Jim Beard: Jeff, what's your secret origin as an artist?
Jeff Herndon: There really isn't much of a secret origin in my artistic roots. My Mom had a talent for drawing and my Father, who can't draw a straight line with a ruler is a very creative person none the less. I grew up drawing all the time. I wanted to be Drew Struzan and hang out with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Drawing was such a huge part of my childhood that I remember when I was about to fail math in the seventh grade. My parents took my art supplies away. I passed the next math test, brought my grade up and got my supplies back. I went through such withdrawals though...it was like someone being forced to quit smoking cold turkey. So drawing was a big deal from a very young age. My parents have always encouraged me to pursue my passion. Many artists don't have the support system I have, I am blessed to always be surrounded by people who believe in me.
Jim: What medium do you most prefer to work in?
Jeff: I don't really have a preferred medium. I was fortunate to have been taught by an artist that encouraged me to become versatile in many mediums. I like to work digitally, because it's fast. But I'm rarely satisfied with digital results. There are some fantastic digital artists out there and I love what they do...I just don't think it's my forte. I enjoy watercolor, it makes sense to me. Right now I'm focusing on becoming a better oil painter. I have such respect for the great oil painters out there past and present. At the end of the day though, nothing feels more natural than a pencil on paper. It's simple and effective. And every once in a while I can surprise myself with it.
Jim: What medium did you do the Sgt. Janus cover in? And how long did it take?
Jeff: I painted the Sgt Janus cover digitally. At the time I had a full plate with commissions and given that I still have a full time job and can only paint at night and on the weekends, being smart with my time and meeting deadlines is of the highest importance. I probably spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 hours on the painting. Unlike most of my digital work, I was very pleased with the finished product.
Jim: What were your initial thoughts about the project? How do you feel it went, all together?
Jeff: I was interested in the project from the get go. I enjoyed the subject matter and the time period. I think that's what makes the cover a successful one, I enjoyed it. It's always fun to design and paint a pulp cover. I was never much for painting wine bottles and grapes. I like heroes, villains and dames.
Jim: Do you like the spooky stuff most of all when it comes to art? If so, why is that?
Jeff: I enjoy spooky subject matter. I enjoy lots of genres actually, but often times I can really dig into an image that's spooky or slightly disturbing. The key is I'm laughing the whole time I'm doing it. I've never been a really rebellious person. I didn't get in trouble much, I don't wear all back and smoke cigarettes. From the outside I look like a regular joe. But when I get to paint something that's a bit off kilter, that's when I get to rebel. That's when I get to vent a bit. That's when I get to show people that I'm a bit different. It has nothing to do with how I dress or how I act. I get to show it in a pretty unique way and hopefully I'm entertaining my audience at the same time.
Jim: If asked to do a cover for a Sgt. Janus sequel, would you do it?
Jeff: Of course I'd do a Sgt Janus sequel if I was asked. Being someone who aspires to be a full time illustrator, you never turn down work! But besides that fact, as I said before, I enjoy the characters, time period and the spooky nature. I would be proud to continue covering Sgt Janus.
Jim: Thanks, Jeff!
All content (c)Jim Beard 2012
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