Artist Tony Moore broke — as in “breaking and entering” — into the comics business in 2000 with “Battle Pope,” the bizarre, violent and inescapably hilarious story of a hard-drinking, womanzing, foul-mouthed pope and his roommate Jesus Christ. The book was created with writer Robert Kirkman, with whom Moore would later collaborate on “The Walking Dead.” The popular Image Comics series earned Moore two Eisner nominations, one for Best New Series and another for Best Cover Artist. Moore’s presently hard at work on more crazy comics like “Fear Agent” with Rick Remender and Vertigo’s “The Exterminators” with writer Simon Oliver, but he took some time out to show us around his home studio.
So, here’s where the “magic” happens. And by magic, I mean me drinking a lot of coffee and not bathing for days while sitting in my PJ’s and drawing comics until the wee hours of the morning. This is just a shot of the room from the entrance. Nothing super expansive or fancy, but it has most of what I need, and all within easy reach. Most importantly, it’s got a lot of big windows, and a door that leads right out into my back yard, so I can get some fresh air and plenty of sunlight, assuming I’m awake while the sun is even up. Winter’s not so great on a nocturnal schedule.
Here’s my computer workstation, where I do all my cover colors, as well as scanning and printing, and the ever-important last second reference hunt. It’s also home to the succubus known as The Internet, which has rendered many a man helpless, draining away their life force and creative will. Being a successful artist is 10% talent and 90% staying the hell away from the web.
I run an Alienware Aurora (A), which I absolutely love. I shoulda sprung for more RAM, but it’s plenty dieseled out for anything else I need. I use a Wacom Intuos 2 (B), which I’ve had for many years. I might upgrade one day, but it’s been a real workhorse and I couldn’t imagine life without it. I use a Microtek ScanMaker 9800XL (C) for my scanning. I have a Sirius Satellite Radio (D) with a home dock, running a line into the PC, for much rocking out. I have a Maxtor 300 gig external harddrive (E) for scratch disk space, as well as music and movie storage, and it automatically backs up my work files daily. Webcam and mic (F) for Jetsons-type communications. And an Epson Stylus Photo 1280 printer (G), for printing my little layouts to the 11×17 boards in non-reproducable colors. There you go.
Here’s where I spend most of my time, at the drafting table. I’ve got Wally Wood’s “22 Panels That Always Work” (A) taped up on the corner to pull me out of the muck when I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around a panel. Some circle templates (B) that I use as straight edges and to draw squared lines more than actual circles. An Ikea cart (C) for storing printouts, tools, and whatever else ends up in there. I replace my entire body’s fluid content with caffeine and B vitamins (D) at least once a day. Plenty of scripts (E) on hand. Never a dull moment. My personal sketchbook (F) when I’m possessed to draw something other than millions of cockroaches or spaceships or anything else I actually get paid for. And lastly, a mirror (G) I can keep on hand to reference my own increasingly haggard face for various facial expressions.
Here’s just a shot back to the other side of the studio, out to the kitchen sink full of dishes I was supposed to wash.
My fiancée Kara really knocked this year’s birthday out of the park, with these great customizable shelving units. Plenty of space for all my crap that was previously either in boxes in the basement, or in piles all over the place. A decent amount of shelf space for reference and inspirational books I like to keep on hand, as well as plenty of flat file space for my art boards, my finished art, my personal art collection, and various important papers I’d otherwise lose. And it has a nice desk space so I can have friends over to work as well, which is a great way to fend off the cabin fever that sets in after a few days alone. Another thing I do is call people a lot, and wear a Time-Life operator headset, so my hands are free and I look stylish while spending long hours bouncing ideas off my friends or simply shooting the shit, not entirely unlike having someone in the studio with me.
Here’s a shot of a small chunk of my robot collection, and various other bits of crap a grown man should have put aside years ago. Notable appearances include several Big Guy and Rusty items, a creepy ventriloquist dummy head, a supersweet David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight figure, and a child’s used prosthetic leg which I was given as a present by a child at a signing. Seriously, this is the best job ever.
Here are a few drawers pulled open on my flat file. Kara’s collection is in the top, which includes her “Classy Dames” collection. You can see her Eric Powell, which may be the crown jewel. My own art collection has some winners, which are all kept foolishly out of view, as I have not taken the time to have them properly framed. Next open drawer has some scripts and assorted small sketches, and below that is a lot of breakdowns, photocopies and even print-sized penciled pages.
Lastly, two regular fixtures in the studio often around or under my feet, or whining by the door to be let out, Spooky and Lucy. Kinda like teddy bears, only sometimes they poop in the house and shred entire rolls of toilet paper under the dining room table. They definitely lighten those dark work-filled nights, though. I wouldn’t trade ’em for the world.
So there it is. I was going to do one of those neat “in the round” VR things everyone else had done, but honestly you’ve seen it all. It’s not really big enough to properly photograph from any other way, anyway. Not pictured was Kara’s office, which houses my bookshelf full of TPBs, one of those metal garage shelves full of shortboxed comics, a closet full of my giant drawings and paintings and all our convention stock and supplies, and an elliptical machine… and her stuff. Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my personal space.
Next Wednesday – Top Cow Studios!
And be sure to check out any previous Studio Tours you may have missed:
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