Lyman Dally was a skinny and bullied kid from New Jersey that liked to draw. He later began lifting weights and eventually became a competitive bodybuilder. This opened his artistic eye to anatomical structure, detail and movement – qualities that still influence his artwork today.
Lyman is best known in the bodybuilding community for his Max Rep™ Mr. Astrotitan 2206 cartoon series which ran in FLEX and Muscular Development magazines during the 1990′s. This mostly self-educated artist has taught at the prestigious Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art and lectured on muscular anatomy, using live female bodybuilders for examples. He has also created over 5,000 editorial illustrations, book illustrations, storyboards and created popular cartoons for MAXIM magazine.
After Max Rep ended, Lyman began creating award-winning art around his passion for wine, and started an online comic series called Living with Les. He is currently planning a new ongoing series around Max Rep character and female muscle fan favorite Quadra-Blu.
I took a minute to talk to Lyman and find out more about this fascinating artist.
• What do preferred to be called? Lyman
• When and where were you born? New Jersey 1955
• Where do you currently live? New Jersey (with time served in Florida and Manhattan)
• What are your interests, hobbies or passions? Making art (and money), bodybuilding and enjoying wine.
• Do you have a job other than producing your artwork? Yes, part-time in a wine store.
• How long have you been an artist? Professionally for 30 years.
• What inspired you to become an artist? Making my classmates laugh in grade school.
• Do you have formal art training or education? Where? Mostly self-taught, but with 3 great years at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon, and one oil-painting class at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan
• What artists have influenced you? Modern: Boris, Corben, Frazetta, Davis, Drucker, Wrightson. Classical: Ruebens, DaVinci, Velascques, Michelangelo
• What type of artwork do you create? Anything from cartoon illustration to surrealistic oil paintings
• What is your preferred medium? Right now oils, but I like to “exercise” my abilities in several others.
• Do you have a favorite subject matter? The figure (muscular, normal and skeletal!), and wine.
• Describe your artistic style: This is tough because I’ve had to work in a dozen styles over the years. In brief: “Realistic cartoon”
• Is there something that makes your artwork special? Attention to anatomical accuracy, proportion and quality of rendering.
• Who or what are your inspirations? See “artists” above, tho’ right now I glean inspiration from within. Ultimately I would like to have a successful licensing franchise with something I created.
• Can you describe your creation process and technique: Idea pops into head (usually over morning coffee), then some quick sketchbook roughs, then on to the finished work. I don’t waste a lot of time between the concept stage and getting to work on the finished art. An oil painting may take 6 weeks to 3 months to do tho’. I’ve trained myself to work fast.
• Was there one artwork or event that was a turning point in your career? Why? Inspiration wise: reading Mad Magazine and later Heavy Metal magazine. Going to the Joe Kubert School, and eventually becoming the top illustrator for Muscular Development magazine.
• Have you received any awards, prizes or other fame for your work? Yes, but the best “award” is a cheque (some artists may balk at this, but it’s the truth!).
• Is there one of your own works that’s a personal favorite? Why? Actually two; one is a portrait of my wife done years ago, and recently my interpretation of the Mona Lisa w’ a glass of wine I call “Vino Lisa”.
• Do you have any future plans or ideas you can tell us about? Maybe bringing Quadra-Blu back as an online cartoon if I think there is a big enuff audience to warrant it.
• Anything else you would like to add? Making art should be both enjoyable and practical. Too many artists don’t see themselves as businesspeople.
Contributing Writer Area Orion