Artist Feature – Kody Chamberlain

Louisiana native Kody Chamberlain has been drawing digitally since the end of the 1990s. His first foray into the world of digital design began with his purchase of a Wacom Intuos. Like designers and artists of all kinds, he has to be able to transition seamlessly between analog and digital, a reality that the Modbook Pro has made possible.

Kody started out in the world of art having been inspired by the creations of his older brother, but didn’t get serious until later in high school when he realized that he ultimately wanted to become an artist. Like many passionate late starters, he caught up fast and went on to major in graphic design while also taking drawing classes in order to achieve the required standard for his long-term goal of working on comics.

After graduating, he worked for several top advertising agencies before starting his own studio in 1999. In 2004, he finally broke into the world of comics with his work on Digital Webbing Presents and all eight issues of 30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales with writer Steve Niles.

Active in a variety of styles and mediums, his work is centered around comics and graphic novels but also extends to film, television and animation, with crime, comedy and horror his favorite genres. He points out that his inspiration is drawn from life itself, particularly the small overlooked aspects and unexplored areas of human experience. His influences in the art world are diverse, but he is particularly drawn to writer-artists, including creators such as Mike Mignola, Chris Ware, Frank Miller, Will Eisner and Paul Pope.

Kody has been working with the original Modbook since 2008. He first got involved when he met the team behind the original Modbook at a comic book convention in Los Angeles. According to Kody, the mobility of the Modbook has been a huge asset right from the get-go — when he started doing up to 12 public appearances a year, portability was essential.

Like most artists, he also owns a studio computer system, but quickly realized that he also needed a mobile solution that provided the capability to work on a diverse set of tasks such as story writing, drawing, lettering, coloring and book design while on the road. Without the Modbook, this simply would not have been possible.

He describes his upgrade to the Modbook Pro as a “game changer,” owing to its power and capabilities coupled with its surprisingly compact size. (Lighter than the original Modbook, it’s easily transported.) The Modbook Pro has replaced his old desktop system. He now simply hooks it up to the hub system when he’s in the studio and continues working right where he left off.

In terms of the tasks carried out on his Modbook Pro, Kody has integrated it into every step of the artistic process. An important feature he points to is the ability to effortlessly flip panel sketches and resize things on the fly, which is essential during the initial layout process. These tasks take far longer using traditional media. Coloring and lettering have also been enhanced as the digital advantage that the Modbook Pro provides means reliance on handwriting and painting are reduced. The line used by Kody on his Modbook Pro is exactly the same as his sketchbook, meaning he did not have to re-perfect his stroke for his digital work.

In Kody’s opinion, the differences that make the Modbook Pro stand out from the crowd in the tablet market are clear. The speed and power under the hood is crucial since he works on very large files and experiencing lag would severely detract from the creative process.

This is also true of the rendering speed — while other devices can take up to half a second to render brush strokes, the Modbook Pro is so fast that the technology fades into the background, leaving the artist free to create. Apple’s OS X operating system is another key feature for Kody, as a self-described “Apple guy” for whom working on anything else would be uncomfortable at best.

Overall, Kody feels a truly great tool is one that performs so well it becomes an extension of the artist’s hand. The Modbook Pro seamlessly blends itself into the artistic process in this way. With Kody’s continued success — his comic book miniseries The Foundation is set to become a feature film at 20th Century Fox — his Modbook Pro is an essential element that facilitates the artwork he produces while providing flexibility and versatility so he can work anywhere he needs to.