Saturday, February 22, 2014

Artist Interview - Gabe Bush

You know how they say, "It takes a village to raise a child"? Well, publishing a book does not take quite that many, but it helps to have several talented people working together. In this case, Gabe Bush brought his skill as an artist to our little project Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts. Gabe designed and illustrated the cover, as well as some really excellent insets for the chapter headings.

Of course, Loki is not in our book, but I wanted to start this interview showing Gabe's range. He has an impressive background, drawing characters from Asgard to Oz and everywhere in between. And yes, he has done some of them professionally. Now check out the cover for our book:

MM: Gabe, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. Why don't we begin at the beginning? Please share some of your background and where you honed your skill.

GB: I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. As a kid I remember drawing super heroes a lot, the typical ones like Superman, Batman, the Hulk and Spiderman. Every now and then I would draw some landscape scenes too. One landscape scene I remember drawing often were waterfalls crashing against the rocks below. I’m not sure why I drew that so much, a lot of Bob Ross influence I guess, hahaha. I don’t do a lot of landscape scenes now, though I should. Aside from that, I got my associates in sequential art at San Antonio College and interned a few times at a comic company in San Antonio called Antarctic Press.

MM: So, you went from a boyhood fan to an industry professional. I know you work in education. That is definitely a high value for the Dinosaur George Company. George Blasing has a way of attracting like-minded people. Ultimately, it is about the kids. It seems that you have similar goals. Beyond your drawing, what do you like to do?

GB: I like to spend time with my wife and two girls. It sounds cliche, but kids grow up fast and I only wish I had more time to spend with them. In addition to spending time with my family I try to spend time building up my portfolio. Splitting up my time between the things I enjoy doing can be difficult though. Looking back now, I regret not having spent more time and dedication building up my portfolio before I got a family of my own, instead of getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning to do that now. Hindsight right?

MM: When you are doing something you love, there is not much room for regret. It is great that you enjoy your family. For me personally, my wife and children are my motivation. At least in your social media, it appears that yours are the same. You seem to have a very supportive wife who is also your Number One Fan. What do they think of your artwork?

GB: They think it's awesome—at least that's what they tell me! My whole family is very supportive in what I do, my wife especially. So much so that she even saved up money from her photography business that she does, Heidi’s Portrait Design (shameless plug, I know) and had a portion of the garage made into a room to be my very own man cave/art studio. How awesome is that! She’s not too crazy about the buxom beauties that I sometimes draw though—I like the old school pin up art of the 50’s and 60’s (Gil Elvgren is one of the best)—but she is still very supportive.

MM: Old School Pin Ups, huh? Aren't we all entitled to a guilty pleasure? Mine happens to be zombies. I haven't missed an episode of The Walking Dead. As a writer, my job is to use words to create pictures in people's heads. You do things the other way around - taking something out of your head and put it out there for the world to see. Would you say that is the best thing about your work?

GB: I would take that a step further. It's being able to see the fruits of my labor. It's all well and good finishing a piece and seeing it on the computer monitor or on the paper I drew it on, but to actually have something of mine printed out and used by people, shared amongst people, seeing that people like it enough to talk about it, I think that is what is best about it all.

MM: And like the image above from Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts, it really adds something special. Both Dinosaur George and I were so impressed with your work. It transformed our little story and took it to a new level. And we have received great feedback from our young fans. We all enjoy the benefits of our creativity, but tell me what is the most challenging thing about your work?

GB: That would have to be. . . me! I am really one of the hardest critics of my work. I also have a hard time receiving compliments because of it. I’ll finish an art piece and look at it thinking that I could have done better or see the things I messed up on. The other thing that gets me the most is my attention span. I’ll work on a piece and then get an idea or see something that sparks another idea and then I’ll go off and try working on that. I'll keep doing that, until eventually I’ll have all these pieces that have been started on, but not completed. That is probably the MOST annoying challenge.

MM: Oh, the burden of being TOO gifted? Just kidding. I understand where the muse takes you, you have to go. I know you could see something on TV or hear something one of your children says and then you are off on a whole new tangent. It comes down to focus and discipline for any type of artist. I have a sense of what fuels your creativity, but who, or what, influences your artistic style and direction?

GB: Here is another indecisive moment for me. There have been a lot of different artists that have inspired me throughout the years. To name a few and in no particular order, they have been well-known comic artists, Joe Madureira, Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell, Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado, Adam Hughes, to amazing digital artists like Stanley Lau (Artgerm), Warren Louw, Charlie Bowater, Ray Frenden, Loopydave and Serge Birault (PapaNinja) to famous illustrators and designers such as Sam Spratt, Olly Moss, Drew Struzan, Norman Rockwell and Alphonse Mucha!!....ARRRGH! I can’t do it!...I can’t!...I just can’t say that there has been one person who has influenced me the most. I guess that's a good thing though—art is a living thing, it changes with the times and so should your inspiration.

MM: That is an impressive list. I will leave it to our readers to Google those names. I am sure they will have a rich gallery to view. Now, we have come to the part of the interview where I like to have a little fun. Sometimes, I think asking unusual or humorous questions gives us a special insight that the "safe" questions don't. So, going off the path, tell us something that is not common knowledge about you?

GB: I’m not crazy about swimming. I’ll get in the pool every now and then with the kiddoes, but God gave me two legs to walk with, not two fins to swim with, hahaha.

MM: I'm not big on swimming either. I'm sure it had nothing to do with watching Jaws as a young child. As an artist and a big time superhero fan, if you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

GB: Ugh, I'm a very indecisive person, well sometimes I am...dah, see what I mean! I like many characters for many reasons. I like Superman and Hulk because they can fly or jump really high and are really strong (I've had many dreams where I'm flying and upon waking up I've had to actually confirm it was just a dream). I enjoy running, so I also like The Flash because of his super speed. That would be awesome to get around that fast! I also really like Batman and Wolverine for their ferocity, cunningness and fighting skills. Hmm, since you are asking for ANY fictional character, I'm going to have to go with the hardly spoken of character, Superhulkflashbatverine, its a mouthful I know. He exists, really, just take my word for it and don't ask anyone.

MM: Superhulkflashbatverine? Sounds a little suspect, but I will let you have that one if you can produce an illustration. I will be watching for it on your Facebook page (link below). Since you mention both Superman and the Hulk, I will bring up a debate that I have had with my own children. With you being something of an expert, who do you think would win between Superman and the Hulk, if they crossed over from their respective universes?

GB: Hmm, thats a tuff one. Superman was always my favorite growing up, but my wife and kids say that I act like the Hulk sometimes because I can get pretty grumpy, hahaha. I'm going to take the middle road and say that it would be a tie. I imagine that they would both eventually just tire each other out and fall on the ground for a nap.

MM: A draw huh? Sounds like you took the easy way out. Then we will leave it to the readers of this interview - please comment below who you think would win that epic battle. Whoever gets the most votes (Superman or Hulk), will be declared the winner. For the sake of our poll, they exist in our current reality - that means no Kryptonite, no additional Gamma radiation and no other superheroes. Gabe, thank you again for visiting with me today. Let's wrap this up with where people can connect with you.

GB: I have a few places on the interwebs that I hang out at. Like I said earlier, I like pin up art so beware the buxom beauties. Consider yourself warned :P

Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts is available on Amazon Kindle and will be a Kindle Countdown Deal beginning March 20th. You can get it here:

Autographed books are available from the Dinosaur George Store:

Also available from Dinosaur George Media:
(in print at the DG Store or on Kindle)

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. If you enjoyed this interview, please let me know in the comments below or join me on Facebook.