Smith Micro Graphics Software Blog

Artist Q&A Feature: Mike Norton

Posted by Smith Micro Blogger on May 29, 2014 8:09:06 AM

We recently got the chance to chat with amazing comic book author, Four Star Studios co-founder and award-winning Battlepug webcomic creator Mike Norton. Check out the Q&A below and enjoy!

Q: How did you get into illustration / animation / graphic arts?

A: Drawing is all I've really done with any consistency from a very early age. I'm a very lucky person in that I've always known what I've wanted to do for a living and I just pursued it relentlessly since childhood.

Q: What industry trends are you a fan of and why?

A: I'm a big fan of webcomics. They've come so far in the past 10 years. It's amazing. Like so many things online, I think they were hard to categorize at first because no one knew how define them. Now, they're a viable way of creative expression and even income for some.

Q: Who are some of your biggest art / illustration influences and / or mentors?

A: There are many childhood art heroes to me from the world of comics. John Bryne, John Romita Sr. and Mike Wieringo are a few.

Q: In your eyes, who is the most underrated artist / animator of all time?

A: Mike Wieringo would be on that list. I think he was a giant. He had a relatively short career, but I think he was a huge influence on many others in that period.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge as an artist / animator?

A: Making a living! Becoming a freelance illustrator in comics is challenging. Staying one is even tougher!

Q: What has been your biggest success?

A: I've been very lucky with the projects I've worked on, but I think recently the creator-owned books (Battlepug and Revival) have been the biggest hits both personally and career-wise for me.

Q: Where do you see the comic / animation industry in 10 years?

A: I see a lot of the younger comic artists learning how to do EVERYTHING now. There are 14 year olds that can draw, color and letter a comic now on the computer better than I could just five years ago. I imagine it will only be more so in the future.

Q: How would you describe your job as an artist / illustrator?

A: My job as an illustrator is to do the best I can to tell a moving and entertaining story while making my client and myself happy in the process. I have no higher aim than that. I just want to be happy and draw things that I like.

Q: What advice would you give to young / up-and-coming graphic artists?

A: Strive to be self-aware. Know what you can and can't do. Be observant. Listen to, don't argue with criticism. Know what you're willing to sacrifice in order to reach your goals. Then never give up.

Q: What Smith Micro tools do you use, how do you use them and how have they affected your workflow?

A: I use Manga Studio 4 EX almost exclusively for all my line work. It allows me to be faster and has made drawing more fun for me by eliminating any fear or trepidation I used to have about making mistakes on paper. Also the ability for using reference in my actual file makes light boxing a thing of the past. I'm slowly getting used to Manga Studio 5 now, but there are some things I still prefer to do in 4.

Thank you to Mike Norton for taking part in our Q&A series! You can check out Mike's work at and or follow him on Twitter @themikenorton.

{Mike Norton is the creator of the weekly webcomic, Battlepug, which won the Eisner Award in 2012 for Best Digital Comic. He is also the artist of Revival, the critically acclaimed Image Comics series with Tim Seeley and the Dark Horse series, The Answer! with Dennis Hopeless. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two pugs. He is also very, very tall.}


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Topics: CLIP STUDIO PAINT (Manga Studio), Digital Artists

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