What’s up everybody! Welcome to a very special series you’ll only get to see here on The Beat. We’re days away from Dark Horse publishing the enigmatic Chuck Palahniuk’s new collection of short stories/adult coloring book, Bait: Off-color Stories for you to Color. To count down, over the next few days we’ve got reader’s digest style questionnaires answered by some of the artists who worked on the book. It all leads up to a very special interview with author Chuck Palahniuk on Tuesday.
Marc Scheff is an artist’s artist. Illustrator of high-quality gallery exhibition pieces, Marc’s current work with gold leaf is extraordinary. Beyond a knack for addictive color combination, the artist has a keen eye for composition. He was enlisted to draw key illustrations in the title tale of Chuck Palahniuk’s new short story collection.
We got to subject Marc to our flaming garbage truck questionnaire and find out how an artist always in color manages to step back into line art.
COMICS BEAT: What was your first experience with Chuck Palahniuk’s work?
Marc Scheff: I saw Fight Club when it came out in theaters. I wasn’t an outlier, I loved it. From the camera work to the coloring work to the story. I’ve seen it a number of times now and for me, it’s fresh every time.
CB: Describe the story you illustrated for Bait in three words:
MS: Sexy Beast Betrayal
CB: hahahahahahahahahahhahah. Almost certain there’s a movie waiting for that tagline.
How did you get involved with this book?
MS: I’ve known Scott Allie since we met, I forget how many years ago, at the IMC (Illustration Master Class). We hit it off as fast friends there and have talked about trying to find the right project since that workshop. As I remember it, he put the word out to a few artists including my friend and mentor Rebecca Guay. She passed it to me, I sent Scott some of my recent work to remind him that I make art, and things just worked out from there.
And I’ll be honest, I almost said no when Scott offered it to me. I was working on a new body of work, and a gallery show, and it was summer so the kids were off, and and and…. BUT it was just too cool to say no. I had wanted to work with Scott for years, and that along with Chuck Palahniuk. I mean, it wasn’t a “maybe not my thing” kind of project at all.
CB: I’m starting to see a lot more names from IMC, it seems like THE new place for aspiring artists.
You do some of the sharpest gallery style acrylic paintings I’ve seen of any artist working today. What advice would you give to the average reader coloring your work in Bait?
MS: Well thank you! I do a lot of work in resin and gold leaf right now, so maybe more than your average coloring book aficionado wants to get into.
My pages have water in most of them, so break out your cool colors and blues for one. The hero (no spoilers) is orange, and some are wearing suits. There are also rugs.
The images have a lot of detailed texture and I would highly recommend NOT coloring each rug tassel individually. Maybe get a watercolor brush pen and wash over big areas with a lighter color, leaving spots for anything light or pure white. Then markers or pencils for darker areas, shadows, etc.
I’d love to see a version that was all shades of a single color, with the main element or character in a crazy other color. Like, all blue with a hot red for the blood. Ok, no spoilers…
CB: Gold leaf might be out of our price range and I think you’ve given readers the hardest task by coloring a rug. After all, it needs to tie the room together. Let’s talk about a happier subject…
It’s the first night of your own Fight Club. What two celebrities or fictional characters would you choose to fight each other and who wins?
MS: I’m pretty sure if it’s the first night of my Fight Club I _have_ to fight. I wouldn’t want to water it down by picking someone I’m sure I could take too. But I also don’t love the idea of setting up a beat down just to punish someone (I did consider Hellboy vs Trump). A fairly even fight would be good I think.
I’m going to go with Ziggy Stardust vs Jareth, the Goblin King from Labyrinth. Ziggy was a rock n roll legend, jamming weird with the Spiders from Mars. He could do many things, including lick em just by smiling. And Jareth, the depth of his powers are undocumented and unknown. I would fear his arcane abilities which seem to include gaslighting bordering on mind control, trapping you in an escheresque version of your own mind.
Honestly, the way I think this fight would play out, if either of them won we would never know and if anyone lost it would be us.
CB: True. But remember Tyler makes the fight card so you’d pick who fights who. Bowie v Bowie would be fight none of us can handle on this plane of existence.
Finally, do you have a favorite memory of coloring or coloring books?
MS: To borrow the now-famous meme, I fucking love coloring! I went through activity books like nuts as a kid.
I do remember when I was maybe 7 years old, I somehow got a copy of How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way. I _still_ love that book. I copied as much as I could and tried to use what I learned to make up my own heroes. I loved coloring in these drawings.
These days I get some good coloring time with my son. We draw and color together as much as we can, with a heavy focus on superheroes. Coloring drawings is a part of my routine again, and creating memories that I will cherish for my entire life.
CB: That’s awesome! You’ll be able to see Marc’s vision of sexy beast betrayal when Bait: Off-Color Stories for you to Color is in stores Tuesday. Also, we’ve got a peek at one of his illustrations from Bait below. Before and after that, you should go to Marcscheff.com to see more of his exquisite pieces. Maybe a rug or two.