Six Bomb Boards Feature: Justin Stewart
Throughout April Octane is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kentucky’s elite group of comic art creators, the Six Bomb Boards. Get to know them and celebrate with them on Avengers Day at the Six Bomb Boards Con at Movie Tavern April 27, 2019 from noon to 10pm.
Your published credits:
Bleed Leaders, Kentucky Kaiju, Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks, Avengers Vs X-Men, Howard the Human, Marijuanaman, Miami Vice: Remix
Where do you live:
Your current project(s) that we should mention:
Currently promoting ‘Bleed Leaders’ which was completed and published in October 2018.
Website for readers to find out more about you:
Justin3000 on Twitter
justin3000stewart on IG
Justin3000 on FB
When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics as a career?
When I saw a “How To” article in Wizard magazine in the late 90’s. It went over how to copy and collate your own mini-comic. Coincidentally that article was written and drawn by Jim Mahfood, who was, and still is, my art hero who I’ve collaborated on tons of stuff with.
Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?
That’s tough. My initial instinct is to say “my father”, but that’s a whole other thing. So keeping it in entertainment, I’d probably say OutKast? 🙂 The way those dudes came up showed me you can start with whatever you have and make it all the way to wherever it is you want to go. Also, I totally bit the “3000” in my brand from Andre 3000. 😀
Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?
Jim Mahfood (aka foodone) without a doubt. He was an art hero of mine before I ever knew him personally and he didn’t disappoint when I did get to know him. He showed me that you can take on the client work, but still do your own thing and still have a thriving career. He taught me that “people will come to you” if you focus on making stuff you enjoy and stuff you want to see out in the world.
What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
I become completely sedentary and just read and watch movies and shows. You can’t exhale if you don’t inhale, right? 🙂 So when I’m drained creatively, I just accept it and plop down on the couch and watch something I’ve been meaning to or I’ll crack open that book I’ve been chipping away at. And on occasion I’ll have a few beers then go into my basement and dance like I’m on Broadway.
Describe your typical work routine.
I have a part-time day job, so that’s over at noon everyday. Then I’ll go home, eat some lunch, fix some coffee and head to the studio to work until my daughter gets home from school around 3. Then later that night after she and my wife have headed off to bed, I’ll go back to work for an hour or so, mainly just checking over what I did earlier that day. I think it’s super important to push away from the table and let something sit for a while before you send it to the client or consider it “final”.
What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?
Pencil, ink, paint, markers, crayons, chalk, desktop computer, Photoshop, iPad, Procreate; basically whatever I think is gonna work for the thing I wanna do. Sometimes it’s all digital, sometimes all analog, but most of the time it’s a Frankenstein’d combo of both to varying degrees.
What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
Two things actually: When something comes out onto the paper that’s exactly what I saw in my head and when something happens as I’m working that Bob Ross called “happy accidents”. It’s when you make a mark or stroke that you didn’t intend to make but ultimately makes the art so much better. I like to think that our subconscious knows more than we do, so on occasion it’ll take over and be like, “Nah, you’re overthinking homie. Here, let me take this one.”
What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?
That’d be ‘Kentucky Kaiju’. It was a book I concepted and had my three friends and fellow creators, Shawn Pryor, Tressina Bowling, and Jason Sizemore help make a reality. Jason is publisher and EiC of Apex Book Company. He reached out and asked, “You wanna do a comic for me?” I immediately replied, “No. Comics are fuckin hard and take forever. I have an idea about giant monsters tho.” I pitched it, he gave the thumbs up, I hit up Shawn and Tressa and we all made a dope thing! 🙂
We’ve seen very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?
“Make friends in the place you wanna be because no one succeeds alone” Connect with people who are on your similar path. They don’t all have to be drawing or painting or doing what you’re doing either. If you’re a painter, hook up with a musician or filmmaker, and vice versa. If you’re being creative and making things, then the commonalities will transcend the particulars. You’ll find common ground with anyone else who’s creating regardless.
Let’s get deep: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?
See question 9. 🙂 But I’ll tack onto that; It’s okay to have lulls in your creativity and career. We’re all humans and we all need both downtime and uptime. So don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t posted a new drawing/song/design in a few days. When you have something to say, that’s when you say it. Don’t just make noise.