Will Sliney

Will Sliney is a comic book artist who has worked for Marvel and Star Wars. He thinks that the job of his art is to tell a story, to bring a script to life in the best way possible so that the reader feels the emotions he wants them to feel while experiencing the story.

Will Sliney is a critically acclaimed comic book artist who has drawn some of the biggest comic books of all time including Spider-Man and Star Wars.

Will has produced and starred in the TV WILL SLINEY’S STORYTELLERS (RTÉ) as well as RTÉ's home school hub.

His viral art movement #WEWILLDRAW was featured in The New York Times, BBC News, GQ, Vogue, IGN, CBC, CNBC and more.

What is art?

To me, art is the pursuit of constantly studying, trying to improve and create within amedium that you are motivated to do so with an unshakeable love for it.

Is art important?

Of course.

Why is art important?

Art takes the ordinary, and makes it extraordinary. It allows the artist to express what they enjoy the most, which can allow the viewer to adore it in their own way.

Do you have a favourite type of art?

No surprises here but its comic book art. I will be reading, learning from and enjoying it for the rest of my life.

What is the job of art (or of artists)?

I think that depends on the piece or the genre. There can be many motivations to create art. The job of my art is pure storytelling. My "art" is to take a script and bring it to life, telling the story in the best possible way to make the reader feel the emotions we want them to feel while experiencing the story. Comparing it to a movie, I need to fill the roles of the director, the actors, the director of photography and more, using all the techniques they use with the characters I draw.

What is your job?

I am a comic book artist. I've been drawing for Marvel comics for the last ten years. Working on titles such as Spider-Man and Star Wars. Every four weeks a new issue will hit comic book stands around the world, each one of those issues is 20 pages. I draw each one so its a pretty full on job in which I have to be able to draw anything the writer throws at me.

When did you know you wanted art to be your 'job'?

I didn't know it could be a job when I was younger. It wasn't until I was in college that I realised there could be a viable career in it. While studying multi-media in CIT I began to research the world of comics, how they were made, and if it was possible for me to have such a job. I really care about making sure that people in Ireland know that you can have a career like mine from here. It doesn't matter where in the world you are based, if you practice hard enough in illustration, then there are many careers that support it

Did you study art in college?

I had a couple of illustration classes in my Multimedia course which really stood to me. One of the lecturers spotted my interest and really pushed me as far as he could, knowing I would respond. I'm very thankful for that class.

What has your artistic journey been like?

Illustration wise it always feels like learning new skills, adding them to my process to hopefully constantly improve. Drawing comics is one of the hardest forms of art. We have to be able to draw anything in a very short timeframe so there is a lot ofexploration and technique learning with each story. Part of that journey, I guess physically was definitely travelling to every comic book convention I could, all around the world, trying to show my artwork to any comic book company or artist that would look. Getting as much feedback on my art to help improve it in any way I could, so I could get closer and closer to turning it into a full time job.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I guess I would tell him about the job. That the stuff I loved to draw is something that could one day be my job.

Describe how you make your art?

I'm part of a team that makes the comic. The editorial team keeps everything running smoothly. The writer writes the script of course. I do two traditional comic roles, the pencilling and the inking. Essentialy I create the black and white line art which is handed over to the colourist, before the letterer finishes off the page.

My process involves thumbnailing and plotting out each page when a script comes my way. Figuring out the best layout to tell the story. Then I gather any referance needed before setting out to draw the page. I work digitally most of the time so I build up the page in layers. Starting with simple shapes, before refining the anatomy, adding in the clothing, background details, direction of the lighting etc. I take all that then start a fresh layer as my inking layer which will be the final image.

How do you know if you are a good artist?

Honestly, I think simply if you have a desire to improve your art by learning more. Anyone who has that desire, no matter what level they are at is a good artist for me. What I love about art is that you will never, ever master it. There is always something new to learn, there are always new challenges. It keeps it constantly interesting.

Is an artist statement important to you as a viewer?

Yes, I want to hear what is important to each artist. What motivates them to create. What they want to learn, where they want their artwork to go.

This year’s theme is ‘This Is Extraordinary’. How would you interpret the theme?

That brings it back to one of my early answers. Art takes the ordinary, and makes it extraordinary. It allows the artist to express what they enjoy the most, which can allow the viewer to adore it in their own way.

What advice do you have for young artists?

I think younger artists especially can get frustrated with their own artistic abilities. My advice is that this feeling is common amongst every artist, at every level. I think it happens because your brain can improve faster than your hands, the artistic results you can envision in your mind before you start a piece may not be achievable yet because the muscle memory in your hands isn't there yet. But like playing the guitar or kicking a ball, it will come with practice. By the time you finish any piece and take it in, by the very process of doing it, you have learned from it and your mind is keen to do better because of what it learned on that journey. So don't be frustrated with your art, as each piece you make is a part of the puzzle to get you to where you want to be artistically.