Hello again, fans of Transformers from Seibertron and beyond! We continue our journey in the world behind the scenes of everyone's (we assume) favourite transforming robots by having a good chat with one of the latest entries at IDW - the new artist on the ongoing Windblade series, whose work we have started to see in Windblade #3 (out on 10th June, sneak peek here): Corin Howell! Check it out below, as we look at her development as a fan and an artist.
Va'al - Corin, it is an extreme pleasure to have you talk to us here at Seibertron.com - it's always great news to hear we have some fresh talent brought into the franchise! And we do hope we'll make you feel welcomed, of course. But maybe we should get to know you a little more first, too: How did it all begin for you? When did Transformers enter your life?
Corin - It's incredibly awesome to talk with you guys! Seibertron.com was one of the first sites I visited when I was starting out in my wee early stages of TF Fandom, so it's really exciting!
It really started when I was kid in the 90s, I grew up around a lot of boy cousins when I was young so I was exposed to Transformers early on (along side TMNT, ThunderCats, G. I. Joe, Batman, comics in general, etc). I think I really got into it when Beast Wars came out and I was a huge fan of Cheetor and Primal. By the time TF Armada came around, I had started drawing all these robots.
Va'al - We're delighted to hear that! More Seibertronians, even if lurkers, making into the professional lands of Transformers is always a big boost. Were you into any of the toys as well, either before the arrival of Beast Wars, of after that stage? Or was it mostly the fiction, on screen and on the page?
Corin - It was actually all of the above! I didn’t get into the toys till I was a little older, so after Beast Wars ( high school methinks, those Master Pieces caught my eye), but before that it was the fiction, the comics, TV shows -- visual media was the primary thing that fueled the need to draw giant transforming robots.
Va'al - What was it about the visuals that appealed to you, do you think? I mean, you've mentioned Beast Wars but also previous iterations of the franchise, and the aesthetics can be really quite different at times - what drew (hah!) you in?
Corin - I’m a sucker for details. I like drawing landscapes: interiors, exteriors, cars, motorcycles, etc. What fascinated me as I got older (because as a kid it was just “Giant talking robots!”) is the amount of details that go into each character -- like how did they transform, how it fit their personality, which part goes WHERE -- it was all really interesting to me. There was one thing I did like adding in, and that was making them more expressive -- after Beast Wars, I dont remember a series that included a lot of expressiveness in their facial features. At least until TF Animated came around.
Va'al - There was also a blight of 'constipated grimace' expression with the toys.. especially during Beast Wars! So was it mainly the screen media that you were interested in, or were the comics on your radar too?
Corin - It was mainly the screen media that got me interested first. However, when Armada came around I started reading the comics, especially when Alex Milne's work started popping up. Armada comic series was great, never really read Energon, and I was a huge sucker for the “Stormbringer “ series. But no Transformers series really drove me to really start pushing my Transformers drawings more then when Milne did “Megatron Origin”.
Megatron being one my favorite characters ( you can thank David Kaye and his Beast Wars Megatron for that ), the story was amazing (thank you Eric Holmes) but the art was what really caught my eye. The attention to detail, the fact that they look like they can TRANSFORM on the page was incredibly awesome and looking at my work, I knew I needed to get better to reach that caliber of work. Of course my style really took its shape when I started college, but I still look at Milne’s work whenever I draw Transformers.
Va'al - Milne has had a significant impact on fan artists, that is indisputable. What other influences, Transformers-related or not, would you say you have in your style of drawing in general? Anyone else creep in from the sidelines?
Corin - There’s actually a few that have had a major impact on the development of my style. One of the top being Glen Keane -- I grew up with all of the movies he worked on with Disney, and I've always admired his ability to really pull the characters personality out in their expressions. So when I finally acquired “The Art of Tangled”, I was able to study the way he draws expressions more and put them in my work.
Another artist is Sean Murphy - his inks and the way he draws vehicles and cities have always been something I've admired. I had the wonderful opportunity to be one of his students last year when he hosted an apprenticeship in Portland, ME. Getting that chance to finally understand how to draw and ink vehicles and landscapes using his techniques really helped me on a new approach in developing my style.
