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In­dus­try in­sights from PopCon Dubai guest stars

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - glaiza@7days.ae

C omic books are mak­ing a huge come­back as clas­sic sto­ries and char­ac­ters jump off the pages into main­stream TV and movies. Il­lus­tra­tor Ja­son Palmer, who is a guest at the in­au­gu­ral Popcon in Dubai this week­end, says the in­dus­try has changed dra­mat­i­cally.

“It is now con­sid­ered more source ma­te­rial for movies and TV shows than it is a fi­nal prod­uct,” he tells us ahead of the Out­let Mall event from Thurs­day to Satur­day that cov­ers ev­ery­thing from comics to games, mu­sic and more.

He re­cently en­joyed the Luke Cage Net­flix se­ries, based on Marvel’s Power Man: “When I read the comic as a kid, I just liked it for its own sake; I never thought about it be­ing any­thing else. It is kind of won­der­ful that I get to en­joy th­ese sto­ries again, adapted for my ma­tured sen­si­bil­i­ties. I get to ex­pe­ri­ence them all over again in a so­phis­ti­cated man­ner. It's kind of like a sec­ond child­hood.”

Palmer has been work­ing as an il­lus­tra­tor since the 90s and is best known for his Star Trek paint­ing cov­ers and li­censed art­work for Star Wars, In­di­ana Jones and Fire­fly.

Be­ing an artist seems like a cool job and though Palmer says he’s lucky and grate­ful, it is hard work.

It’s a con­tin­u­ous learn­ing process for him. He says: “I'm cur­rently work­ing on a job that is out­side of my com­fort zone. I have to re­ally knuckle down and work harder, draw­ing the fig­ure over and over, dis­card­ing more sketches than I nor­mally would, in the process of bring­ing this art­work to the same stan­dard as my typ­i­cal work. It's frus­trat­ing that it takes more time, but I know that it makes me a bet­ter artist.” Palmer’s hard­est project so far has to be the In­di­ana Jones Blu-ray set il­lus­tra­tions: “There were many in­ter­ests in­volved: Lu­cas, Spiel­berg, Para­mount Pic­tures, Lu­cas­film, the lo­cal de­sign com­pany. Get­ting them to agree and be happy with a con­cept was nearly im­pos­si­ble. That project went on for two years.”

Dur­ing PopCon, the Amer­i­can will be ready to an­swer ques­tions about artis­tic im­pulse and di­rec­tion, and will prob­a­bly talk non-stop about the lat­est movie or show with the fans. Palmer says: “Some­times peo­ple are very par­tic­u­lar. ‘No, this per­son wouldn't be stand­ing like this’ or ‘No, they wouldn't be do­ing that’. I al­ways want to hear peo­ple out - some­times there’s some va­lid­ity to it. But more of­ten than not, it was some­thing I con­sid­ered but re­jected in the cre­ative process.”

Palmer wants to tell as­pir­ing artists that there are no short­cuts or al­ter­na­tive to good old hard work when it comes to the in­dus­try, adding: “All of the other artist guests at PopCon are good friends of mine. We un­der­stand that per­son worked very hard to get where they are.”

And though the fi­nal prod­uct might not al­ways be good, the process al­ways is: “Draw­ing things in your life - peo­ple, things, your pets - the do­ing of it is a good thing. We all draw as chil­dren, and lose the im­pulse some­where along the way - usu­ally be­cause we be­come aware of be­ing judged. But it can be a source of joy to any­body.”

FAN ART: Ja­son Palmer’s art prints for TV se­ries The Walk­ing Dead and Once Upon A Time (in­set) have a fan fol­low­ing. See some of his work at PopCon from Oc­to­ber 27-29 at Dubai Out­let Mall

Ja­son Palmer’s

self-por­trait with Yoda ears

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