Artist Spotlight: John Gallagher

Ahead of his appearance at Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo, an in-demand production illustrator recalls his local roots.

September 1, 2017

John Gallagher always wanted to be a comic book artist. Though his early career had him working in broadcasting in Edmonton, he was always drawing.

In 1995, a friend told Gallagher about a new video game company called BioWare. Gallagher profiled them on CBC and met then-owner Augustine Yip who asked if he “could do anything else.’’ When Gallagher presented his drawing portfolio to the BioWare team he was hired on the spot as the director of concept art and design. “BioWare was fantastic, it was where I learned to be a professional in terms of delivering the work, my process and methodology, and engaging the imagination of myself and others,” Gallagher says.

After leaving BioWare in 2004, he worked on storyboarding for various films, including the filmed-in-Edmonton movie Ginger Snaps 2. He received a job offer to work on the television show Defying Gravity and, just five days later, Gallagher was in Vancouver beginning his career as a production illustrator for film and television. “[A production illustrator’s] art is supposed to be a bridge between the written page and all other elements of a story,” Gallagher explains. “You know when people say you need to be on the same page? I’m the guy who draws that page.”

Since then, Gallagher has worked on 44 shows — most recently The Flash, Riverdale and Supergirl. But he’s fulfilled his comic book dreams, too; he’s drawn several covers of Captain Canuck, was a silent partner with Happy Harbor Comics when it opened, and frequently appears at comic conventions. “I get to do cool nerd stuff for a living — it’s quite remarkable,’’ Gallagher says. “If people happen to like what I do, I appreciate it.’’

This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.


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