You may not have heard of illustrator Steve McGinnis, but if you’ve spent any time in horror circles, you’ve most likely seen his work. He’s a fantastic and hugely talented artist, so if you haven’t come across his stuff, I encourage you to do a Google search or two. I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Steve about his art, his inspirations and his favorite horror movies.
PopHorror: Hi, Steve! Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview! How long have you been creating art?
Steve McGinnis: Pretty much my entire life. I was the kid who hid in his room growing up, listening to albums and drawing.
PopHorror: When did you know that you wanted to be an artist? What has your journey been like so far?
Steve McGinnis: I’ve always wanted to be an artist. The dream was to be a big comic book artist at one time. The journey has been a roller coaster, highs and lows. You don’t become an artist to be rich; you do it because you love it.
PopHorror: Did you go to art school or are you self-taught?
Steve McGinnis: I was always self-taught, When I went to art college for Fine Arts, they smoothed out the rough edges on my style.
PopHorror: What mediums do you work with? Do you prefer any one over the other?
Steve McGinnis: I work in a lot of mediums: ink, pencil, charcoal, pastels, acrylic paints and digital. I always fall back on pencils and charcoal.
PopHorror: Most of your pieces (at least the ones that I’ve seen) have been horror related. What draws you to horror?
Steve McGinnis: I used to draw a lot of nature art. I also draw children’s novels – I have 50 published at this point. I really still like drawing comic art. I love the raw emotion of horror. That way, I focus on drawing eyes, and in horror, that gets you the best looks.
PopHorror: There really is a an intense emotion in horror that you don’t get anywhere else. Since you love horror so much, you must have a favorite horror movie. What do you love about it?
Steve McGinnis: I love Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It’s so raw and nasty. Leatherface is what he is: an evil cannibal.
PopHorror: What is your favorite piece that you’ve created so far?
Steve McGinnis: The 2017 Pennywise that I just finished. It took me a week but it really came together.
PopHorror: That’s my favorite piece, too! It’s the new wallpaper on my phone, as a matter of fact. You’ve worked for some pretty big names in the horror industry. Who have you worked for and what was that experience like for you?
Steve McGinnis: Most of the horror mags, they were all fun to work with. Barbie Wilde asked me to do a piece for her book, Voices of the Damned. She is such a great person to work with. I was asked to do a piece for The Thing artbook (see our review for the book here). That was really amazing as it’s one of my favorite movies.
PopHorror: Do you have anything you’re working on now that you can talk about?
Steve McGinnis: I’m currently working on my third graphic novel, Rise of the Harvester. (You can purchase Book #1 in Steve’s Rise of the Harvester series here.)
PopHorror: I’ve read a quite bit of your Rise of the Harvester series. I can’t wait to see what comes next! By the way, are you inspired by anyone in the business?
Steve McGinnis: Definitely Alex Ross. He’s our generation’s Normal Rockwell. He can capture emotion like no one else.
PopHorror: If you could draw or paint the live portrait any person, alive or dead, who would they be and why?
Steve McGinnis: John Lennon. Not only was he a talent like no other, he was a voice of the people.
PopHorror: Great choice! He certainly was an inspiration. What scares you?
Steve McGinnis: Deep bodies of water and sharks. You could say Jaws scarred me for life.
PopHorror: Me, too! Jaws is my favorite horror movie but it made me terrified of the water. What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
Steve McGinnis: I normally don’t eat junk food, but I’m awful for raiding my son’s Halloween haul of Mars bars.
Stay tuned for an upcoming review of Steve’s first two graphic novels. We cannot wait for Book #3!