Douglas H. "Doug" Wheatley is a Canadian comic book artist who has worked on several comics in Dark Horse Comics' Aliens and Predator lines. Based out of his art studio in Winnipeg, Ontario and known for his mesmerizingly detailed pencilling work, Wheatley has been a professional comic book illustrator for over fifteen years.
In the comics field, Wheatley is best known for his recent Star Wars work also for Dark Horse. Over the past six years, Wheatley has worked on popular story arcs for the company's Star Wars: Republic, Empire and Dark Times series, and as the artist on the ambitious comics adaptation of the film Star Wars: Episode III, which secured his place as one of the major, modern Star Wars artists. He has also provided covers for Star Wars: Legacy and worked on various covers and one-shots for the line. His latest Star Wars work will be on the upcoming Darth Vader: The Lost Command.
Wheatley has in the past done work on such titles as Magic: The Gathering - The Elder Dragons for Acclaim comics (the first book Wheatley worked on without an inker), Superman: Last Son of Earth for DC Comics and Blade: The Vampire Hunter for Marvel Comics.
At Dark Horse, Wheatley first worked on a comic adaptation of popular 90s videogame Mist, which was then followed by Aliens: Apocalypse.
Wheatly considers Magic: The Gathering and Aliens: Apocalypse to be important stepping stones in the evolution of his art style, followed by his most daunting task, the Star Wars: Episode III adaptation.
According to Wheatley, after a break of a few years, Dark Horse first contacted him to do a Star Wars cover. Then about a year and a half later they got back in touch with him about doing more Star Wars work. In the years since, Wheatley's list of Star Wars credits would grow. One of his most major project for the line—which perhaps solidified his place among the ranks of Star Wars artist—was when he was chosen to draw the official comic book adaptation of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Already known for his finely detailed work, Wheatley—who says he began drawing Star Wars characters when he was about 10 years old—says his Star Wars work has been the most labor intesnsive of his career. And no project moreso than his pain-stakingly rendered Episode III adaptation.
After first being invited to Lucasfilm Ranch to read the script in 2005, he then received the screen play and batches of reference material from Dark Horse. As the production continued he would receive more and more detailed reference materials, such as stills, finished designs and 3-D animation—eventually totalling 1,500 sheets of reference material. Wheatley says he worked about a year on the project, 12 hours a day, often working 18-24 hour shifts, seven days a week during the last two months.
As an artist, Wheatley says he is mostly self-taught. Wheatly studied masters such as Michelangelo, Alphonse Mucha, N.C Wyeth etc. before breaking into comics, and he cites Mucha as his greatest single influence.
When he decided to pursue a career in comics, he sought out local Winnipeg-based comics artist George Freeman who he says mentored him on how to break into the field. Other comics artists his lists as having an impact on his growth as a practicing artist include Chris Quilliams, Nick Burns, Chris Chuckry.
In June 2008, Wheatley traveled to Paris to study art, beginning at the Louvre and then the Musée d'Orsay. While in the city, he became involved in and was able to be introduced to the city's overwhelming art scene.
Although he says he doesn't have much time as he would like to explore other mediums of late, he also has an interest in sculpting.
Today, Wheatley cites Aliens: Apocalypse, Star Wars: Darklighter, Star Wars: Episode III as some of the works he is most proud of.
Having done a brief two-issue run on Marvel's Conan series year earlier, most recently, Wheatley has also had the chance to return to that character as a cover artist on Dark Horse's current Conan: The Road of Kings series. Wheatley aspires to do more mainstream superhero comics in the future.
A devoted family man, Wheatley lives with his wife and two children.
Doug Wheatly's official art blog:DarkWater: The Art of Doug Wheatley
Doug Wheatly's Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/doug_wheatley
Doug Wheatley's deviant art page, with lots of advice for newcomers to the field: http://doug-wheatley.deviantart.com/