Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Whazamo! Profiles: Aaron Leighton

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Aaron Leighton

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, illustrator Aaron Leighton describes his debut book, Spirit City Toronto (Koyama Press), and tells Open Book about the creative spark released by city bike rides, metaphysics and death metal.

Open Book:

What is your most recent publication, and what are five words you would use to describe it?

Aaron Leighton:

My most recent publication is titled Spirit City Toronto (published by Koyama Press) and features homeless nature spirits living in the city. Five descriptive words: illustrative, photographic, poignant, urban, magical.

OB:

When you're working on a project, which comes first — the words or the images?

AL:

Well, my book doesn’t have any words so I’d have to say the images!

OB:

What do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

AL:

Bike rides around Toronto, reading up on metaphysics, listening to death metal, keeping my eyes open.

OB:

What does your work space look like?

AL:

My studio is a big room featuring a table with my computer and scanner, a drafting table, a couple of lamps, my bike, a set of drawers full of paint and art supplies, a shelf full of books, a closet full of more books and a window offering a lovely view of the towering apartment complex next door.

OB:

What medium do you most often work with?

AL:

A combination of hand-drawn line and shape with colour and texture added digitally.

OB:

Why do you think graphic novels are finally gaining popularity?

AL:

My guess would be a combination of the fact that the art form has finally acquired a critical mass to make its mark on the zeitgeist and the fact that the Internet offers an unprecedented level of exposure to all work, both well-known and unknown.

OB:

Who is your favourite graphic novelist?

AL:

Alan Moore, with Mike Mignola, Marjane Satrapi, Chris Ware and Guy Delisle close behind.

OB:

Where can we find more of your work?

AL:

My website! www.aaronleighton.com.


Aaron Leighton grew up on the Canadian prairies, graduating in 1995 from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta. He has created illustration for a variety of advertising, publishing and corporate clients, worked as the creative director and character designer of the Emmy Award–winning animated project The Zimmer Twins and published Spirit City Toronto with Koyama Press (2010). Aaron also contributes regularly as a writer for UPPERCASE magazine, creates frequent collaborative work as part of the Trio Magnus collective and has taught illustration at Sheridan College. He currently lives with his wife in Toronto, and spends his free time reading about magic and other wonderful impossibilities.

For more information and to purchase Spirit City Toronto, please visit the Koyama Press website and Aaron Leighton's Books page.

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