Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mat Brown - Cartoonist Survey #2

Today we hear from cartoonist Mat Brown. I attended a cartooning class taught by Mat (with special guest instructor Bill White) that was one of the best classes I've ever taken. Be sure to visit Mat at

What is your favorite pen to use?
I’m always experimenting...but right now, I like the 5-pen fine marker set (005, 01, 03, 05, and 08) made by prismacolor. I also like a Windsor Newton series 7 brush #3. I just found some old steel penpoints , but it’s too soon to tell whether I like them or not.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yup: a prismacolor col-erase (blue) . I started because I thought the blue wouldn’t photograph (It will) But I use it now because you can drop out the blue marks when you scan your picture and use photoshop (Image>adjustments>Black& White...)then punch up the black (Image>adjustments>levels....)

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
For the most part I use the computer...and for color studies. But when the client wants the original, I use watercolor (cakes), pastels and colored pencils.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
See previous.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore 2ply bristol when the client wants the original...
Cardstock for stuff that I’m going to scan.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Bicycles and tables with 4 chairs and nobody sitting in them.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I’ve tried the Art stores (I can’t walk past one) and the one in Stoughton, MA(which I don’t stock) the catalog I use (and like) is

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
No I just start. The first two or three pictures won’t be as good as the ones I do when I get in the zone.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
No music for ideas and layout. Music accompanies inking. Swing, Sinatra, Classic Country, Circus and Calliope music.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Oh Yeah: I read them all, ’cause we traded back and forth. My favorite? Captain Marvel.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
As a Kid: Lil’ Abner and Dick Tracy because they were such wonderful draftsmen. ..But I liked them all. Today, Not so much: Dunesbury for the writing, The best artist was, I don’t know.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
The Handy Book for Boys old illustrations. I still have it.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Oh it’s a blessing! Just to Google an image of what you’re trying to draw or caricature lets you junk all those clippings and books you used as a morgue.

Did either of your parents draw?
I can remember my Father drawing me a picture of a horse when I was sick with the Chicken Pox. His brother who died before I was born was a ‘good drawer’.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Me...and the people who gave me work.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I’m spoiled: everything I draw is sold. (or given away)

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Oh Yeah: The last time I did it was the most rewarding. I learned more than any of the students did! As you know, we’re still in touch and we’ll collaborate on the next course.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion is everything. “Talent’ means you like something more than other people do and work on it more than other people pretty soon, those people accuse you of being ‘Talented’.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Really don’t collect anything...but I don’t throw anything away, either... That came in handy when I made my UMASS movie with pictures and sounds from fifty years ago. (available on my website the ‘Bottom Drawer under ‘videos’)

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Foghorn Leghorn.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Teach Math in High School

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Cluttered, but with a drawing area and a computer area, and materials at hand. Half of the area will be squared away soon as the rush is over.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Not really...but I can play the harmonica.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Marry money.. But seriously, you’ve got to draw a lot. (read Malcom Galdwell’s The Outliers...He shows how you’ve got to put in 10,000 hours to be really good at anything.

Don't forget if you want to be featured on this site just shoot me an email ( and I'll send out the form.

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