Other artists include Becky Cloonan (By Chance or Providence, Demo) , Klaus Janson (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight), Juanjo Guarnido (Blacksad), and the list just goes on and on. But these artist really influenced me on my work.
Va'al - Those are some serious names right there, and great models to work with/from! At this point, I believe, the question is: how did the transition happen? When did you go from student artist to professional? IDW isn't your first gig, is it?
Corin - No it isn't actually. My first project was actually right out of college back in 2013. The SCAD sequential department hosts a “Mini Comics Expo” after every Editors Day and I decided to table since it was my last quarter. It worked out because I met my editor from VIZ Media who right after the expo, put me on a short “Ben 10” Halloween comic. I worked well with cartoons, so after that they put me on the “40th Anniversary of Hello Kitty” anthology (which was nominated for an Eisner!) and then I worked on a few projects with "Bravest Warriors" with VIZ, doing a Seek-and-Find page and then a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.
I was still in the starting phase, but I also wanted to branch out and try new things. Then that same year, around September I think I applied for the Murphy Apprenticeship, then the next thing I knew I was working on “Cafe Racer” with the other students (Clay McCormick, Tana Ford, Jorge Coelho, Stephen Green, and Joe Dellagatta).
I guess the transition happened right after I got out of the Apprenticeship. I wanted to work more on establishing myself in different areas of comics, so I started making plans for con season. I went to Heroes Con 2014, I tabled and met with one of my first contacts with ONI Press, then came SDCC 2014 -- that's where I met John and Mairghread thanks to Marcelo Matere who introduced me (and also where I geeked out without realizing that these guys were editors/writers and possibly showed that I was biggest nerd in the universe). I basically made it my goal to meet with as many people as I could so I can establish myself, and after that long summer of traveling I was getting contracts.
Va'al - And now you're here, to the big robots! How did you actually get to the Windblade series position, after your meeting with Scott and Barber? Did you pitch something in your geek-out, or were you asked to step in?
Corin - And here I am! I actually didn't get the call till earlier this year (I think it was late Jan or Feb). I think my geek out session had something to do with it, I can't help but be a fangirl sometimes. But John knew I was a major TF fan, so when I got that email to do a test page I was like “SERIOUSLY??” and proceeded to bounce with glee. I was practically giddy when I learned that I got the part too because it's like “CHILDHOOD DREAM ACHIEVED”.
Va'al - I can only imagine the feeling coming from a call like that. If you are able to discern, at this stage, what is your favorite part of working with Mairghread Scott on Transformers: Windblade? How does it compare so far to other projects?
Corin - Mairghread is a lot of fun to work with, especially since she’s so open to the artist’s suggestions. We especially work well with grasping the character’s expression at specific moments. I also love how she’s specific on character personalities -- like when we were talking about the project, she went into detail about how characters acted and their body language, hand gestures. How Chromia as Windblade’s bodyguard, she stands tall and presents herself as a powerful individual, for example.
Compared to other projects? I’m not sure to be honest, I have fun with all of my projects because it gives me a chance to try new things!
Va'al - That sounds like the Mairghread we've come to know! And do you colour your own art, or are you joined by someone else on the series? Is Tom Long returning on lettering too?
Corin - We have Thomas Teyowisonte Deer on coloring for the Windblade issues I’m working on. I don't usually do my own colors for pages because I’m more of an inker, only with single illustrations will I color. I’m not sure who's lettering this round but we’ll find out!
Va'al - We sure will, and we're quite intrigued about the Combiner Wars aftermath already! Are there any highlights so far that you actually tell us about the series, anything you're particularly excited about yourself?
Corin - New worlds and new characters! I know it's been hinted at Velocitron in the June and July listings, so I’m excited to draw some awesome racing scenes! There’s more characters coming, but unfortunately I can't spoil too much.
Not appearing in Windblade, alas..
