Joe M. Dragunas
Facebook: The Art of JM Dragunas
Tumblr: The Medieval Art of J.M.Dragunas
*Please note ECCC is not the only event he attends*
I want to thank Joe for taking the time to talk with me and share more about his life and passions. So, here we go!
Geeks WorldWide: Where do you call home?
Joe M. Dragunas: So I live in Cleveland, I’ve been here all my life; moving from city to city a few times but always in the Cleveland Ohio area.
GWW: How long have you been doing art for?
JMD: I’ve been an artist my whole life, you can look into my homework assignments from 2nd grade and up and see pictures of ninja turtles drawn in them, haha.
GWW: Did you go to school for it or was it a hobby?
JMD: I did go to college, but it was to be a Paramedic, which I did for about 4 years in different emergency rooms and for a private ambulance company. I have no art training at all; I’m all self taught. I had a teacher in 9th grade actually say that I ‘should quit art all together’ because I couldn’t paint. I still can’t paint, but art is more than acrylic paintings.
GWW: When did you know it was something that you wanted to do as a living?
JMD: I decided to do it full time on the recommendation of my wife. I didn’t really think about it at all until she said something. And a year later I was doing it full time and haven’t looked back since!
GWW: Does your wife ever go to events with you? If so, does she have a favorite?
JMD: She rarely comes to shows because she works retail and to have a string of days off in a row is rare, but she always tries to go to C2E2 or Megacon in Florida, which is where she was raised and likes to return to.
GWW: How did you and your wife meet?
JMD: We met 16 years ago at a youth group meeting I was at, she was dropping off her little sister, and we were married a few years after that. Not really a dramatic meeting I’m afraid!
GWW: Do you have a schedule of different shows that you go to each year?
JMD: I try to do at least 20 or more shows a year; gets me out of the house.
GWW: How many Comic Cons have you gone to?
JMD: I really don’t know how many shows I’ve been to, but it has to be around a hundred or so by now.
GWW: Can you remember a favorite comic con that you have been to?
JMD: I don’t have a favorite in particular, but both C2E2 and Heroes are tied for my favorite shows. They each have a good feel, and a great crowd that is very interested in art rather than what celebrity is doing autographs.
GWW: Do you go to other festivals or art shows to sell your works?
JMD: No, I’ve never displayed my art at any art fairs.
GWW: If you could go to any show/comic con/expo that you haven’t been to, which would you chose?
JMD: I’d love to exhibit at San Diego, just to see how it would go. I’ve been there as a visitor on a Friday Only ticket in 2012, I think.
GWW: What inspires you or your artwork?
GWW: What are your favorite subjects to draw?
JMD: I love drawing knights, and filigree, which takes up most of my book ‘The Sires of Time’ I really love the naked human form, which I’m always trying to practice, but armor is my safe zone.
GWW: How do you come up with your ‘mash-up’ works?
JMD: When I do mash-up drawings, or fan art, usually it’s for a commission. Then I just try to satisfy the customer. Hopefully giving them the subject they want but in a unique way.
GWW: Is pen/ink the only medium you use? Or is it your favorite?
JMD: Pen and ink are the only tools I use. I use a brush on each piece as well, but its 90% quill. It’s my favorite for sure, but it’s all I know how to do. I’ve tried a bunch of other mediums, but always went back to ink.
GWW: Has anyone asked for a commission? If so, what was it and how long did it take?
JMD: I’ve done plenty of commissions, but I’ll elaborate on my favorite one. I was asked to do the Four Horsemen, I loved it, and it took about 50 hours when all was said and done.
GWW: You said that one of your sketches could take up to 30-40 hours to do? Do you ever mess up on one and have to start all over?
JMD: I spend about 40 hours on average on the original, but each print I sell is just a digital copy, and if you mess up with ink, and can’t hide it, then you have to start all over!
GWW: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you travel to?
JMD: I’ve been to a few different countries, and would love to go back to Italy. If I had to choose new place, I’d really love to visit the English country side, like Sherwood Forest.
GWW: You said that you like listening to history audio books, what are you listening to now?
JMD: I listen to a bunch of history podcasts, as well as other subjects, but the best podcast in the business for sure is ‘Hardcore History’ by Dan Carlin. As for audio books everyone should listen to the incomparable ‘Dune’ by Herbert.
GWW: Do you have any other hobbies that you like to do?
JMD: As for hobbies, it’s just art. That’s my life and business, so hobbies have to be thrown to the wayside.
GWW: Can you expand on your new and upcoming book ‘The Sires of Time’? I know its about time-traveling knights on a quest to find the scattered shards of Excalibur, but is there anything else that you can or would like to share?
JMD: You pretty much summed it up, I don’t really have much more to add to the overall plot description without giving away too much. I really wanted to draw knights, so I came up with a time traveling story that involved knights. I chose time travel so I could put the characters in a bunch of different times and different lands, that way I could always draw something different, and hopefully not bore you as a reader. If you look at Batman or Spider-man, its usually inside a city, with nothing but skyscrapers in the background. I wanted to avoid that entirely. It should be available on my website the 1st of June, but pre-orders are up there now at Dragunasmonster.com.
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