Open Source: Interview with Hayden Sherman

Vault's Open Source takes you behind the scenes of what goes into building a comic as told by the people who are producing the titles you love.

Hayden Sherman is the artist on Vault's upcoming title WASTED SPACE, a series that combines Preacher, Philip K. Dick, and and Star Wars in a blender with a shot of whiskey.

Hayden, what is WASTED SPACE and why should people be excited to pick it up?
It’s a good time is what it is! It’s sci-fi fun drawing inspiration from the likes of Cam Kennedy, Philippe Druillet, Garth Ennis’ Preacher, and much more. Michael Moreci has written an incredibly engaging cast of characters and set them on a properly large scale space adventure. It’s the kind of story that belongs in comics.
What does it mean to be an artist on a book like this? What does that entail?
I play the role of comic artist, which here means: creature creation, character design, set design, prop design, acting, and pacing. My part is to take what's written and translate that into a story that can be understood visually.
So how do you build an entire visual world out of a written draft?
Piece by piece. When world building based off of a script you end up just solving the problems as you come across them. Then anything that isn’t covered in the written draft I just make up! So if the script says “a lizard-like alien fires a blaster” then I get to come in and make up a species of Alien for that moment, imagine their culture or history, what type of blaster they’re holding, and then I can use that species of alien again in the future. So there’s a lot of looking at what the script calls for and then expanding on it to create things I can use elsewhere that’ll give the world a further sense of continuity.
Does it take many iterations to get the characters just right, or a panel to look the way you want?
Sometimes. There’s really no set number of iterations for either. Sometimes you’ve got an idea and it works right from the start, sometimes you come back to it weeks later when it all clicks. Incredibly, on Wasted Space, a lot of the characters felt right from the beginning so there wasn’t too much to mess with there.
Do you often collaborate with the author and/or colorist when doing the drawings?
We do in that we’re each going off of what the other makes. But we don’t do any altering or anything to each others work. Suggestions will be made, but in a team like we’ve got on Wasted Space (or any good team) there’s a lot of trust and encouragement. It’s 100% a collaboration because certainly none of us could make this alone, but it’s a collaboration where we each trust the other to play their part and bring their best. And it’s awesome seeing what everyone turns in, scripts, colors, letters, all of them get us more excited.
Who or what influenced you to get into this type of art?
Oh man, so much! Summed up I’d say: Batman, Sci-fi films of all sorts, some incredible teachers, and the desire to give readers that same sense of awe and acceptance that I felt through comics.
What’s the best advice you could give to a new creator?
Focus on telling the story. While it’s nice to be able to draw pretty things and be able to render to ridiculous degrees, in comics the most important thing is the story being told. So focus on that. Figure out how to tell the story your telling in the way that’ll make it the most interesting. You may make some weird choices along the way but so long as you’re pushing and focusing on story, you can’t go wrong.
If you could have lunch with any comic character, who would it be & why?
I’m gonna go with Dick Grayson, Nightwing. He’s talkative and good-natured, plus it’d mean I’m living in a world where Batman exists.
Check out the Wasted Space trailer!
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
Right now I’m also illustrating the book Cold War (written by Chris Sebela) and putting together some other comic pitches as ever. Everything I’m working on is in the realm of Sci-fi/Fantasy right now, which feels good.
What other books/series have you worked on in the past that people have seen?
On top of Cold War (with AfterShock) I’ve also worked on John Carter: The End at Dynamite, The Few which I co-created with Sean Lewis at Image, Civil War II: Kingpin at Marvel, Halo: Rise of Atriox at Dark Horse, and there’s an upcoming issue of James Bond: The Body that I was lucky enough to do for Dynamite as well.
How can people follow you on social media?
You can find me here: @cleanlined
Thanks Hayden!