JAZZY-- the interview with Stab Gunner creator, Courtland Ellis

Courtland Ellis sounds like someone from the late 40’s era Jazz scene. 


You could see the name being given to some smooth musician who not only keeps his saxophone impeccably shiny but who uses it to relay the most subtle horns you’ve ever heard. Blissful streams of imaginative harmonies that just listening to them can make you feel transported to a new location. It can certainly make the overpriced restaurant with slightly worn furniture seen ever so graceful. Hell, the symphony on display from one of those types of Jazz singers can literally make you have a new way of thinking even–all of it by just his artistry.

Courtland Ellis does not play jazz.

One would realize this pretty quickly when looking at his webcomic, STAB GUNNER. Cool name aside, it displays Courtland’s radical design style which seems familiar and yet haunts you with it’s quirky flava. Simply put, Courtland Ellis is one of the hottest new illustrator/ designers on Deviantart. He’s an artist who can overload your senses with the merest use of your skills.

This guy can make pictures that sing by using perspective, emotion and style in a way that simply jolts the viewer into a new state of being. When I was first told about CLE2, as he is known on Deviantart, I expected to see someone good. The site is practically crawling with awesome artists (a few that we’ve even profiled here) and I’ve certainly learned to trust the instincts of my associates including the incredible Whyt Manga and Eric Michael Ella (of Massively Multiplayer World of GHOSTS and now POSBOTS).

There are plenty of people who can draw but this guy can flat out DEPICT EMOTION. He can create character designs that are not just original but appear real, clothes that have identity and tell a story. Like the best of musicians or the best chefs, Courtland is an artist’s artist (he doesn’t mince words as you will see) and I wanted to learn a bit more about this enigmatic creator.

MyFutprint: You have an excellent eye for character design and presumably have clients in the interactive or animation space. Do you enjoy character design over sequential art?

Courtland Ellis: Thats a hard question. I enjoy creating characters very much and it is definitely where I am most experienced but I have to say theres no better way to really establish a character then through sequential art. So at the moment sequential art. 

MyFutprint: Your Korra (i.e. LEGEND OF KORRA) fan art seems particularly inspired as does your Capcom work (ala Strider). What were your influences growing up? What are they now? Do you have more of an interest creatively in animation/ anime or comics/ manga?

Courtland Ellis: As for when I was growing up I wasn’t much different from all the other kids. DBZ, Sailor Moon, Pokemon, Digimon and as I got older Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Samurai Champloo. I had never been too keen on names until I discovered Lesean Thomas back in 2003. He was a strong inspiration back then and he still is now, along with a few others like Shawna Mills, Kizer stone, Keron Grant. The list goes on. As for my interests, comics are what I’m most interested in right now.

MyFutprint: You have worked in digital distribution models ala Stab Gunner vs. the traditional print comic world. Do you find digital to be superior at this point for new artists? There are more women and minorities in digital it seems than I ever noticed in physical.

Courtland Ellis: Well its definitely easier to release work digitally. There are no restrictions over the internet. It’s free, so its a perfect place for new artists to start.

MyFutprint: Do you have any desire to create your own long running comic (ala Batman or Naruto)? If so, would you want to see it as an anime and/or video game? Describe where you hope to be in 2 years professionally?

Courtland Ellis: I actually don’t like on going stories. nothing ever truly gets resolved in those. All of the stories that I have planned have a definite end. To me, personally, nothing beats a well told short story!

MyFutprint: What tools do you use for comic art? Is it becoming more digital? What advice do you have for talented your artists?

Courtland Ellis: My work in general has become much more digital dependent but pencil and ink will always be my medium of choice.

MyFutprint: Thanks Courtland! I normally ask more questions but I know you are super busy–that said, your artwork says so much I just want it to represent you for the readers. Thanks again man!

For more of Courtland’s work check out the following links OR peep his gallery below: 



part 1 of a vid I did of me drawing my version of the monkey king