Oliver Harud is an illustrator and comic artist. His first graphic novel, Dan and Sam, written by Mark Watson, an award-wining stand-up comedian and author, is now available in all good bookshops, not to mention the bad ones.
How long have you been drawing comics?
Is all my life a silly answer? Dan and Sam is my first book and it took several years to make because it was fitted in around other work and general life stuff, but I have always loved comics. Comics are the reason I went to University, and for a long time all I wanted to do. After Uni and I fell into storyboards and shooting-boards for advertising. It was a good training ground, and it paid well, but suddenly ten years had passed! Now, finally, I feel like I have something to offer the comic world.
Describe your style in a word.
OliverHarud. No seriously. I had a little epiphany a few years back; I was trawling the internet, looking at all the amazing artists that are out there in the world, and always judging my work against the best last picture I had seen, no matter what the style was. that’s when I realised that all I had to do was be the best OliverHarud I could be, and that way my work would be the best it could, be as genuine and honest as it could.
Where did you get your training?
Weeeeeell, at University, but that was only for three years, and I have been drawing seriously for thirty years, so I guess mostly self taught, you never stop learning and getting better.
Do you have a favourite flavour of genre fiction?
I think it would probably be Magic-realism closely followed by Sci-Fi with High Fantasy a very close third.
Tell us how Dan and Sam came about.
Cold calling on MySpace. Yup this project has been a while in the making. As a freelancer I often do splurges of mail-outs or networking to drum up business. At the time I was fully involved in storyboarding, but I was spamming comedians that I admired to see if they needed posters or flyers done when Mark replied asking if I was interested in collaborating on a comic he wanted to write. He had, at that point, written several novels but had this idea for a ghostly comic and was I interested.
What’s the book about?
Decisions and love, but mainly about getting on with life and the tough choices you have to make to progress. You have to close some doors, no matter how hard it might be to keep growing as a person.
Who are your favourite comic artists working today?
…. me? Ha ha. No, that is a really tough question, there are so many and they are all so different and so good. I was asked in another interview recently to name ten comics that I would recommend and my Facebook friends came up with tonnes more that I could have as easily gone with. To answer in a short snappy way I can wholeheartedly say I am currently hooked on Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
If you were given the reigns to draw any top shelf comic character, which would it be?
You know, I would rather do my own creations, but if I could draw someone else’s character I’d probably go with Halo Jones… or Tank Girl
Do you have any desire to write your own stories or are you content facilitating the narratives of others?
Collaborate! I’m not a pen-pushing monkey! Dan and Sam was very much Mark’s story but he gave me full resign to create it my way. He wrote it and I directed it. I have really thrived in the collaborative creative process, it is how I would like to work from now on. I think it produces art that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Would you ever consider publishing your work independently?
If I had to, but it is bloody hard work to get your material noticed, even when you are embedded in a publishing house. To do it independently would just make that job even harder.
What does the future hold for you? Apart from your body gradually succumbing to sag, decrepitude and, ultimately, death (you’re going to die). But immediate-career-wise, gimme the lowdown (seriously, you’re future worm food).
I have three comic books I want to publish, one my own creation – a feisty female princes fantasy adventure – then two collaborations with brilliant writers. The first is a dark urban re-telling of Wind in the Willows and second a magic realist King Arthur story.
Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked but didn’t?
“How do you get your hair so glossy?”
You can get yourself a copy of Dan and Sam by clicking the pic below.