Don’t you just love his self portrait in the above picture? I came to notice the marvelous graphics of Kirk Manley because of his friendship with one of my Twitter friends, Oscar Rodriguez. (You can read Oscar’s Baker’s Dozen interview here: http://twdfansite.com/a-bakers-dozen-with-oscar-rodriguez-iii/) I was intrigued with the bright, bold colors Kirk used. When I saw the poster he designed for the 2017 Nashville con shown below, I loved it and knew I had to interview this talented artist. I was excited when he agreed. I hope you enjoy his answers and the marvelous artwork he provided.
Here are some more of Kirk’s con posters.
I was born in the Midwest but grew up on the East Coast.
At what age did you discover your talent for drawing?
Somewhere around 6-8 years old. I read a lot of comic books and was fascinated with how the art was done and dreamed of being able to do that myself.
What prompted you to begin drawing The Walking Dead characters and scenes?
My love and passion for the show and the comic. I used to do a podcast called Biters and we analyzed each episode every season. I think that got me wanting to visualize that analysis. The reaction was so positive to the tributes I kept doing them each week and it kinda steam rolled from there.
Kirk provided this gif of his process of drawing Carol. It is fantastic!
Josh McDermitt. It was at my first exhibition at a Walker Stalker Show in New Jersey. He came around all the exhibitors until he found me to tell me how much he loved my work. I was floored and honored. What a sweet guy. Really down to earth and nice. All the cast members I have met have been really nice and appreciative of my work. It’s very flattering.
How many cast members have you met and do you have a favorite?
No favorite. They are all wonderful and talented and so down to earth. I have met quite a few of the cast. Not everyone, but most. The most exciting was Norman Reedus. I’m such a fan boy at heart. I also have had a chance to communicate and share my art directly with The Walking Dead show runner, Scott Gimple. What a great guy. He always supports and promotes my work on Twitter and I feel very honored that he has such nice things to say about my work.
What prompted you to use the bright, beautiful, bold colors in your drawings?
My comic book background I’m sure contributes to that. Lately I have been trying to vary my style and approach to each tribute to make each one different in its own way.
Just 2 mediums. I pencil draw traditionally the initial piece. Then scan it into Photoshop and ink and color it digitally.
What items of merchandise are available with your graphics?
I have 11×17 prints of my work available at Walker Stalker shows. You can contact me through Twitter or email as well to get prints.
Yes. At Walker Stalker shows I am a featured artist. I also exhibit at New York Comic Con every year in the small press area. Upcoming shows for me as of this writing interview are Walker Stalker Con Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Jersey, and New York Comic Con in October.
Yes, contact me on Twitter, @batmankm, Instagram or email me from my website studiokm.com.
Is there anything, besides drawing, that you do for fun or are passionate about?
Being a Dad. Love spending time with my family and my kids. Going to the movies and watching my favorite TV. I also try to stay physically active playing tennis, soccer, and working out. It’s essential given that 8-15 hours a day I sit on my ass in front of a computer making art.
Are there any new characters you’re working on or considering?
I’m continuing to do episode tributes for each season of The Walking Dead. I am always trying to add tributes to other characters and shows. I’m really enjoying the shows Preacher and 12 Monkeys and hope to add tribute pieces for those shows soon. I also illustrate a self-published comic book called Z-Girl and the 4 Tigers. You can learn more about that at the web site, www.zgirl.org.
Is there anything else you can tell us about you and your art?
Maybe just that I am always so humbled and flattered by all the amazing support and kind words for my art that the online community and especially The Walking Dead family of fans show my work. I can’t thank them enough. Their love and support encourages me to keep pushing myself to do more pieces and try to make each one better then the next.
To end the interview, let’s go all the way back to the beginning with this gif of Kirk’s process in drawing Days Gone Bye.
And the finished poster!
As I was finishing up, Kirk released a photo of his poster for the Tulsa con in August. If you’ll look to the far right, you will notice he has featured none other than our own beloved Oscarsredhat! Isn’t this another fantastic work of art?! Many, many kudos to this wonderfully talented artist, Kirk Manley!
Source: All photos and gifs supplied by Kirk Manley