In the spirit of Comic-Con 2008, this week's artist of the week is Paul Duffield, a newcomer to the comics world. I found him through the online comic FreakAngels, where he and writer Warren Ellis shaped a future steampunk universe about a group of telepaths who brought about the apocalypse. For Duffield it was a major score to work with an established writer like Warren Ellis on his first major project, and for fans we get to enjoy all twenty episodes of the comic online for free.
According to an interview at Newsarama, Duffield got connected to Ellis through the forums on Ellis' site.
It was actually some fantastic luck that landed me the job on FreakAngels. I've been a regular at a few art sites & forums for a long time, and a friend introduced me to 'The Engine', Warren's forum at the time. Not expecting more than a new place to discuss comics, I dropped by to introduce myself and look around since it seemed like a really lively place with some good discussion. A few days later I had an email from Jacen Burrows, an artist working for Avatar who said he'd seen my work there and really liked it, and was asking if I'd like an introduction. There wasn't much pause for thought before I said 'awesome!' and things developed naturally from there...
That's should be something young artists should pay attention to -- get yourselves involved in an active, passionate community, make meaningful contributions, and develop real relationships with other forumers (not just manipulative relationships to get you from A to B). Keep working on your stuff and over time you will get opportunities to show what you can do. From there you have to have the talent and discipline to pull it off. Contacts and connections are the easiest part, surprisingly.
Paul Duffield studied animation and also does illustration, video effects, and compositing. He posts a variety of his work in the gallery on his site, so if you dig the comic stop by and check it out. He also maintains a profile on deviantART where he has more recent samples of his work. Be sure to leave a comment if you like what he's working on.