Leigh Chalker Talks About Battle for Bustle issue 1 Cover Art

Shane (00:02):
Hi, I’m Shane Syddall. I’m from ComX and I’m here today to talk to Lee Chalker about his, um, Battle For Bustle covers, so let’s just get straight into it. Okay, so the first piece we’ve got here is, uh, the cover of issue one of a Battle for Bustle. Is that, did I pronounce that right? I always worried that I’m pronouncing it wrong.

Leigh (00:30):
Yep.

Shane (00:31):
Um, so what is it about this piece that you like? The cover? Have you got them in front of you at all?

Leigh (00:38):
No, I don’t, but I know them, uh, yeah. Uh, made that first issue many years ago, I did a pencil and ink version. Uh, Christopher was not ever meant to be someone that, uh, was all there. So I was sort of a little bit extreme back in the early days when I first started drawing it and had a moment where it was almost like a split into two personalities, you know, like the old Christopher and the new Christopher. And that image always resonated with me, even though I’ve done a few hundred drawings since then and stuff. Uh, and basically, uh, I just saw, you know, I had to come up with the first issue cover and it always stuck with me. And I thought to myself, like, you know what, I’m wrong with that? And doing this stuff, this is what it was an instinctive thing. Um, you know, you can dilly dabble around with lots of drawings and sketches and ideas and that sort of thing. But at the end of the day, man, I have found so far in this whole, um, thing that, uh, whatever the feeling was that I had 20 years ago seems to still be the same feeling of it now.

Leigh (02:02):
So I decided to add some of my drawing, uh, like, you know, a little touch here and there to it, but then I thought, you know what, because I like painting, I love painting – really love painting. And I thought I’m going to have a crack at this, uh, in like, you know, acrylic and with that dime on the, uh, I’ve got an entourage here. There’s a small blonde Kelpie called Lloyd and a, you know, a staffy called easy here as well. Okay. They’re always in this room with me. Um, and I just decided to, just decided to, you know, attack it with acrylic and it came up and I thought like, no, this is it. This is it. If I have to get this first issue out, this is what a one, and this is, It came up.

Leigh (02:56):
Well, I kind of wanted it and that DNI might it say up there, there’s no turning back now. So I’m very proud of the image. I think it’s distinctive for me as a person as well as, as my artwork. So I’m happy with [it].

Shane (03:11):
Yeah, it’s very nice. I like it. It’s what attracted me to the, uh, to the comic in the first place.

Leigh (03:16):
Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Cause a few people have said that to me, that have bought it from, uh, the comic book factory, uh, that it, you know, you walk into a comic book shop and you see like thousands of comic books on a wall and realistically, uh, I mean, this is just me, I’m talking about, I’m not talking any other individual opinions, or… Bums mate, everyone’s got one and you know, like say, I’m not a bag at anyone’s artwork, but my love and thought process was, you know, what, what if someone went and stack up the brightest colored comic book they possibly could on the wall of the comic book shop, you know, and I was almost… I contemplated doing a fluorescent comic book with just Battle for Bustle on it, just so to catch people’s eyes. So that’s essentially where, you know, like [inaudible] came from as well, man.

Leigh (04:25):
Um, uh, cause the sad part is it’s not just about artwork. Sometimes you’ve got to think of it, you know, the best way you can control your marketing and in that as well as your own product, if you know what I mean. Cause believe me before, for, from foremost of an artist and I love it, I love comic books. Um, but you do have to give those secondary thoughts to what may just catch someone’s or answer tricky market mate. You know, that is from what you’re trying to do, sometimes you just, uh, haven’t just have a bloody red, hot crack things, man, you know? Yeah. I think that didn’t stop anyone, and if they call you, a fool in the end of the day mate, then so be it. But you know what? We have had a good guy and when we all ended up in that six foot pond box, we’re going to look back and go. We had a short run. [chuckles]

Shane (05:31):
True, true, true.

