INTERVIEW: Martin Abel

Martin Abel is an Australian comic book and fantasy artist who has turned his life-long passion for drawing into a career. Abel is living proof that far from being simply a hobby, illustration can be a sustainable and fulfilling line of work, and he’s accumulating legions of fans around the world.


How’s it going, Marty?

Things are going pretty well, thank you for asking. 🙂

You made the move to Tassie awhile back, how are you liking it so far?

It’s actually been just over two years since we made the big move from Melbourne to Hobart, time flies!

There was definitely a time of adjustment though… not really knowing anyone or where anything is! But for the most part, we do not regret our decision at all. Tasmania is a beautiful place and I find it really inspiring, it’s also much quieter here and I find that has really helped me on a personal level.

Last year it seemed like you were pretty quiet, but I read on your website that you had a pretty tough one on quite a few levels.

Well, last year definitely had some challenges – our house getting ransacked was probably the worst thing. But you have to adapt move on and just focus on the road ahead, and even though I have posted about some of the challenges last year brought me, it was actually a very positive year in many ways!

The Crystal Clans board game seems like a highlight though, over 100 illustrations alone for one project?

Crystal Clans was basically what I was doing all year! It’s a new 2 player board game created by Plaidhat games that I have created every piece of art for so far, which has included 108 Player cards a huge playing board 15 specialty cards and the Box packaging art!

We’re still working on the game actually, I’ll be starting up on more cards next month and there isn’t actually an end date to this gig yet. As they may want more expansions in the future. It’s by far been the biggest thing I’ve ever solidly worked on in my career so far, a lot of work but very worthwhile and I’ve learn plenty of new skills along the way.

And you’ve been doing some covers for Aspen and Udon in the states – how’s that going, is there any of their properties you’re really pushing to draw covers for?

Yes! Last year I started with Aspen – I’ve done covers for Fathom, Soulfire, Bubblegun and Lola. I’m not actively pushing for a lot of work since Crystal Clans has been keeping me insanely busy – Aspen do have a new title coming out from Lindsay Sterling (amazing violinist) called Sparrow, I am pretty damn curious about that so I might get in touch and see if I can get involved.

I also got the privilege of working on the Tellos Tribute book which is honouring Mike Weiringo’s memory and finally completing the final chapters of his creator owned book.

Any plans for some creator-owned stuff in the future?

So apart from all the above, I’m always trying to keep doing my personal drawings and side projects but its been pretty difficult having been so busy with freelance work. Any chance I get in between jobs I’m trying to work on my personal stuff. This year I am absolutely hoping to get at least one large full colour sketchbook ou , as I haven’t done an art book for a while. I have wayyyy too much material that has not seen print.

I’m also still working on a story, unfortunately its one of those things where its just a slow tedious process where life and work always jump in the way, but I am gaining some traction so I am pretty excited as it is slowly taking some sort of a shape. 🙂

Occasionally, I’ll post some character designs on my instagram account so if you’re interested please jump on and follow me:

You were an early adopter of Patreon, and when someone asks me about how to setup their account – I generally point them to yours for how it’s done.

Thanks Darren! Super kind of you, we dropped the ball a little with not having time to update our patreon video (since removed) and a few things need updating… BUT, it has been 2 years since we started and we have published about 15 or so volumes of monthly sketchbooks, Speed Videos, Tutorials – Physical rewards sent out all over the globe with all sorts of art goodies.

Patreon is rewarding but it has been a lot of work for us, even when we designed it NOT to be! I’m currently on hiatus but will hopefully start up again for 2018 when we get a solid chance to do some refreshing of content and goals for the page.

Some people expressed concern that Patreon might be a phase or a fad – and not to invest your time into it specifically. I would agree that is a legitimate concern, because you don’t know what the future holds for a company out of your control. So the way I like to use Patreon is as a means of using what you’re going to do regardless .. and finding a way to make it into something people can purchase exclusively.

You can catch me on patreon at:

Part of being a successful artist is a great support network, and it’s clear that you probably couldn’t do much better than your partner, Jamie.

Ha! Well that is true, I cant deny that. Jamie jumped into the business back in 2013 and by 2014 we were both just running this business thing full time, since moving to Tassie though she has needed her own outlet and she now works in a really great Photography studio in Hobart 3 days a week, she is still helping with all the important stuff that I suck at though, like taxes and Patreon rewards, online store stuff etc!

What’s next, do you have some new projects coming out this year we should keep an eye out for?

Crystal Clans should be out in all good Games and hobby shops sometime this year and I am sure there will be more Aspen covers to look out for as well as some new Artbooks from me later in the year!

Thanks for your time Marty.

My pleasure! Thanks for having me!

About Darren Close

Darren Close
Darren is the creator and publisher of the KILLEROO series, and also the creator of the OzComics website and subsequent drawing challenge on Facebook. He's been around the local comic scene for far too long for many people's liking. Gary Chaloner was foolish enough to make him the new Managing Editor of

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