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    David Hollenbach: The New Artist You Need to Know

    Never heard of David Hollenbach?
    Don’t worry, you will. Hollenbach’s art comes from a technique typically rare in comics — collage. David talked with Comic Foundry about his part of the new comic Fragment and how he comes up with his unique visuals.

    How has your experience as a commercial illustrator helped you in your sequential work?

    The commercial illustration work has just helped me hone my image-making skills. It’s helped me work faster and has made me more aware of what communicates well and what doesn’t. What communicates well (for me) are things that aren’t obvious but more surreptitious in communication, ideas that just sneak in and before you can realize you were communicated to, I guess mainly with the illustration. With comics it’s a lot of communicating through the visuals instead of the text.

    Can you take us through your process for sequential work? It’s very collage-like.

    It is very collage-like mainly because that’s how my work has developed in everything I do. I did quick thumbnail sketches of the panel layouts and the action going on in the panels. Then I just looked at the thumbnails and pondered how I was going to make each panel so they would be interesting and move the story. I decided to do the main character’s face as a drawing because the face would have to be consistent throughout the story and being that I didn’t know any old men I could photograph. Plus I have a hangup with people thinking I can’t draw because I do collage. Anyway, enough of my neurosis. For the comic, it was just found materials from magazines and other printed material. … For the shirt, I actually just made photocopies of an actual shirt I had.

    How do you go about intertwining photos and elements you draw/paint?

    I collaged everything together in Photoshop and printed them out on cardstock. That is when added paint, pencil, and whatever to pull everything together as a whole.

    Why do you think there’s very little collage work in the comic world?

    I don’t know for sure. I think it is a little tricky to create a comic with collage with it because it can be very easy to stop the narrative flow with the technique and take a reader out the story.

    How did Pratt prepare you for the comic world?

    I didn’t know anything about comics when I got to Pratt. Then my junior year I had George Pratt as a methods and media teacher, and through him I was introduced to it. I took a painting class with him outside of school, and we became friends. When hanging out with George, you can’t help but have his love and knowledge of comics and storytelling rub off on you.

    What’s the most important lesson you learned from George Pratt?

    Everything was to further the story because the story is what it’s all about and if you just wanted to make great pictures, go make cool pictures, not a comic weighed down with a lot of things that have nothing to do with the story.

    After you finished your first issue, what did you realize art school didn’t prepare you for?

    Though they tried, they didn’t prepare me for what do with work after it was done. Granted, this is my own fault for not paying attention when they tried. I was thinking that if you work hard enough on the art it wouldn’t matter. I have found it doesn’t really work that way.

    How did Hard Left Press start?

    I had met Matt Dicke at a show at the Society of Illustrators, and we became friends. Matt brought up the idea of creating an anthology and went out and found Vince and James.

    How are you marketing Fragment?

    We’re not really marketing Fragment that much yet. We had sold copies to Diamond, and were going to money and put it into advertising but it’s become a debate on whether a couple people in the group want to do that.

    How did you condense your story into eight pages?

    When doing the original thumbnails, I had just drawn eight rectangles and started there. It just about fitting the panels in the space I had. It was just a lot of back and forth, what’s more important, what to keep, etc.

    How did you decide how to group the four different stories?

    Matt had decided that. He kind of came up with the design and layout of the stories. He figured that Vince and my stories started with single images and that would be the best way to get into it.

    What were problems you encountered while putting out the first issue?

    I had a problem with the type I used that we had to change after we got the first print to make sure everything was all right. Something about what I was using didn’t print right. It was all pixilated. I had to change typefaces. Also, we didn’t see how much a problem for the reader the combination of stories with no title pages was going to be. We were just trying to save space for the stories, but we should have found a way to split them more.

    Look for David’s portion of Fragment at

    —Interview by Tim Leong

    Posted by Tim Leong on May 4th, 2005 filed in Story Archive |

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