One of the things when you're drawing a comic book is that you're spending four or five times as long to draw it as the writer takes to write it. In my career I've had to spend a week drawing something that a writer has thrown out in an hour. And there's nothing worse than having to work on something that no previous thought has gone into.
I think with something like 'Watchmen' you can genuinely call that a graphic novel because it has the weight and the intent of a proper novel and it also is the complete story.
People unacquainted with graphic novels, including journalists, tend to think of 'Watchmen' as a book by Alan Moore that happens to have some illustrations. And that does a disservice to the entire form.
I came to think that nobody from England could draw American comic books, because they were clearly all done by this sort of Mafia, all these guys with Italian and Irish names who had the whole thing sewn up. It was actually seeing a comic book drawn by Barry Smith, who was about my age, and English.
I vividly remember my first 'Superman' comic, which my granddad bought me when I was about 7. From that point on, all I wanted to do is draw comics. And specifically, superhero and science fiction comics. Basically I used to copy comic books, and draw my own comics on scrap paper.
I always start drawing any job by planning out to some degree the locales and trying to nail the characters. If they're existing characters, I'll draw them several times on rough paper just to get a feeling for them. The ideal when you're drawing a comic is to have everything in your head, not to have to refer to notes.
To my mind, the most successful and the best comic book illustrators are those who translate the real world into a consistent code. If you look at Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko, their drawings look nothing like the real world, but they are internally consistent. In terms of a comic book it can work just fine.