Please tell us about yourself?

Hi, I’m Abhishek Malsuni. I’m a BFA in Applied Arts from the College of Arts & Crafts, Lucknow. Since my study days, I have worked as a Comic Book Artist, Illustrator as well as a Concept Artist. My career path includes working with publishers like Digikore Studios, Raj Comics, Arkin Comics, Level 10 Comics & Illustrated Orchids and I reached a pleasing height by working with International Publishers, Top Cow Productions & Virgin Comics. Presently, I’m a Comic Book Artist & Art Lead at Rovolt Entertainment.

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What drove your interest towards the Comic World? How did you end up in an offbeat , interesting and unconventional career such as this?

I was inquisitive and liked to explore various forms of art and animation since my childhood days. I was passionate about reading comics books & watching animation stuff. As this fascination grew with time my artistic capabilities took over me and I started off to try and draw the poses and scenes from comic books. Then it started to dawn on me that I wanted to become a comic book artist and illustrator. To kick off with this aim, I joined BFA in Applied Arts.

Could you take us through your journey as an artist?

As I was pursuing my BFA from Lucknow, I got to know that Raj comics’ artist Dilip Chaubey’s studio was also in Lucknow. I created a comic book strip, a few pin ups & met him. He liked my work and I joined his studio as an Inker.

I worked in Raj comics’ Delhi based studio for a year with him, worked on various artists’ pencils including Anupam Sinha. It helped me to develop as an artist and before going back to Arts College, I got my break through as Penciler for Raj Comics.

During my college days, I started working as freelancer. I also worked with Anupam Sinha as assistant penciler. Working with him was a great learning experience for me. Later, I got in touch with Saurav Mohapatra, a US based writer, who was working with Virgin Comics at that time. I learned various aspects of storytelling under him. During the final year of my graduation, I got internship at Virgin Comics. After graduating, I worked with Digikore Studios and Arkin Comics. In 2010 I got breakthrough in main stream American comics via Top Cow Productions. I worked on the series like Tracker, Rest and annual editions. Since 2011, I have been working with Rovolt Entertainment on ‘The Legends of Aveon 9’ series.

Please put some light on your latest ‘The Legends of Aveon 9’?

‘The Legends of AVEON 9’ is a fresh upcoming comic book series from Rovolt Entertainment. Aveon 9 is inspired by Indian mystical tales of the past and western sci-fi. ‘The Legends of AVEON 9’ is close to my heart as it’s my first project as a co-creator & the first sci-fi / fantasy project that I’ve worked on. AVEON 9’s first glimpse as a preview book was showcased in this year’s Comic Con India (Feb 2012) and we got a rave response from the audience and readers.

Could you share with us the credits of ‘The Legends of Aveon 9’?

Besides me as Penciller/inker, Aveon 9 team includes CEO-Manish Kumer Sinha, Writer- Shamik Dasgupta, Colorist- Shashank Mishra and American comic book writer-editor Roz Marz, well known for Green Lantern, Silver Surfer, Witchblade & Artifacts.

Could you elaborate more the story line of ‘The Legends of Aveon 9’?

Set in distant future, Aveon 9 is a magnum-opus inspired by Indian mystical tales and western sci-fi. It’s also Aveon 9 has modern and strong Characters. It is a story where many contrasting characters interact in a complex environment which is also inspired in some way or other with our daily lives.

What are the challenges you’ve faced with Aveon 9?

Aveon 9 is the toughest challenge for me till date as I never worked on a sci-fi/fantasy series before. I created all the concept arts, environments, character designs & art styles for Aveon 9. CEO Manish wanted to deliver an exquisite, world class Comic Book & this vision of Manish encouraged me to take up this challenge of working on something I never had my hands on.
As Aveon 9 is a blend of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, the usage of colors for this genre was of deep consideration and Shashank came out with an excellent colour palette. We are confident that when people see our products in the market, they would understand and appreciate the worth of our hard-work put forth in the form of our creations. We are developing AVEON 9 as an IP wherein the content will also be available in alternate forms like games, animation movies, merchandise etc. going ahead.

Please share with us the research done for Aveon 9?

For Aveon 9, a lot of R & D was done to enhance the storytelling and art as I wanted to bring out something different from my past works. Working with Ron Marz, Phil Smith, Troy Peteri and other comic talents from Brazil and Indonesia, we spent a lot of time finalising on the art style and story. Before stepping into the content creation of Aveon 9, we did lot of research to understand the psyche of the comic book readers and what they actually want to read in comic books before getting into the creation of the content.

Of all the genres, you’ve chosen Sci-Fi for your latest comic, any specific reason? Which genres do you feel work well with comics?

I wanted to explore Sci – Fi and Fantasy Genres for a long time. As a comic book reader, I feel there is no specific genre that can assure success for comics or any other medium of storytelling. Whatever the genre, it should be well executed, both in terms of script and art. Yes, readers have their own tastes.

Can you elaborate more on your works and projects? Which has been your favourite till date?

I have always worked on one project at a time. It helps to bring all the energy and creativity to that particular project. Working on a comic book, apart from art style and drawings, Storytelling became a priority for me. The art of comics is not about individual panels or pages or drawing few figures but it is one body of work from the first panel to the last and everything in between. Comics are all about Visual storytelling. Drawing something in name of comic book is easy but to make a really good comic book with engrossing storytelling is really a hard nut to crack.

Among favourites, AVEON 9 will always be there, it’s very personal to me.
WITCHBLADE’s pinup for Top Cow’s annual issue holds special place. Few of the Raj comics works, cover for India authentic series – ANDHAKA, CHARLIE BLACK series and some personal works are in the list. I also enjoyed working on IRITH.

Who are your favourite comic books and artists?

It’s changed over the years. I have wide range of favourites, few of them are not apparent on my work. During my initial days, I was influenced by Indian artists like Anupam Sinha until I got introduced to American comics.
I like the art of Marc Silvestri, Alan Davis, Neal Adams, Sean Murphy, Joe Kubert , Al Williamson, Mike Deodato Jr., Jo Chen, Jerry Ordway, Barry Windsor Smith, Marko Djurdjevic , Frank Frazetta, Ivan Reis.

What inspires you to create such a splendid collection?

Thank you. I believe it’s my interest and desire to tell stories. I love to draw & to tell stories through my art and if you love what you do, it reflects in your work. Inspiration is relative. I think the secret of inspiration is the urge to succeed. A constant striving to get better is must. Any artist should never be satisfied with his/her work otherwise there would be a stagnation and the work will suffer.

Any Guidelines for Aspiring Comic Book Artists?

My advice for those who want to pursue a career in Comics making, is to search within and see if you have the desire to tell stories and love for the medium. Comics is not about drawing figures or pretty pictures, it’s about narrating a story through the art. Comics require major part of your time to deliver the quality and meet deadlines. There should be love and passion for the medium with a high dose of patience and dedication. Many artists have been giving up and getting away from comics because of the difficulty in making comic art. Love, dedication, patience, hard work, discipline are the keys here. And as Marc Silvestri says, “Practice, practice, practice and if you get tired, Practice some more”.