Thanks for doing the interview Daniel. I remember when I first got your book. I was surprised to get a book of such high quality submitted to the Co-Op. What started your interest in comics?
Thanks for having me! My love for comics started at a very young age. My wonderful Aunt sent me a drawing I made when I was 3 or 4 that she had been holding onto for all these years. Its Batman and Robin running, and I figured out back then to clip one of the legs at the knee to make it look like they were in mid stride. I may have been smarter back then, cause at 39 I have a ton of trouble drawing someone running!!
What started the love? It had to be cartoons. Super Friends was on back then, and I have very early memories of the 60’s Batman show that was reruns at the time. I was born in 76, so seeing Empire Strikes Back in 1980 was also a very early memory, and that’s essentially a super hero story. Also, I had my Grandpa bringing me comic books from the candy store around this time as well. So I think it was maybe just all around me. And it was something that I just held onto really tightly. Growing up you can get into fads, and as you get older tastes change. But my interest in comics only grew as I got older. My love for break dancing didn’t last as long, that’s for sure.
How long have you been self publishing?
About three years now. But the first thing that got put out was not by me. It was self published by an incredible company called Super Classy Publishing. They essentially self publish themselves, but they have the skill to make their products look absolutely incredible. After that I had put out ‘1976’ on my own, and have been putting out whatever I can since. I’ve done a few very small runs of certain projects, some tee shirts, and the second long form comic called ‘Nutsac’. All told I think I’ve put out about 5 books.
What made you decide to start self publishing yourself?
Well for one thing, if no one else is gonna publish my stuff, I may as well do it myself. But in doing so, I had the opportunity to learn so much more about what goes into making a comic. And in my mind, that’s a plus. If the idea is to work on your craft, and hope that someday some company says “hey, just draw, we will put the work out”, having already put some things out myself can be seen as a bonus. If a company ever comes along and publishes me, they are gonna see how serious I take this. They are gonna know that I have dedicated a lot of time and care into making comics already.
And its pro active. Most folks are not gonna know who you are unless someone puts a book in their hands. Its the greatest business card!
Beyond that, it just feels good to take something from a thought and turn it into a reality. My favorite moment in the process is not a particular drawing, or writing of a scene. Its the moment when you get back from the printer and have this finished book in your hands.
Who has influenced your style?
Lots of music has. I mean, music has influenced my life greatly, and without that information I wouldn’t be the person I am today. As far as actually style… too many to list I would say. but stand outs would have to be John Bryne, Chris Samnee, Alex Toth. Gosh, there’s just so many. That’s a really hard question. You start out tracing some of the greats when you’re a kid, and today I am more influenced by moving objects or film. My big problem with my art is its emotional impact. I’m constantly trying to make a flat image pack a gut punch. So when I sit down and work on a page, Ill try to imagine it like a film in order to find some real moments in there.
What tools do you use to make your comics?
Lately its just been two shades of blue pencil, and then some ink. I go between brushes and markers on the ink side. My whole thing is that I want my pages to have an old school kind of feel to them. So I don’t mess with computers at all in the creation of my work. In a way I would rather a car or something in the background look a little off, but at least look like it was hand made, warts and all.
Love and hearts seem to be a recurring theme in your work I’ve noticed and you use a lot of black and pink. Where does this come from?
Honest answer? I deal with a touch of depression in my life. That was something that I always tried to hide. But over the last few years I’ve been more comfortable with showing that side, and letting it come out in the work. Bummer topic I realize, but I have felt very alone at times, and because of that, I think my brain has put this huge value on the notion of love. Of being in love. Of having someone that accepts you and is there for you. In a way its silly, but I’m old fashioned. But some of the best love I have ever felt, and seen, has been fucking mythical. So I have been trying to carry that myth over into my comics.
What do you get out of making comics?
I get to teach myself some things that keep the brain working. I get to feel good about myself. I get to let some things out emotionally. I get to actualize my dreams and fantasies. I get to give myself a fighting chance that one day I may get to work for myself. I get the chance to talk and meet new people. I get the chance to occasionally make someone else feel good. Making comics gives me a way to hide from the world on some days, and on other days it gives me the chance to add and take part in the world. Mostly though I like making comics because I love to draw.
You can find more of Daniel’s art @birdsinboxes on Instagram