Va'al - That's a tease and a half, especially after all the work we're currently seeing in Combiner Wars and seeded all the way back in Windblade (volume 1) #4! But I'm sure all good things will come to those of us who can patient just a little longer..
Corin, it has been a pleasure talking to you, and thank you for taking some time out for us - any last things you'd like to mention, or plug?
I also have a book with DC Comics coming out called “Bat-Mite”, so if you’re interested you should check it out!
That is all from the Seibertron.com and IDW backstages for this time, readers. Make sure to pick up Windblade #3 for an appetiser, and Windblade #4 when it hits later this month, to see Corin's art in action, and let us know if you'd like more of this type of feature in the comments!
Comics and entertainment website Comic Book Resources were able to have a lengthy chat with producer and head writer for the current animated TV series Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Adam Beechen. They touched upon the presence of Grimlock, the placing of the series in terms of the wider Transformers universe, the cast, Optimus Prime and more - read the whole piece here, and some selected passages below!
The producer and head writer for Cartoon Network’s “Robots in Disguise,” Beechen shared with SPINOFF how he’s working to open up Transformers to a younger audience while building on the stories that have come before. He also explained what it’s like to tap “Batman Beyond’s” Will Friedel as the voice of Bumblebee, teased the show’s long-term mysteries about the fate of Optimus Prime, and more.
Spinoff Online: Over the past few years, Hasbro has kept the continuity from all their various “Transformers” franchises unified in one way or another between TV and video games and comics. This show is a step forward in that idea since it takes the premise past the “Autobots and Decepticons crash-landed on Earth.” What’s it like to be writing what is the forefront of the canon in some respect?
Adam Beechen: I think that I had the benefit coming in of never having worked on the Transformers franchise before. I didn’t write for “Prime.” And so I wasn’t as emotionally tied to all of the continuity elements that a lot of the people who had worked on that show had been. And it’s great that they are because they’re a wonderful resource for me to find out background info I need. But my main goal coming into this series was, “Let’s make this a show for Bumblebee. Let’s give him the exposure he hasn’t really had in a brand new way.” And as part of that, we get to introduce a bunch of new characters for a new generation of viewers that they can get attached to. It’s still part of the larger Transformers universe, but you don’t have to know 30 years of history to enjoy them, appreciate them and just have fun.
And the show then can serve as a bridge tonally between “Rescue Bots” and “Transformers Prime.” The kids aging out of “Rescue Bots” can jump onto “Robots in Disguise” and still feel at home. But at the same time, they have a little bit more serious adventures with a little bit higher stakes. And then they can ease into all the giant continuity that the series have put together.
Is it liberating as a showrunner when you work with a company like Hasbro and you have a guaranteed order for a long run on the series?
It doesn’t so much change your approach, but you know how many episodes you have, so you pace out the story you’re telling accordingly. Typically what happens in a situation like this is that at the start of the season you sit down with the brand team and find out what their plans are in terms of the upcoming seasons – as in calendar seasons – for what toys they’re releasing when and what kind of story elements they’d like to see in the upcoming episodes. You have that meeting and plan out episodes according to that, but doing so in a way that tells the best possible stories. You’re not just cramming toys in there. You want to tell a cool story and help with what they’re doing as well. And it just runs from there.
It’s pretty rare that a brand will come back to you in the middle of your season and say, “By the way, we’ve come up with a new figure that will be on the shelves of the toy stores tomorrow. Get it into the next episode!” There’s not any time for things like that. So after that initial meeting, you’re well aware of what you want to do over the course of the season and how to make everyone happy. From there, you’re free to tell the coolest stories you can.
And what about the comics side of all this? Frequently, there will be a kid-friendly comic version that ties into the show in a way that fleshes out what we see on screen. Is that the case for July’s series from IDW?
