Firstly thank you very much for doing this little Q&A with me for Comic Conventions.
In 2014 you started in the international comics scene with Quixote for which you have been nominated for Best Artist as Glyph Comics Awards and after that you had a 12-issue run on Hexed written by Michael Alan Nelson at BOOM! Studios.
Milán Kovács (Comic Conventions): You are now pencilling, inking and coloring Klaus, a comic tale about the origins of Santa Claus by superstar writer Grant Morrison.How did you manage to snag a project with one of the best comic writers ever?
Dan Mora: My editor thought that it would fit with my illustration style, he presented my work to Grant and he agreed to work with me.
I just read Klaus and the first thing comes to my mind is this comic is not what you would expect from a Santa Claus origin tale. But without spoiling the comic the ending of issue one is quite shocking. In a way this comic reminds me of Joe the Barbarian somehow.
Where did you get your inspirations for the characters and the time period? Did you check out other Grant Morrison comics?
Well, I saw some movies of that period or similar periods and saw some animated movies (The Beauty and the Beast, The Sword in the Stone) and read some of Grant’s comics like Joe the Barbarian as you mentioned.
Who would you list as your artistic influences? Is there a/are there favourite artists of yours?
I think one of my first inspirations was Bruce Timm, his style made me fall in love of the comic and after that several artist have been my non-official mentors like Darwyn Cooke, Mike Mignola and so many others.
You are pencilling, inking and coloring the book and that I imagine takes up a lot of time. Near the end of the first issue there is an LSD-trip-like event which is honestly quite unexpected.
When you were first approached with drawing Santa Claus, did you even think you would be drawing and coloring this kind of weird stuff?
Not for a second, it was a nice surprise and a very fun and challenge to do it.
How is working with Grant Morrison, what type of script does he send you for each issue? Do you receive concept sketches or layouts for the pages and covers?
Well, he is very specific with what he wants and he describes every frame with so much detail that is very easy to come up with something. I didn’t receive concepts or layouts, everything is my interpretation of Grant’s ideas.
What’s your process of drawing and finishing a page? Do you use digital only or are you pencilling and/or inking on paper?
I do the pencils and inks in the traditonal way and scan the pages, then the colors with digital software. I mostly use Photoshop and PaintTool SAI.
What can you tell us about the future issues, if anything? Will we ever see Santa Claus on the pages as we all know him?
I’m not sure about that, I think we will just find references to the classic look but will not actually see him in the red and white suit.
You were born and still live in Costa Rica. That’s roughly as far down from the North as up from the South, totally in the middle, which means there is literally no real winter there, no snow at all.
I always wondered how can one draw something that they never even saw, did you have to do lots of research for the climate you never experienced?
Well, yes that’s true, i don’t know how snow really feels or looks, but I was doing the same research as with the time period. I went to look some movies to have a better idea of winter itself.
Thank you for doing this short interview with us, it is always a pleasure to welcome a relatively new artist of this caliber. We really hope we’ll be seeing the name Dan Mora on lots of covers in the future too.
Thanks to you!! : )
After the interview I had the chance to talk to Dan again about Newcastle Film and Comic Con he attended in November.
Dan told me he had real problems with the weather, it was very cold and he was literally freezing while he was doing sketches and during his overall stay in the UK. After I said it was snowing in Hungary he told me about the snow: ‘I don’t know if I want to see it. I can’t handle the cold’ in a half-funny way. And the funniest part was when he told me the first time it will be snowing he’ll have to ‘get a supersuit for himself to handle the cold’.