Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ed Choy Moorman - Cartoonist Survey #26

From Chicago comes Ed Choy Moorman. Ed is a cartoonist, designer, writer, editor and a publisher. Go to his site, and check out some of his comics. Then click on the Bare Bones Press store and buy something. I like the "Chris Ware Paper Musician." He also has a blog called Sinew and Bones .

What is your favorite pen to use?
My favorite brushes are the Windsor & Newton Sable Series 2, size 2,and the Pentel Pocket Brush with Rapid-draw Rapidograph ink dispensed into the cartridge with a straightened paper clip. I love the Japanese G-nibs. I recently started liking the Uniball "Vision" Micro pen for sketching. Copic Multiliner pens are also good for dead-weight lines.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, always. I work in many layers of newsprint, scrap copy paper, but mostly tracing paper with final inks done on Bristol. I use standard gray pencils for underlayers and sketching, and I use the Prismacolor Col-Erase Light Blue pencils for penciling the final layer, lightboxing the last process layer, onto Bristol. I hate erasing.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
A mix. I don't feel super qualified to answer that because I haven't done very much color work lately, besides designing stuff. So none of the color stuff I've been doing have been comics. I'd like to get into watercoloring since I've fallen in love with the WC work of Hellen Jo.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
For sketching, colored pencils. Watercolor, Windsor & Newton watercolors, until I run out of those and then I'll probably switch to the cheapies. Cheap acrylic paints.

What type of paper do you use?
Copy paper, graph paper or newsprint for the first layer of pencils. Tracing paper for the next one. That's a trick I stole from Zak Sally, who inks on vellum, largely so he can move compositions and images around easily. I like to do the same thing. The final layer, as I said, is on Bristol.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Anything in mathematical, correct perspective. I'm lazy.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I find myself relying more and more on the Internet, because of the always-rising cost of art supplies, the difficulty of finding some of my favorites (like the Pentel, which I hear is choking out its death rattle... eeuughh), and the awfulness of the Illinois sales tax (something like 11%).

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Usually get coffee, put on music or... oh. The next question.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I listen to music often when penciling and occasionally when writing. When I ink I listen to audiobooks (I particularly like Sedaris, Vowell, Steve Martin's autobiography... right now it's Bob Spitz's Beatles book) or podcasts, This American Life, and Woody Allen movies I've seen many times. My theory is that left- brain stuff, talking, totally occupies that side of my mind and allows the inking, spatially-oriented right-brain to do its thing unhindered. As far as music goes, I like anything that keeps my spirits up. Very important. What that means varies though. No One Cares by Frank Sinatra can do this as well as all those great Hank Williams "lonely-heart" songs.

Did you read comics as a kid, and if so, what was your favorite?
Comics and cartoons, as well as Animorphs books and Zoobooks, were my entire world as a kid. I loved Calvin and Hobbes, hand-me-down Mad Magazine paperback collections (especially Don Martin), Peanuts, and B.C. I identified very strongly with Calvin, who was an imaginative, bratty, whiny kid with no real friends (though I had a couple). I didn't think about it that way at the time. I just knew I really loved the later Sunday strips in which Watterson often used open panel format to show Calvin escaping from school and drudgery into fantasy.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Comic strips, specifically, would have to be Peanuts, Krazy Kat, and Popeye. That's my "street cred" answer.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
See the 'did you read comics' as a kid answer, and no, they all went to a garage sale. This happened during that midpoint in your adolescence when you decide everything you liked as a kid was childish. Later I rediscovered C&H after I dusted the chip off my shoulder, and wished I'd never let them out of my bedroom and onto a card table on the front yard.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Art classes in high school, pre-college comics program at SVA during high school, four years of art school (BFA "Comic Art" '09) at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. So I never had to stop. Lucky, lucky, lucky. So lucky I didn't have to work in a steel mill when I was eight, or sell drugs or my body to make a living, or any of that like so many people do. Resources! They'll get you everywhere. This is where I've had arguments in the past with some conservative folks and where my bleeding-heart liberalism shows (well, it shows everywhere, I practically scream it from the rooftops). Ambition AND resources will get you places. Ambition alone won't always do it.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing! It's a tool, like everything, so it can be horribly misused. As an adolescent, like many, I used it as a crutch to support an empty inner life. That's its main danger, just like television or drugs or drinking. But for artists and anyone who likes cool stuff, it's a godsend. I recently fell head over heels for Tumblr. A spot where you can collect cool images, videos, links, quotes, text, audio? And share it, as well as look through others? In an ever-expanding gallery? And you can customize the design? Geeeeez! