While I was at Supanova in Melbourne, Australia I caught up with some of the local artists and writers. Walking down the hallways you get a really good feel for the hard work and passion that makes Pop Culture truly great. The writers and artists deck out their booths with examples of their work, production pieces, and copies of artwork. The buzz and collaboration amongst fans didn’t go unnoticed, so I decided to meet and chat with some of the local talent.
I managed to catch up with local Artist Mark Lauthier, whose work is very impressive. Mark made the time to talk me through his artwork, where he was from, and was very humble after I repeatedly complimented his work. I was happy to part with some of my cash and buy a few quality prints.
Mark spent some time with DC Comics News, and we are proud to share this exclusive interview. Enjoy.
1. DCN: Mark, thank you for making the time to chat with DC Comics News. We met at Supanova Melbourne, we really admire your work! Can you introduce yourself to our fans with a short bio of who you are and what you do?
ML (Mark Lauthier): My name is Mark Lauthier, and I’m a self-taught artist from Perth, Western Australia. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and now I draw comics and create artwork for all manner of genres.
2. DCN: If we go back to the beginning prior to you starting your career, what was it that inspired you to go into the field you are in today and why?
ML: That’s a bit of a tricky one for me. I’ve had an interest in drawing for as long as I can remember, and I can’t really pinpoint a single catalyst that got me into comics. I guess I could say that it was the artistic style of comics back in the very early 90’s that drew me in. I grew up watching He-Man, Astro Boy and Thunder Cats, so I think comics were inevitably going to hold some interest for me. Seeing all these crazy characters in dynamic poses appealed to me early on.
3. DCN: Your artwork tends to have an impact, it is unique in its own right. Can you share with us the origin of your style and how it came about?
ML: I suppose my previous answer leads into this one quite well. I do try to create some energy in my artwork which is perhaps where the impact comes from. Whether its movement or a character having a powerful presence on the page, I always want my work to be engaging. If I’m going to spend hours drawing something, I want it to entertain me. The origin of this goes back to those crazy characters in dynamic poses I mentioned. That and manga/anime. The Japanese really know how to communicate movement on the page or screen. I’ve always felt my artistic style was a blend of East and West. I grew up with both so they were always going to influence my work.
4. DCN: When we look at art, especially artwork within the comics industry it has an emotional connection with people. We, as fans invest emotionally into our favourite characters. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to find a connection with your audience when drawing? If so, how does this come out in your work?
ML: Personally my motto has always been, “If I like it, someone else will”. I don’t think I’m unique at all in my artistic taste, so I tend not to over think when it comes to connecting with other people through my art. As I draw characters, I naturally have a connection to them and I think people similar to me will naturally find the same connection. Having said that, if I were drawing a story for an existing character as opposed to a simple pin-up, I would be very mindful to stay true to the character in that particular story. If I take on the responsibility of drawing a character that other creators have worked on and helped develop, I’d want to respect the work that had come before mine and continue the legacy, rather than changing it. I guess through that, the connection of the audience to the character would be continued in my work.
5. DCN: Prior to you starting a piece of artwork, do you have a process or method of preparation that you execute?
ML: Yeah before I start on something new, I start with how it feels. I think about the emotion or mood that I want to convey. When we look at an image, it’s possible to get a sense of it at first glance. If I can convey the right mood in that first moment, the art itself doesn’t have to work so hard. So I think about whether I want strong silhouettes or fine details. I think about angles, whether I want the viewer high or low. Things like that help me get a sense of the piece before I begin. From there it’s on to very rough small sketches for composition etc, before more finished sketches to help get facial expressions and gestures right. Once I’ve got that all sorted it’s on to the actual piece itself. That explanation makes it sound like more of a process than it is. That stuff all happens quite quickly in reality.
6. DCN: In the DC Universe, can you share with us the character(s) that you have a connection with and why?
ML: Batman. Batman, Batman and Batman. Ha ha. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re both incredibly rich and we’re perfect physical specimens. No not really. I think it’s about the fact that he’s a guy that says “I can do that.” He doesn’t have super powers to rely on. Yeah he’s got a bottomless pit of money and crazy gadgets to compensate, but he still has to get out of bed and make the choice to fight. Aussie boys generally have that same “yeah I’ll give it a crack” attitude. I think that’s what it is. The attitude. Give me a few billion dollars and a sweet car, I’ll gladly go out and have a shot at cleaning up the streets, ha ha.
7. DCN: What work are you most proud of within the realms of DC and why?
ML: Within the realms of DC? My girls. To clarify, my portraits of some of the female DC characters. It might not seem like much, but drawing those was a turning point for me artistically. I spent so much of my life drawing muscle dudes, that I had to draw 10 men in drag before I would finally manage to draw a woman who looked feminine. My portfolio was sadly lacking when it came to ladies, so I set about changing that. I also wanted to respect the characters, rather than just drawing sexy ladies. These days I can actually draw women that look like women, and men and women react in a really positive manner to the way I depicted the ladies.
8. DCN: If you look at your career to date, what are you most proud of?
ML: I think I’m most proud of the response that my work has received. Having someone be amazed at what you can do is really something. When I’m at a convention drawing at the table and people want to stay and watch, that certainly makes me feel proud of how far my art has come with practice. If we’re talking about a specific project or art work that I’ve done, it’d be my current work on Icarus 2120 which is my own story. I’ve worked on a few creator owned things in the past, but this is one story that has me constantly excited to work harder and draw better. I’m putting it all up on my website Lauths.com for anyone to read for free. It’s the kind of project that I know is only going to continue to improve as my excitement for it continues to grow.
9. DCN: There is so much buzz around the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film coming in 2016, if you were tasked with providing artwork for the film how would you approach the project?
ML: Damn that’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to start by finding out the motivations for the various characters. Going back to what I said about starting with how the artwork should feel, above all else I’d want my work to convey the right mood and emotions. Character designs, environments and all the rest of it comes second to getting the feel right. That’s where the initial and I think deepest connection to the characters comes from, so if my artwork was going to influence the crew and audience perception, I’d have to start there. Get the mood right and let everything else stem from that.
10. DCN: We receive submissions frequently from fans of their artwork, do you have any advice for those DC fans out there that want to pursue a career in your field?
ML: The best advice I could offer would be “get out there”. I spent way too long just drawing for myself, and it wasn’t until I started exhibiting at conventions that I actually met people who could further my art and career. I wish I became part of that community so long ago since the connections I’ve made have been invaluable. You have to be visible. You have to show others that you can work and that you’re a good person. Almost everyone starts out as nobody in this game. I’m still a nobody in this game, but now I’m a nobody that person’s point to and say “he’s going to be somebody”. I say that with no ego, as it’s a result of meeting other people in the industry and getting advice from them. In the 3 years that I’ve actually been part of an artistic community, my work has improved more than it ever did in over 2 decades of drawing for myself. So get out there. Meet people who will give you honest feedback. Meet other artists better than yourself so that their work and who they are personally can inspire you to be a better artist and a professional.
Thanks for featuring me and my work here on DC Comics News!
DC Comics News would like to thank Mark Lauthier for his time in speaking with us. We wish him all the best in the future!
Proud owner and Managing Director of leading fan sites, DC Comics News and Dark Knight News. Our staff make us truely great!
A technologist at heart who works out every day, has a huge amount of Spotify playlists, loves Aussie Rules Football, and have a lot of Batman shirts! Yes, I love the Batman and Green Arrow.
My Children are my world! Love them with everything I have!