it was fun and they liked because it kept me occupied while they went out to dinner. I also had the good fortune to meet PEANUTS creator Charles Schulz when I was 10. I showed him some of my drawings and he told me I was “well on my way” to doing what he did for a living. I don’t think there’s a day I haven’t picked up a pen since then.
Do you have a particular ritual that you do before you start to draw?
Not a ritual per se. Since I do most of my “work” work digitally these days, I warm up with doing a few character head-shots by hand with ink and Copic markers. Just a quick sketch of whatever I feel like drawing that day. I’ll take a stack of those with me to cons. I don’t make prints of my work so that’s a bit of affordable original art that you can find at my table.
You have an art book out now called Draw-a-Saurus. Can you tell me a little bit about that project?
A few years ago I was approached by a publisher to write a “how to draw” book and they asked if I had an area I’d like to cover. Without hesitation I chose dinosaurs. My earliest memories were drawing prehistoric creatures but I never remember there being a really great book covering how to do it. The art books I remember were always instructions on copying a static pose. I wanted DRAW-A-SAURUS to be different in terms of teaching how to draw dinosaurs from the ground up. Starting with simple stick figures to represent the bones and posing them in your own way, then creating the rest of the dinosaur around that. Plus I tried to fill the books with the most up to date paleontological theory to teach as they learn to draw. And any facts I didn’t know, I made up.
You are currently doing a Darkwing Duck comic for Disney. Were you a fan of the property before you started working on it?
I was more of an all around Disney Duck fan. My first comics growing up were the Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge stories by Carl Barks. Those stories were amazing. The art, humor and adventure blended together perfectly. I was in college when the original Ducktales came out but I was glued to my TV every afternoon to watch it. My love of those cartoons rolled over immediately in to Darkwing when that premiered.
How long does it take for you to complete the art for a single issue?
The books are monthly so that’s the schedule right there. Its actually is broken up in the middle because pencils are first sent to Disney for approval. In the meantime, I complete the inks for the previous issue. Don’t let the glamour of doing comics fool ya. It’s a full time job.
Do you have a favorite property that you love drawing that you cannot turn down?
Star Wars. Anything from a galaxy far, far away. I was nine when Star Wars (I’ll call it “A New Hope” when I’m in the ground) came out and nothing has shaped who I am more that that experience. I’m very lucky to do Lucasfilm fine art pieces, mostly silkscreens, for licensee Acme Archives. Not far behind is anything Disney Duck related. My Darkwing writer Aaron Sparrow and I would also love to tackle something from the DC Animated Universe.
You are going to be attending San Diego Comic con, do you have any exclusives that you will be selling for the convention?
No exclusives this year but I will have the original head-shots that I mentioned before. I’ll also have licensed Darkwing Duck comics and prints (no bootleg merchandise at my table, no-sir) as well as DRAW-A-SAURUS.In additions I’ll be taking commissions all weekend long.
If someone wanted to buy a print or comic from you, where would they go?
The Darkwing Duck comics can be found at your local comic shop and the collections, volume 1- Orange is the New Purple and volume 2-Tales of the Duck Knight, are on Amazon and other book retailers. The individual issues are now on Comixology. DRAW-A-SAURUS in at all book sellers. My prints can be found at Acme Archives and Dark Ink Art. Also, the week before SDCC, at the D23 Expo I will have many of my out-of-print Disney prints for sale.
Can you let me know how we can learn more about you?
My web site is silvaniart.com. From there you can find links to all my social media with updated info and art. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr are all silvaniart.
Well James, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. If you want to meet James Silvani, he will be at booth #F-07 (in the Exhibitors section, NOT Artist Alley) on the show room floor at San Diego Comic Con. Give this talented artist a follow on social media and check out his site for more information.