Thursday, 9 December 2010

Adi Granov interview

You know when you say that someone really doesn't need an introduction..? Well this is one of those times, so on with the interview!

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Adi Granov and I am an illustrator and concept designer. I work primarily on Marvel related projects, mostly comics and movies, but a lot of random other stuff too, such as video games, etc. I was born in Bosnia, have spent a third of my life in the US, and currently live in England with my wife Tamsin.

How long have you been drawing? What got you started?

This is one of those chicken and egg questions... I've been drawing all my life and always because I thought it was a lot of fun to create something out of nothing. I became serious about it around the time I was 16. Up until that point I did if purely for fun, but one day realised there was a career to be made out of it.

What or who helped/ or inspired you to paint?

Comics inspired me to draw and my mom encouraged it. I didn't paint at all until I went to art school and to this day I think of my self as a drawer not a painter.

Do you think that being European and coming for that very different school of comics, you brought something different to the very American idea of the superhero?

I suppose so. I think my ignorance of the history and the established rules in the comic world has been of great help to my work and career. I just want to do the kinds of things I like but try to maintain the identities of these iconic heroes. I think the audiences have appreciated my take on the superheroes because it offers something a bit different but attempts to stay true to the characters.

You have a very distinctive and different technique to other artists, are you influenced more by traditional art than by comics?

Technique wise I am mostly influenced by commercial illustrators such as poster and book illustrators. I was specifically very influenced by the airbrush techniques of Hajime Sorayama and Drew Struzan.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the Avengers movie, I am doing Captain America: Hail Hydra covers, and I am in the early stages of the Astonishing Captain America comic mini-series.

Do you ever get really bored when people ask you about (as I'm about to!) Iron Man?

I get bored of drawing him at conventions... But since I continue to work on new designs for him in the movies I am quite happy to chat about it (as much as I can legally). Iron Man has been a huge part of my life and career and I am proud to have been involved in bringing him from the bargain bins to one of the more famous big screen characters.

What is your biggest frustration as an artist?

Lack of time. I always feel that I am at least a day short on every single illustration I do. Time always gets eaten up no matter how well I plan in advance. I wish days were twice as long, but even then I suspect I'd end up in the same situations...

What is or has been a particular highpoint for you?

There are new ones all the time. I suspect you are asking about the professional ones (personal being meeting my wife!), so I have to say possibly when I met Stan Winston and he knew who I was and wrote me a really nice dedication on a poster. At the time I wasn't aware of his illness, but he passed not long after. I feel very fortunate to have met one of the real giants of the effects industry. 

Did your education help or hinder the work you do now?

Hmm, good question... Both. I think it definitely helped with the technical aspects, using the tools, etc. But it is also quite restrictive and a lot of unbridled creativity gets beaten out of you by the house styles of particular schools. I was lucky to have always been very stubborn so I didn't absorb too many of the stylistic ideas, which would've been a mistake. For instance I was advised by one of my professors to abandon linework and focus purely on value, and since a large part of my style, and its appeal, is linework I would say I was wise not to follow that advice.

What is your work regime if you have one?

I don't have a specific regime, but I have patterns and habits. I just work as much as I can every day, which usually means long days. But I also like to take time off randomly to recharge. I dislike the idea of regimented weeks with specific weekends, so I try to avoid those kinds of schedules as much as possible. I've been very busy lately with the movie work as well as the covers, which has meant I've had very little time off the past few months.

What else other than art is important in your life?

My wife and family closely followed by my classic Lotus car, the rebuilding of which is my main hobby. I love mechanical things of all kinds and have a real thing for watches. In general I really like anything that has taken skill and ingenuity to design and build, be it a vacuum cleaner or a jet fighter. I also love learning about history, particularly the politics and wars which have shaped our modern world and society. And I am a huge lover of science fiction!

Where can people find out more about you? 

Adi, thank you very much for your time!

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