We’re very aware of what’s happening with the comics, and we love what IDW has done with this world. That factors into our thinking, and we’ve had the good fortune of having one of the key comic book writers – Mairghread Scott, who you may or may not be familiar with – work with us. Mairghread was the script coordinator on our series, and she graduated quickly to being one of the key writers on the show. She is a living repository of all things Transformers, and so she knows what’s gone on across every single medium the characters have ever appeared in. As we were working, she’d say, “The comics have already been there. You may want to do something different with an episode.” Or she may say to the comic editors, “The show did this thing, so it would be kind of cool if you tied it in this way.” I can’t say for sure how all the comics will reflect the series, but we’re definitely aware of each other as we go forward
If you've read Part 1 of Tom Scioli's interview with Comics Alliance, you're not going to want to miss the second half! Tom Scioli and John Barber‘s are of course the masterminds behind IDW's Transformers vs. GI Joe, and have brought quite a nutty flavor to the book. See the mayhem behind the scenes in the interview right here, some snippets below, and stay tuned to Seibertron.com for all your Transformers News!
To say that Tom Scioli and John Barber‘s Transformers vs. GI Joe is an unusual comic is underselling things quite a bit. On paper, it’s a natural fit, an ongoing series that follows in the footsteps of earlier books that have combined the two toy lines into one massive interplanetary battle. In practice, though, it’s something a lot bigger, a comic that almost assaults the reader by cramming in as much big, wild stuff as it possibly can — a toy comic so weird, and so great, that it almost feels like it shouldn’t exist.
With the book’s second storyline well under way, throwing in everything from Vikings to old gods to Dinobots (and a new printing of his amazing American Barbarian on the way this summer), I talked to cowriter, artist and occasional ComicsAlliance guest contributor Tom Scioli about the series. Today, he talks about building a history for a universe that’s even more important than our own, the two-page Free Comic Book Day story, and why his book isn’t a paean to Snake Eyes. You can read the first part of this interview here.
CA: The next specific scene that I wanted to talk about was the first page of #6. Every time I think this comic can’t get any wilder, it gets bigger and weirder in a way that I find really enjoyable. This comic opens with Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden by floating Transformers with laser swords.
TS: It’s a universe. It’s a whole universe. My thought is that the Transformers vs. GI Joe universe is the most important universe there is, and while you’re reading it, it’s even more important than our universe. There’s an Alpha to that universe and there’s an Omega to that universe, and what you were witnessing was Roadblock’s reading of the Cobra Bible, the Decepticobranomicon, so what you’re reading may well be an actual accounting of what happened. It might be mythology. It might be disinformation. It could be any number of things. There’s a deep history to this world.
CA: I’ve said this before, and I mean it in the best way possible, but I’m always surprised this book exists.
In other IDW Transformers comics news, the extravagant architect of the Transformers vs G.I. Joe ongoing series - Tom Scioli - was interviewed by comics website Comics Alliance, about the world he is building for the series, the approach to the universes, layouts and the general madness of it all. Take a look below for some selected quotes, and read the whole piece here.
ComicsAlliance: The first thing I want to talk about is pacing. Jumping into Transformers vs. GI Joe #5, which is the start of the second paperback if people are reading it that way, they’re getting a comic that moves so fast that it is often hard for me to keep up.
Tom Scioli: Well, issue #5 would be the one, because issue #5 is where it really accelerates. I just find that so many comics have a lot of redundancy, a lot of over-explaining, a lot of images of basically the same thing, so part of the approach is to just eliminate redundancy and just give you the things you need to move the narrative forward. I sort of crossed a point of no return with it, I think, and where that came from is that I wrote a script for a Transformers vs. GI Joe movie adaptation.
You know, the movie doesn’t exist yet, but I made a comic as though I was adapting a movie, and how movie adaptations are. There are chunks missing, and jumps because of the time it takes to take an hour and a half movie and put it into a comic, you’re going to have to cut some things out. I wrote something with that sort of style in mind, and after I did that, I realized that’s a tool I could use any time. It doesn’t have to be restricted to this particular conceit, it’s just a tool in my arsenal now. It was really effective in that script, which hasn’t come out yet, but it was just a really intense reading experience.
CA: The interesting thing about that to me is that, like you said, there have been Transformers and GI Joe team-up books before, and now you’re doing it as an ongoing series and using the entire cast of both books, as they have existed for thirty years. There’s not a whole lot left on the table.
