A freelance artist and illustrator for over 20 years, David Okum has been published in Antarctic Press manga anthologies and other comic books, including six by Guardians of Order. He’s authored four popular books with IMPACT, Manga Madness, Superhero Madness, Manga Monster Madness and Manga Fantasy Madness. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo (1990) and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor (Visual Art, History and English). He has taught high school for the Waterloo Regional District School Board since 1993 and adult education for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. He has also run after-school comics workshops for students since 1996 and is very in touch with the target readers for these books.
Name: David Okum
Latest IMPACT book: Manga Martial Arts: Over 50 Basic Lessons for Drawing the World’s Most Popular Fighting Style
Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Current residence: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Kids and/or pets? Two kids: girls, ages 12 and 14; two cats, Willow and Tabby. And I once had four pet fiddler crabs.
Favorite food: Sushi and Pizza (not together)
Favorite candy bar: (no contest here) Big Turk
Favorite TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Favorite movie: Blade Runner
Favorite website(s): homestarrunner.com
Favorite blog(s): www.drawn.ca and boingboing.net
Favorite comic(s): Scott Pilgrim, DC: The New Frontier, Appleseed, Northwest Passage, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Watchmen.
Do you collect anything (stamps, comics)? I have many, many comics, but I read them, I don’t really collect them. I also have way too many HeroClix. Way too many.
First job ever: Freelance artist when I was 16.
Best job ever: Teaching along with Turnkey Desk at University of Waterloo Student Life Centre. Art is too fun in the long run to be considered “work.”
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
When I was 14.
Give us a taste of your latest project.
It’s an unabashedly Canadian superhero webcomic/graphic novel. I’ve been working on this story since 1982. I’ve known some of the characters longer than some of my friends.
Talk about a time you felt star struck in your line of work.
In 2004, when I was on a panel with Will Eisner, Maggie Thompson, Lea Hernandez, John Jackson Miller, Vince Giaranno and Heidi MacDonald at the San Diego Comic-Con. I was so nervous. It was so nice to meet and chat informally with Will Eisner. It was a thrill. I kept thinking, “How did I get here?”
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?
Draw every day. Make sure everyone can find your artwork easily; don’t hide it away.
Only accept projects you are passionate about. When you show your portfolio: One, never apologize. Two, never argue. Three, show only your best work.