Legendary artist, John Bolton, recently took time to give us insight into his work on the Shame trilogy. The third volume, Shame: Redemption, was recently released by Renegade Arts Entertainment. Written by Lovern Kindzierski, this series is a wonder in both story and art. Bolton’s dreamlike painting will definitely pull you into the story and keep you there for the entire ride. Shame: Redemption is available now at most comic shops and bookstores. You may also find it on comixology.com. Plus, Bolton, will be making his first North American comic convention appearance in over 30 years, when he attends the 10th anniversary of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, next week, April 16-19, 2015. This will also mark the first time that Kindzierski and Bolton have been together at a convention. Pretty fantastic!
GNN: In an early review I described your work as "dreamlike painting." You clearly take a lot of time and put so much passion into your work. How long did it take for you to come up with the look for the Shame series? Also, I love that your colors wonderfully pop from panel-to-panel. How long does one panel take you - from initial illustration to final colors?
Bolton: It's difficult to say, as I tend to work on different panels and pages all at the same time. A lot of the work is preparatory. Working on Shame more than any other story I have worked on is like working on a film as I become the costume designer, location manager and director. My painting style varies from page to page depending on what I want to emphasize, sometimes draining the colors in one frame and enhancing in another. I like to take something simple and exaggerate for impact.
GNN: How collaborative is the working relationship between yourself and Lovern? Meaning, is it a fairly open exchange of ideas with regard to story or is it simply more about your art helping to bring the story to life?
Bolton: Lovern and I have a fantastic working relationship. Lovern is open to any ideas I come up with and then ultimately it's up to him whether to include them or not, but whatever he does I am always happy.
GNN: Much to the excitement of many fans of this series and your work, Shame will be returning in 2017. Do you have any thoughts on a new look and feel for the next series or perhaps anything you'd like to try that you didn't get to do this time around?
Bolton: I am going to be taking a slightly different approach on the next trilogy, but I don't want to go into too much detail as Lovern doesn't know yet!!
GNN: Your take on the female form is one of the best I have seen. Do you find that you have perfected that look or is it always an evolving process?
Bolton: Perfecting the female form is the biggest challenge for me because the human form is capable of so many positions and to get that accurate takes time. Finding the correct body language to underline what is being said in the script for me is intuitive, probably because of looking at life. I see a crease in someone’s clothes and want to duplicate it. I tend to draw everyone nude and then clothe them.
GNN: I'm certain you have been asked this question numerous times over your career, but who are some of your influences or artists that inspired you or still inspire you to this day?
Bolton: At school I discovered the surrealists and in particular Dali, and I started painting in oils purely for pleasure, then later when working professionally I would look at all art. I guess what happens is that you absorb all influences and come out with your own interpretation, but the most constant and important influence is "life". We are all individuals and we can all look at the same thing but interpret it differently.Shame has been described as being set in the middle ages but I didn't consciously tie myself to a set time period. I have characters in Shame wearing clothes from the Victorian era to Punk, the point being I will plunder the past for ideas just as some top designers like McQueen and Westwood do and then I adapt them. Saying this, the clothes and costumes for Shame and Virtue have been my own creations: all "Bolton's Frocks."
GNN: It was recently announced that you'll be coming to the Calgary Expo's 10th Anniversary show. Not only is this great news, but this will be your first North American convention in 30 years! Tell us about your excitement for the show, as well as this being the first time that you and Lovern have attended a convention together.
Bolton: I have never been to Canada and when Alexander Finbow at Renegade suggested attending this convention I jumped at the chance. It will be nice to meet with Lovern again. This has been the perfect team - Lovern writing and Alexander overseeing the whole project as Publisher and Editor - who basically allowed us to get on with the books, which will always lead to the best results by having faith in the creators and just letting them get on with it!
I would also like to add that this could be the best work I've ever produced and certainly the most satisfactory, and that is down to Alexander and Lovern.