We Talk Shahrazad with Mike Krome

krome001Mike Krome is relatively new to the field of comics but he has already made his mark.  Working for a variety of companies he has proven his ability to make stunning covers, but perhaps his best work yet was on the visually impressive Shahrazad.  Originally from Big Dog Ink, this series was republished by Aspen after having purchased the rights.  This gave Mike’s art a second chance to shine.  We got a chance to talk with him about the series.

Graphic Policy:  Can you tell us your inspirations for comic book art?

Mike Krome:  They come from everywhere…mainly other great comic books I grew up with, but also just the infinity of fantastic art being pumped out all over the world in the form of graphic novels, game art, concept art, fantasy illustrations, etc. It’s hard to spend 5 minutes on a social network of other artists and not be inspired.

GP:  In the case of Shahrazad, the character is one based off of a variety of genres. How did you come up with the idea for her appearance with everything that she is associated with?

MK:  A lot of that was already planned out by the writers and creators, with the exception of some costume ideas. For that, you just sort of play around with the genre you’ve chosen until you have something that looks good, and also that you can easily draw multiple times.

krome003GP:  When you are drawing an already established character, what do you do to put your own spin on them? And is it easier to start with a pre-established character or to create a brand new character?

MK:  Both are fun…I enjoy creating stories and characters from scratch, but it’s a enjoyable challenge to bring someone else’s world and concept to life, too. That’s mainly what you’ll be doing anyway, when starting off in comics. I don’t really give much thought to “my own spin”…I just try to make the illustrations look as good as possible, and within that, like with most artists, eventually a recognizable uniqueness comes through.

GP:  Some of your female character could be said to be a bit over-the-top, but what do you do to make sure that you have not gone too far with them?

MK:  Ha, depends on what I’m working on, or who it’s for. Be it Pin-up, Erotica, Book covers, or Posters, there’s not really any generic “female character”, but you do have to use your head and think about what it’s going to be used for and who you’re targeting. You get much more savvy at this as you go, learning to diversify your work too, because much as I enjoy them, everything cant be a curvaceous pin up. Aesthetically, I’m still very much learning too, so feedback from other artists and friends is valuable.

krome002GP:  You are also known for creating some eye catching covers. How do you approach cover design considering the story inside?

MK:  It doesn’t always relate to the story, but I prefer it when they do. I’ll generally get a loose description from the editor, and then come up with a bunch of thumbnail ideas. The ideas aren’t the hard part but picking one out of half a dozen definitely can be. I try to think of what would make me stop and have a second look if I saw that cover in a row of others.

GP:  If you know that you are designing a variant cover, does it give you more freedom in your choices?

MK:  Sometimes. Again, I’ll often get a loose description, as usual, but when the words “do whatever you like” are used, that can be fun.

GP:  Are there any characters that you would like to get a chance to draw?

MK:  Characters like Dejah Thoris and Red Sonja are a lot of fun to draw, and I’d love to do some cover work for them some day!

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