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How the X-Men Led to a Successful Career in Comic Art

Garrick Dean is the program chair for comic and sequential art at BEAU–Broadview Entertainment Arts University. He was born in Salt Lake City but moved to Riverside, Calif., at the age of 10 and was educated in the Golden State.

comic art, BEAUGarrick has immersed his life in comics since the age of 9, falling in love with the genre when he bought his first Uncanny X-Men comic book.  He began drawing around that time trying to recreate the amazing action scenes and the powerful characters that graced the pages of comic and fantasy books.

Garrick attended Mira Costa College in Oceanside, Calif., studying art, and returned to Salt Lake City to receive his BFA in Illustration from the University of Utah where he mentored under McRay Magleby, world famous poster artist. Garrick followed his dream of comic education and attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning and Comic Art, where his work was critiqued by the late, great Joe Kubert himself.

Garrick has been illustrating professionally since the year 2000. His client list includes Utah Museum of Natural History, City Weekly, The Event, S.L.U.G. Magazine, Hilton Hotels, Kimpton Hotels, Utah Arts Festival, Dr. Volts Comics, Effing Brutal Comics, Angry Gnome Comics, and many more.

Garrick has had gallery shows of his illustrations at many galleries around the Salt Lake Valley for many years and had his work spotlighted by the Utah Arts Festival this last January in a show named “Famous Faces.”

Here is a Q & A with Garrick:

Any advice for students in the comic and sequential art program?

EAT SLEEP AND BREATHE COMICS!!! You should have a comic in your book bag (or 10 comics) or a tablet full of digital comics. You need to study how professional comic book artists draw, how they see the comic world, how they tell stories through images, not words. And most important–draw, draw, draw!!!

Why did you pursue teaching at BEAU?

I am currently the head of illustration at O.C.Tanner and a fresh graduate of Joe Kubert’s School of Comic and Sequential art, and all I wanted was to be surrounded by art 24/7. My focus in life currently was to become established as a professional artist on a national level. BEAU fell into my life, and I didn’t realize how completely immersed in art my life would be taking on the role as program chair and instructor here at BEAU. My point being, do what you love, seek art, seek creativity, and the work–and life–will be presented to you.

What is your favorite comic or graphic novel?

Oh, we have a HUGE tie! But Uncanny X-Men will always be my one true love. It was the first comic I ever spent my hard earned allowance on, and the one comic that spoke to me as an adolescent outsider. The X-Men are the mutants, the outcasts, the underdogs, and no matter how many times you knock them down they always overcome. As for graphic novels, I always recommend to anyone I know:

  • The Dark Knight by Frank Miller (words and pictures)
  • Watchman by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  • The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont and John Bryne
  • The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland

These four books are some of the greatest combinations of stories and pictures you will ever read in the comic book world.

To see more of Garrick’s work, please visit his website,, or his blog at