Rick Penaloza intervied me for a class thing.
I figured I'd throw it up here too.
> Tell me a little about yourself, how would you describe a typical day
> in the life of Brandon Graham?
I'm a 30 year old dude that lives on the low end of the world drawing comics.
I live teetering on the edge of Seattle's china town with all the mysteries of the orient right outside my door. in a tiny apartment with 2 other comic artists, Corey Lewis and Jacob Ferguson. I get up most days at around 9 or 10, my roommates sleep in much later than me so the mornings I'm all alone to do all the alone thinking I need to make comix.
The way I prefer to work is to have a penciled page from the night before ready to go so i can ease myself into it. I feel like it takes an hour or 2 of really being into it to really do my best stuff. Sometimes it isn't that way and sometimes I scrap whatever I did the night before and start fresh.
Some days I need to get out and work at a coffee shop, It's hard to be at the same desk all day. Everyday is different.
> At what age did you know you wanted to become an artist?
My mom says that I first told her that I wanted to draw comics when i was seven, I don't have any memory of it, It's kind of always what I've done.
> How did you manage to become a published artist despite the fact that
> you're a high school drop out?
I dropped out so i could do comics, at least that was the plan at the time.
I didn't get my first book out until I was 19.
It was rough at first, I mean it still is.
I did lots of barely paying work and ended up drawing porn comics just so I could eat and draw the panel to panel stuff.
There's gotta be better ways to do it. last night I was talking with a bunch of my comic book friends who I've got years on. I've got the career of a man half my age. I feel like only now I'm starting to get some notice, in year 11 of being printed.
> How often do you and your editors/publishers get into arguments? Do
> you have to fight for "creative control"?
There's some minor stuff sometimes, Tokyo pop was frustrating at first because they wanted me to tell them everything I was going to draw before I drew it. I'm used to just working off of a real rough idea and making it up as I go. I get more freedom with them now.
There was a thing where the production dudes kept messing with the saturation of my cover colors and I found that really frustrating. I was going through cancer surgery at the time so to be a dick I wrote them an email about not messing with my choices and signed it "serious as cancer" I didn't think I'd have many chances to use medical conditions as leverage. It's so life and lemons.
I think that lots of my ideas come off weird when I first try to explain them, Oni press was wary of doing the multiple warheads book when I told them it was about a werewolf with 2 penises. I think they were relieved when they saw that the final work wasn't all that gratuitous.
> Your grandfather was Bill Randall, do you think it influences you
> artistically? Whom else has influenced you?
I think I was influenced by my moms stories of growing up with a dad that drew pin up ladies, I think there were models used. Really i didn't really see much of his work until I was all grown up.
I like his stuff but they all look like young versions of my grandma. Maybe my grandkids will say the same about me.
My big brother had a huge impact on me, he's an artist and it was the comics he showed me that really sparked my love of the stuff. Moebius and matt howarh books were like getting bitten by a radioactive spider--with great power comes great responsibility, now go to work!
Also in my late teens I was really excited by the graffiti scene in seattle, especially since I had no contact with any scene for comics. Graffitti was great in showing me that you can really have so much fun with drawing and draw anything you want anywhere you want.
I remember seeing a photo of a toast peice of a penis farting out his name and being like 'oh shit!"
> What project are you currently working on?
right now I'm about 40 pages into the 180 pages of King city 2 for Tokyo pop. I'm trying to beat the first book.
and I'm just starting the 2nd Multiple warheadz, it's all werewolf drug use and there's a car with aligator legs that poops.
Also i've got a color story about an austronaught that finds the planet god lives on but god dosen't speak english.
> What has been your favorite project you've worked on so far?
I really like the characters in king but my big plans for multiple warheadz keep me really excited to work on that.
I think I'm most proud of King city but it's also just a lot longer than anything else i've done.
> What advise would you give to aspiring artists, or anyone else
> interested in perusing a similar career?
Man, there's lots of stuff. "More than one hand on a gun just makes more prints."
I think the main thing that's important to me in having to live off this art is to not let the industry and your work become the same thing. Draw and write what you need to.
The way I live is far from a sucessfull buisness model, but I have fun.
you know, follow your rainbow.
> What else do you hope to accomplish in future years to come?
I've got big plans. I'm into the idea of making books for other countries. i wanna make french comics for guys with pencil thin mustaches and sexy ladies in striped shirt to read over tiny little coffee cups.
I'm really into the idea of making multiple warheads into a long series of books .like a tin tin or asterix but with more tit's and swearing.
It's always a weird mix of wanting to make books that are for mature adults and still keep that subversive heavy metal comix you don't want your mom to find feel.
Listening to: ac dc
Reading: sentances (D-pi)
Watching: TMNT (the old mike turney one)
Eating: mc's for brunch