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Norm Breyfogle has been a comic book artist for over twenty years, and is also an illustrator and gallery painter by trade, but he also loves to write. He may be best known in comics for his stint on DC Comics’ Batman and other Batman-related comics, which he drew for about six years (1987-1993).

Today, Norm continues to illustrate for various comics companies and other clients outside of comics. He can be reached via his website, through which he sometimes draws on commission, sells his past comics art pages, and interacts with his fans via his message board.

Norm’s website:

Norm’s Debut Art gallery page:

When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?

When I was 13 or so and taking private art lessons with the late commercial artist Andrew Benson, I decided one night that I should pursue art rather than science as my career, since I had this talent.

Who or what inspires you?

Beauty, reason, love, virtue, hope, etc. All the virtues are inspirations to me, as is art (of many and varied kinds, including music and literature). Good films, too. I also love Nature, and getting vigorous exercise.

And thinking of my best friends or a lover, and past postive experiences with them, can also inspire me.

Heck, I’m easy. I can even be inspired by Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer!

Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?

Although I did attend college as an art major, I consider myself mostly self-taught, since nothing and no one can teach one to draw; one must actually practice drawing and always strive for improvement.

Any computer skills I’ve developed have been self-taught, since I graduated college just before the personal computer became ubiquitous.

How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?

I observe what others are doing in similar publications, I keep involved and in touch with my fans and peers electronically, I attend comic book conventions, and I keep working and getting published, slowly learning new skills as needed.

What are some of your current projects?

I’m pencilling and inking the interiors and covers of the on-going monthly title The Danger’s Dozen, published by A First Salvo. The first issue will be sale in December of this year (‘07), and we’ve already got six issues in the can.

Every now and then I also do an illustration outside of the comics millieu via my London representative, Debut Art.

I really enjoy creative writing in my spare time, too, though I’m not trying to publish much of it yet. Much of my writing can be found on my website, although I’ve also written the better part of a novel and 1300+ haikus, which I’ve not posted there.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?

My poetry, short prose stories, and my prose novel are that of which I’m most proud, and they’re also what I enjoy working on the most. This is probably so, I suppose, because it’s all work that’s coming straight from me, with no commercial interests or editorial oversight interfering with the creative process.

In my career as a visual artist, the projects of which I’m most proud include Metaphysique (my creator-owned six-issue graphic comics story from ten-plus years ago, published by Malibu Comics), a few Batman projects and particular Batman-related issues for DC Comics (for instance: The Birth of the Demon, and Batman Dreamland), Prime (Malibu Comics), and all the Anarky issues (DC Comics) .

Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?

Oh, heck, yes. I’ve still not mastered much of Photoshop at all. I only use it at present mainly for scanning and sending my work, though I’ve learned a few other manipulations. I tend to learn what I need to when I need it.

Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?

Learn to draw and how to use other traditional mediums, and master computer skills. Put your ego on the back burner when interacting with all professional contacts. Possibly find an agent to rep you, if you feel uncomfortable repping yourself at first. Most of all, follow your bliss, i.e., pursue a path with heart, do what makes you happy (unless you’re psychotic, of course; in that case, turn yourself in).

What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?

Aesthetically? I’d say real quality lies in the correspondence between what the artist intended for a piece of art and the actual effect that the art object has on others. Obviously this contains an in-built subjectivity, but since we’re all arguably more similar than we are different, quality in art is relatively objective, although many can still disagree over any particular example.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

Exercise, eating right, an occasional party, and planning neat things for the future.

And writing.

Finish this sentence. "If I weren't a designer/illustrator I would have been a..."

“... scientist, philosopher, or writer.”

And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?

I really couldn’t say. However, some of the things I personally like to watch on TV include The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, South Park, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, old movies, Star Trek, and various science and history programs.


Anonymous said...

Norm, you always were, and still are one of my favorites. Between you and Neal Adams, they should just stop publishing Batman because it ain't ever getting any better than that.

You've been one of my biggest artistic inspirations. Keep on drawing!

greenbean art said...

what an awesome interview!!!!! it's always wonderful to hear insight from those who are talented and have achieved their dreams in the art arena... gives the rest of inspiration and hope!!

and as always, my little 3yr old son is nearly pushing me off the computer to check out the "COOOOOL" batman drawings.... :)

Tommy! said...

Hey Norm,
You seem like a very down-to-earth guy, that's cool. I used to be a huge collector of comic books in the 1980's & your books were always my favorite. Why don't you come back to Batman? That would be awesome. I'm a HUGE Batman fan!

Thanks, Tommy

Urban Barbarian said...

Terrific interview Norm! It's been a while!

Unknown said...

wonderful interview. so inspiring. amazing illustrations. such incredible talent. and such a lovely blog. cheers.~

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