Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Stanley Lau, better know as Artgerm to his fans, is one of the most multifaceted artists out there. He's an illustrator, designer, concept artist, creative director and co-founder of Imaginary Friends Studios — a world acclaimed digital art studio that produces high quality art for the companies such as Capcom, DC Comics, Marvel Comics and countless others in the entertainment and gaming industries.
He has been taking the comic book community by storm with his beautifully rendered covers for the past few years now. His covers are so highly coveted that not only do they usually sell out, their price skyrockets on the back market.
Stanley is truly an artists artist. He lives and breathes art. Not only does he work on his own art, but he shares his gifts with new artists as a teacher as well. He does it all.
COMIC LOUNGE: I wanted to start off with, how did you first get into the comic book industry?
ARTGERM: Well, I got into the comic book industry pretty late, I would say about 10 years ago. I had been running an art studio, we do a lot of illustrations for games, animation and a lot of other stuff. So comics is something new to us. We started working on comic covers about 10 years ago and I've been running the studio for about 15 years.
COMIC LOUNGE: Who were some of the artists that influenced you to wanting to work in comics?
ARTGERM: To be honest, I'm not even really a comic book fan because I don't read comics. I grew up on Asia, I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Singapore when I was 17. So my main interest is pretty much Anime and Manga stuff. I had very little exposure to the comic book industry, especially American comics.
If I need to name a few names, I would say, people like Adam Hughes and James Jean. Those are some of my favorites.
COMIC LOUNGE: You primarily do covers, do you have any desire to do full interiors on the books?
ARTGERM: As a studio, we do a lot of comic book interiors, but none myself. I've been approached many times by Marvel and DC, asking if I would be interested in running my own title and doing interior work. I declined them because I don't have that level of commitment or interest to sustain myself of doing issue after issue. I don't think I have the passion to do that. I like to try different things and I don't' like to stick with one thing for a long period of time.
COMIC LOUNGE: I've been a huge fan of your cover work for a long time. They're usually a must buy for me when I can get my hands on them. When you get your cover assignment, where do you usually draw your inspiration from when designing each cover?
ARTGERM: I remember when I first started working with DC, I worked with Marvel later but I started with DC, they pretty much gave me the liberty to do whatever I liked. They would give me a general idea. I remember when I was working on the BATGIRL series, it was always raining, so the whole series (of covers) is about rain. They would say "Ok, put Batgirl fighting or posing in the rain", so that was pretty much about it. Sometimes if I ran out of ideas, I'd ask them about a storyline that's going on in the BATGIRL issue and draw inspiration from it.
So far, DC has been giving me a lot of liberty and creative freedom to do whatever I like.
COMIC LOUNGE: When starting your cover out, do you start it out digitally or do you rough sketch it traditionally and then transfer to digital?