If you didn’t get a chance to make it to Khary Randolph’s amazing panel during Comic Con Honolulu, we’ve summarized it for you here!  During his panel, he was joined by two other artists: Vincent, and Kanila. Questions from the audience and/or moderator are marked in italics.

Khary: I always tell people, with art, it’s not enough to just be good. You want to be good, you want to nice and you want to be fast. If you have two out of the three you’re usually pretty good. If you’re really fast and really nice, you’re going to get work. Any one of the two of the three have to match up. If you have all three of those, you’re the best. But you get two of those three down, you’re going to get work.

Vincent: Being nice is something you don’t hear a lot, especially in the comics industry. But we’re a pretty small industry and word gets around. Everyone knows everyone.

So in your case, what are your two? (Nice, fast, talented)

Khary: I like to think I’m a pretty nice guy, Kanila might tell you otherwise, but I I’m a nice guy. I don’t think I’m the best artist, honestly, I think I am reliable though, if you give me the job, I’m going to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time. I have little bits of all three. I’m not the fastest, I’m not the best, but I’m a pretty nice guy.

And professional.

Khary: Yes, you want to be professional, you know, it’s a job, and even though it’s a fun job, you want to keep in mind it’s a job.

But life happens, you’re not always going to make deadlines, and one of the most important thing is communication. So if you know that I’m not going to make this deadline that your editor wants, if you let them know ahead of time, they’ll thank you for that. Because it is a team, it’s a team effort.

That’s sage advise for every industry I’ve worked in, especially dream jobs like this.

Khary: And if you’re sitting at home and you see Destiny sitting on your PS4. Say I’m only going to play for an hour then you stay on for three hours and your pages aren’t done, then you still have to do it, you have to take it seriously. I’m not saying I don’t mess up, but I do know how to get things done.

So you’re really good at destiny, is that the message?

Khary: Yeah, pretty good, pretty good.

So out of all the things you’ve worked on, which is your favorite and most memorable?

Khary: I always feel like the thing I like the most is the thing I’m working on right at that moment. Any job that I’m working on, I am fully invested. So at the moment, I’m finishing up this book called Techjacket. And for these last three weeks of Robin, I have been reading Robin comics all the time, just trying to find out as much as I know about Robin, Batman, Batgirl, everything. So right now I’m all about Robin. But it really does depend on what I am working on at the time.

So now that you have some pull in the industry, is there an ideal IP or label you’d like to work on in the future?

Kanila: I’m kind of a mercenary, its not really. Whatever is the most ideal situation for my situation.

Khary: I think the promised land for most creator is the ability to work on something I actually own, something that is 100% me. I love working as a freelancer and going from job to job, but going foreword, having something that you can have for the rest of your life, that the ideal situation.

So you draw as part of your job, aside from that do you still feel the need to practice or do you draw for fun? And do you ever get burnt out from drawing?

Khary: All the time, it’s natural. I don’t have a life, I love the fact that I do what I do for a living, but I spend most of my life drawing. And there are times where you have to take a break of comics, if just for a little but. And I certainly do draw for myself, I am always looking for my strengths and weaknesses are. But yes, I do get sick of drawing, but to the point of getting burnt out.

Since Voltron has been around since ’84, how intimidating was it working on its reboot?

Khary: It was intimidating at first, but at the same time, I loved Voltron as a kid. It was the first anime I ever saw, before I even knew what anime was. So the idea of being able to redesign some of those characters for a more modern setting, I was only nervous for like half a second, then I was all in.

But you have to remember, this is a business. And after about the sixth round of revisions it started being a little less fun. At some point you have to remember, this is a business and no matter how cool you think it is, you have to remember, you’re not the boss, its someone else’s property. They make the final call and what they want may not be what you want. But it was awesome and I’m glad I had a chance to do it. It may not have come out how I wanted it, but that’s life. It was fun and I am glad its on my resume.

So I know it wasn’t too long ago that you broke into comics, but is there any noticeable differences between when you broke into the industry and now?

Khary: Now is one of the best time to try to get into the comic book industry. There’s a lot of variety, when I was trying to break in, there was certain styles that dominated. And they honestly wanted to draw a certain kind of way. For years I would try and custom fit what I did to the mold. Eventually I said ‘F it, I’m going to do what I want to do, and that made my style flourish. And I say that because if you look a lot of books that are out right now, there’s so much diversity of styles and different points of view, there’s something for everybody. Its not all about marvel and dc anymore.

Also with the internet, I was one of the first in the generation to use message board to meet people and we would critique each others art. Now there’s Deviant Art, Instagram, Tumblr, it’s so easy to get your art to a wide variety of people. There’s almost no excuses, if you want your stuff seen, you can get it seen.

Vincent: I think it’s easier and harder because the avenues have opened up so much that there’s a floor of stuff, so you have to find every way to get things out there. Going to shows, big shows, small local shows and just building a community around you.

And I think also networking is a huge part of that?

Khary: This is it right here, I do a number of shows a year. Aside from just getting your stuff out there, you have to let people see you. I almost see it as, I am promoting myself as a brand.

I hear a lot of the artistic side of comics. But how difficult is it on the writing side of things?

Khary: That is a tough question for me to answer because I am not a writer, but I will say, attaching yourself to another artist is a good idea in general.

You said when you got into the business that you were trying to fit the mold. But how valuable is it to show your diversity and be yourself?

Khary: It depends, when I worked in the animation industry, you are often looking to fit a specific style. In that realm you have to conform. Comics is a little different, I found that being able to do more, pencil in, ink, color, has made me more of an asset.

Comic Con Honolulu is held at the Hawaii Convention Center, and the next event will happen July 29-31, 2016. Make sure to attend to catch more amazing artists and talent at the convention and meet them in real life!

Interview with Khary

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