Welcome back my faithful minions! Your Indie Huntress is here to save the day! Yeah, yeah, little old by now, I'm sure. Just think about it, though. I could be your hero. Easily. HERO OF COMICS! Here to protect you from having to take too many anti-inflammatory drugs- for the headaches that the 'big two' often cause. However, before I break out the spandex and scare everyone off, let's talk a bit about Todd Beistel.
He is an American artist from Columbus Ohio. Todd's comic career began while in high school when he and some friends self published their first comic. That experience has led Todd down the path to other comic book opportunities. More recently Todd was the co-creator and artist of, "Yuri: Gypsy Hunter" ,"Yuri: The Awakening" and artist of Broken Icon's, "The Horror Show." I met Todd like nearly everyone else, through the trenches of social media. He has since provided a few glimpses into his work for me, as well as a totally rad commission. Without further holdup, here are the bits you crave....
Todd, thank you so much for joining me today! Tell our readers about how you came to be as an artist.
For as long as I can remember, I've always drawn. I believe it started with the cartoons I watched as a child. I thoroughly enjoyed, "Superfriends" along with, "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" so those were the characters I drew. That lead to, "Star Wars" and such. Eventually, I thought that I had outgrown comics and became active in sports so I could meet girls. I didn't pick up a comic again or draw until '89: when I saw the first Tim Burton, "Batman" movie. I remember out of the blue saying, "I'm in the mood to read a Batman comic book." Then I saw my first Todd McFarlane comic and decided I wanted to draw stories. Art school followed and again, I veered away from comics to pursue gallery work. Sequential art just seemed like too much work. I eventually came back to comics; however, I still found a way to incorporate my fine art into my comic life.
What are some of your methods for your work? What styles are you preferential of?
It depends on the project, and which new method I want to try. My webcomic, "Yuri: Gypsy Hunter" (with Doug Hufford) was pencilled and inked; with an inkwash directly on the board. When I drew Horror Show, I knew I wanted to try toning it digitally. I decided to use blue-line: non-photo blue pencil, inked, then scanned and toned in Photoshop. "Horror Show 2," evolved to where I did full size refined layouts, scanned them, converted the line to non-photo blue, printed them on the board which would then be inked. Then I would scan that and tone it in Photoshop. That method is nice because I have a history of each stage of production which has been educational to aspiring artists. Now, I handle the tones and colors with an app called, "Procreate" on my iPad. My paintings are primarily oil pastel or watercolor pencils depending on the size of the piece.
Who are some of the creators you've joined forces with and on what works?
Way back in high school, I attempted to self publish with a group of friends. My art sucked, but I thought I was on my way to Image. I learned a lot about comic creation and the inner workings of the industry at the time. Then around 2009/2010 my co-worker Doug Hufford and I created a webcomic mentioned earlier, Yuri: The Gypsy Hunter. Yuri was the story of an angsty and bullied teen orphan that discovers he has the ability to blend into any situation. It would gradually develop into a superhero story but over a very long time. We were going to have him exploit his powers over the course of a few years. See what he could get away with. The idea was to have these teen characters in comics, that gain powers and immediately become heroic. That never felt realistic. I wanted a teen that wants to see what he can get away with. Our guy gets bullied on a daily basis, so his first act is to manipulate everybody at the school to turn on each other. He's in a punk band, so music plays heavily into the book. We would even throw in references either in the art or story. I still think it's a solid book and we'll eventually return to it. Yuri then lead me to Broken Icon Comics where I drew The Horror Show with James Maddox. Originally planned as a one shot, The Horror Show gained popularity through word of mouth and some substantially stellar reviews. People asked for more so James expanded on his story and added two more issues. My newest project doesn't even include me as artist. I presented a story idea to Chris Charlton of Assailant Comics and he expanded it to a miniseries. I was planning to draw it but had to back out for personal reasons. No regrets because I wanted to read it myself as a fan.
Tell me more about some of the commissions you've taken on. What are some of your most memorable projects?
I get a lot of Batman requests which is fine with me because he's my favorite character to draw. Occasionally I get some unconventional requests. I had a commission request at Gem City last year where the customer drew a thumbnail of a dream he had that included a venus flytrap like plant with a sword and a castle. The plant was wearing a shirt that said "Save the Rainforest" and there was a can of Miracle Grow behind him. That was a bit different.
Talk to me about, "The Horror Show". What is this comic about, what can we expect next for it and where can our readers find it?
The Horror Show is a 3 issue series written by James Maddox following in the same vein as, "Twilight Zone" and "Tales from the Crypt." It begins with 2 friends hanging out in a log cabin. One doesn't realize the other has set him up on a Scare Tactics style prank show. Suddenly, a swarm of actors dressed as zombies invade the house and it doesn't turn out too well for the actors. I make a point of saying they are actors dressed as zombies because people say "another zombie book?". It's a really hard book to describe beyond that without spoiling the story. It's filled with twists and turns and you can never anticipate what James is going to throw at you next. Issue 3 goes in the most unexpected direction. Issue 3 just came out in April, and we're compiling them into a trade and of course we'll be offering it on Comixology for digital readers.
Creatively speaking, what gets you in the zone? Any particular music you like to listen to or other mind centering preparations?
I like to listen to music or watch mindless movies that I've seen a gazillion times. My favorite performer is Springsteen. Many times I will create a Springsteen channel on Pandora and stream that. Some other stuff I'll listen to is movie scores, old hair metal like Queensryche or Guns N Roses or newer bands like 30 Seconds to Mars. I'll play some comedy. I like just about everything except country or rap.
(Video provided by Todd, from an interview he and Maddox participated in at a show, regarding, "The Horror Show.")
Where can people find your work at and where will you be at for upcoming shows?
My schedule has me at the Jim and Dan Comic and Toy Show in Dayton OH May 30, a store signing at Hazels Heroes in Akron OH June 13, Not at Comic Con Comic Con at Packrat Comics in Hilliard OH June 11, possibly S.P.A.C.E. in Columbus OH June 18 and 19, TriCon Columbus in Columbus OH Aug 22 and I'm getting a table at Ohio Comic Con again in Columbus OH Sept 18-20. I have a few other store signings tentatively scheduled right now and I'd be happy to add more if any store owners or convention promoters want to add me. If so, they can contact me on Facebook or Twitter.
As always you can find me, your 'Indie Huntress' all over the web!
Facebook at: The Indie Huntress
My Facebook group with my partner Michelle: Mayhem and Chaos
And of Course our podcast, "The Mistresses of Mayhem and Chaos"