Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mark Heath - Cartoonist Survey #16

Mark Heath has had cartoons published in Reader's Digest, The Saturday Evening Post and many other magazines. He's had greeting cards published by multiple companies and he is also the creator of the comic strip, Spot the Frog.
Mark has a really neat website; . Make sure you read his FAQ to find out what that geared clicking machine thingy is in the upper right hand corner of the site. And whatever you do DON'T click on the "don't push" button at the top of his main page. I'm serious, DON'T click it!

If someone wants to buy me one of those Rotring Art pens that Mark uses I'd really appreciate it. You can buy it here (Nib size Fine please);

Now here are Mark's answers.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Rotring Artpen. It's the only pen I've used for 15 years or so.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I use the same pen for roughs, then trace a finish.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Computer, PhotoShop.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Way back when, I used markers.

What type of paper do you use?
Bond for magazine cartoons. 2-ply bristol for Spot the Frog.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Cars. Almost anything mechanical. That's why I like drawing rubbery frogs.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both. But neither are art stores. I get my bond at Staples, and my 2-ply at a craftstore.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Jazz, some funk and R&B.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Peanuts, in the book collections. Our family didn't get a daily paper.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Right now I've been enjoying Spot the Frog. After five years, I can finally look at the old strips and relax enough to appreciate them. At the time everything I drew felt fraudulent, a faux comic.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I don't have a favorite book, but I do have a copy of the first book I remember reading on my own: Major Matt Mason, Moon Mission. That doesn't sound all that exciting until you discover that the moon is holed with tunnels, courtesy of giant worms. Actually, I do have a favorite book, and I still have it. A Peanuts Treasury. I was 14, 15, living in a house without a television. I fell into that book, and never climbed out.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No training. I could have used some. I still could.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing for artists looking for readers. But a curse for artists with ADHD (a recent diagnosis.)

Did either of your parents draw?

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife, Mary. My family was mostly indifferent, and my friends mostly puzzled.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Never have, save for one day when I taught two classes for elementary kids. A third class would have killed me. I did write a book on very basic cartooning called Drawing Cartoons. That was fun, or as much fun as a book can be if you're a procrastinating perfectionist.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Copies of a Christmas Carol. I love the story. And by Carol I mean the book, and the many artists who have illustrated it.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I'm trying to think of a fat and lazy animated cartoon character. Nothing comes to mind. Not even Garfield. He has adventures. I rarely do.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Right when I'm drawing, Left when I'm tossing. Both when I'm running away.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Write stories.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A small room with one large window, a table, a recliner, and years of books and papers. And like the disclaimer on a box of crackers, the contents have definitely settled.

Do you play any musical instruments?
The trumpet. Not much anymore, but I used to play it daily, just to remind myself why I like working at home. If you hunt up the Spot the Frog theme song I wrote for Spot the Frog Theater on youtube, the trumpet in the latter episodes is me.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
I don't actually think of cartooning as a drawing career. It's mainly the writing. But I suppose it's the same advice: accept rejection as the price of doing business. The best writers and artists are rejected, so you're in good company.

Who is your favorite artist?
I'm not sure I have one. When I was a kid Paul Coker was a big influence. And my appreciation for Ronald Searle is undiminished. One of my favorite Christmas Carols is illustrated by him.

Thanks a lot Mark!
Tomorrow's answers by Susan Camilleri Konar come all the way from Canada.

No comments: