Last week we had the chance to chat with Jason Brower, recent winner of the Rondo-Linda Miller Award for Fan Artist of the Year! With a long resume from Garbage Pail Kids to classic horror monster work for various magazines, we were happy to talk with him. Hailing from Mount Kisco, NY, Jason has a wide range of interests including music, Victorian England, The Legend of Jack the Ripper, the magic and mystique of Harry Houdini, Lon Chaney Films, The Twilight Zone series, Ice Hockey, Cemetery photography and the Renaissance era.
Where did it all begin for you? At what point did you decide you wanted to make art professionally?
Well I’ve been drawing since I was about 3 or 4. So my whole life, and I’m also a musician. When I was about 15 music kind of took over, and art took a backseat a little bit. Every once in a while people would ask, can you do this, can you do that. So it was always there. Then in 2012 I started working for Topps Trading Card Company, and on my resume as an aside I put that I was an artist. My girlfriend actually made me put it on there. I said I don’t really need to put it on there, and she said just put it on (laughs). Then my boss of course was looking at it the second day I started while I was working there, and within a week I was drawing doing sketch cards for the company on top of the other stuff I was doing. So that kind of jump-started my art again, and threw me right into a professional scenario. Doing sketch cards for Topps, then I reached out to a couple other companies, some reached out to me. Upper Deck, Monsterwax, Viceroy Card Company. Then I was reaching out to magazines, and there’s one called Little Shoppe of Horrors which focuses on British horror. Like Hammer Films and stuff like that, and I started doing interior art for them. And that’s pretty much how it all started and came back.
What’s your favorite medium to work in?
I would have to say right now, probably acrylics. They dry fast, which is nice. They’re a little bit more affordable, and I think they’re easier to work with. It’s just really the practicality of it right now. I literally just buy the cheap crap. Little crap tubes, and it works really well. I do like working in black and white a lot. What I usually do is I sketch the portrait in pencil, like the Vincent Price portrait, and I do an underpainting of markers. So I’ll throw in a color piece, I’ll block in the color with markers first, and then I’ll go over that in acrylics. Sometimes I’ll literally go over the whole thing in acrylic, so it’s just using the underpainting. Or sometimes I’ll spread out the paint thin, and it kind of adds a different dimension to it. There’s a lot of different techniques, but that’s pretty much what I do right now.
Who or what is your favorite subject to draw?
Right now, I really do enjoy doing the portraits. My all time favorite actor is Lon Chaney Sr. So I’m working on about 20 portraits that I want to finish. Of course the man of 1,000 faces I could probably do a 1,000 (laughs), but 20 is my goal and I think I’m up to about 11 already. So I’m almost there, and I’ve really enjoyed painting all of his characters. All the classic stuff, all the classic horror characters. The Hammer Films stuff. Of course doing everything with Little Shoppe of Horrors, a full feature every issue of whatever the film is. I usually end up doing a collage, and that’s a lot of fun. Really just staying in that classic horror genre, I just love it all. It’s all so rewarding, there’s so many great characters to portray. It’s a lot of fun.
Then who or what do you want to do that you haven’t yet?
Well actually, speaking of Elvira (We were chatting earlier about getting Elvira for a cover of SQ. Here’s hoping!) that would be a lot of fun. I tend to do a lot of stuff from the 70’s back. As far as the more modern horror icons, like Jason Freddy and all that, I’ve done sketch cards of them. I did 40 sketch cards out of 12 sets of all the faces through the years. Starting with Nosferatu ’22 and ending with Freddy Kreuger in ’84 and everything in-between. Classic 40’s. Classic horror icons and I want to do a set of all the faces.
Which brings us to a tough one. What is your favorite scary movie?
Oh that’s not tough at all. Whenever I’m asked that question, the one that always pops in my head, I immediately say that’s probably my favorite horror movie of all time and that’s the Exorcist. As much as I love horror, it’s my favorite genre of course, generally you’re not sitting there shaking in your boots. It’s a different feeling that comes over you. You like to be scared, but does it really happen that often? The Exorcist is literally the one movie that scares the crap out of me (laughs). Gives me the creeps you know, and I like that!
So have you ever drawn Regan?
I did. I did once in the sketch cards. I’m definitely due though to do a 4×6 black and white portrait, or a bigger collage of the Exorcist. I’m surprised I haven’t done that yet. It’s coming though, it’s definitely my favorite.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Well they can go to Jasonbrowerart.com. I also have a Facebook page, Jason Brower Art. I also have a Twitter people can reach me at, Jason Brower Art.
Then are you taking commissions?
Absolutely. My website is still pretty new, so I’m still getting it together, but there is a contact section. And I’m pretty much open to anything and everything.
Thank you Jason, and thank you for reading!
All artwork credit to Jason Brower
Ray Nichols, EiC SQ Horror Magazine