A Conversation with John Bruggman – Illustration Student

By | April 5, 2022

Daemen University illustration major John Bruggman has created a cover for Image Comics, a major publisher in the industry.

Bruggman’s illustration depicts a character known as Stetson – described as “a nightmare hunter and dream detective” – from the newly released comic book series Slumber by Tyler Burton Smith (Kung Fury, Child’s Play) and artist Vanessa Cardinali.

After the series was announced, and a call for illustrations was announced, Bruggman a junior in Daemen’s Visual and Performing Arts Department (VPA) – pieced together details from pre-released pages from the comic book to build ideas. 

Lancaster-based 3-D Comics has committed to a 500-copy print run of Bruggman’s cover illustration for a limited release. Pressing Matter, LLC also provided support.

(The cover, which can be seen here, depicts a weapon in use; viewer discretion is advised.)

We reached out to Bruggman to learn more about his passion for illustration and the comic world.

What inspired you to pursue a degree in illustration?

I’ve always been interested in art – and throughout high school I became more interested in it. 

By my junior year, I realized it was the field I wanted to pursue for my career. I fell in love with comics – which began as a hobby – but eventually I took it more seriously when I realized I could make a career out of my passion. 

Which VPA faculty members at Daemen have had the greatest impact on you?

[Assistant] Professor Mike Parker is supportive of how I draw and my style. He encourages me to experiment with my style as well. Throughout my figure drawing classes, he has been encouraging me to master anatomy, which is especially important for illustrating comic book characters. 

Also, (Assistant Professor of Illustration) Philip Longson has challenged how I think in class. He has taught me how to take the time to think about how I organize a piece and complete research to then create my artwork. 

What attracted you to become a student at Daemen?

I liked Daemen’s small campus and being able to have an individualized class experience. It has allowed me to have more of a connection with both my peers and my professors. 

What do you enjoy most about being in the illustration program at Daemen?

I like sitting down to draw. I am able to draw for about six hours or more a day and that’s what I love to do. 

I also like how the professors challenge us. In one class, I will go from having to do a piece that is well-rendered to another class where I work on mastering something more simple. 

This allows me to expand my skills in ways I wouldn’t have thought about had I not been in Daemen’s illustration program. 

What are your goals post graduation?

I would like to illustrate an entire comic book.

Eventually, I hope my work will be picked up by a smaller company, where I can work full-time and work my way up in the industry from there. 

My overall dream is to be published by a larger company like Marvel or DC Comics.