Artist Roc Upchurch has been ROCKING Rat Queens and we wanted to catch up with him and find out more about this awesome artist.
I was maybe six or seven the first time my Dad took me to a comic shop. It was a tiny shop in downtown Philly. As soon as I walked in I wanted everything. I wanted to look at, touch and draw everything. It was a damn wonderland. My first comic was Thor. Something about a giant Viking superhero smashing stuff with a hammer really stood out to me. When i opened it up and saw the art I was hooked.
Did that inspire you to start drawing right away?
I was drawing before that. My father is an artist so I started trying to copy him as soon as I could hold a pencil without stabbing myself.
Did you always want to be a comic artist?
I just wanted to be an artist. It didn’t really matter what kind. Though, I knew I always wanted to tell stories with art. Not just art for art’s sake but have some kind of narrative. Be it through comics, animation or anything else.
Who do you see as your influences?
I think as you grow and change so do the things that influence you. When I was young it was Chuck Jones and Norman Rockwell, then it became Jim Lee and Frank Frazetta, then visual directors like Quentin Tarantino.
I am most familiar with your work in Rat Queens and one of my favorite things about the aesthetic of the Queens is that they aren’t all the same. No same faces. No “this is what comic book ladies look like” body templates. Can you talk about developing the characters and how who they are effects how they look?
Developing characters in general is what I enjoy most. You have to, in a way, become them. You have to get in their heads and understand who they are, who they were and where they’re going. With Rat Queens, Kurtis gave me pretty detailed outlines of each Queen’s personality and backstory. That made getting into the psychology of the characters easier. From there you just ask yourself a lot of questions. What does she look like? What does she do? How does it affect her body type? What does she wear? How does she wear it? How does she carry herself? etc … There’s a lot of work that goes into it but the more we understand these characters we create the more they become fully realized, believable, relatable characters. They become real.
Obviously we want you to be doing Rat Queens for many moons, but what do you see for yourself next?
Right now I’m just focusing on Rat Queens. There is a lot I want to do and many places I want to take my career but I’ll deal with the future when it gets here. Right now, it’s all about my girls.