Russell Dauterman) My mom says that I've been drawing since I could pick up a crayon. Back then, my influences were He-Man and the Little Mermaid. That turned into a love of animation, and then a love of comics. Some of of my biggest influences are Chris Bachalo (Generation X!), Bruce Timm (Batman!) and Frank Quitely (anything). I'm also a big fan of vintage poster/advertising illustrators, like J.C. Leyendecker.
CB) I noticed that for children’s books you tend to illustrate differently than you would a comic or costume design. Is this an intentional choice or is it just that the different material calls for different techniques?
RD) My default drawing style - the one that comes most naturally - is what you'll see in Supurbia and other recent comic book work. I'm usually trying for a style that's a mix between stylized and realistic/dark, but that errs on the side of cartoony. Different genres call for variations in that style, though. With costume illustration, clients tend to want the drawings to be more on the realistic side, while I like to push things in a more cartoony direction for children's illustration.
CB) With Supurbia how long did it take you to do the character designs?
RD) I had a week or two to research and play with ideas. I had such a blast with those designs! Grace Randolph, the writer of Supurbia, defined the characters' personalities and traits so well that my job was pretty easy. Since there are 16+ featured characters in the book, the biggest thing for me was wanting to create characters that looked diverse and interesting.
CB) What are you enjoying about the book? What makes Supurbia stand out for the other comics on the shelves?
RD) I'm enjoying everything. Seriously, I've been thoroughly loving this whole experience! I was pumped when I heard the pitch for the series and really clicked with the script. Grace's writing makes me super excited to draw each page. Plus, this is definitely a book I would want to read if I just saw it on the shelves, so that really motivates me in my attempt to make it great.
I think Supurbia will stand out from other comics because of its focus. Supurbia has a lot of the action you expect from a superhero title, but it skews the angle. Not only does the book center on the significant others of superheroes, but, demographically and personality-wise, the main players aren't your typical comic book protagonists. Grace manages to do this is a way that doesn't feel gimmicky or forced, which I was very happy about when I read the scripts.
CB) Being that you have a background with Children’s books and a costume design illustrator, how long is your commitment to Supurbia?
RD) I am committed to Supurbia for the long haul (or, rather, as long as BOOM! will have me)! Grace, our editor, Eric Harburn, and everyone at BOOM! have been super supportive and have made this a dream project for me. Currently, I'm working on the last issue of this Supurbia limited series. Drawing comics is definitely where my heart is, and I would absolutely love the opportunity to continue working on Supurbia after this initial run. (Here's hoping people dig it!)
CB) In your own words can you tell us about the book and perhaps your favorite character so far to illustrate?
RD) Basically, Supurbia is Desperate Housewives with superheroes. The premise of the book is that a team of heroes and their families all live in the same cul-de-sac. The focus of the book, though, is the significant others of the heroes: their wives, children, girlfriends, husbands, etc. So, the real drama of the book centers around how those characters deal with the pressures of ordinary life while under extraordinary circumstances. What's it really like to live with a superhero?
My favorite character is someone you'll meet in issue #2, named Zari. She's the daughter of one of the superheroes and is sassy, smart and stylish (and has killer hair). I'm also a big fan of the Metzger family. Their dynamic is both sad and hilarious, and is pretty unique. Plus, they all have really distinct and exaggerated looks, which make them fun to draw.
RD) No big response. I was just one of a handful of artists illustrating designs by the costume designer. Great experience in seeing the behind-the-scenes workings of the movie, though. Plus, I've always been an Avengers fan, so I was nerding out a lot at work.
CB) What’s after Supurbia for you? Is there another children’s book in your future or a costume design illustration that you can talk about?
RD) I have a few project options in the ether, but I can't really say too much about them, as yet. However, one ongoing pet project of mine is a creator-owned comic that I'm really excited about. I'm illustrating and co-plotting the comic series with writer, T-Bob Bodin. Hopefully, there will be more news on that soon!
CB) Last question, what is one question you hate to be asked? Hopefully it’s not this one.
RD) This one! (I had to say that.) Haven't met an interview question that I hated yet, but I'll let you know when I do. ;)