5 in Five with David Marquez

With the announcement that Days Missing is now available on Comixology, I had to talk to artist David Marquez about his work on the series.  We discussed his previous work as an animator and what it’s like to work with a writer/artist.  Enjoy the interview and don’t forget to check out Archaia’s Days Missing, written by Phil Hester.

Shaun Daniels:  Your panel layouts have a cinematic feel to them.  Do you have a film background?

David Marquez:  I had a stint as an animator on Warner Independent’s A Scanner Darkly about five years ago, but I wouldn’t say that had a huge impact on my composition or storytelling style.  I think it’s probably a combination of the influence of certain artists on my style as it developed, as well as a conscious effort to make the stories I draw as interesting and pleasing to the eye as possible.

SD:  How does using a cinematic approach to panel layouts effect the book both artwise and with the storytelling?

DM:  Really, my thought process hinges on trying to capture the “beats” of each scene to build a rhythm.  If I do my job properly, I can find the right layout that keeps the momentum of the story moving forward at the appropriate pace while also arranging all the elements in visually exciting and pleasing ways.  As an example: wide horizontal panels can be very powerful – they tend to slow down the pace, and provide the creators and readers a place to linger on some important element.  At the same time, there are some very strong compositional opportunities in these panels and they very explicitly invoke the familiar widescreen letterbox frame we’re all so used to from film.

SD:  Were there advantages or challenges in working with a writer that is also an artist?

DM:  Oh, working with Phil was a real treat.  As a very accomplished artist, he is constantly giving me really exciting set pieces and action to draw – he sets the bar really high.  I’ll confess that there were times I was pretty daunted by just how ambitious some of his ideas were, but I hope I was able to rise to the occasion.


SD:  You used various angles in panels, be it dog’s eye view or low/high angles.  What was the decision behind that?

DM:  Along the same lines of the cinematic feel you were describing earlier, it’s all about keeping the art interesting and exciting.  Perhaps the most consistent comment or recommendation I received in the years I spent trying to break in was to push the art, in whatever way I could, to the extreme.  The easiest thing you can do to make a panel more interesting is to move the camera away from the standard front-on, eye-level flat shot.

SD:  Boxer, briefs or fig leaf?
DM:  Depends.

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