Christian Ward – One Year A Comic Book Artist

KitanoThis week, Christian Ward has been a professional, full-time comic book artist for one year. This, published from Christian Ward's Tumblr with permission, is how it happened. Follow him on Twitter. He's also doing a sale on his original art…

I used to be a school teacher. I used to teach art to 11 to 16 year olds. That's what I used to. For the past year I've been drawing comics for a living..and I love it.

I always wanted to be comic artist – when I was 8 or 9 I used to draw a comic called Captain Loo – about a young powerless young lad who would change into a superhero whilst using the toilet (read into that what you will). He would utter the call  'da-da-darrrrr' and emerge from the cubicle transformed, ready for the good fight.

Being a lad from Wolverhampton, though, comics were not a real thing.  Saying you wanted to be a comic book artist was the same as saying you wanted to be a rock star or a hollywood action hero or that you wanted to go to space. It was a good dream but not something that would eventually pay the bills.

As it was my, secondary school art teacher would shake his head at me only ever drawing comics. "Do something different. Stretch yourself." he'd say. " This IS different." I'd reply. "Yesterday I drew Batman. THIS is Judge Dredd."

This weirdly would be a frustration i'd encounter as a teacher myself years down the line when enchanting pupils would only ever draw manga. So for what it's worth: Sorry I only drew comics Mr Bowen.

tumblr_nrjiz27k9a1qlrd4qo1_500I transitioned to illustration at University, because that felt more real – more like a job, more like something real and responsible people do. I finished my studies and I moved to London, where all dreams can come true and I ended up working in retail because it turns out doing illustration for a living is just as hard as comics.  As a side bar, If you ever saw the Hamley's Bear Factory bear between 2000 and 2002 odd's are it was me you saw in that bear suit.

All the while – I never forgot about drawing comics.

Then teaching happened – I literally fell into it by accident and stayed there for 10 years because who knew I actually loved it and I can honestly those ten years made me the man i am today.

All the while – I never forgot about drawing comics.

Then bit by bit, first just for fun the comics began to happen. A short for Atomic Robo , then Olympus, my first mini for Image with Nathan Edmondson and then Infinite Vacation at Image with Nick Spencer. Always though, each one I did after clocking off as teacher. Doing what so many do. I burnt the midnight oil. Turns out – you really can't ever forget about comics.

Then along came Mr Matt Fraction.

tumblr_nq1uajYmxG1qlrd4qo1_500I'd be an a fan of Matt's since Casanova and still find it maddening and little unreal that it turned out he was a fan of me too.

Working with Matt was the push I needed to make the jump and do it for real. To make it my all.  The 'da-da-darrrrr' emerge from the toilet transformed' moment. I'd have found another way and done it eventually but ones thing for sure, without  Matt, without our ODY-C I'd still be teaching right now.

So thank you Matt. Thank you Image. Thanks to Marvel. Thanks to every editor that's commissioned a cover. Thank you to everyone whose bought ODY-C or a print or a commission or a piece of original art (or all four – Perlman I'm looking at you!) This last year has been amazing and I can't wait to see where this journey goes.

I always wanted to be a comic artist…and now I am one and that is F-CKING amazing.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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