A month or so ago, Ardian Syaf asked me to do a foreword for his sketchbook for the Singapore Toy Game & Comic Convention, because, as he said, “Considering you’re one of the person who discovered me before Marvel or DC comics did, I think it’s just perfect ” So of course I was delighted to, and I’ve just received a copy of the sketchbook in the mail. It’s beautiful, which I expected.
What I didn’t expect is that the last page was left blank so he could do drawings for people who picked up the sketchbook, and he’s done a head shot of Chance for me there, with a little note that says, “Thanks, Catie!”
I’m actually sitting here crying with surprise and delight over that. (And oh, god, the electrician just showed up so I’ve answered the door with a red face and teary eyes, *laughs*)
I’m posting the foreword I did for him behind the cut, just in case anyone wants to read it, but mostly, I have to show off the sketch. *beams foolishly*
Finding a sequential artist is both strangely easy and amazingly difficult. There are countless numbers of them out there—many terrible, some mediocre, a few good, and a rare, shining handful who are stunningly talented.
In early 2006, I’d narrowed the search for my superhero project Take A Chance down to a few good artists when a late submission from an Indonesian artist called Ardian Syaf arrived in my email box.
From the moment I opened his portfolio I knew that not only was this the artist I wanted to work with, but that he was going to make it: that very soon, he would be drawing for the Big Two.
Ardian and I did most of the five-issue Chance run together. While we were working on it, my agent at the time—also author Jim Butcher’s agent—told me that the Dabel Brothers were going to be doing a Dresden Files comic based off Butcher’s best-selling urban fantasy series of the same title. I cleared my throat and said, “Ah, are they looking for an artist? Because I know this guy….”
The Dresden Files comic actually came out before our Chance project hit the shelves, and by the time Chance was released, Ardian was the first artist in the #1 spot on the newly-introduced New York Times Bestseller list for graphic novels. He was the Hugo-nominated artist for The Dresden Files.
And he was working for DC Comics, drawing Batman.
Almost four years later—nearly eight years after Ardian first emailed me!—I still can’t type that, or think about it, without tears in my eyes and a stupid grin across my face. It may sound strange—it may even be arrogant—but I am so proud of Ardian, as if I somehow have something to do with his talent. I get a thrill every time I go into a comic shop and see his name on a cover, and I still announce it to my own readers when he makes a move to a new big title, or starts working on another exciting project.
If you’re holding this sketchbook, then you’ve probably managed the one thing I haven’t yet: you’ve actually met Ardian Syaf in person. You might already be a fan, or this sketchbook might be your introduction to his work. Either way, I envy you. Hold on to the sketchbook—it’s going to be a terrific memento, because it’s representative of the start of what’s going to be a long and amazing career.
Enjoy the convention!