The week I got to speak with a talented artist named David Murdoch. David is the creator of Lucas, as well as a plethora of other exciting projects. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as we did!
An Interview With David Murdoch
Aaron Iara: Thanks for talking to me this week! Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and the work you do.
David Murdoch: I’ve been working on a freelance basis for quite a while now doing a variety of work for a lot of different outlets, but I won’t go too far back. I’ve done a lot of work for Black Mask Studios, largely cover and concept work including a slew of pin-ups for Ghostface Killah’s 12 Reasons To Die which led to me doing the artwork for his album 36 Seasons. I’ve done work for Sideshow Collectibles including production and concept art. I’ve been working closely for some years now with Itzy Interactive as well on their up coming game Mad Devils.
Aaron Iara: That is quite the resume! You have worked on a variety of great projects. What made you land on drawing and comics as your preferred medium?
David Murdoch: I think it just boiled down to the things that influenced me in my formative years, being a creative person, and then work that I’ve come across that really inspired me. I can remember, vividly, riding my bike down to the 7-Eleven and picking up titles like Thor and Spider-Ham off the comic rack when I was around 7 or 8 or having my mind blown when I came across things like Judgement on Gotham with art by Simon Bisley or Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf (which I know isn’t technically a comic, but still) and then eventually the work of artists like Ben Templesmith and Ashley Wood.
Anyways, I eventually realized this is a medium where I could really express my ideas and articulate the stories in my imagination even though my approach isn’t exactly traditional, so I’ve been aiming my focus in this direction and I’m happy with the results.
Aaron Iara: It is truly amazing how art as a child, particularly comic books, can have such a great impact on us as adults.
Lucas is truly terrifying, how did you come up with the idea for this book?
David Murdoch: Horror is something I’ve always loved. There was a period of time I was working at a job, late hours, and I watched a lot of horror. A lot. Eventually my mind was running away with this desire to add something to the genre that wouldn’t change it but bring something fresh. Something that would upset the cliches. This is where the idea of Lucas was really born. I started to flesh out the concept and how I wanted to approach it.
For the first installment I settled on the idea that I wanted to take a familiar situation and then send in this force of nature, God’s judgement, something that no one would see coming and wouldn’t really have the opportunity to comprehend when it hit. In writing Lucas I approached it from a point of view that was tapping in to a little nihilism, hatred, and pure violence. Ultimately I paired the writing with really raw, visceral artwork and that’s kind of how it came together.
Aaron Iara: I am a huge horror fan as well. My grandmother used to buy me a horror VHS every Halloween. I have been hooked ever since!
What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to making comics and drawing? How do you overcome them?
David Murdoch: In all honesty they’re the things you tell yourself, or question. There’s always a fear, at least for me, that makes me doubt what I’m doing or shooting for. I question if it’s relevant, or if there’s room for it, or even if there’s any demand for it. I don’t really know any way to overcome it other than to be more determined than I am doubtful.
Aaron Iara: I can relate to that a lot. Self-doubt can be a great killer of motivation. It is easy to deter yourself from trying to be successful.
Do you ever get performance/release anxiety when you are showing your work to others?
David Murdoch: Not too much insofar as my willingness to show my work, I know I’m good at what I do. I’ve had the opportunity to pass around Lucas to get some more feedback on it and there is that initial fear that who I show it to will just hate it but it’s not enough to dissuade me from doing so.
Aaron Iara: Making art takes a lot of time and effort. What do you do to stay productive?
David Murdoch: For me I think it’s knowing when to sit down and hammer out whatever work it is that needs to be done and when to walk away and take a break. I have had a tendency in the past to try and force something to come to fruition up until I burn out and then end up in a place where it’s difficult to get motivated. I find it best to spend some time visualizing a concept, bringing that concept to life, then just being happy about how it turned and not jumping straight in to the next thing.
Aaron Iara: That is a really good approach. I need to learn how to be better about taking breaks. When I come across a problem, my first instinct is to work harder. However, sometimes you need to take a step back.
I love the horror community. They are some of my fiercest advocates and supporters. How has your experience been with the horror community online or in person?
David Murdoch: Overwhelmingly positive. Lucas: Book Two is launching October 1st and leading up to the launch I’ve been sharing this with the fans of comics as well as fans of horror. The thing about this book is I know it’ll appeal to both but my gut feeling has been to try and get it in front of horror fans that might pick up a book vs. comic fans that might enjoy some horror, if that makes any sense, and I’ve seen a lot more engagement from them. They’re good people and wide open to all kinds of horror in a variety of mediums and styles.
Aaron Iara: How do you foster creativity? Do you wait for inspiration or work at it?
David Murdoch: Creativity can be a lens. As long as I allow it to continually observe everything I’m watching, reading, or whatever it is going on it informs my ideas more or less. I always give it some room to run off and always make sure I spend a little time daydreaming. If I go to a specific resource it’s typically for some technical reason like I’m trying to figure out a technique.
Aaron Iara: What advice can you give for people who want to start creating comics, or learning how to make art in general?
David Murdoch: The thing that I’ve found most beneficial is having a relationship with artists, seasoned artists, who will give you real feedback and critique your work. You’ve got to have thick skin about it sometimes but it’s extraordinarily valuable. You don’t want yourself surrounded only by people the are just going to praise everything you do even though the accolades are nice. Secondly, you’re going to fail. More than once. It’s just a part of it. Don’t let that put you off, keep working at what you love.
Aaron Iara: Do you have any upcoming projects or events you would like to talk about?
David Murdoch: Yes, Lucas: Book Two. As I’ve mentioned the campaign is launching October 1st and only running through the 31st. This is the follow up title to Lucas. The book is going to include the original story and there’s 4 new stories as well. Lucas, The Road Trip, Doomsayer, and Judicium are being presented in a unique fashion. The 4 stories are staggered and all conclude together. So instead of just reading through one story after the next these are loosely interwoven and create a much broader picture of Lucas. The last story is called Newborn, this is Lucas’ origin.
There are some nice items included for backers. Every backer will get the book, 10 trading cards, 5 art prints from myself and 4 other artists (Fabian Schlaga, Vassilis Gogtzilas, Rob Willis, and Nathan Thomas Milliner) and then last but not least every backer will get exclusive access to the private beta for Lucas: Chapter One, which is the video game adaptation of the first book. The game is happening independently of Lucas: Book Two, it has nothing to do with the success or failure of this campaign. This is really exciting for me. I’ve had the goal to grow Lucas over multiple mediums and now there’s the first book and the game being developed.
Lucas: Book Two is something I’d really love to bring horror fans in on as these stories will be the basis for future projects. Horror fans are going to have the opportunity to get themselves a limited title and have that in hand when more develops in the future. They’ll have the privilege of being that one’s who were there at the beginning, and not only that but they’re going to get to participate in the development of the game. It really is exciting to be able to offer this.
Aaron Iara: A Lucas video game would be pretty crazy! I can’t wait to see these projects come to life!
Thank you for taking the time to do this! Please tell the readers where they can find you and your work.
David Murdoch: The best place to follow is Twitter @DavidMurdochArt. I tends to visit there more than other platforms.
Check Out David Murdoch!
A huge thank you to David Murdoch for speaking with me this week! Make sure to follow David on social media and check out his book Lucas!