Monty Borror is the illustrator of Quarantined, a graphic novel written by Michael Moreci. His previous work includes Spirit Window and Garbage Day from Arcana Ent, and the anthology 2012 Final Prayer. Cold Blooded Chillers, in which Borror’s work appears, was the winner of the bronze Independent Publisher’s Award in 2009. He is currently illustrating work for Arcana publishing and is represented by Story Board Graphic Novels.
I was drawing at a very young age. Mostly from comic books and movies. I recreated the entire Superman movie on white chipboards when I was six years old. But I discovered horror films in my preteens, mostly from reading Stephen King and Clive Barker. That’s when my drawing took the turn towards darker subjects. The truth is that horror was just much more interesting. The eighties was such a wonderful time for horror in general that it was completely natural for a young kid to be drawn to it.
What’s your most famous work and what are you most proud of?
The graphic novel Quarantined is probably what got the most attention online. I also have a degree of guilt about that because the truth is I had no idea what I was doing. That was a 150, or so, page graphic novel and before that I had never done more than twenty pages of story before. The reviews were really good but I am so much better than that now. I probably should have been working another year before I tackled that. I am most proud of the work I just did on a book called Garbage Day that is being published by Arcana and of the work I’m doing on a book called the Legend of Boudicca that is currently being shopped.
Talk us through your artistic style.
I go for composition more than anything now. But my technique is the same be it traditional or digital. I’m heavy on inking and greyscale. Even though I’m mostly dealing with black and white comics, I really want each page to feel like a painting. I studied oil painting and was a gallery artist for a number of years before I started drawing comics. I just don’t see the necessity of keeping those two categories separate.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished Spirit Window and Garbage Day for Arcana Publishing. I am drawing and animating The Legend of Boudicca, written by Joey Ellison, which has no publisher yet.
I am also working on another zombie book that I don’t know how much I am allowed to talk about… Contracts.
Which horror artists do you most admire?
I suppose it’s getting cliche to mention Bernie Wrightson, but dammit! The man is just genius. Also Al Feldstein was a huge influence who meant so much to me as a younger man. Most of my influences are from that era when horror was a much purer thing. All of my favourites at one point passed through the doors of EC.
How much detail do you like to put into your graphic depictions of horror and how much do you imply?
It completely depends on the story. If it serves the story then show it. If it doesn’t don’t. It’s really that simple. If the story is better by not showing it then DO NOT SHOW IT. The best instance of this is from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A very violent movie. But when Leatherface beats the guy to death with a hammer, it’s just out of camera and so powerful. It serves the story so well to have the gore just out of sight.
I hope the answer to that is different for everyone. People seem to be coming back, so I feel good about what I’m doing. These last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to say “yes” or “no” to what I want to do. So I hope people will see that I’m working on a project because I want to and not just phoning it in. Which I’ve done before. So I guess what I want is for people to like the work because it’s authentic.
What makes a good piece of art?
It sounds crazy, but composition is probably the most important thing to learn. People who draw poorly can do well with good composition. One can actually draw poorly and do well knowing this. But I can not recommend this as a route to professionalism. My short form answer is: if one is obsessed with art and obsessed with getting better, then they will be fine.
Do new digital technologies such as the iPad and Kindle provide an opportunity or threat to traditional art?
As long as scanners and high quality digital cameras are available then it poses no threat to me. And if I want to go the self-publishing route that cuts my overhead to zero. So, no, I see no threat. I love the fact that there are millions of bored kids who look to their phone and tablet for entertainment. Kids who may have never read a comic otherwise. I say bring them into the fold!
Recommend a graphic novel.
Anything by the Luna Bros. They are doing great work. I’m not a big Marvel guy but Strikeforce Morituri is utterly amazing. Of course you can buy the entire Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing in trade paperback. Highly recommended.
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