If you were at NC Comicon this past weekend, you may have seen this amazing new artist.
Shawn McCauley has worked as an illustrator for publishers before but now he has his own project, a webcomic called Shadows Of Oblivion. Shawn started his career by hitting the convention circuit as a hopeful artist and made his dreams a reality. Saturday AM met with Shawn to discuss his early struggles and new venture, Shadows of Oblivion.
Saturday AM: How did you started in comics?
Shawn McCauley: Professionally, I went to a lot of comic book conventions and showed my portfolio around, got rejected every single time, for a little while. After a few years of doing that, Zenescope gave me a call and asked me if I wanted to work on some books. That’s how I got started working with publishers, and in between each gig I would work on my own stuff.
Saturday AM: What manga titles did you read growing up that influence your work?
Shawn McCauley: Manga I didn’t really read when I was growing up. I didn’t get exposed to that until I was an adult, but the manga I do like to read now is Full Metal Alchemist, Pluto is probably my favorite, and of course Dragon Ball Z.
Saturday AM: Did you read more Western titles as a kid?
Shawn McCauley: As a kid, I was a big X-Men fan! It really got me into comics and manga.
Saturday AM: You benefited a lot from attending conventions as an artist. Would you recommend it for aspiring artists?
Shawn McCauley: I recommend anyone going to conventions. If you want to work in Western comics and for publishers, I recommend going to conventions where there are publishers like New York Comic Con, some Wizard World conventions, or HeroesCon. Go there, bring your portfolio, ask for portfolio reviews, and just talk to people.
Saturday AM: Do you have any favorite conventions as a creator that are different as a fan?
Shawn McCauley: Animazement I actually really like. HeroesCon. Those are my two favorite ones. Anime Week in Atlanta is pretty good. Those are the ones I like to come have a table at.
Saturday AM: Shadows of Oblivion—how would you describe it for a new reader?
Shawn McCauley: I describe it as a superhero comic mixed with a Final Fantasy game. You have your heroes and villains, but you also have magic and sword fights and monsters.
Saturday AM: Working with a publisher like Zenescope, do you find it is a collaborative process?
Shawn McCauley: It always is a collaborative process. I usually have a little bit of tweaking of camera angles or pacing of the story. If I’m reading a script and I see something is being repeated a lot, I can say, “I’m finding I’m drawing this thing a lot. Can I change it up to do this?” Sometimes it needs to be that way because the writer wrote it that way, but sometimes the writer didn’t realize there was that repetition.
Saturday AM: What advice would you give for people that want to be artists and illustrators?
Shawn McCauley: Always draw always. Don’t stop ever. I teach drawing for teenagers and younger students who always look at artists that are really great and think they can never do that. They don’t see the 20 plus years of practice they had between 14 and the success in their 30s. You have to keep doing it. It’s not a skill that you’re born with. It’s not a skill you know how to do but an acquired skill. You have to practice and study and practice more than you think you need to practice.