Art of The Shepherd: An Interview with Jason Flowers
In May of 2016, Team Shepherd started getting into the convention circuit as a way of promoting our work and attempting to create a fan base. One of the very first people we met was Jason Flowers, an Atlanta-based freelance comic book artist.
Our friendship started slowly. However, as we kept bumping into each other all over the southeastern U.S. in cities like Durham, Charlotte, Raleigh, Pensacola, Tampa, Memphis (where we managed to get in a car accident together—rear-ended at a red light no less!), and Atlanta, we had many chances to chat and discuss our respective work. Eventually, when Jason joined Caliber Comics, with the publication of A.A.I. Wars in 2018, we shared table space and cross promoted each other’s work.
Jason is currently he is illustrating his new creator owned book, Bounty Bullfrog. Recent work includes variant retail covers for TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 and TMNT #99 from IDW. Anyone who knows Jason knows that the Turtles make him all mushy inside as he is an absolute fanboy when it comes to that franchise! Jason has illustrated numerous sketch card sets for Upper Deck and Topps Cards for companies like Disney, Marvel, and Twentieth Century Fox. Other comic book work has been published in Image Comics, Scout Comics, Devils Due, Arcana Comics, and Black Thumb Press.
With all the time we have spent together over the years, it just seemed natural for Jason to try his hand at the Shepherd, which he finally did in August of 2020. We thought that we would sit down with him and discuss his work as a creator as well as his rendition of The Shepherd.
ANDREA: How did you first get into art? Could you point to a moment and say, “That was when I knew that this is what I wanted to do”?
JASON: First off, thanks for having me. As far back as I can remember I was always drawing as a kid. When I was around eight years old, while at daycare one day, a kid had brought some
Wolverine comics drawn by Marc Silvestri that I really got me into comic books and wanting to make them. From that moment on I wanted to collect as many comics as I could and I realized I enjoyed making them even more. Haven't stopped since.
ANDREA: Unlike many of my artists, you have done a number of comic book conventions with Team Shepherd. As someone who has observed us present our character, how do you perceive the character of The Shepherd? If you were explaining the books to someone who didn’t know anything about our work, how would you “pitch” The Shepherd?
JASON: Very interesting question. If I had to explain The Shepherd to someone I'd probably describe it as Ghost Rider meets Dante's Inferno. How far one man's love for his son takes him and the demons he fights internally and spiritually along the way.
ROBERTO: Your take on The Shepherd is “fiery” to say the least. Can you explain your vision for the character and the connection with the flames? What is the symbolism of the flames—or do you see them as literal?
JASON: I'd say this is a little bit of both. The flames to me represent that inner torment dealing with the grief of his son's passing and his search for him.
An emotional burst of rage and energy symbolizing the pain that comes with the loss of a loved one while at the same time dealing with one's own fate. While the flames externally represent his vengeance for protecting the innocent.
ROBERTO: Your piece is obviously focused on The Shepherd, but if you were to tackle Legio, how would you approach him as a character?
JASON: I'd probably approach him as I do with most beasts and monsters I draw. Big, towering, and intimidating.
ROBERTO: Likewise, if you did both characters, how might you configure them?
JASON: That’s a tough one to think about at the moment. I'd probably sketch out a few different ideas, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head would be going for some type of money shot image having the Shepherd riding on top of Legio as they are jumping out of a hell fire river of blood containing floating skulls as they are about to attack a bunch of monsters/demons. I don’t know. I always enjoy ridiculously crazy drawings that may or may not have anything to do with the story itself.
ANDREA: Tell us about your latest project, Bounty Bullfrog.
JASON: Bounty Bullfrog is my new comic book project currently in development. The elevator pitch is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meets Lobo in an action-packed adventure series about a bounty hunting bullfrog saving the world from a group of murderous mole ninjas that call themselves the Plague. Originally an idea I created from my love for Ninja Turtles back when I was fifteen years old, I had been trying for many years to come up with a way to bring this character back to life until I recently decided it was just finally time. The first story arc will be four issues with multiple future arcs and spin-off character books planned. The first issue was recently successfully funded on Kickstarter, raising over $8500 and it should be releasing in January 2021.
If you are interested in seeing more of Jason’s work and/or following his adventures on social media, check out these links: www.jasonflowersart.bigcartel.com; www.instagram.com/jasonflowersart; and www.facebook.com/jasonflowersart.