Meet Adam Buttrey

Fan Art Illustrator / Cover Artist for IDW Comics / Marvel & Upper Deck Sketch Card Artist

Fairview, TN native Adam Buttrey is a long-time illustrator & graphic designer. With a passion to draw and a huge appreciation of anything comics / sci-fi related, Adam continues to bring his artwork to life through traditional illustration and digital media. In his spare time Adam is an avid toy collector, both vintage and new, and enjoys an occasional binge-marathon of Bob’s Burgers or cheesy horror-flicks. Inspired by music, film, his courageous mother, and a great group of friends, he is most inspired by his loving and supportive wife Caysie.


How long have you been making your art? 
I’ve been working freelance and professionally as an illustrator and graphic designer for over 20 years.

What was the pivotal moment that made you decide to follow your path as an artist?
I once entered a county-wide art contest on a whim in the 2nd grade, and ended up winning 1st place. At that point, I realized I may actually be onto something!

What can you tell us about your process?
I draw all of my work initially using super light, super rough and loose shapes and gestures in pencil. I typically go back in and build up, or refine that pencil work until it’s pretty solid and detailed. Next, I ink the piece, making all my final and very deliberate and detailed linework in varying line weights and flow. Lastly, I layer and color the artwork with Copic markers, or by a lengthy and methodical process in Photoshop, adding textures, lighting effects, etc, before completion.

What are some of your favorite places where your work has been displayed?
Two full series of my sketch cards that I worked on for Marvel and Upper Deck were all approved and distributed worldwide in collector tins called “Marvel Premier.” Also, I recently had my first comic cover published as an exclusive variant for IDW Comic’s first issue of Rob Liefeld’s (Deadpool/Cable Creator) G.I. Joe 6 issue comic storyline, “Snake Eyes: Deadgame.”  I also have some other comic projects on the horizon as well.

Who inspired you to do this work? Who are your favorite artists?
My mom was my biggest fan, and the one who drove me to dive into the deep end and have fun with my artwork, even when I doubted myself at an early age. My wife Caysie is my rock and my constant encouragement. I’ve also always been a huge fan of Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Patrick Brown, & Joe Madureira’s comic work.

What work that you’ve done are you most proud of?
So far, I’d have to say my Marvel and IDW work. Those were big milestones for me. Nothing is unattainable. I dreamed of doing such work as a kid, and now it’s a feather in my cap, but a very appreciated one. I was honored to do it. It can only go up from here!

Is there a single work that you would like to be remembered for? 
I’m sure there will be, but I don’t believe I’ve created it just yet. It’s one of those things where I’ll know it when it happens, because it will cause a stir. 

Where do you find your inspiration? 
I love to pull inspiration from some of my favorite artists, but I’m also heavily inspired by music, film, and just my own imagination.

What have you found to be your biggest challenge in making your art?  Timeframe! I keep a commission list running about a year out. I’m also traveling and making appearances at conventions and signings. I’m doing contract work for other companies, and in the meantime I have a wife and I’m gone 15 hours per day on all my shifts at my 2nd full time job. There are never enough hours in a day!

What would you say your future goals include? 
Many more comic covers, as well as more wide-release sketch cards. I’ve wanted to be a comic book cover artist since I was very small, so I stayed hungry for it, stayed focused, gave it 110% and made it happen.

Do you have any current or upcoming projects?
I’m still completing my prior obligations on my commission list, due to having to briefly bow out for a bit due to a hand/wrist injury. After that I do have some more potential comic cover projects coming down the line. Due to legalities, I just can’t talk about them yet! So Stay tuned, I guess! 

What would you like to see happen in Fairview to build a better art community? 
I think this Fairview Arts Council is a great step in the right direction of not only drawing attention to the arts, or artists themselves, but also nurturing those potential artists out there that possibly are too shy to take a first step. They need an outlet, and this can provide that for them. Everyone has potential and everyone is capable of creativity in some form. Just because the kind of artwork one person does is drastically different than the next, that doesn’t mean it’s better or worse. It’s just YOU. I hope Fairview embraces this group and lets the art community thrive.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 
I have a bit of advice to any other artists and potential artists out there, and if even 1 person takes this to heart and truly listens, then I have done my job:  There are 2 things that will torment you and defeat you to your core as an artist if you let it – 1) comparing yourself to another artist and 2) self doubt.  It can be hard, but the sooner you can let go of both of those monsters and truly believe in yourself no matter what, you will be free. A person who is free of fear and restraint can accomplish amazing things.

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