5 minutes with Cory Mathis – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is almost here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Cory MathisToday we’re talking to Cory Mathis about his comic work, and what we can look forward to at his Comicfest panel. Hailing from the small town of Waihi, Cory turned his back on a life on the farm and moved to Auckland to study classical animation. Upon completion he travelled south to the city of Wellington where he endeavoured to pursue a career as some kind of an artist. While living in the capital he dabbled in book-store retail, even more study, comicbook making and in general made a nuisance of himself by constantly drawing all the people in the cafes – of which there were many. Fortunately for the general public (and much to the chagrin of anyone with a position in politics), Cory won the 2013 NZ Listener Young Cartoonist award and promptly found himself enjoying brief stints as a political cartoonist, caricaturist and storyboard artist. Flush with his winnings and hard earned “art-monies,” he fled to Europe to study painting and learn how not to speak Italian. He promptly ran out of the aforementioned funds and is now back in Wellington, employed as a concept-artist at the videogame company Pikpok, where they keep him closely supervised and securely chained up.

What is the first significant comic related job or project you remember working on?
It’d have to be my fantasy adventure series, Saurian Era. Significant because it always kept me working on my art and aiming for deadlines in my spare time. It started as an animation when I was a student, then mini-comics which I printed off and sold at expos. In the past couple of years it’s been accepted into the Faction comics kiwi anthology books which has pushed me into using full-colour and taking so much more of the storytelling and world building seriously. It was a massive milestone to see my comic in Faction vol.2 in the comic section here at the library!

CoryMathis05Can you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
My most recent was the climate change themed comic for the Faction – Highwater edition. It was a great challenge to work on a comic outside of my usual dinosaur-centric stories. (Though I still managed to hide a dinosaur in the story!) Right now I’m working on the second part of my, Saurian Era ‘The Reef’ series. I’ve learnt way too much in the last year since I finished part one and am finding it difficult to keep within my original plans – all part of being your own boss I suppose!

What is your favourite part of your working process?
Finishing something! Though the part at the beginning where it’s all crazy brainstorming, drawing and writing at the same time is pretty exciting too. Trying to find the thread that will pull you through to the finished product is always a challenge – especially if your making it solo. I’ve started to really focus on what makes each stage of the creation special, be it thumbing, pencilling, inking or colouring. It can sometimes feel like you’re repeating yourself hitting the pictures over and over again. I take a joy in not finalising any of the text until all the pictures are finished. The characters dialogue develops much like the pictures until the end where I feel like I can finally hear what they are actually saying.

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
I’m working at the video game company, Pikpok, as a concept artist so the comic making has had to take a bit of a backseat as I wrap my head around managing my time with that. There’s a great community of artist here in Wellington so I spend a fair bit of time going to figure, or costume life drawing.
Something non-art related? Whaaaaaat?!

If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
Haha, since I’m going a bit crazy for the new Last Man comic series coming out of France at the mo, I reckon I could pull off a good Richard Aldana!

You can catch Cory at his Comicfest panel at the following time:
Thursday 30th of April 6 – 7.00pm – Panel: From cartoons to comics