This past week, I finally got the chance to meet with Ron Garney, an artist for Marvel Comics. He also happens to be my mom’s cousin.
Ron has worked on a number of titles during his career, most of which have been Marvel. He has worked on The Amazing Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Wolverine Captain America, X-Men, Silver Surfer, and Hulk, just to name a few. Ron’s professional debut was on G.I. Joe #110 in 1991. He also worked on a number of JLA issues for DC as a penciler. In addition, Ron has worked as a costume illustrator for some movies, including I Am Legend. Currently, he is working on Daredevil.
Ron was incredibly generous and took the time out of his day to sit down with me and talk about his work, the industry, and my work. He invited me to his home where he has his studio. He showed me a lot of his old work and his current projects. Early in Ron’s career he worked primarily as a penciler, meaning another artist would go over his work in ink. Today, like many comic artists, he works mainly in Photoshop on his Wacom display connected to his Mac desktop.
I showed Ron my concept pieces that I have done of so far of Sphynx, Theo, and Rachel. He also read over my story, which he said was very good. He gave me excellent feedback on what I can do to make my story more interesting and better develop and add depth to the characters. There should be more scenes focusing on the characters and their emotions than action scenes. He also advised that I channel my own experiences into the story, because it will make the story feel more real for the reader. He also explained how I should write my story more like a film screenplay and script, because it would make it easier to work from for developing the art.
For those who follow me on Instagram (@cailindorothysphynx), you know that I have started planning out my first pages for Sphynx the comic. I showed Ron these early layouts and he taught me about page and panel layout, even creating a page layout for Sphynx right there. He advised that I stick to odd numbers for the amount of panels per page and that I should limit the use of large impact panels and pages to the really big moments.
Probably the best piece of advice Ron gave me was that as a comic artist, you have to be good at everything: the figures, the light sources, the foreground and background. You want to make each panel feel believable as a whole. The characters have to be fully developed, as well as the buildings around them. Use the setting to frame the characters and think of each panel as a camera. How will you frame each panel to create an interesting and dynamic shot?
Thank you so much, Ron! I know I told you, but I really can’t thank you enough for taking the time to meet with me.
I am so excited to get back to Marist and dive into work on my comic. I know it is going to be a lot of work, but I can’t wait to show all of my supporters my work. Make sure to check back here soon for the first issue of Sphynx and make sure to follow Mandie Miller on Instagram @mandiemiller_dc