Wren McDonald is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. He grew up between Virginia, South Carolina and Florida and graduated from Ringling College of Art & Design with a BFA in illustration. He is the author of dystopian revenge story Cyber Realm and several other self published mini-comics. SP4RX is his first full-length graphic novel. He has done work for The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, The Hollywood Reporter, Vice and others. His work is influenced by manga, european comics, and 80s/90s action movies.
To find out a little more about Wren, we asked him the following questions:
Can you briefly describe your work?
I think humor and science fiction are two of the most important characteristics of my work. I enjoy using humor to mask serious situations (and vice versa), because I find that honest wit can erupt from a dire situation. I prefer science fiction because I love taking advantage of a world where anything can happen and I feel that fantastic settings are very important to the stories that I want to tell. I really like the structure of genre pieces in general that allow me to do this type of story telling. Comics are a way that I can take reality, break it, twist it, and rebuild it into something that helps me better understand my world.
What inspires your work?
Moebius, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the internet, Japan, Akira, The Matrix, J. R. R. Tolkien, truth, drawing, Monomyth, The Bible, Stanley Kubrick, Jodorowsky, tumblr, fear, Christophe Blain, Heavy Metal Magazine, Shonen Jump, Richard Scarry, Lil B, ukiyo-e, Game of Thrones, Ray Bradbury, Dragon Ball, small press, Risograph, :-p, ;-), ＼(◎o◎)／, etc, etc, etc…
Tell us a bit about your process….
Whenever I’m tired I like to put on a tv show and just doodle, usually tough dudes and gadgets. I like drawing on loose printer paper—there’s no pressure when the paper sucks and you can just throw it away. But when I need to focus I turn off all distraction and start writing ideas in a notebook, reread and rewrite, reread and rewrite, and then choose the good stuff from there to take to the next step. I turn those ideas into small rough sketches and then I pencil out all the pages and go on to ink them, sometimes adding value with ink wash. Pretty much all of my color is done digitally. There’s a lot of second guessing.. figuring out when to stop and when to go on, color variations, etc. I have a few close friends that have no problem critiquing my work or telling me to start over, which is nice. But its trial and error, I think I get the best results through quantity.