This College Senior Is Already a Professional Comic Book Artist
RISD undergrad Hayden Sherman's professional work recalls Frank Miller's 'Batman.'
"Wake up, pencil a page, go to class, come back, ink the page, pencil two more pages, go to sleep, repeat." That's how comic illustrator and RISD senior Hayden Sherman explains his days to Creators. With his pencil-scratch, rough-hewn style, Sherman has spent the last month making a loud and bold impression on the comic scene. Though still finishing up his final semester of undergrad, Sherman's seen the launch of The Few, a creator-owned titled written with Sean Lewis for Image Comics, and John Carter: The End, Dynamite Comics' continuation of the famous Barsoom series of Mars stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
So how did Sherman land two major jobs while prepping for his final year at school? "Both actually got started very differently," Sherman explains. "With The Few Sean Lewis found my work online somewhere and reached out to me with a brief idea of the story." From there, to two worked together to tell the post-apocalyptic story of a run down world and the people who survive its fringes.
"With Dynamite on the other hand, things began much differently. I had sent out a set of sample pages to several comic companies. Some by email, some by facebook, some in the old sealed envelope... Fast forward a couple months and I get an email from one of the editors at Dynamite asking if I'd be available for a certain property they needed an artist on." Sherman tried for that, didn't land it, but "about a day later they sent me the pitch for John Carter: The End. The story looked killer, the older versions of the characters gave me some design freedom, and the feel they were going for felt right. So I took a couple days, familiarized myself with the characters and world, and had a blast from there figuring out how everything could look. Dynamite really let me have some fun with it."
Sherman names Paul Pope, Ashley Wood, Klaus Janson, Sean Murphy, and Joe Kubert as his biggest artistic influences, and part of Sherman's success lies in his knowing, already, exactly the kind of artist he is. "I was handed this really cool pitch for a miniseries," he explains, "and I was looking at it and started to imagine how it could be done and what could make that script sing. But I realized a bit later on that I'm not the guy for that job. I feel I could have done a serviceable job, but that script needed someone who worked in a different way from how I do."
In the end, juggling school and a fully fledged professional career is tough. "So I have to double down and keep my schedule fairly tight everyday," he says. "But it's all worth it, I get to play in the medium I love and draw comics each day to put out into the world, I can't help but be thankful despite how crazy it gets."
Check out Hayden Sherman's work on comic shelves now with The Few #1, John Carter: The End #1, and keep an eye out for The Few #2 hitting stores this Wednesday and John Carter: The End #2 on March 8th.