The success of August Artist this year has led us to keep that train a-rollin’, so welcome to our new Artist-centric interview series, Artist Alley! As always, our lovely logo is designed by the wonderful Tim Daniel.
Attila Futaki is known for his work on the Percy Jackson book series and the limited series “Severed” with Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft. “Severed” was a book we liked when it started, when it wrapped up and when it was collected. He was kind enough to take the time and talk with us about his work on the book.
When did you decide to pursue art as a career, and did you have any formal training? What drew you to comics?
Attila Futaki: Probably when I was about 12. I was a big fan of comics. After I first read “Spawn,” I decided that it’s what I would do all my life! I started to copy some other artists’ style, did some samples, and sent them to publishers. I didn’t get any feedback of course.
As for my formal trainings, I spent one year in an art high school studying painting, then I went to Florence to study comic book art in the International school of comics!
What other work have you done?
AF: I did “Spiral”. It was the first graphic novel for a French publisher, Carabas. I was 20 then. I did 80 pages with aquarelle, in a realistic style. Then I did several illustrations, book covers, and storyboards for AD companies, before I went to the San Diego Con. Right after the con, I started to draw “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief,” which became a New York Times bestseller.
How did you get attached to “Severed” with Scott Snyder?
AF: Thanks to Jeff Lemire. I met him in San Diego 2 years ago, and it seems like my art impressed him. He showed it to Scott Snyder. They were looking for an artist for “Severed,” and the rest is history.
Was the story fully formed when you came onboard, or did you have input into the plot and characters?
AF: It was almost completed, but we still had some playground! I think we all did it with passion, and inspired each other during the work, and we always came up with some new ideas. Once we had the layouts, sometimes we added some extra pages or scenes to make the storytelling better, or creepier.
Did you know colorist Greg Guilhaumond before working with him on this project? How much input did you have on choosing him?
AF: No, I didn’t know him. After issue 4, I was looking for a colorist who could bring my coloring style.
A friend of mine, Anabelle Araujo, introduced me to him, and after I saw his first colored panel, I knew he was my man.
What were your hopes for the series when you started? Were they met?
AF: When I first read the script, I felt it was something new, something special, and the kind of story I can do very well. For an artist, it’s always very difficult to find the right story. Severed was that for me! I was very glad with all the critics, and to see the people are very into it. An Eisner nomination could great too, but maybe next time.
Were you familiar with the setting of “Severed,” or did you do some research before starting?
AF: As I am not American, I couldn’t be as familiar as I wanted to be, but I love this period. And thankfully, the Scotts gave me brilliant references. I still have no idea where could they find all of those images, so few pictures were taken back then.
Did you draw inspiration from anything for the look of this book?
AF: I do not copy other artists anymore, but I have big influences of course: Albert Breccia, Victor De La Fuente, and many many others..a never ending list.
The art in “Severed” had a unique feel. Did Greg’s colors match what you imagined? Did he do anything which surprised you?Continued below
AF: Thank you! Greg surprised me all the time with how good and fast he is. I sent him a page at noon and got back a beautifully colored one at night.
One of the characters in “Severed” cross-dressed for the first couple issues. Were there any challenges to drawing a convincing girl pretending to be a convincing boy?
AF: Not really. Thanks to “Percy Jackson,” I studied to draw children.
Was any part of this book particularly hard? Is there anything you wish you could re-do?
AF: The whole book was hard, but an amazing challenge at the same time. Particularly hard? Sounds funny, I know, but the baseball scene in issue 4, page 1. I just couldn’t understand the rules of the game, and anytime I sent a new layout, the game just didn’t have any sense. I think the Scotts were crazy about it. Tuft did a layout for me so we could do the page, but I still dont understand what’s going on there.
Do you have any current projects? Are there any creators you would like to work with?
AF: At the moment, I am drawing the 3rd book for Percy Jackson, “The Titan’s Curse.” I have another secret project for Dark Horse, but I can’t talk about it yet.
Authors I would work with? Many! Jeff Lemire, I would love to work with the Scotts again, Brian Wood, Brian Azzarello, Jason Aaron.