B-Squad Banter with Artist Lauren Monardo
Lauren was the first artist for B-Squad: Soldiers of Misfortune and rendered the initial designs for most of the characters that appear in Volume One. I met Lauren through my previous webcomic, "Eben07: Covert Custodian", and quickly became a fan of her webcomic work on "The Slightly Askew Adventures of Inspector Ham & Eggs."
Tell us a little bit about how you decided to get into illustrating comics?
Always loved animation and comic strips. Growing up, Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett were king. As I got older and started collecting comings I was all about Jim Lee, Ty Templeton (those Batman Animated Series comics, hell yes!), and other icons of the time. Then I came across Scott McDaniel's work on the Nightwing series penned by Chuck Dixon and that settled it, he was my idol.
What are your preferred implements for illustrating?
It really depends! For B-Squad I went Micron pens of varied line width and Strathmore smooth bristol board, then Photoshop to color. Other times I like to ink in Flash and bring into PS to color (always PS to color), or sometimes the whole thing in Photoshop from sketch to finished. Depends on what I'm drawing, what style, and what the piece's destiny is (i.e. art print, simply digital, etc.)
What was your favorite illustration in B-Squad made either by you or a colleague?
One of the things I adore about B-Squad is the sheer variety of styles and level of talent Eben has managed to muster! (Not counting myself, here.)
It is so hard to pick just one particular piece. That being said, I do really love that first group shot Sean Sutter did!
What aspect of working on B-Squad did you find the most challenging?
Oh man, probably the backgrounds. I am no good at background illustration. I feel badly, because I certainly think it shows in spots. Eben's scripts are lush and packed with all sorts of great action and locales, he doesn't pull punches as a writer; and as an artist it pushes you to try to elevate your game and bring your best! I certainly did try my best to keep up, but ...those damn backgrounds! It's just an area I really need to work on.
Who is/was your favorite character so far?
When Eben and I first started work on this we used to laugh because the tagline, or a tagline was "Don't get attached". And man did I get attached. I'll always love the first 6 squaddies, they will always hold a special place in my heart. That being said, I think Jean Paul and Sully are/were my favorite characters.
What are you working on now?
Taking a long, possibly permanent break from comics and returning to my first love of animation. Right now I'm doing storyboards and storyboard revision on Nick Jr.'s Blaze and the Monster Machines!
What other culture, comics or otherwise, is inspiring your work the most right now?
That's a tough one. People ask me and I always forget, because so many artists and creators inspire and influence me. I mentioned before Scott McDaniel, Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Ty Templeton (and of course, Bruce Timm); they'll always be in the back of my head. Mike Avon Oeming, Mike Mignola, Jeff Smith (can we put that in bold italics? Cause oh man, Jeff Smith is amazing), Meredith Gran, Kate Beaton, Rebecca Sugar... my sister - Carly Monardo - she's fantastic, some of her stuff really blows me away and being a twin and having such a talented sister, it really pushes you. I'm so blessed to work and have worked with such amazing people and artists -- Dan Bethel, Craig Rousseau, folks at Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network like Danny Hynes, Rebekie Bennington, Jon Roscetti, Kevin Kobasic, Manny Galan, Pat Giles, Niki Foley -- I mean the list goes on and on!
Is there an artist who you'd like to see illustrate B-Squad in the future?
Oooooh...that's a tough one!! ...no it's not, Jeff Smith. Fuck yeah!
Check out all these sweet adopted Mogwui that Lauren drew for backers from Issue One!