Couple-Creators: Mike and Laura Allred

5.25.09 | | 3 comments
Sir:
I’m still trying to get an ftp address out of Sunstone (they must have one and someone must know what it is) and as soon as that gets figured out, I’ll let you know what images I need. (Hopefully by then I will have finished my article.)
In the meantime, I thought I should send you the questions about being a couple of Mormon artists, married to each other. Please distinguish between your comments and Laura’s so I can do the same for readers. (Feel free to forward the questions on to her if would be easier for her just to reply separately.) (Or forward her your answers and let her reply to them.) (Or whatever. I’m flexible.)
I’ve included more questions than I expect you to answer. Feel free to pick and choose. And feel free to plug any upcoming projects as well. And I’ll (obviously) need to include some sort of image with this article — probably one off your website’s gallery or a scan from one of the Madman books I own. But if you happen to have a couple-portrait lying around that you made together, that would be ideal methinks.
Q: Were you both creators before meeting each other? Did creation play a role in bringing you together? How does creating together impact your marriage?
We met at BYU-Idaho and were both in the art department. So, we’ve always had that connection.
We were originally worried about getting sick of each other working together full-time, but it’s only brought us closer together.
Q: Since Michael seems to get hit up for more interviews than Laura, the general impression online is that projects you work on together are purely his ideas. How accurate is this?
Very.
I’ll give him input, but he really does do pretty much everything except selecting the colors.
Q: The Golden Plates. Doing that project seems like a financial risk and, sadly, it wasn’t a big hit. How did you discuss this project ahead of time, and was that discussion different than previous deciding-to-do-a-project discussions? What sort of strain did its lackluster sales cause? How likely are you to return to either that project or the Joseph Smith bio?
First off, it actually was a huge hit. But not big enough to sustain us financially given the time needed to do it right. So, we simply have to find time to do it when we can. We’re confident once we manage an efficient schedule that it will pick up steam.
Q: Speaking of, what is the relationship between faith, art and spouse?
It just is. We don’t have the words to express that answer correctly.
Q: Of course, you both work on projects apart from each other as well as working together — why is it important to take those jobs?
It’s always good to stretch on outside projects. Thats’ where we’ll find new inspiration to progress with different techniques and approaches.
Q: Speaking of, artistically, what are the advantages of working on properties owned by other people?
New perspectives.
Q: How is it different, working together as opposed to working with other people?
Together we have a rhythm and a comfort zone that can’t be matched.
Q: I know you’ve worked with Mike’s brother Lee. Have you involved other family members in projects as well? How does that turn out?
Our children have created characters or done small coloring jobs and stuff. It’s just extra fun.
Q: How do you balance family and art? Do you think it is easier or harder to be parents, you both being professional creatives? How do your careers affect your children?
We would just say it allows us to involve our children more in what we do, and they’re all creative too in music and art. And working at home just brings us closer together.
Q: At the beginning of your careers, before you were The Famous Allreds, how did you balance art with more mundane needs like rent?
We just plugged away. It’s not much different now except…
How has success changed your approaches to art?
…we have more confidence and it’s a little easier to get things done.
Q: How has success changed your relationship with each other?
Simply more comfort, less stress.
Q: I hear Laura is, first and foremost, a painter. Which begs the question: in addition to comics, what else are you two up to in terms of Fab Art?
Not much lately. I have my hands full with our regular work and spend as much time with the kids as we can.
Q: Any advice for Mormon artist couples like yourselves?
Just don’t be afraid to spend more time together. We love it!
Don’t forget to plug your upcoming work (including but not limited to continuing Madman, the Neil Gaiman Metamorpho, and whatever zillion other things you’re busy with).

That’s about it right now. Some things in the works, but nothing I can announce.

yet.

.

I imagine the first thing that comes to the average mind when one mentions Mike or Laura Allred, together or separately, is Madman, Mike’s mid-Nineties comics creation that has lived long and is one of the most brilliant comics on shelves even today.

In Mormon circles, they are probably better known for The Golden Plates, their Book of Mormon adaptation.

For both these works, the writing and drawing is done by Mike, with colors by Laura. But their careers stretch far beyond these two titles, deep into the world of popular comics. Mike’s retro-pop stylings are in high demand (look for a collaboration with Neil Gaiman, coming soon) and Laura’s zowie colors for numerous popular titles have won her fan awards time and again. Check out these resumes: (Mike), (Laura).