Shane (05:34):
Um,

Shane (05:34):
So is there anything that say inspired this, look, this, um, this particular style or was it just something you did years ago and you worked on it and worked on it and…

Leigh (05:49):
The original sketches were done in 1996, 1997, just for the characters, just, just ideas mate, you know? Um, and, uh, look, I, honestly, my dad passed away in 1998 and he was a huge influence on me. And at that particular point, uh, in time, I guess I was looking to, uh, you know, give – find some meaning in these things. So self-reflection, uh, understanding and it started off as a small comic. The, the, the original comic was called Drive and it was a drive to keep going, but it was also about a man that, uh, drove around the city where he’d grown up, um, going to those familiar places that he’d been to with his, uh, his dad slash my dad. Um, and I got to about 24, 24 pages and stuff, and I had all these ideas in my head. And at the same time I was, Oh man, madly, almost religiously into like Dune, uh, big novels, world creatives and stuff, you know, and, and just over time, man, uh, I guess, and probably the- man, if you asked me to take this project on now at 43, I’d tell you hell no, but you know, when you’re lucky, young feller and you going through stuff and you know, everyone goes through stuff.

Shane (07:47):
Yeah.

Leigh (07:48):
It just it’s evolved into this, and uh, um, my it’s there’s, look, I’ll be honest with you and I’ve had this discussion with you and I’ve had this discussion with other people. It’s a self autobiographical book set in the science fiction world, uh, based on loss, love, happiness, hope, freedom, you know, all of those things. And I guess that I can’t really put it in any other way than what I’m familiar with. So 091177 is actually me and, uh, there you go. There’s a big reveal, no one’s listening. So yeah, I hope that answered the question.

Shane (08:52):
Yeah it did. More roundabout.

Shane (08:56):
Um, well, the next question is actually about, were there, were there any challenges with this particular piece with the actual artwork itself? Did it just flow? Were there, were there challenges of any sorts? Did you have to learn something new?

Leigh (09:14):
Well, the original piece was done, uh, I don’t have it in front of me, but my recollections of it are being done in about 2000, 2001. Um,

Leigh (09:28):
And there were challenges, always love the drawing, to be honest with you, it was one of those things that just, you know, I was trying to do like big biceps, big, you know, you know, that sort of job, you know, like it that’s cool, but you know, my mind was going in a different direction, you know, and I had those moments where I was just, man, it’s like, boom, it just feels sometimes like you’re not gonna get through it. And, uh, when I had the opportunity to do cover of issue one, it was always drawing. I was going back to, I had been painting instead of drawing for about two years, uh, painting, uh, uh, just painting. I love that man painting. And then I just had the opportunity to do it. And Gary Dellar from, uh, my publisher, you know, Reveriepublications.com.au, excellent dude said, you need to do a cover. And it was always the one that came back to, so that through the acrylic pineapple, I was happy with it and it is where it lies.

Shane (10:46):
Nice. Well, I’m a fan, as I said earlier, so yeah.

Leigh (10:52):
Thank you, Shane. I appreciate that. Not a

Shane (10:54):
Problem. Um, so is there anything like intentional in the art to connect with your fans or would be fans or is it just like you mentioned before the colors to make it stand out on the rack? I would say

Leigh (11:19):
There would not be a single person any way. We’ve all traveled long lives, made short lives, you know, things go on a journey, but there would not be a single moment in anyone’s life, whether it be past, future, present, then you have not that urge to scream and Christopher has that urge in the first issue and Dina. It may come once or twice, three times in your life. Hopefully it never comes at all, but that would be what I would try to portray. I would like to just give people food for thought, man.

Shane (12:15):
Nice.

Shane (12:17):
Well, I can see that I can, now that you’ve said it, it stands out even more than it did before.

Shane (12:23):
Um, so yeah, very nice.

Shane (12:27):
Well, thanks Lee. It was great to talk to you. Um, thank you for sharing your thoughts on your artwork. It was, uh, quite enlightening. So, um, yeah, so that’ll be us for the day. See you later.

Leigh (12:42):
So you man, take care. I hope you’re well, thank you very much for your time.

Shane (12:46):
Thank you.

Shane (12:49):
If you want to get a hold of Lee’s work, just go over to battleforbustle.com and you’ll find his comics and some merchandise I think is available over there as well. Um, if you want to get a hold of his work on the calendar, you’ll need to go to ComX.link and register your interest at the prelaunch page. And you’ll be notified by email of when the Kickstarter starts. So, um, thanks for your support and have a good day.

Shane Syddall

Hero is Training. Fearless Leader of ComX: Doing all I can to promote the Australian Comic Community and Industry. Brought up on continual rations of Team based comics, from West Coast Avengers to the Legion of SuperHeroes to New Mutants to JLA to Gen13 to New Men to DV8 to Titans to Young Justice to ALL things X. I’ve happily dropped all those to explore the wonderous world of Australian Comics.

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