Sitting down with Tim Bradstreet (Hellblazer, Punisher, and Hellraiser) for an interview is like talking to a little kid after they opened up their Christmas presents – his enthusiasm and passion for creating art is off the charts. One of the most unique artists in the industry, Bradstreet turns out a prolific amount of covers and concept ideas for many of the hottest names in the business.
Despite his prolific level of work, Bradstreet has found the time to promote new titles at the San Diego Comic Con with his Raw Studios partner, actor and writer Thomas Jane. They are promoting Jane’s latest comic book projects, the graphic novels Dark Country and Bad Planet – Volume 2: Apochrypha, which Bradstreet has done covers for.
With his busy schedule, there is also a point where commerce and art collide for Bradstreet. Most recently, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser comic and the True Blood comics have received the Bradstreet treatment, which is extremely time consuming.
“I love to work with Clive, but it’s a very frustrating job because they’re not paying me the kind of money to art direct me, which is fine,” he says. “I sometimes have to redo a cover four times, but I’m a team player. Clive deserves to get what he wants, but it can be frustrating because I can’t put that kind of time in with how long it takes to do a cover and how much I get paid to do it. I have other responsibilities”
Those other responsibilities include preparation for doing covers for The Shadow. “It will be fun for me because the publisher is very hands off,” he says. “If I want some editorial and some challenge, they’ll happily give me some…I like to be challenged, and I love to work with great editors.
Even with the deadlines and challenges that come from working the business side of comics, Bradstreet walks the walk when it comes to the passion side of art.
“I’m enjoying forcing time off from my regular schedule to work on my own stuff,” says Bradstreet. Opening his current portfolio, Bradstreet shows off an amazing assortment of black and white sketches that showcase’s his attention to detail.
It’s the meticulous nature of his work that shows his passion for being an artist and creating his best work. His preference for presenting his work comes through the use of heavy blacks and white. “I’ve spent 22 years of my life achieving this style,” he says. “I draw for me more than anything.”
Conversely, it’s the meticulous nature of his work that prevents him from drawing a comic from front to back. “For me to do a comic, I would like to do it the same way as I do my covers,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to compromise that.
For Bradstreet that would involve logistics, models, places to shoot pictures, and many other critical factors. However, he has a never say never attitude about the possibility of doing a full story. “Even so, there is a big sequential story in me at some point,” he says. “It would have to be the right project.”
When discussing what that big project could be, Bradstreet remains open-minded about what would pique his interest. “I would love for it to be something that I really want to do,” he says. “it would be something that no one would question my passion about.”
Of course, logistics and time factor heavily into how quickly he would consider taking on a project of this magnitude. “If the right thing came along for something like the Punisher,” he says, “I would have to take like a year or plus off just to do a four issue mini-series. Covers pay five times what a page pays and it only takes me a few days to do one.”
Regardless, Bradstreet continues to burn the midnight oil as he maintains a busy schedule that balances paying the bills and making himself happy as an artist. Tonight, Bradstreet and Jane’s Raw Studios are making a big, announcement at their panel, which runs from 7:30p.m. until 8:30p.m in room 26AB here at Comic Con, which will keep Bradstreet a very busy man for the foreseeable future.