Say What? You’re Self Taught? An Alex Schumacher Artist Interview

Alex Schumacher

Alex Schumacher

I had never heard of Alex Schumacher until recently, which isn’t saying much because I’m not that knowledgeable about every Indie Artist. However, I was thrilled to interview him after seeing his art on his website. He’s got real talent, his lines are crisp and clean, his pacing inviting and he knows a good camera angle. And he’s frackin’ self taught! We chatted for a good hour and a half the other night.

First, who are you, where are you from, and where do you live now?

I am Alex Schumacher from Salinas, CA (near Monterey) and I have been back in my hometown for about 3 1/2 years now.
I previously lived in the Bay Area for about 7 years.

Love the Bay Area. Did you grow up reading comics, and if so, what were some of the first books you read?

Yeah the Bay Area was great…especially for a budding cartoonist.
I definitely grew up reading comics. The first vivid memory I have is reading the Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comic Strips, this massive coffee book table, which my grandparents owned and now belongs to me. It’s an amazing collection with beautiful artwork from greats like Alex Raymond, Roy Crane and Chester Gould.
Otherwise my comics upbringing was fairly standard…X-Men, Batman, etc. I did have access to my aunt’s collection from the Silver age as well which was incredible! She not only has gems from Marvel and DC but also Harvey, EC and the like.

I have that Smithsonian Collection from my great uncle! So did comics inspire you to become an artist? Was there anything else you contemplated doing?

I think every fan, creator, enthusiast should own that book!
Comics definitely inspired me to become an artist. It’s such a unique medium for storytelling.
I contemplated playing baseball for a short time while I was younger until I injured my arm one season and had the recuperation period to come to the realization that I wasn’t exactly all that great at the sport.
Being a professional songwriter has also been on my bucket list as it’s another beautiful method of storytelling. Conveying stories and emotions through such vastly different forms of expression has always been intriguing to me.
Looks like I chose all the “safe” occupations huh?

Yeah, thats interesting, I had that debate with a friend about creative people. I argued most are interested in a wide range of things and focus on one after another. Yeah, music and art will get you a niiiice pension…So did you go to Art School or are you self taught?

I absolutely agree that those who gravitate toward more creative endeavors generally tend to diversify in the mediums they use. The more ways to express yourself the better.
I took one High School art class, which basically means I’m self taught. I’ve long since contemplated at least taking a few courses in different mediums to expand my individual set of skills…which has a LOT of room for growth! To be honest I believe any artist worth their salt is always learning and aware of the fact that you can always improve.

Crazy, only one class? Hell man, I took tons of art classes in High School and College and can still barely draw a human figure. Well, then who are your main influences?

Ha! That’s awesome. Sometimes too much education can also stifle creativity. That’s a whole other conversation though…
Some of my main influences, specific to comics, are in no particular order:
Bruce Timm, Darwyn Cooke, Chynna Clugston, Michael Oeming, Mike Mignola, Mike Allred (damn I like a lot of Mikes), Chester Gould, Paul Grist, Alex Toth, Pia Guerra, Stephen Silver, Jessica Abel, Los Bros Hernandez and the list goes on and on.
I feel as though having a large range of influences is extremely important in helping to shape how you approach and think about things so movies, books, fine art, etc. are all very big influences on me as well. Those are some of my bigger comics influences though.

Okay, let’s talk about some of your recent and current work. First, tell me about the graphic novel that you are doing with Arcana?

It can best be described as “supernatural/humor” I think. I don’t want to reveal too much but it’s about a government funded agency charged with protecting the world from paranormal threats. The agency is then shut down due to budget constraints and the members find themselves unemployed and thrust into a world they don’t really understand. That is until they realize all the threats may not have been neutralized as previously believed…
I’m on co-writing and art duties.

Can you reveal the name or is that still hush hush?

I’m not sure they want me to reveal that just yet but you’ll be the first to know when I can. I’ll do what I can to help ensure buyindiecomics.com is the go-to site for indie comics news!

Great! Thanks, we appreciate the fans! There is one thing you’re doing that has been named is Benjamin and the Fish for 215 Ink. What are you doing on this project?

That is an all-ages book which debuted to a pretty enthusiastic reception at last year’s New York Comic Con. It is about a pet ferret (Benjamin) and his stuffed mouse chew toy (Mr. Fish) who go on these crazy, fantastic adventures around the house when the owners are away. It’s a coloring book as well to hopefully make it a bit more interactive and we hope to have the complete first volume out later this year.
For that one I helped design the characters and produce the interior art. It is written and created by a great fella by the name of Adam Wilson.

Coloring books can be a big success, I recommend any starting company to invest in creating one. It will sell at conventions and shows. The other two projects I wanted to ask you about are some Trading Cards that you are doing and a mini-series from the interestingly named I’m a Geek Entertainment?

Most definitely! Coloring books aren’t just for kids either. Adults dig ‘em too!
The trading card set is being produced by a company called Alterna Comics to celebrate their 5th year in the industry. I am one of 50 artists chosen to produce 5 cards for the set based on licensed Alterna characters. I’m proud to be a part of this milestone for them and look forward to the sets being released this Fall!
The mini-series for I’m A Geek is basically on hold for the moment as I finish my current projects with Arcana, 215 Ink and Viper.

You certainly are busy and in demand. What are your plans for the future in the indie comics world? Are you open for commissions? Or assignments? If so, how can fans contact you?

Busy, definitely. In demand, hopefully haha.
My immediate plans for the future are working on a couple other work-for-hire projects that have come my way (including the I’m A Geek mini-series) and pitching a couple of creator-owned projects with a few other indie creator pals of mine. The idea is to keep working essentially. Fake it til you make it and then, in my case, keep faking it. Just fake it well.
I would absolutely be open to commissions, schedule permitting, and other assignments. Fans/prospective clients/publishers can contact me through my site http://alexschumacherart.com/ or by email: leadheadajs@yahoo.com.

Great, thanks so much for a lively interview.

My pleasure! It was fun.
I’d also like to sneak in a quick plug for a children’s book coming out from Viper Comics: “Moon vs. Sun”.
I produced the illustrations and the young writer, Caitlin, has decided she wants all of the proceeds to go to the “Make a Wish Foundation” which is a pretty inspiring choice for a young girl to make!
The book should be out very soon…

Oh, no problem man. I saw the art for that but didn’t know the details. Glad you remembered to include it. Cool. Well take it easy.

Thanks Andre. You do the same amigo!

Andre Owens has been hiding in Los Angeles for over 15 years, a former Director of Photography, he now writes and publishes the cosmic comic, Force Galaxia. He is currently writing and plans to produce a webseries, The Psychedelic Detective. In his free time he enjoys long form television, sushi and a celebration of all things 420. His name’s not Supergreen!

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