If there’s such a thing as a superstar colorist, Dave Stewart is it. He’s won so many Eisners (eight) they should consider renaming the colorist award the Stewart. Here, he submits himself to our torturous Mighty Q&A:
What projects are you working on right now and with whom are you collaborating?
Hellboy in Hell, Shaolin Cowboy, BPRD, Space Dumplings with Craig Thompson, Baltimore, Sandman with J.H. Williams (out Wednesday).
Tell us your background, age, education, etc. Are you married? Kids? Where do you live?
I was born in Boise, Idaho. My dad’s job had us moving a lot, but we ended up in Portland, Ore., when I was 13 or14. I’m 41, married to Michelle Madsen, who colors Buffy and many other things. No kids.
I’m curious about how an artist becomes a colorist instead of say, a penciller or inker. How did this come about?
I wanted to be a penciler, but I was always curious how comics were colored, and considered it an important part of the art. In college my photoshop teacher at Portland Community College, Mark Conahan, and I figured out how to color comic pages. Before I knew it I was scanning in back and white art by other artists and coloring it at home on my Mac for fun. I’m not really sure anyone was coloring comics in Photoshop at that time. One of my design teachers, Sharon Bronzan, had some contacts in Dark Horse Comics and set up a design internship for the summer. That turned into a job as a color separator. So really coloring was just a way into something I loved, comic art. I had an artistic interest in color and painting, but never really separated coloring as a career. As I worked in the color separating department I grew to appreciate the craft of comic book coloring, and couldn’t get enough.
Is there anything weird about being one of the few comics-celebrity colorists?
It’s weird being called a celebrity colorist. I just sit at home and work away.
Should colorists’ names routinely be on covers like pencillers and inkers?
I think colorists should get more credit. I think we are getting more attention. I’d love to see the colorist on the cover, it interests me. Publishers I’d imagine like to see the names that sell the book on the cover.
What’s the toughest part of what you do?
Saying no to great projects. Kills me.
Were you a DC kid or a Marvel kid?
Marvel. Loved the old Cap, and Spidey stuff.
What’s your proudest achievement? Your biggest regret?
Workwise, making guys like Mignola and Darrow happy with the colors. Finishing their vision . Regret, taking on more work than I could handle at times.
What’s the best comic you’ve ever read?
I think it was Ambush Bug when it first came out as a kid. I just thought that was the funniest thing ever. Really I love Mike’s Hellboy. It connected with me first time I saw it. I can’t believe I’m coloring it. I don’t know, John Arcudi really gets me some times. BPRD The Long Death was pretty great.
What’s the most sentimental comic-related item you have?
Mike gave me the art to the original The Amazing Screw-On Head comic. I also got a note from Will Eisner thanking me for recoloring that Hawks of the Seas cover.
In your heart of hearts don’t you think the colorist Eisner should be called the Stewart by now?