Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nick Downes - Cartoonist Survey #15

Next up is the cartoonist Nick Downes. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Playboy, The Wall Street Journal and many magazines "across the pond" in the UK.. His science related cartoons have graced the pages of many textbooks, and he has a line of hilarious greeting cards published by NobleWorks, Inc.

You can check out his work at;

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use a dip pen with Hunt #101 nibs.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
A standard #3 pencil.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
By hand.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I like Dr. Martin's Transparent Watercolors.

What type of paper do you use?
For roughs, Crane's 24 lb. fluorescent white, 100% cotton. For finishes, a 100lb. vellum surface bristol board.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I don't really hate to draw anything, but nothing comes super-easy.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Local one(s).

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I hem and haw, futz around, and just procrastinate in general.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I like classical when I'm working.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Though I wasn't a big comic book reader, I liked the Hulk.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I loved the comic pages, so there were many, but I especially liked "Steve Roper and Mike Nomad," drawn by a guy named Overgard, I believe.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Until I was 12 or 13 or so, I thought "Lassie Come Home" was the best book ever written. Don't have a copy.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No, regrettably.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
It's a mixed blessing- A wonderful resource, but damaging to print media, where I make my bread and butter.

Did either of your parents draw?
My father drew in pen and ink- I learned to use the crow-quill dip pen and India ink from what he had around.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
I can't off-hand think of anyone, who mattered, who wasn't supportive, really.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I have a growing pile of plein-air watercolor 'sketches,' which I enjoy doing, but not really a sketchbook.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No, I haven't.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion is necessary, no matter how talented, for it's a struggle to make it, for everybody.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I seem to collect an awful lot of books, but not really deliberately.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I always admired Bugs Bunny's sangfroid, and would like to be like him.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I'd like to write, I suppose, or be a jazz drummer, but I guess they're artists as well, so, I don't know.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's a separate room in my apartment, overlooking a busy street, with all the accoutrements, i.e. drawing table, supplies, filing cabinets, printer, fax, copiers, computer, etc., etc. And often a big mess.

Do you play any musical instruments?
As a kid, the trombone, and later, the drums. But no more.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Go for it if you love it, but, it might not love you back.

Who is your favorite artist?
So many spring to mind, but, as we're discussing drawing, I'd say Watteau.

Thanks Nick!

Check back soon to see answers by Mark Heath, creator of the strip "Spot the Frog."

1 comment:

steve delmonte said...

Hey Nice piece on Nick Downes, a true original!
Steve Delmonte