by Sherif Awad
-Since I was a child, I have always loved drawing, even if I have not done artistic studies. I finished the scientific high school and later I graduated in architecture, but in my spare time, as soon as I could, I drew. I copied from those who were my favorite illustrators, who kept on changing when time passed by.
-During my childhood and adolescence, I was fond of western cinema in particular and adventure films in general. On TV, I got to see all the great black and white cinema classics by great masters like John Ford, Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock. Also loved Italian neorealistic cinema by Rossellini, De Sica, to then get to Fellini, Monicelli and Scola.
-There were many and countless comic book illustrators and authors that inspired me, but they have often changed over the years. In a list that is certainly not complete, I put Moebius, Andrea Pazienza, Alex Toth, Richard Corben, Vittorio Giardino, Jose Muñoz, Hugo Pratt, Alberto and Enrique Breccia, but I certainly forget a few. Alongside many illustrators such as Edward Thony, Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, Dean Cornwell and Ferenc Pinter.
-To become an illustrator/cartoonist, you have to draw a lot, every day. It an endless apprenticeship marathon: it is the only way to learn to draw. And then be very curious, continually look around. Look also at other artistic forms, such as painting, cinema or photography.
-I have worked on various series. For Sergio Bonelli Editore, I made Nick Raider, a detective comic set in New York; Napoleon, a noir set in Geneva. For some years now, I have been drawing Tex, the popular western. I also worked for some French publishing houses such as Les Humanoïdes Associés, Le Lombard, Dargaud and Glénat.
-The current situation of the comic book industry in Italy is somewhat particular. There is a progressive decrease in readers. By now the comic audience is mostly made up of adults, young people and children find comics much less interesting than video games or smartphones. Furthermore, until a few years ago, comics in Italy were sold almost exclusively in newsstands and the latter are gradually disappearing due to the lower sale of newspapers and publications. Fortunately, in recent years, comics are also starting to sell in bookstores, thus finding a new and different display to the public.
-Certainly my greatest accomplishment so far is Tex from the sales point of view its sales, which continues to be the most popular and best-selling comic in Italy. Graphically, I am also very close to Napoleon, the character written and created by Carlo Ambrosini. Working for French publishers was also very stimulating.
-I’m currently working on a long history of Tex Willer written by Mauro Boselli. For the future of the projects of which it is still premature to speak.
-I tell newcomers to be very curious and open to any form of communication and to draw without stopping.