Speaking as a devout student of Mormon comics, few artists’ work provides as much opportunity for in-depth consideration as that of the Allreds. As time goes on, their Mormonness becomes more and more obvious. In their most recent Madman collection, for instance, they take a look at everything from premortality to polygamy to Johnny Lingo.

They’re a busy couple of people between their art and their music and the maybe-Robert-Rodriguez-will-finally-make-it-this-year Madman movie, but they graciously agreed to be part of the Couple-Creators series.

*

Q: Were you both creators before meeting each other? Did creation play a role in bringing you together? How does creating together impact your marriage?

We met at BYU-Idaho and were both in the art department. So, we’ve always had that connection.

We were originally worried about getting sick of each other working together full-time, but it’s only brought us closer together.

*

Q: Since Michael seems to get hit up for more interviews than Laura, the general impression online is that projects you work on together are purely his ideas. How accurate is this?

Very.

I’ll give him input, but he really does do pretty much everything except selecting the colors.

*

Q: The Golden Plates. Doing that project seems like a financial risk and, sadly, it wasn’t a big hit. How did you discuss this project ahead of time, and was that discussion different than previous deciding-to-do-a-project discussions? What sort of strain did its lackluster sales cause? How likely are you to return to either that project or the Joseph Smith bio?

First off, it actually was a huge hit. But not big enough to sustain us financially given the time needed to do it right. So, we simply have to find time to do it when we can. We’re confident once we manage an efficient schedule that it will pick up steam.

*

Q: Speaking of, what is the relationship between faith, art and spouse?

It just is. We don’t have the words to express that answer correctly.

*

Q: Of course, you both work on projects apart from each other as well as working together — why is it important to take those jobs?

It’s always good to stretch on outside projects. That’s where we’ll find new inspiration to progress with different techniques and approaches.

*

Q: Speaking of, artistically, what are the advantages of working on properties owned by other people?

New perspectives.

*

Q: How is it different, working together as opposed to working with other people?

Together we have a rhythm and a comfort zone that can’t be matched.

*

Q: I know you’ve worked with Mike’s brother Lee. Have you involved other family members in projects as well? How does that turn out?

Our children have created characters or done small coloring jobs and stuff. It’s just extra fun.

*

Q: How do you balance family and art? Do you think it is easier or harder to be parents, you both being professional creatives? How do your careers affect your children?

We would just say it allows us to involve our children more in what we do, and they’re all creative too in music and art. And working at home just brings us closer together.

*

Q: At the beginning of your careers, before you were The Famous Allreds, how did you balance art with more mundane needs like rent?

We just plugged away. It’s not much different now except…

*

Q: How has success changed your approaches to art?

…we have more confidence and it’s a little easier to get things done.

*

Q: How has success changed your relationship with each other?

Simply more comfort, less stress.

*

Q: I hear Laura is, first and foremost, a painter. Which begs the question: in addition to comics, what else are you two up to in terms of Fab Art?

Not much lately. I have my hands full with our regular work and spend as much time with the kids as we can.

*

Q: Any advice for Mormon artist couples like yourselves?

Just don’t be afraid to spend more time together. We love it!


3 comments: “Couple-Creators: Mike and Laura Allred

  1. David West

    One of my best friends was reading a Madman, and proclaimed “Hey Ithink this guy is supposed to be one of the Three Nephites!”
    Thats when I started paying attention to Madman, G-Men from Hell, X-Force and evantually I bought lots of copies of the Golden Plates for me and my kids. I hope it picks up again.

  2. matt w.

    Before I joined the church or even new what a mormon was, I was a huge comics fan, and we’d always talk about the creators and how everyone wanted to have a marriage like Mike and Laura’s. After I joined the church it made so much sense you all were LDS. While having three little girls and one little paycheck means I can no longer afford comics except the occasional trade, I have tried to be a bit of a johnny appleseed with the Golden Plates here. I am definitely looking forward to more. Will GP be image going forward like Madman?

  3. William Morris

    Thanks, Mike and Laura.

    This:

    “Together we have a rhythm and a comfort zone that can’t be matched.”

    is totally awesome. It’s a big part of why I was interested in having Theric pursue this topic. I think your succinct answers to many of the questions are indicative of something important: it’s something couples need to work out together. That is, there’s no magic formula. There’s desire and work and the pliable strength that comes from a covenant relationship.

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