John Bruggman credits his father’s past hobby with how the 21-year-old became involved in collecting and drawing – and now joins the publishing ranks for – the comic book genre.
Bruggman just celebrated the debut of his first published book cover, Slumber #1, for Image Comics. It depicts a woman with dark, sunken eyes holding a shotgun in a large doorway. He didn’t actually design the character, he said, but studied the sample pages, examples and brief description provided by the company. He submitted his version of the main character Stetson, which was chosen for the March cover.
“I’ve always been interested in drawing, and in high school I started taking it more seriously during my freshman year. As a kid opening my dad’s comics, it’s like a dream come true to be published with this company. But also professionally, it’s a confidence boost in a weird way,” the Batavia native said in an interview with The Batavian. “When I got to college, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to find work or if my style would be popular with an audience. And it was a really good confidence boost to see the praise not only from the company, but the people who bought it, the orders that came in, and the support from the region as well. »
The book is available from 3D Comics in Lancaster, Pressing Matters LLC in Buffalo, and Bruggman’s website. It’s a freshly written comic with new characters and scenarios. The premise features Stetson, a nightmare hunter and dream detective.
From Image Comics: “She runs a shoddy business where she helps clients sleep at night by entering their dreams and killing their nightmares. But Stetson’s past comes back to haunt her when she tracks down a living nightmare: a serial killer who murders people in their sleep. SLUMBER is an ongoing series created by the twisted minds of writer Tyler Burton Smith (Kung Fury and Child’s Play) and rising star artist Vanessa Cardinals.
Bruggman remembers how his passion ignited for classic comic books. The high school student at the time had descended into his family’s basement and discovered his father’s filing cabinet filled with old comic books. Paper materials aroused his own desire to join him as a collector.
“It’s like our family thing that we do. My brother started doing it too. So we got into comics that way,” John Bruggman said. “It was mainly artists who influenced me who worked in comics, they worked more in horror. I was also influenced by several tattoo artists.
Bruggman’s process for submitting the cover involved selecting a few key premise details — in this case, a door, the woman, and a shotgun — and started with a sketch of loosely-based poses, he said. -he declares. He then determined which poses he liked and put together a final black and white compilation to get a feel for the placement of light and shadow. He finished it by digitally painting the work in color.
A 2019 graduate of Batavia High School, Bruggman attends Daemen College to earn a bachelor’s degree in illustration. His future goal is to be a freelancer working for Marvel and/or DC Comics. He loves 1990s-style comics and likes “the diversity” of characters imagined by individual artists. For example, Batman has been around since the 1930s, he said, and yet “nobody really drew him the same way.” He leans towards horror figures with a punk and edgy influence.
His practice has been to pin down the human anatomy, so often an integral part of comic book characters. Take a look at one of his favorites, Silver Surfer, featuring a well chiseled body displaying plenty of muscular poses. His work displays these fine details of muscles and curves, and he also appreciates the intricacy of his limbs.
“Character drawing was a huge help, with live models. Hands and feet were the hardest because they are so expressive,” he said. artists and try to be better.
“And I feel like my job, especially as I continue to work, I’ve noticed a lot of improvement even in the last year. My job has come a long way and I’m very happy to see where it’s going going.
He was influenced by artists such as Simon Bisley, Frank Frazetta, Bill Sienkiewicz and Glenn Fabry. He thinks there has been “some kind of resurgence” in the comic book market with exclusive and limited covers and special editions. These items have attracted more collectors, he said.
Drawing helps relieve stress, he said, and is “a highlight of my day”. He hopes to work his way to freelance status and sees this published book cover as a start.
“I really want to promote this because I really think this is going to go to a very special place. And usually, when it comes to the first issues of the artists they work on, it’s like drawings: they become more valuable. And I could see that happening with this book,” he said. “And then just looking at the story, the book, it’s very well read and the writers worked on a lot of comics and movies that were more related to the horror and the artwork inside. I don’t I haven’t, but it’s a very unique style, a little cartoony, a little loose, and it’s a good read. And, I don’t know, I love it.
For more information visit: johnbruggmanart.com
Top photo of the book cover published by John Bruggman for Slumber #1, by Image Comics. Above, Bruggman is working on a project at school. Photos courtesy of John Bruggman and Image Comics.