Mark McKenna is one of my inker buds. He’s been inking a long, long time and is still at it, BUT he’s doing his own projects like Combat Jacks and Banana Tail. I doubt he stops there, so let that be a lesson to you! -Bill
What inspires you to create and keeps you going? Ideas! I have developed stories to tell over my 32 yrs of being a “work-for-hire” artist stuff, possibly that I loved as an active reader and wanted to add my take on the subject or genre.
Do you have a set routine? I did when I was on regular books at Marvel and DC. Most of the work I’d generate would be after 6pm to maybe 2, 3am but it had also to do with being a father to my little kids. Now, because I have created my own projects I meander to the drawing board anytime after 10am, my kids are out of the house, but not because I kicked ‘em out. They’re adults now 🙂
What kind of output do you try to achieve? A page a day is what I always tried for minimally when I was inking comics on a regular basis. If I was doing 2 books a month, I would try for 2, possibly 3 a day, but I’d bring in an assistant to do backgrounds so I could keep the work moving.
When I write my own stuff, as I do with Banana Tail or Combat Jacks, I’ll usually type any crappy synopsis on my desktop just to get the ball rolling and then go 5 or 6 edits or rewrites to get it, hopefully sensible and a smidge exciting.
What inspires you WHEN you create? Music? Noise? Silence? Usually bad horror movies as background noise.
Who was the first comic book creator that influenced you to pursue this? Boy, I don’t recall. I think John Romita’s Spider-Man was huge, and I was and still am a huge Brain Bolland Judge Dredd fan and everything he did after that…
When did you realize you could follow this path yourself? When I was in college about to graduate the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I met with the Illustration dept head and he introduced me to Sal Almendola, who was the new talent coordinator at DC Comics at the time. I inked some samples and once Sal said to me that he thought if I stuck with it I could become a professional, that all I need to hear, then it was full-steam ahead!
What do you find to be a challenge in creating? Certainly the writing and when I have to redraw something that isn’t quite right in pencils.
What else do you have to learn? I’m a good idea man, but I can always improve in the scripting and you can never draw enough.
What keeps you motivated to get better? I don’t think at this point I’m motivated to get or can get better. I’m def past my zenith at 32 yrs and counting. I’ve worked on over 13,000 pages of art. I do feel like I perhaps understand the fundamentals better than when I started out and reminding yourself of the simple things sometimes pays dividends.
Can you turn your brain (creativity) off (and on)? Harder to turn it on than off, but yes 🙂
Mark McKenna is a 32-year veteran of the comic book industry. In that time he has worked on Batman, Wolverine, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and more recently on Star Wars, counting over 550 comics in all.
For more Banana Tail info please visit: WWW.Bananatail.com for more comic-related info, please visit: WWW.MarkMcKennaart.com or WWW.Combatjacks.com