David Okum is an artist and teacher from Waterloo, Ontario. He has been exhibiting and publishing artwork since 1984. David continues to produce, publish and exhibit his work regularly. In addition, he creates commissioned artwork as well as graphic design work for individuals and organizations. This year, David sat on the Joe Shuster Awards jury for the categories of Cover, Artist and Colourist.
On Saturday, June 5th David presented the award for Outstanding Artist.
The Outstanding Comic Book Artist Award is a difficult award to judge – it’s a very difficult task narrowing a list of 8 great and talented artists down to a single person. We all make judgment calls about which artist is our favourite – usually this is very subjective – it’s based on the project they are currently working on, and the characters they are involved with. From there, it could be the style, the line, the flow of artwork, or simply the way an artist draws feet! These choices are all subjective, they’re not quantitative.
In order to get to this point, the jury had to come to the table with personal first choices. We had it narrowed down before the provisional meeting, to about four artists, and we debated the pros and cons of each. Finally, we had shortlisted down to two artists – and as you can imagine, that was not an easy task, considering this line-up. Looking deeper into the work that these two artists produced, it was easy to see how both were worthy of the award this year. Ultimately, it came down to a discussion of which artist was successful for the media, namely in the area of graphic storytelling.
Our award winning artist stood out because his art contained strong storytelling, and avoided the pinup approach, while making excellent use of clean lines, layout, powerful emotion, and dynamic figures that suggested motion in action. Ultimately each page, each image, had an emotional honesty that seemed to depict people actually reacting to what was happening around them – everything from getting crashed through a building, to feeling weirded out after an unwanted hug. That’s range!
Ladies and gentlemen, the Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Comic Book Artist for 2010 goes to Stuart Immonen for Ultimate Spider-Man 130-133, New Avengers 55-60, Fantastic Four 569 (Marvel), and the short story “Trampoline Hall” for the CBLDF Presents Liberty Comics 2 (Image)
Stuart Immonen studied at Toronto’s York University, pursuing a career in art. In 1988, he self-published a series called Playground; it was his first published work. He worked at several smaller comic book companies before being hired by DC Comics and Marvel Comics in 1993. Since then, Immonen has drawn such high-profile characters as Superman, Hulk, the Legion of Super Heroes, and the X-Men. His recent work includes stints on the titles Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate X-Men with writers Warren Ellis and Brian K. Vaughan, as well as a 12-issue run pencilling Nextwave, which again paired him with Warren Ellis. Stuart Immonen has also done work for Top Cow and Image Comics. In 2005, Immonen published 50 Reasons to Stop Sketching at Conventions, a series of fifty comics that gently detail why he no longer does sketches for fans. Besides self-publishing, Immonen also produced acclaimed webcomics such as Never as Bad as You Think (collected by Boom! Studios) and Moving Pictures (collected by Top Shelf), both of which are co-authored with his wife, writer Kathryn Immonen.