Monday, December 7, 2009

Dave Coverly - Cartoonist Survey #13

Dave Coverly's "Speed Bump" appears in over 250 newspapers worldwide. A two time winner of the Best Newspaper Panel award and winner of this year's National Cartoonist's Society's prestigious Reuben award for Cartoonist of the Year! This July his illustrations graced the pages of the children's book, "Sue MacDonald Had a Book," with text by Jim Tobin. Make sure you visit his site;

What is your favorite pen to use?
Rotring Rapidographs, variety of sizes.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Standard No. 2 pencil, usually with a cute design on the barrel, as I take them from my daughters' backpacks. Seriously.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
By hand for book and cards; American Color does my Sunday strip on computer per my written directions.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
My hand. And watercolors.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore 3-ply 500 Series.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Crowd scenes...naked men...I especially hate to draw crowd scenes of naked men.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Locally that I physically go to. Sometimes I mentally go there, but for some reason, I never end up with good supplies when I do that.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Yes. I yell at myself for being a lazy %$#@ who hasn't come up with one decent idea and it's almost lunchtime.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Tons. All genres. There are certain bands I love, such as The Lucksmiths, The Jazz Butcher/Max Eider, Tim Keegan, Joe Pernice, Trashcan Sinatras...those all get tons of play. I also listen to a lot of Big Band music.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I did read the comics page, but only a few comic books (Sad Sack being my favorite). In the newspaper, I loved BC, Frank & Ernest, Peanuts, and They'll Do It Every Time. I also discovered Mad Magazine and became a fan of Sergio Aragones, then discovered cartoon compilation books and became a fan of Jim Unger's "Herman". My sister and I STILL quote those panels.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Well, best answer is: New Yorker cartoons. Especially George Booth. But there are many strips I like that are current, like Zits and Mutts.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Wifey, and no.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No. I have a BS in philosophy from Eastern Michigan University, and a master's in creative writing from Indiana University. Two very useful degrees.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?

Did either of your parents draw?
No, but my grandfather on my father's side was an amazing wood carver. He made intricate Kachina Dolls in his spare time and gave them away for free.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife, Chris, was fantastic about giving me time early on in our marriage to give this sort of weird career a chance, and my parents were always encouraging me to try things. And I had a journalism teacher in high school, Kenny Zelnis, who took me seriously, and even brought in New Yorker magazines to show me what the professionals were doing with this art form. That was huge for me.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
No, I don't draw all that much unless I have to.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Not really, just one workshop that I did enjoy.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
For a career, passion. For a single drawing, talent.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Music - I have over 2,000 CD’s.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I would hope to be a Bill Plympton drawing.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Beg. Serious answer, linguist.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
6"x6.75. Serious answer, my studio is in the refinished attic of a 100-year-old home near downtown Ann Arbor. It's covered in other people's original art, has funky sloping ceiling lines, skylights, and a massive lava lamp my wife brought home from a party at work.
Do you play any musical instruments?
Not currently. Played trumpet in the high school band.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
I will give you the shortest, simplest answer possible because it's the best one: Patience.

Who is your favorite artist?
Cartoonist: Jim Borgman
Artist: Romare Bearden
Is that cheating? I had to get them both in there.

Thank you for your time Dave!

Tomorrow's answers will be from none other than Bill Griffith of Zippy the Pinhead fame.

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