Lisandro Estherren is a distinguished comic artist hailing from the vibrant artistic landscape of Argentina, with an incredible portfolio that includes graphic novels, series, and illustrations. Lisandro’s journey extends far beyond his native Argentina, with major contributions to the comic realm in the United States. He collaborated with pretty popular publishers like Red5 Comics and BOOM! Studios which resulted in well-known series like ‘Spook’ and ‘The Last Contract,’ demonstrating his ability to bring diverse narratives to life with his incredible art.
Currently, Lisandro is immersed in the enchanting world of ‘The Sandman’, showcasing his art in a way that resonates deeply with Neil Gaiman’s iconic universe. We got the opportunity to ask Lisandro a few questions related to the story, and here’s what he had to say about it!
Comics Basics: Could you share some insights into your collaboration with writer James Tynion IV in the context of bringing his vision to life?
Lisandro Estherren: Yeah, we work very close in order to build something new and different, but at the same time looking to honor the original ‘Sandman’ series.
James has some great ideas and a very clear landscape of the whole world. I try to stay close to his vision bringing all the elements I love.
The whole world of ‘Glass House’ has a nightmarish and eerie atmosphere; where did you draw your inspiration from?
I guess one of the most influential things is Dave McKean’s work, especially all the covers and short stories he did for ‘Sandman’ and ‘Hellraiser.’ All that 90’s vibe has always resonated with me.
Also, the work of Swiss artist Thomas Ott. His wordless comics are beautiful and intense. Some music completes the atmosphere which I like to enter once I’m on the drawing board, like the band ‘Morphine’ and some old sad tangos from the 40s and 50s.
What were some of the challenges you faced while illustrating ‘The Glass House’?
The first challenge was to keep doing the graphic style from the first book; a style based on inkwashes, which I love, but that could be very tricky sometimes, especially for a self-taught artist.
The second challenge was to create a cohesive world in which the characters could move between reality and unreality effortlessly.
Also, to create appealing characters and a clear and elegant narrative on the page. But that last one is always the challenge, isn’t it?
Were there specific scenes or panels that were particularly challenging or rewarding to create?
Well, I guess the first time I drew The Dreaming Library was very special to me. As a reader, I could recall those pages from ‘Sandman: The Kindly Ones’ drawn by Kevin Nowlan, and I tried to recreate that vastness and mystery on my pages.
One thing that this particular storyline is notable for is its blending of supernatural with human experiences; how did you strike that fine balance between fantastical, human & otherwordly? Also, what general techniques and motifs did you use to allow for a smoother transition?
Well, the supernatural characters are profoundly human, and the human characters are really very deep and spiritual in different ways, so I’m looking for the middle way all the time.
What was your favorite panel to illustrate?
In ‘The Glass House’? The splash page with the demon orgy from issue one, of course.
From ‘Spook’ to ‘The Last Contract,’ you’ve created several visually different worlds.
How do you adapt your style to match the tone of each story?
I think I try to read the story very carefully, find its core, and then look at which style could be the best suited, but also, if there’s a new thing I can bring to the project, a new tool or graphic approach that I’ve never done before.
How do you feel about being part of ‘The Sandman’ Universe legacy and contributing to Neil Gaiman’s extraordinary world?
It’s insane. As an artist and as a fan, I’ve never dreamed of being part of this; but I try to keep things light, do the best work I can do, and just enjoy the ride.
What is one superhero that you’ve always wanted to illustrate but never got the chance?
I’m not a big superhero fan, but I guess we all artists have dreamed about drawing Batman sometimes.
Lastly, could you offer a sneak peek or teaser about any upcoming projects or
collaborations that your fans should be excited about?
Right now, I’m focused on Nightmare Country! Working on the last issues of The Glass
House and thinking on the next arc. Also outlining some personal projects I hope to pitch to editors very soon.