What’s up everybody! Welcome to a very special series you’ll only 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.

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She wins awards and she rollerblades. Kirbi Fagan is one of the most imaginative artists doing work aimed at the coveted young adult audience. Don’t believe me? Perhaps you’d believe the awards she’s garnered; International Writers & Illustrators of the Future Winner, Creative Outlook Cover Contest Winner, alongside dozens of acknowledgments from very classy art associations all over the country. I was first exposed to her gorgeous cover work on Marvel books like Mockingbird and Han Solo, she’s become a favorite cover girl of mine.

You’ll see Kirbi draw the most fun story to read in Chuck Palahniuk’s upcoming short story collection, Bait. I don’t want to give to much away but I somehow found myself relating to a young girl on the brink of apocalypse. Before all that happens, Kirbi graciously took part in my artists survey.

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What was your first experience with Chuck Palahniuk’s work?

Kirbi Fagan: Fight Club was my fist experience and I remember thinking how completely different it was from anything I read or watched at the time. His work continues to puzzle and entertain me.

CB: I wonder how Chuck is going to feel about everyone coming to his work through Fight Club. But that’s for later.

Describe the story you illustrated for Bait in three words:

KF: Unpredictable.

Bizarre.

Amusing.

CB: Definitely unpredictable, I honestly didn’t see that ending coming. Yes, I tease! Your work is aimed at younger audiences and Chuck doesn’t exactly make kids books. How did you get involved in Bait?

KF: Scott and I met at the Illustration Master Class run by artist Rebecca Guay. I’ve kept in touch with my developing work over the years and was thrilled when Scott asked me to be apart of this unique collaboration!

CB: You’re the second artist I’ve come across in this book to have an origin in that IMC. I think aspiring artists should definite look into it.

My first exposure to your art was your cover work for Marvel and as I delved deeper into some of your paintings, I found there’s nothing I can compare it to. Who were your artistic influences when you were still crafting your style?

KF: My biggest influence comes from the lifestyle illustrators from the 50’s and 60’s. Though the content of my work is very different, their textures, use of color have inspired me since art school. Artists like, Eric Earnshaw, Sandy Kossin, Coby Whitmore and Jack Potter.

CB: I can see a lot of those influences in your work and I haven’t heard the name Coby Whitmore in ages. Every piece of art had such a subtle sultry power to it. I have one of the Cosmopolitan magazine covers framed in my house. Sorry, I went on a tangent there for a second. 

Your painted work on comic book and novel covers is filled with exquisitely stunning color. Was there a departure or step out of your comfort zone for the black and white line work in Bait?

KF: It was a step out in best way, a really refreshing break from the work I do. Lines are the very base of my paintings so it was a matter of stopping the process early and working them for looks instead of structure. I admit, throughout the project I couldn’t help but think about what colors I’d use on these images!

CB: 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?

KF: Maybe I’m getting into the Halloween spirit right now but I’d like to see Beetlejuice vs. The Joker. Beetlejucie wins, but barely.

CB: That’s sort of Burton’s Batman in 1989 right? But I like your thinking there. 

Finally, do you have a favorite memory of coloring things or coloring books?

KF: In first grade, my coloring page hung on the wall for an entire month for exceptionally tidy work next to other students 100% math worksheets – still my shining moment!

CB: But you have tons of awards now. HAHA, no as someone who hated math I understand the loveliness of that moment. Speaking of loveliness, check out one of Kirbi Fagan’s adorably toxic illustrations from her collaboration with Chuck Palahniuk in Bait, below. Then read the entire completely insane story when the book comes out this Tuesday. Find more of Kirbi Fagan’s work at KirbiFagan.com

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