Dan Brereton: The Conskipper Interview at Terrificon 2023

Directly following the release of his SwordPlay anthology, which is available now, artist extraordinaire Dan Brereton returned to Terrificon on the weekend of July 28th through the 30th of 2023 to meet with fans, catch up with friends and creators, and complete prized commissions for some lucky collectors. We caught up with Mr. Brereton to learn more about his evolving artistic process, his thoughts on Terrificon as a returning guest, and all of the incredible work he’s up to these days.

This isn’t your first time appearing at Terrificon. What makes this show unique for you and what sets it apart from other modern comic conventions?

The first time I was a guest of the show in 2019, I recognized pretty quickly how unique it is – there’s the amazing venue inside the Mohegan Sun, which is a destination in itself – but it was the banners Mitch has set up on the long hall leading into the main convention room: all these landmark mainstream comic book covers greet you along the way and you just know there is real love for the medium of comic books going on.  The guest list also tells you a lot about the mind of the show’s owner Mitch Hallock. The con features a strong Media guest list , but the line -up of comics creators is fantastic.  There is real emphasis on comics, which seems more rare these days as corporations and LLCs move in with a “ pop culture” vibe – which is what led me to take a long break from San Diego and fairly squelched my interest in the New York show . Too big and not concentrated enough on comic books and comics creators, not for me , anyway. 

Fans have a great time meeting comic creators at Terrificon, but they often don’t realize it’s an opportunity for creators to meet and bump into each other as well. What are some memorable encounters you’ve had with other comic creators at Terrificon that stand out to you?

This is a huge attraction for me – maintaining friendships with peers , meeting your heroes and even get my to be friends with them – a huge part of why I leave the comfort of my studio . I don’t want to drop names, so I’ll just say both times I’ve attended- I’ve met my heroes and been able to catch up with friends on the east coast ( I’m from California) and that’s gold. It feels like the good old days of the 90’s in that way for me.

Having said that- the readers , art collectors and fellow comics lovers o meet are a great bunch – super friendly, polite and supportive.  A major reason I attend conventions is to convene with folks – if you don’t have that lively and warm, conversation , you’re missing the connective tissue that binds us . 

Your last appearance at Terrificon was in 2019. Since then, your style has evolved to include some more ink line art in addition to your signature watercolors. How did this evolution of your style come about, and what do you like about adding more inks to your process?

Two reasons for adding ink line – time and tools.

The paper I was using ( virtually all comics artists really ) Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Board, is no longer manufactured the same – and hasn’t been for decades. So I’ve switched to a larger variety of papers to paint  on.  In tandem with this switch, I’ve found ink brush pens I really like and can get good control with , and using an ink line speeds up the working process considerably- and so far no one is complaining and I enjoy incorporating drawing into the work in a way you can see. 

I’m not an Inker on the sense of a comics artist whose job is to embellish the linework of a Penciler for print, so I concern myself less with being “slick” than with the overall look of the finished art as Illustration. It’s been fun and comfortable to work like this, and as I said, so far no one has complained! I think comics fans are used to the line, in any case.

You took commission requests for Terrificon in advance and on the show floor. What were your favorite and most memorable commissions that you completed for or during the weekend?

I did a Gunwitch ( from Nocturnals) I was really happy with , a Psylocke , and a Batman ( from Thrillkiller) along with some others – it’s always enjoyable to return to familiar characters, or those I haven’t drawn in a while , and occasionally tackle something new like an Angela piece I did for the show ,as well . I don’t accept just any character or assignment, either, it has to be something I find interesting or familiar.

We talked off the record about some really exciting future projects you’re working on at the moment. What are some upcoming plans of yours that we can share with our readers?

I’ll be on a Comic Art Live Chat and Art Sale with Bill Cox Saturday, August 12, and I have produced many new pieces for the event .

I’m painting the next Nocturnals graphic novel- it’s penciled , all 96 pages, but it’s a challenge to squeeze the work on finishes into my schedule. I’d like to be able to increase production, but it’s not being funded by a publisher, so I work when I can. I also have an art book in mind with so much new material from the last two years of working. This is likely to be my next Kickstarter project next year.

I’m very active with my Patreon members as well . I post prices galleries several times a week and have consolidated most of my commission work through Patreon memberships.

Check out the cover for SwordPlay below and stay tuned to Conskipper for complete coverage of all of Dan Brereton’s upcoming projects as soon as it breaks!

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