For years, Awesome Art We’ve Found Around The Net has been about two things only – awesome art and the artists that create it. With that in mind, we thought why not take the first week of the month to showcase these awesome artists even more? Welcome to “Awesome Artist We’ve Found Around The Net.” In this column, we are focusing on one artist and the awesome art that they create, whether they be amateur, up and coming, or well established. The goal is to uncover these artists so even more people become familiar with them. We ask these artists a few questions to see their origins, influences, and more. If you are an awesome artist or know someone that should be featured, feel free to contact me at any time at [email protected].This month we are very pleased to bring you the awesome art of…
Devin Kraft is a comic artist originally from Roswell, New Mexico who had the great fortune to live and study in Japan for a year as part of an exchange program with Hosei University. During that time he was able to study the manga industry first hand, in addition to getting to play with all sorts of nifty Japanese pens. To date he’s finished 30+ comics, ran seven successful Kickstarters, and worked for a variety of comic publishers. Currently, he is based in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX.
Kraft has worked with high profile clients such as Capcom, IDW, Sega, Fangamer, and more.
JoBlo: What got you started as an artist?
Kraft: I’m extremely ADHD, and my dad is a lawyer, so growing up to keep me occupied my parents would pass me yellow legal pads to keep busy at legal events they went to. As I grew up, I found if I didn’t draw, I’d talk too much or disrupt class, so it became a sort of a coping mechanism to slow my mind down enough to get in trouble a bit less. I grew up loving the art in video games, and that led me to anime, comics, and manga eventually, and I fell in love with the idea that if you were good enough, you could tell stories for a living. During high school, my friend and I collaborated on making our own comics, and in college, I would draw comics while taking notes. I worked in the film industry for a bit before a brief stint as a graphic designer, after which I went full-time freelance for four years. I’ve been an art director at a design agency for the last few years, but at night I continue to work on comics, posters, and pin designs.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?
I was a teen during Marvel’s Ultimate comics era, so I used to study Andy and Adam Kubert’s art a lot, as well as Frank Quitely’s brilliant approach to page creation. Yasuhiro Nightow (Trigun) was one of my favorite early influences, and I gravitated towards the dynamicism in his art. I was a Wizard magazine fan, so I’d learn about a lot of artists and their notable works through that magazine, collecting whatever I could find. In college, I got to study in Japan as an exchange student, and I spent most of my free time in used book stores picking up the bibliographies of artists like Katsuhiro Otomo, Matsumoto Taiyo, and Terada Katsuya. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention getting into Paul Pope’s stuff around this time too-his ink brush approach was a huge influence on me in my 20s.
Who do you really dig these days, follow on Instagram?
Recently I’ve been really hooked on studying Noriyoshi Ohrai’s paintings. He was a big influence on Terada, and his paintings have some great color choices. Chris Brunner’s art on Loose Ends is pure magic for me. Ronald Wimberly is exemplary. James Harvey’s page compositions and subject matter (and just overall design) are inspirational. I’ve been going through a big Sergio Toppi phase, and I’m so glad his stuff is being translated into the English language.
What advice would you have for budding artists today?
I think you can get anywhere you want to go as long as you are persistent and self-critical (in the right amounts). It’s old hat, but art is learned slowly over time, and that just takes repetition and experimentation. To become a better artist you need to break your bones and let them regrow in correctly-you need to analyze bad patterns, unlearn bad habits, and relearn how to do things constantly. I think as long as you try a lot of things, and always look to better yourself, you’ll get where you’re going more or less.
On a practical note, a lot of people ask me about digital versus traditional, and I think what ultimately makes an artist notable is how they solve problems in manners unique to everyone else, so the medium isn’t as important as how you approach what you are trying to convey.
What should we be looking out for from you in the future?
Currently, I’m working on posting up the pages to the second issue of my Kickstarted comic Neverender on my Patreon. It’s been fun having a place I can show my comic creation process. Doing an indie comic solo, it takes a bit longer to put issues together, but my goal is to do 4-5 issues of Neverender over the next few years.
In addition to the second issue of Neverender, I’m always designing alternate movie posters and pins that I kick up on my Etsy store.
Being a fansite, we have to ask you… What are some of your favorite movies/TV shows of all time?
I’m a total film hipster, (and in recent years becoming more of a prestige TV fan) so I’ll try to keep this list manageable! Film: Magnolia, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Chungking Express, Kurosawa’s Dreams, City of God, I Saw the Devil, The Killer, Magnolia, The Fall
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tekkonkinkreet, Perfect Blue, Ping Pong, Isao Takahata Ghibli films, Robot Carnival
TV: Better Call Saul, Legion, Fleabag, Marvelous Ms. Maisel, too many to list x)
Scroll down to check out some of our favorite art pieces from Mr. Kraft as we continue to follow his journey across his Website and social media hubs: Patreon / Instagram / Twitter / Etsy / Red Bubble.
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: Rogue One
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles