Art of The Shepherd: An Interview with Kyle Huston
Kyle Pommier Huston attended Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA) from 2005 to 2009 and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in sequential art. With this background that spans traditional and digital media, from illustration to production art, Kyle Pommier Huston is without doubt a versatile artist. However, his forte can be found in the narrative arts: illustration, cartooning, comics, and storyboards. His motto is: "All things in service to the story."
Back in 2016, Team Shepherd was looking for artists to collaborate on The Path of Souls/ The Path of Dogs storyline, the second Shepherd adventure. We found Kyle portfolio online and admired his art style —particularly because it reminded us of Mike Mignola whose work we adore. In the early weeks of 2016, we commissioned Kyle to do a promo art piece for The Shepherd. The result is the paint found below. We loved it so much that we hired Kyle as our primary artist for The Path of Souls/ The Path of Dogs, a move we have never regretted.
The purpose of this interview is to explore Kyle’s artist process and approach in creating this particular piece of artwork.
Roberto: Do you have any artistic process to get the creative works flowing?
Kyle: For better or worse I’ve always been a very undisciplined artist, so getting the “creative works” flowing has always been a struggle. I never did much doodling but always enjoy sketching what I see. And if I start a project, I’ve always needed a story to propel the artwork. Beyond that: music. Ever since I was young, music, of just about any genre, floods my head with imagery.
I’m a very deliberate artist, so I’ll ruminate on the imagery or the music for a while until I know exactly what I want to draw.
Roberto: When you made this image, was there any specific element you tried to draw the viewer's eyes to or thought was important?
Kyle: When I made that image, I wanted it to be a distillation of the first volume of The Shepherd. I was basically imagining I was the cover artist for that volume. I boiled it down to three figures: Val, Lawrence and Legio. I wanted to feature all three without giving too much away. It was my intention to focus on Val and Legio with Lawrence a bit more low key behind them. That was to reflect Lawrence’s character who was sorrowful but also fixated on avenging Val. Val, being dead for the majority of that comic, is essentially portrayed as he would appear birds eye in a coffin with the skeleton half to imply he’s dead. From there I wanted your eye to travel upwards with waves of energy and color to Legio. That was to imply the connection between the two (hopefully without giving anything away).
Roberto: Did you have any influences that helped shape your work here?
Kyle: The most obvious of course is Mike Mignola. I’ve gone through a lot of phases as an artist and when we met I was deep in a Mignola phase. Lol. My interpretation of his work was to reduce images to a purely flat and graphic image. Some people aren’t into that for comic book art but it really appealed to me. Embracing the flatness of a 2D image felt more “honest” than attempting photorealism.
Like Mike Mignola and many other artists, I’ve been heavily influenced by manga. That can be seen in the comic with a Mignola flair. Manga became a part of my comic diet in high school. I’ve always been a student of the emotion and energy of Manga.