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Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen: Interview with Bernard Chang

As we get closer and closer to the launch of our first issue of Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen, we are continuing our interviews with the creative team that made it all possible. Today we interviewed Bernard Chang, the incredibly talented artist who designed and drew the alternate cover art for this issue! Bernard has worked for Walt Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, and Valiant, and is currently on the advisory board of Immortal Studios.

When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
Bernard Chang: I have been drawing ever since I can remember, so around the age of three or four. At a young age, I got into comic books and cartoons, and those drove my desire to create and tell stories. When my family first immigrated from Canada to the United States, I really couldn’t speak English at first, so I brought in a drawing of Superman for “show and tell,” and it was a great way to communicate and share my passion with the other students! In many ways, being a professional comic book artist is like living out my childhood dreams.

How did you first hone your artistic skills?
Bernard Chang: I started out just drawing by myself. I would watch shows, or read books, and then draw my own additional scenes for those stories. During elementary school, my mother hired an art tutor for me, who pushed me to draw from real life; things like hands, still lifts, or even going to the zoo to draw animals. I auditioned and was admitted to a magnet high school in Miami, Florida, that specialized in the arts, and the teachers there pushed us towards a fine arts foundation of figure drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking. It wasn’t until I was in college at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, studying architecture, that I rediscovered my passion for comics and began my journey towards achieving that goal.

What’s your favorite music to listen to while you work?
Bernard Chang: I listen to a variety of things while I work: various podcasts, documentaries, radio shows, music, or audio books. During the layout design phase, I usually listen to things that are melodic, with little to no dialogue or words. But when it’s time to begin the technical phase of drawing, I can listen to anything!

What was the last video game you played?
Bernard Chang: I don’t play many video games; they are really time consuming and very addictive. When I do play, I usually play sports games like the basketball NBA 2K games, or football Madden NFL, and I usually like to play them online with my friends. I do have some Twitch streams of different games on in the background sometimes when I work though.
If you could play Phil’s VR game in CIS, what class would you play?
Bernard Chang: Hahaha, I wouldn’t even know where to begin!

Did you know about wuxia before you worked on CIS?
Bernard Chang: Growing up in the United States during the 80s and 90s, there was not a lot of access to things like wuxia. I would usually get my fix from the Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theatre on the local TV stations, with those heavily dubbed flicks? Or sometimes when my relatives in Taiwan would send care packages, they might include some wuxia comics or VHS tapes of different wuxia shows.

In wuxia stories, legendary weapons are often given names. What tool would you consider to be your favorite instrument/legendary weapon of creation?
Bernard Chang: Most people probably would say their pencil is their favorite weapon, but for me it’s really the eraser that counts. The eraser allows me to make as many mistakes as I need to, in order to create the most perfect drawing.

If you could go back in time, what positive advice do you wish you could give yourself when you were first starting out?
Bernard Chang: I would tell myself to drink more milk, so that I could’ve played in the NBA!
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