Behind The Panel Inside The Mind Of A Comic Book Artist

Written by Luis Gutierrez, Podcast Director

When reading a comic it’s so easy to get lost in it, just by reading a fascinating story or looking at the art with all the different colors and styles. It’s easy to forget that these people work day and night to meet deadline on what I can understand what a stressful yet satisfying job it can be.

I had the privilege of interviewing a renowned DC/Marvel comic book artist Dexter Soy. He originally caught my eye from his work on the series Red Hood & The Outlaws. A story that follows Jason Todd, a former Robin who trained under Batman that was killed by the Joker who was then brought back to life; just trying to fit into a world full of darkness that he and his friends cannot escape.

The way he drew these characters in these comics moved me. You could see the rawness and emotions that he put into it, it almost got to a point where I would want to see the art more than the story itself. For example, there are some moments with Jason Todd (Red Hood) and Artemis (One of the outlaws) have some very intimate moments. Where you can really feel the love and almost know how these fictional characters are feeling. Not to mention the final showdown between Jason and Batman the way he draws the cracks in the helmet and the way Jason’s face reacts to the punch. The way he sketched that whole fight between them made me scared based off the art itself, granted it did have some amazing dialog. Those are just a few of my favorite moments from him, I could go on and on.

He quickly became one of my favorite artists and I wanted to learn more about him. So in a Q&A that Soy put on his Instagram, I asked him for an interview and he agreed. These are the questions below.

Whom did you work for first, Marvel or DC and how did you end up as a comic book artist
Marvel! My work was luckily found online by a local writer in our country and showed it to CB Cebulski if marvel! And they hired me!

Did you get any kind of formal education for drawing?
Mostly self-taught. But I’m an architecture graduate, so I have a few knowledge about drawing buildings and things.

What was the biggest change in your life once you started to work for both companies?
Artistically, I can say that I learned a lot. Storytelling and drawing females are my weakness. Another change is, it’s hard to find the free time since drawing pages are really time-consuming.

Where are you based off of? And does that become a challenge to meet a deadline as opposed to artists who are more local?
I’m a home-based freelance artist ever since I started. Deadline is still a deadline regardless of whether you are in-house or home-based. Thanks to the internet and it’s easier to send work nowadays.

How does it feel to know that your artwork is published on such a massive platform and loved by so many?
It feels great to know that it reaches the mainstream readers. But, it still feels the same as working on small publishers. It’s just that now I am able to work for a well-known publisher.

Who’s your favorite character(s) to draw?
Wolverine! And random female characters

I’ve noticed in your work, especially in Red Hood and The Outlaws (DC Rebirth), you pick certain scenes and pour your heart into it making it so emotional. What goes into your head when drawing those emotional scenes?
I really don’t know. I just read Scott’s description of a scene and just draw how I envision it in my head. Emotional scenes mostly because there are lots of it from the story.

To piggyback off that last question, sometimes it looks like your inspired by anime. If so, would you care to share which ones?
Oh yeah! I love watching a few movies like Samurai X, Ghost in the Shell and Blame, Dragonball, etc.

I know your working on a new Batman Project, but are you allowed to share any other projects or future projects that you are working on.
Sorry, I’m not allowed to show any art yet.

What inspired you to start drawing?
My classmate when I was in grade school lol. He was really good at drawing. So I thought, that’s really cool, I ‘ma try to draw too!

Do you remember what emotions ran through your head as soon as you got commissioned to draw for Marvel\DC
Well, I felt excited! Also pressured since this was the big publishing companies.

Have you worked for any other company besides Marvel or DC?
Yes! I’ve worked for EA(electronic arts) before. I did an arc off their game turned comic Army of Two. Also did an issue of Spartacus by Devil’s Due Publishing.

Have you ever had a conflict of interest because you work for both Marvel and DC?
Not really. I think I’m flexible enough to work with different publishers and characters.

What’s one of your favorite things about working as a comic book artist?
The journey of creating a page from nothing. It’s a different kinda nd of fulfillment

What was it about Jason Todd that lured you in about him?
Honestly, I don’t know much about him before I started Arkham Knight; Genesis. But it was great to know him as I worked through his pages for the story! I like how unpredictable he is at times. He’s so honest at times that it almost hurts.

There’s been a lot of rumors for a Red Hood movie, just curious whom would you cast to play Jason Todd?
I have no idea atm, honestly. Hahaha. I’ll let you know if I find an actor that I think that can be Jason Todd.

If you want to support this fantastic artist, be sure to pick up some of his work. Also, follow him on social media on twitter @dextersoy and Instagram @death_star_soy