TS: That’s one thing I noticed. I was sort of going through all these characters and throwing them in, and now I’ve sort of reached the point where it’s like, “Oh, what Decepticon villain can show up?” and most of them are there already, pretty much. There’s an endless number of jets that I can go to, but most of the really resonant ones have shown up, so now it’s just getting weird, which is actually interesting. Now we’re getting into the Pretenders and the Predacons, all the weirder corners of the mythology.
CA: That’s something I wanted to bring up, because you’re at the point now where you’re creating new stuff.
TS: I want to go more in that direction. I thought doing a comic like this, that’s an established thing, would be easier — having a universe that’s already established that I’m just building up. But I’m seeing the limitations of it. I really do want to just create more and add more to it. It’s not so complete a cosmology that there’s a character for every season. I thought there would be a character for every occasion, and in a lot of cases there are. I needed a character who was a chef, and, okay, Roadblock is a chef, I can use him. But there are a lot of holes in the mythology that I’m trying to fill in.
That last Transformers movie… they went nuts. It almost wasn’t even Transformers anymore, it was this infinite universe of every kind of creature you can imagine, and that freed me up too, realizing that I could make this universe whatever I wanted it to be. It doesn’t have to just be giant robots that turn into cars or dinosaurs, it can be a universe.
Rachel Stevens over at Women Write About Comics is back at her interview tactics, and was able tohave a conversation with fan-favourite Canadian and style setter on the IDW Publishing Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye ongoing series - Alex Milne! The conversation spans across media, tools, technical questions, past work and more, and includes some insights into the MTMTE cast - check out some snippets below, and the full piece here!
Who’s your favorite character to draw right now?
That’s a good question. [Pause] A tie between Skids & Nautica. I always liked to draw Skids since I got to design him for issue 2.
I also have a lot of fun drawing Nautica—right now I’m working on issue 42, which has them interacting, so I’m having a lot of fun drawing my two favorites in the same panel.
On the flip side, who’s the most difficult one to work on?
Ah, that’s a good question. [A lengthy pause, some muttering] Whoever I haven’t drawn a lot of in a long time is usually the hardest one to work on. I don’t know, sometimes the hardest one can be Ultra Magnus, just to make sure the scale’s right.
Ah, that makes sense.
Other times it can be Getaway. The hardest one I’ve ever had to draw, that I never feel like I get right, is Red Alert, but he’s not on the ship in season two, so I don’t have to worry about drawing him right now.
So, um, is there anything else you’d like to talk about that we haven’t touched on already?
Hmmm … well, I’m really happy for the inclusion of more female Transformers. Since the preview for issue 41 is out showing more female Transformers, I can only be happy about that. Over the years I snuck in female Transformers in backgrounds. Megatron Origin, the Drift miniseries in the Circle of Light (a faction of Transformers). They make the world bigger; the more the merrier. Now it’s better that I don’t have to sneak them in, and I’m like, “Yes, they’re there!” I’ve been rooting for them for eight years now; we need more!
That makes me really happy to hear, coming from you. Did you design Firestar’s flame hair, as seen in the issue 41 preview?
Yes, it was me who came up with Firestar’s hair. When designing characters, I ask myself, “How can i make interesting character designs?” I look at silhouettes, heads. What’s a standard head, what’s different?
l looked at different things; when I was designing her I designed her altmode first. I put her head in the altmode’s back as the exhaust. I asked myself, “Can I get away with fire for hair?” But since it’s the exhaust for the car, it kinda works. I thought about how’d it work for portraying different emotions. If knocked out, she’d have little blue flame or it’d be snuffed out. If enraged, her hair expands and just goes nuts. It’s a great way to show emotion.
I had the altmode and head design, took it to James, and said, “James, this is the idea.” He went, “That’s really cool! I have fire for hair [to work with].” It’s really different, and it makes her stand out among other characters.
Along with the other female Transformers, I started thinking about different designs that haven’t been done before. I’ve got to post them online so other people can see her. There’s a big female Transformer I want to show off, one who doesn’t have a standard head at all, but one singular eye. It was really fun to do. It’s just really fun to try new things, to see whats out there.
