One of my favorite artists popped into the DC Comic Art Academy this week. Cully Hamner who is know for his work on Green Lantern: Mosaic, Blue Beetle, Black Lightning: Year One and of course the Warren Ellis series Red that was turned into two Bruce Willis movies. Looks like Cully is working his way through the rainbow on book titles. He design of the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle with a much more alien and sentient armor is one of the more unique and beloved character redesigns in the last fifteen years.
Hamner sits down to draw Blue Beetle while telling the story of getting the call from Dan DiDio, telling him about the project and how they wanted him to look more Mech. Hamner didn't think the could do that consistently issue after issue, so he put together what he thought was a bit more human with a Power Rangers feel and DC went for it. He also talked about getting into the industry at a time it wasn't hard to get hired, it was hard to stay hired… something he has done for 25 years now. Hamner didn't go to school for art, but he apprenticed with a Disney artist named Don Howard as they did advertisement and government work. His advice to potential artists, learn to draw first then realize that it's only about 20% of the job… the rest is storytelling and getting into the characters head.
Hamner revealed that his very first work in comics was for an issue of Dark Horse Presents that was never published, so it likely sits in a drawer over at the Dark Horse offices still today.