GUEST & SHOW DETAILS
In today’s show we speak with world renowned comic book artist Declan Shalvey, who has worked with Marvel DC Comics, Boom Studios, Dynamite and all the other big comic book companies!
Watching cartoons as a kid and seeing the credits he realised that real people and not just computers make these cartoons….and from that day he decided that THIS was the job for him!
He has loved drawing since he can remember, even drawing on the walls of his bedroom!
But it took a lot of time, work and patience to get where he is today, one of the most famous comic book artists!
He talks to us about his favourite superhero characters, which he likes drawing most and least, and gives loads of great advice to kids who might be interested in trying to make comics their job too!
He also talks about learning to fail, that the only way that you can get better is by trying different things and not always getting it right, telling Buster and Buddy that the only way to improve is by learning from our mistakes and not trying to be perfect all the time! And even though You Tubers can make it seem like success is easy and their lives are perfect, he thinks kids need to realise that this isn’t really the case and it takes a lot of work to ‘look’ perfect and to be successful.
Listen to the show to hear everything we chat about, as well as
lots of other fun stuff, like …and kids telling us their favourite jokes in Tickle Your Funny Bone!
And remember to Stay Healthy, Stay Happy and Stay Well!
Michelle and her team have a collective 50years experience working with kids as teachers, entertainers and parents!
Thanks to Zapsplat, Audio Jingle and Alexander Korotkoff for the sound effects and music.
Check out our social media to see more about the team, our guests, the topics we talk about, our competitions AND how to send us in your stories, jokes, comments or ideas for the podcast!
GUEST OF THE DAY
Declan Shalvey is an Irish comics artist and writer. He has worked for Marvel Comics, drawing characters such as Moon Knight, Thunderbolts and Deadpool and has written crime comics set in Ireland, including Savage Town and Bog Bodies.
In 2010 he did his first work for Marvel, and over the next decade he drew lots of series for them, including Thunderbolts, Dark Avengers, Venom, Deadpool, Moon Knight, and Return of Wolverine (2018), and writing Civil War II: Choosing Sides,
and Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan and lots of others.
In 2020 Marvel published Marvel Monograph: The Art of Declan Shalvey, a trade paperback collecting highlights of his work for the company.
Check out: https://dshalv.tumblr.com/
Hello and welcome to The Kids Are All Right. A weekly podcast specially for kids, that’s all about health, happiness and wellness.
I’m Michelle and here with me are my co-pilots on this podcast, Buster and Buddy!
Hey, guys. Buster here.
Oh, yeah, fan favourite Buddy coming at you!
And we’re on a mission to help you all feel great and live
Here we go again. All right!
So, guys, have you ever thought about what you would like to
do as a job when you grow up and leave school, like if you could pick anything at all?
Oh, yeah, I would love to be a chef like Gordon Ramsay, but
maybe not so angry.
Yeah, good one! Well, I always dreamed that maybe one day I
might be good enough to become a comic book artist. I’ve even made my very own comic. It’s called The Secret Adventures of Buddy Boy and his sidekick, Buster.
And would you believe it, Michelle? They already have a number one fan.
Yeah, it’s me.
Yeah, that sounds brilliant, lads.
So I thought I’d go and ask some kids if they could choose
to have any job when they grow up real or made up, what would it be?
Yeah, I’d love to do some of those jobs. Really cool.
Yeah, the kids have some great ideas. All right. Well, on
today’s show, we have someone joining us that I know you guys will be so excited to speak with! And actually Buddy, this will be a cool surprise for you.
Oh, yeah Michelle, who is it?
Well, this man has an unbelievably cool job, one that you Buddy
would love. He is a comic book artist and writer. Well, his name is Declan Shalvey. And being a comic book artist with all the
biggest comic book companies in the world, Marvel DC Comics, Boom, Studio, Dynamite and all the other big companies…
Declan, we’re very, very excited, as you can hear, to chat
with you. The lads have so many questions. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Oh, my pleasure.
So was this always the job you dreamed of when you were a
Yes. Next question. No, I’m just kidding! Yeah, it really was. It was it was weird I’m from the west of Ireland, and I didn’t really have
much access to comics, but I was just so into them. And I remember seeing the credits where they said, who wrote it and who drew it, etc and I realized, you know what, they’re actual people. And from then on, that’s all I wanted to do.
And so in some ways, I’ve been very lucky that I’ve always known because most people don’t know, I’m very lucky that I did and and that I actually managed to do it…It’s kind of a miracle.
Yeah. Especially, I suppose, you know, nowadays it’s much more open. There’s more options and ways to kind of get to your dream. But I mean, back when we were growing up that would
have been seen as quite a strange dream to have had. I mean, not reality. More a dream.
Yeah my joke, I tell people, is that I might as well have told people I wanted to be an astronaut because it seems just as likely.
Oh, cool. Hey, hey, it’s me, Buster. Oh, I love so many of your characters that you’ve drawn. But for kids that are listening, that might not know your name. Can you tell us some of the superheroes you’ve drawn?
Yeah, sure. I worked on Venom and I’ve worked on Deadpool
and I worked on Thunderbolts as my first job that had lots of different characters, like a Juggernaut from X-Men and a Ghost.
But I’m working on the Hulk at the moment and I worked on Moon Night, which is actually going to be a TV show next year.
And so when I was a kid, Iron Man was lame.
You know, he was not like, well, I didn’t think he was cool.
I didn’t think the Avengers were cool. I liked the X-Men and Spider-Man. And I was so crazy that, like, Iron Man is the biggest character in the world. It’s crazy.
I’m such a big fan of. How young were you when you first
started doing your drawings?
It’s all I can remember wanting to do. And my mom told me
when I was four, she caught me drawing on my bedroom wall.
And it’s and it’s a miracle that I lived to be this age because of it.
But I’ve just been drawing ever since I can remember. And
when I actually properly started trying to make it in comics, it would have been after I went to college. So I went I went to school and I did art in school and I went to college after that. And once I finished college, I kind of had to be determined about how much I really, really wanted to do it rather than it being a hobby. But I’ve been doing this all my life.
Wow. Hey, hey, Declan. My favorite superhero is Wolverine. Who was your superhero when you were a kid?
Well, I’d three favorites, Wolverine and Spider-Man and
Yeah, well, those were the really cool cartoons that were on
when I was a kid. There was the Spiderman cartoon and the X-Men cartoon and a Batman cartoon Saturday mornings there was these cartoons and I could always see those every week where it was actually harder to get comics at the time.
So, yeah, those are the guys that I really stuck with. And I have gotten to work on two of them already too.
Amazing. Amazing. I love it. If I heard you right, and it’s just because I’d really love to be a comic book artist. did you say you
went to a special college for people who want to become comic book artists?
No, no. I didn’t go to a special school. I went to to Arts College.. So they had things like graphic design and printmaking and painting. And it was like an overall arts education.
It wasn’t specific to comics, which was bad in some ways because all I wanted to do was draw comics. And that wasn’t what they did. But it really helped me learn more about art, which was good to, like, help me look at other things, like old paintings and learn about, like, you know, different techniques and things like that.
But but it was really down to my own determination afterwards. And you don’t go to a school and they give you an award. It’s really down to how good you are. And if you’re going to be good, you just I mean. There’s so much competition, there’s loads of people would like to draw comics, but you have to be good enough
Yes. So it sounds like you tried loads of different art and techniques to get as good as you are now.
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. it was great to just learn to be a good observer and to be interested in things and curious about things and I’m still learning. I had to draw recently a pickup truck for the Hulk and I never really drawn before. So I had to look at it and I looked at 3D models and I looked at photographs.
And so you’re always learning. There’s always something to draw that you’ve never drawn before.
