YDRC chats with Illustrator Tom Whalen // Interview
Tom Whalen is a celebrated artist and illustrator, who has provided an incredible work on brands such as Rom, Transformers, DC, and Marvel. In addition to his past work providing variant covers for IDW comics, or making posters for Mondo, Whalen has now been hired to give incredible artwork to Hasbro’s highly anticipated Power Rangers Lighting Collection toy line. You Don’t Read Comics sat down with Whalen to ask him a few questions on his style, process, and thoughts on the upcoming toyline.
You Don’t Read Comics: Tell us a little bit about your artistic background and style?
Tom Whalen: I'd say my style is a cross between design and illustration. I strive for clean, elegant lines and minimal color palettes in my work. I also love to incorporate typography wherever possible.
YDRC: What was your relationship with Hasbro and how did that lead you to working on the Lightning Collection?
TW: I had done some concept/promo work for Hasbro about 10 years ago when they were launching The Hub network. Then, nearly a year and a half ago, I did some style exploration on their latest Transformers line. That work led to me being able to pitch to them for the Power Rangers Lightning Collection.
YDRC: Have you designed packaging for toys before? What if anything did you find to be different creatively than producing art for comics?
TW: I've never designed toy packaging before. And the significant part about the Power Rangers Lightning Collection is that the team of amazing designers at Hasbro handled all of the snazzy package design, allowing me to focus on the character illustrations.
YDRC: You said in your twitter announcement that you are a big toy collector, what are some of your favorite toylines?
TW: I'm pretty deep into the S.H. Monsterarts line as well as the S.H. Figuarts Star Wars and Marvel offerings. I've got a nice size selection of NECA movie figures, as well as a rapidly-growing Hasbro Star Wars Black Series shelf. Throw in a dash of X-Plus and a growing Sideshow addiction, and that pretty much covers it.
YDRC: Did you have any familiarity with Power Rangers before you worked on the art, and if so, were you excited to contribute to the franchise?
TW: I had very little knowledge of PR past Mighty Morphin (probably because of my age), but I knew it was (and is) an evergreen franchise and was beyond excited to jump into the project.
YDRC: What do you think of what you’ve seen from the Lightning Collection so far?
TW: The figures are just flat-out amazing. The evolution of the Marvel Legends and Black Series lines has been fun to watch, and Hasbro has applied the best of both of those worlds to the Lightning Collection. Even though I don't know every PR character, I'm going to have to collect this line!