Transformers is all about change; you don’t have to be stuck to the standard. The big thing with Firestar was keeping in elements of the original design. When IDW started out with Transformers, they’d take a character and do something completely different; it’s how I did her design.
You can find the interview in its entirety here, though it is all in Japanese, of course. If you are able to read it, please let us know what you make of it in the Energon Pub - and take a look at the mirrored images below, in the meantime.
Via a notification from fellow Seibertronian robotmel, we have an interview conducted by IDW senior editor John Barber, also writer for The Transformers, with Georgia Ball, the new writer for the new series Transformers: Robots in Disguise! Check out some highlights below, and read the full piece here.
JB: What was your entry into the world of Transformers—as a fan, I mean? Do you have a favorite version of Transformers from over the years?
GB: I was parked in front of every episode of Transformers G1 in the 1980s but I couldn’t convince my mother to buy me any of the toys. She was a huge toy collector and had no problem showering me with Star Wars figures but Transformers just didn’t speak to her. After tons of pathetic begging she bought me one: Topspin, a Jumpstarter who sort-of-kind-of popped onto his feet when you pulled him backwards.
GB: I missed out when the movie was in theaters due to the same lack of parental interest—I saw it years later on TV and turned it off when Starscream died, because without Starscream around I just didn’t see the point. I returned to Transformers with Transformers: Prime, then jumped into the comics and bought my own toys, although my daughter’s plan to “share” the Bumblebee I got for my birthday isn’t working out in my favor. Now if only someone would take nine boxes of Star Wars figures off my hands.
JB: This new TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE comic is based on the all-new hit tv series airing on Cartoon Network. But this comic isn’t an adaptation—it’s all-new stories set in that world, but with… well, without giving anything away, some old friends you’re only going to see in the comic, right?
GB: The stories tie into the continuity the show shares with Transformers Prime and what happens in the cartoon will have consequences in the comic. But the comic will also feature new villains and explore different themes. There will be squabbles and there will be punching, but the first arc weaves in an element of mystery and betrayal. Bumblebee has to put the pieces together and he may not get them in the right order. I like resolving subplots in one or two issues within the context of a longer ongoing story, I’m not a fan of ending an issue without getting somewhere.
JB: What do you think of TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE artist Priscilla Tramontano’s work? Have you two had a chance to collaborate much yet?
GB: This will be my first time working with Priscilla, who I was familiar with mainly for her color work in the comics. I love the somewhat organic feel she brings to the characters that lets them act out their emotions, she’s the perfect choice.
JB: Any other messages for Transformers fans out there?
GB: Transformers Robots in Disguise is accessible to new readers and is all about action and fun. Plus Autobots punching weird Decepticons in the face.
Our own TwinCast member and professional voice actor interviews voice actor Chris Jai Alex. You've heard him in many video games and cartoons including the voice of Drift in the Transformers: Age of Extinction video game as well as others like Steven Universe, Boondocks, Resident Evil and more. He talks about the influence of Transformers on his work as a character in the game, growing up with the toys, the original movie, meeting Mark Wahlberg and much more about the video game and cartoon voice acting business.
A very different take, perhaps, on the Transformers franchise, was brought to the stage and under the spotlight by Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster, in the IDW Publishing Transformers: Legacy book. Showcasing the art that adorned the packaging of the toys from the early Generation 1, 2 and their Japanese counterparts and continuations, the book has been extremely well received in the Transformers fandom (and outside of it), and you can hear the Twincast Podcast talk to one of its authors here, and read an interview here.
Here at Seibertron.com, we were able to contact one of those wonderful artists involved in the creation of the original pieces, and an unsung part of the face of Transformers in toy, iconic and pop culture: freelance artist and illustrator Mark Watts!
The artist in the studio, with Transformers: Legacy
Va'al - Mark, thank you for the opportunity to discover more about this side of the franchise. So how did it begin, were you approached by Hasbro? Or did you pitch work to them?
