Piotr Kowalski is the first Pole to illustrate comics featuring the Hulk. He is also one of the few Polish artists who are active on French and American comic book markets.
Draugthsman, author of comics.
He was born in 1973 in Warsaw. Whilst still at high school, he had his first illustrations published in the Nowa Fantastyka magazine. He also drew for other publications, such as Fenix, Świat komiksu (The World of Comics) and Czas komiksu (The Time of Comics). In 1995 he prepared several hundred illustrations for an animated film series about World War Two, titled Ucieczki (The Escapes), directed by Marek Wortman. Kowalski’s comics have also been included in the cycle The Anthology of Polish Comics / Antologia polskiego komiksu (the volumes September: Drawn War / Wrzesień: Wojna narysowana, A Man in a Test Tube / Człowiek w probówce, and Best Young Draughtsmen / Najlepsi młodzi rysownicy)
The breakthrough in Kowalski’s career came with his individual, four-volume fantasy miniseries Gail, whose first part, Before the Storm (Przed burzą), was released in 2001. Even though the author has become quite critical towards it with time, it has allowed him to enter the French and Belgian scenes.
Grzegorz Rosiński has contributed to the artist's career development. They first met while promoting their respective albums in Poland. Rosiński later invited the young draughtsman to his place in Switzerland and supported him during the initial stage of his career, by e.g. sharing some technical hints. Kowalski came back from the trip with the series Le Branche Lincoln (with script by Emmanuel Herzet). Kowalski has also created other series for the French-speaking market: Dracula l'immortel (script by Michel Dufranne) and Urban Vampires (script by Eric Corbeyran).
After his European successes, Kowalski started publishing in the United States. He debuted there with drawings for the miniseries Malignant Man (four books), then moved on to the series SEX (with script by Joe Casey), to finally join the team of the series Marvel Knights: Hulk (script by Joe Keatinge). Apart from Szymon Kudrański, Piotr Kowalski is the only Pole to have drawn such recognizable American comic characters. He is also the author of drawings for the sci-fi albums Darklight (script by Chad Kultgen) and the horror Clive Barker's Nightbreed (the script, based on Barker’s film, was written by Marc Andreyko). Kowalski also creates comic book covers for American publishers.
the anthology of polish comics
He doesn’t use a graphics tablet, but first draws with a pencil, on top of which he applies ink. He also took care of colouring in his early comics, but nowadays he only focuses on drawing (this is also precondition of the tightly scheduled production process). His style is a realistic one. Kowalski has great technical skills, while his strips are carry interesting and dynamic composition. He usually doesn’t storyboard his strips, but instead builds the frame layout on the spot. As he claims, this helps him to avoid routine and keep up the joy of creation.
His works can be viewed on his DeviantArt page: piotrkowalski.deviantart.com
Author: Łukasz Chmielewski, April 2014, tranls. AM, February 2015