‘The Marvel Art of David Nakayama’: The Conskipper Interview

Clover Press continues their line of high-end art books by some of the most in demand cover artists in the comic book industry with a new book featuring The Marvel Art of David Nakayama.

Nakayama is well known for his X-Men, Deadpool, and Spider-Man covers, and his new art collection includes many of his best pieces, as well as rare art from his DVD and Marvel Legends packaging art and exclusive and rare retailer variants.

We spoke to Nakayama at the start of the book’s Kickstarter launch and discusses his art, breaking into the business, and some of his favorite projects in this exclusive interview.

What can you tell us about your upcoming Marvel Art book and how the concept originated?

David Nakayama: So the really cool thing about this is that I’ve never done an art book before, despite making covers for well over a decade at this point! Fans have definitely been requesting one, and we’re finally doing it— and in hardcover premium style no less. Couldn’t be more excited to offer all of this material together in one place at last!

You broke into the business through Wizard Magazine’s “Next Top Cow Superstar” contest and had the opportunity to work with Marc Silvestri.  How did he help you in your career and in terms of your art?

Nakayama: Besides being a legendary artist, Marc is an incredibly gifted teacher as well. (I mean, just look at the pedigree of talent that’s coming through the Top Cow system, and it’s easy to see.) Even though I draw in a different style than his, he always understood exactly what I was trying to do and always had the perfect advice about how to get me that one step further. I’ll always be really grateful for that opportunity.

Do you approach video game jobs differently than you approach comic cover work?

Nakayama: Yes and no. In some ways, video games and comic assignments are similar. In games, you have a designer requesting you to draw something, and in comics you have an editor or writer making the request. But in games, you have to think about the in-game, camera, model and animation limitations, various technical specs, etc. And you have to follow the specific artistic vision of the project. Comics are a little more freeform. More recently, I’ve been asked to bring my specific comic book style to various video game projects, and that’s been super fun. 

Is there a specific piece that you look forward to people seeing in the book?

Nakayama: I’m excited about everything that’s in the book and the breadth of it of course, but I have to admit it’s fun to include rarities like toy and game illustrations that very few will have seen.

Thoughts on how you constructed the Hellfire Gala covers?

Nakayama: These are definitely a lot of fun! So Hellfire Gala is an event about high-fashion (among other things), and what better way to sync up with that than a faux fashion magazine akin to Vogue? I handle all the graphic design and write the blurbs myself in addition to making the art, so it’s a pretty unique project. I don’t usually need to wear all those different hats, and I think it helps these covers stand out.

Upcoming projects? 

Nakayama: I’m really excited about Spider-Gwen: Smash, which is our next mini series coming out in October. For me, this will be my third consecutive Spider-Gwen series on covers, so I’ve grown quite fond of her, and this time the narrative is more about solo adventures than the multiverse, so that’ll be a nice refresh.

The Marvel Art of David Nakayama is available to back on Kickstarter until October 5.

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