Mark - Back in 1985, many, many illustrations ago, I was called into my Agents office. In New York I was shown the Transformers toys fresh from China, some being Prototypes. I was working on a lot of kid toy boxes for Mattel, Kenner, Tyco and more also working on Movie posters I did the Movie Poster for Pink Cadillac staring Clint Eastwood. Some of the Transformers shown were being sold in China and had done very well. At that point I was given a Transformers Bible, top secret, to be kept under lock & key. It contained technical drawings of each Transformer including the placement of colors, logos, ect.
Va'al - Did you choose what to work with yourself, or were you assigned characters?
Mark - Originally I was given six to start with, they were to be used on blister packs for Autobots. Of the six toys, some I believe were Prototypes. I completed the drawings with forced perspective to make the toys more exciting and menacing.
Va'al - And how did you go about creating them, what methods and tools do you use?
Mark - This first set of six were painted in Dr. Martian Dyes and Luma Dyes, completely done in Airbrush with cut frisket to protect the area not to be spread. Cut tracing paper was used to move around when spraying to create a softer edge in the reflections. Later paintings were done with Airbrushed Acrylic paints. I like them all I paint in mostly with Acrylics, and occasionally Oils. In the beginning of my Illustration Career I used Airbrush almost exclusivity with - Dyes, Watercolor and Gouache then I switched to Acrylic. I also like Digital now it is faster and easy to change and correct colo,r of course when I started out in the late 70s everything was done by hand, no computers. The Software I use is Photoshop, Painter, Illustrator, Lightwave, Vue. Also I use a combination of 3D rendered and wacom tablet.
My objective on these illustrations in particular was to make them as reflective as possible, like car paint--exciting with a lot of reflections.
I completed the set of six and all were very happy with the results. The rest is History, and I continued to work on Transformer art for many years.
Va'al - That sounds fantastic, you almost defined a whole style and even the franchise itself, in a way! How many pieces did you create for Hasbro?
Mark - I did the Original Artwork on about 45 Boxes and Blister Packs for the Transformers Toys when they 1st came out in America in around 1985 and on. In the New Transformers book: Legacy The Art Of Transformer Packaging - Pages that my Art is on: 7,14,15, 30, 34, 35,82, 83, -( 283 Eagle Eye ) - ( 242 Ram Jet ) - ( 264 Reflector ) 295.
The Big Purple himself
You never know when a toy will take off like Transformers did and become such a sensation. It was my pleasure working on all of the illustrations for the Transformers packaging, the toys were enjoyable and I am sure they were a part of many fond childhood memories. The Art itself feels like Pop Culture Art to me now. It was a real pleasure to be involved.
Va'al - I can tell! So what happened to the originals? Any plans for them, or anything based on them?
Mark - I have decided to put on sale Signed prints of my Transformer Art on www.markwattsstudios.com. I am offering them on Canvas, Aluminum and Paper, and all Prints are made direct from the the Original Art of these Great Iconic Transformer Toys from 1985, 1987 and beyond…
All 29 prints [featuring Costructicons, Stunticons and Menasor, Jetfire, and much more - V] can be found on the Store section of my Web Site.
Blast from the Combiner past!
Va'al - That is some great stuff, and quite topical with the new IDW/Hasbro event and lines of Combiner Wars! What else do you see yourself doing now and in the future?
Mark - I am planning on mass market my Illustrations on prints and products, I have some more Ideas for products I want to Patten. I also have many more Illustration Ideas floating around in my head and on sketch pads that I will be doing right now I kind of have my Business hat on for a little while longer. As for life, I just had my 1st Grandchild, Crew Winsor Watts. I am enjoying him and my 3 Children, Justin, Britney, Amber, they are all dong great and are very artistic as well. My Wife is a Nurse, she enjoys being a Nurse and is going to start working on a Children's Book that I think she is going to let me Illustrate them.
Va'al - Well then, best of luck to all of you, and in your sales too! Thank you for the chat, Mark.
Mark - Thank you as well for the Interview, Alex.
Mark Watts can be found at his website www.markwattsstudios.com, and is available for prints, commissions and car illustration art. Head over here for more about him and his work!
Welcome to the latest episode of the Seibertron.com Twincast / Podcast. This episode features your always exceptional, sometimes sober host, ScottyP, the very metal xRotorstormx, dark horse Megatronus, and the ever winsome RodimusConvoy13.
Oh, and this pretty popular author you may have heard of stops by: James Roberts! Sit back and enjoy as Va'al and Scotty P cut up, hang out, and wax philosophical with this very special guest.
Spoilers Abound! This episode contains spoilers for all of the following: Episodes 1 and 2 of the new Robots in Disguise cartoon, Transformers #39, and More Than Meets The Eye #s 1-39. This is your one and only warning.
First we change things up with some long awaited cartoon talk. The first two episodes of Robots in Disguise have premiered, and most of the Twincast crew has seen most of the episodes. Where does RID fall in the constellation of its many cancelled predecessors? Underbite ate WHAT? Listen and find out.
Bumblebee doesn’t always speak, but when he does, he’s Batman Beyond.
Something momentous is coming. Wait, no, it’s already here: Combiner Wars #1 (otherwise known as Transformers #39). Sit back as we discuss Starscream’s bodies, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed Swindle, our varied and shifting opinions of Livio Ramondelli’s art style, and more.
Then, we have a very special treat for our listeners – an interview with none other than James Roberts of More Than Meets The Eye fame.
We insisted he do the interview with the jacket on.
If you just came here for the interview, you can find it at 47:30 of the file, wherein our brave host Scotty P and devious News-Staff-slash-resident-comics-expert Va’al inherit the wind:
What schemes has Roberts unleashed in his travels back to pre-war Cybertronian society?
Time travel paradox?
Paradox schmaradox… at least until a certain briefcase is involved.
Remain in the Light was an awesome arc and powerful story, made more powerful by… prose?
Roberts shows us his love for music, and for the growing More Than Meets the Eye community.
Which (T-Rex) characters should we expect, which are gold, and which are big ole black holes?
The Decepticon Justice Division finally returns – oh, the humanity, err *ahem* morality.
Bird, Dragon, or Bird-Dragon? Why not both Zoidberg?
Our sincerest "Thank You" greetings to Mr. Roberts for lending his time to the show, and for the amazing content at that! We hope you all enjoy listening to the interview as much as we did conducting it.
After that, we return to our traditional comfort zone: upcoming Transformers toys. Images of the new, simplified Cyber Series sub-line took us all by surprise. What do we think of these 7” figures? Are they a welcome addition to the Generations fold, or more of the same? This is also the part where you learn another terrible Twincast secret: We don't know how to read good, and want to learn to do other things good too.
Just don’t take away our Generations, man.
Platinum Edition Blitzwing and Astrotrain are Awesome and/or the Worst Thing Ever. Is Platinum Blitzwing an homage to Shattered Glass or Flywheels? What’s with that orange on Astrotrain? Will the Twincast crew be picking these up? While we decide, check out Seibertron’s awesome galleries of G1 Astrotrain and Blitzwing.
Alpha Bravo, is that you?
In other Platinum Edition news, the long awaited Coneheads are being reissued. Now this is something the Twincast crew can get excited about… if the price is right. New Platinum set, same question: will the Twincast crew be picking these up? Better yet, can you spot the differences between these newbies and the originals? Check out Seibertron’s galleries of G1 Thrust, Dirge, and Ramjet to try your hand (or rather, your eye).
We finish up the Twincast with some bragging rights. What did everyone get since the last recording?
Don't forget, the show only gets better if you tell us how. Drop us a review on iTunes and be sure to tell us what you love, what you hate, and what you want to hear!
Not on the show to give your take? Probably not, so don't forget to keep the discussion going on the Seibertron.com Energon Pub Forums by simply replying to this post!
Got a question for the Twincast? We take all of them, we just don't take them all seriously! Leave a question in the Ask the Twincast thread and, if it makes the cut, it may get read and answered on the show.
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