Very good. And I saw a video of an event that you were
speaking out, and I thought it was really interesting how you were talking to the young people there and saying how important it is to be able to make mistakes and that you need to make mistakes in order to get better.
Oh, big time like and I still make mistakes, you know. And
the important thing is learning from them and you don’t get to learn unless you make a mistake.
And the more you learn, the more the more skill you develop.
And that’s what makes you better and better. But it’s not it’s not a switch you just turn on. But to get good at anything, you need to make mistakes to do that. What I worry these days is that
everyone is expected to be perfect.
You see YouTubers where they look really, really pretty or their light is amazing and everything’s just so polished. And that’s just not real life. And, you know, they’re wearing makeup and they have lights and they have set up.
Or people who are doing drawing on online, you know, they’re not just good straight away. What you know, you should have a sketchbook if you wanted to draw to have a space where you can fail. And because failure is the path to success, I guess.
But it’s so much harder, like you say these days, because when you put it out there, it’s not showing it to your teacher in school. It’s not showing it to family and friends. It’s out to hundreds of thousands of people to see and comment on. So it can be quite tricky for young people to even feel that it’s OK to put things out if you feel like I get loads of people giving, you know, their comments, that may not be so good.
Well, in my experience, just because somebody has an opinion
doesn’t mean they’re right. And but at the same time, just because they have an opinion that you don’t like, it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong either. You know, I’ve gotten comments on my work that definitely upset me, but I’ve learned to know when to take something and when to just ignore others.
And it’s I guess it’s a weird thing today because I’ll post something online and on Twitter or Instagram and I’ll get likes. And sometimes I won’t get as many likes on one post as I did on
another. And that’ll annoy me. And I have to stop myself and remember that, like, it doesn’t matter how many people see or how many people like it, what matters is that you feel like you’re doing good work and that you’re improving because it’s completely subjective at the end of the day.
Brilliant. So which character do you find the trickiest to draw?
I think I find women a little harder to draw, like I can draw muscly men all the time. And I just in the back of my geography book,
like, just mostly men all the time.
But I do find yeah, I find women a little hard to draw, but
I mean, I’ve gotten way better over the years.
And I don’t like characters that are very technical, like Iron Man, I find him hard to draw because I, I personally like characters that have like wrinkles and capes, all the textures, but someone like Iron Man is very clean and very metallic.
And I like organic things more. I like drawing rocks and
bones and things like that, but drawing that machinery I find difficult and Iron Man is literally just machinery.
Well, most people might not know this about you, but you’re not just a comic book artist, but you’re also a cover artist. But I’ve
always wondered which one would I prefer to do? So what’s the difference between the two jobs?
That’s a really good question, actually, because not a lot
of people consider that it’s different. And in comics there’s
a storytelling flow you need to consider. But that’s not the case with covers. Covers you might have heard the phrase ‘Don’t judge
a book by its cover’? Yeah, well that’s the opposite of what my job is, because Yeah, I have to make you judge the book by its cover!!
And it’s my job for you to go, Oh, this is cool. I want to read this now! And I can’t show you five pages of the comic in order to convince you, I have one image. So it’ll be about grabbing the attention of somebody. And especially if you consider that comics aren’t just single images, they’re going to be on a shelf with loads of other comics.
So, you know, how does my comic stand out next to, say, Superman or Green Lantern or, you know, Spider-Man or whatever the character it is, I could be doing what I did
recently The Hulk cover. How do I grab your attention? So it’s a very different skill sets to comics, which are which are specifically storytelling.
And your drawings are always so brilliant. They’re amazing and there’s so much detail in them. But how long does it actually take you to draw a comic?
That’s another really good question, generally, you want to be drawing a comic in a day.
Sorry, not a comic, a comic book page a day!
So cover would take me a day to draw, but adding layouts and adding colors would probably add an extra day. Those are different stages.
But you want to be drawing a whole page in one day.
So it would take you roughly a month to draw a whole 20 page
And Declan. What advice would you give to me or any other
kids who might be listening and that would just love to do what you do as a job?
And I would say – your expectations are important – if your
goal is to work for Marvel and DC that may not happen, there’s plenty of artists who I know and love their work who just have never worked at Marvel.
And it’s not because they’re not good. It’s because maybe their work doesn’t suit or that’s not the type of work they want to do. And that’s fine.
And I would say start small. So if you like Spider-Man, then, you know, draw a five page Spider-Man story and finish it.
And then when you see that story, you can go actually, that page isn’t very good. I could have done better on that.
And then keep that in mind and then do another story, maybe a Wolverine story or maybe a story about a friend of yours and just do small projects that you start and finish.
Because I think where I went wrong when I was younger was I
thought too big. And I had this big X-Men epic planned and I was going to be eight issues. And I think I gave up halfway through, it
ultimately was never finished. And you can’t ask somebody to read a story that has that you haven’t finished. So I think working in small, short stories helps you develop as a storyteller.
And ultimately, instead of five page stories, you start doing 10 page stories and then you can do ten page stories, you do 20 page stories.
Well, you give me some good inspiration for my own little
book that I’ve been working on, The Secret Adventures of Buddy Boy and his sidekick Buster.
Yeah, well, I’ll check that one out. Oh, thank you. Declan, can I ask you it’s a question I love to ask all of our guests, and because you gave some great advice there to all of us, maybe this is some advice you could give to yourself. Does that sound good?
OK, so the segment is called Big Me Too Little Me. So basically what we love to do is ask if you could go back in time. What
advice would Big Declan give to a little Declan?
Yeah, um. I guess I would say I suffer from tunnel vision basically. But I sometimes I just kind of I concentrate on one thing too
much and other things go to the side. So spend time with people and see your friends and not live in your own head so much I think is good.
And if all you do is stay inside and draw, which is what I did, you don’t really have any stories to tell. And so you should live and you should live a best and go.
Cool. So, Declan, thanks so much for all of that.
That was really interesting. We learned so much and it’s just so interesting to hear about your job and all you’ve done and the
different stories and characters. Thanks so much for your time. Bye.!!
My pleasure. Bye, guys!
Wow, I still can’t believe we just talked to one of the biggest comic book artists ever. Oh, what a cool job to have. And I thought his
advice was really good to not to worry about being perfect all the time, that you have to make mistakes so that you can find out what doesn’t work and then you learn what does work best.
Exactly. You have to fail a few times if you want to get it right. Yeah. And even though sometimes it can seem like success can happen really quickly and easily, like when you see it on TV or on YouTube, most things actually take time. Lots of work and plenty of patience.
Yeah, he said lots of little baby steps to get to your goal.
Yeah, sometimes we can be a bit too hard on ourselves, expecting ourselves to be perfect all the time, and it’s just not reality, is it Buster?
Hey guys, it’s time to Tickle Your Funny Bone!!
Michelle, the jokes keep getting better and better.
So we’ve learned loads today.
Yeah A lot.
And now it’s time to give our brains a massage. So are you guys ready for this week’s Mini Mindfulness Moment?
Not just ready. Ready Freddy!!
You know, it’s been great today, thanks to all the kids who
sent in their audio clips.
And, you know, if you have something you want to tell us, we
want to hear a story, a question or your favourite joke, we’d love to hear from you.
All you have to do is recorded in the voice recorder app on
a parent’s smartphone and then email it into us.
The email is in our show notes. Yeah.
Make sure to check out our website www.TheKidsAreAllRight.ie
for more details about sending in your clips and you’ll find loads of more info about the show and everything and everyone we talk to.
We really hope you enjoyed this week’s show and learned loads. If so, then tell all your friends.
Yes indeed. And remember guys, try to be healthy.
And be happy !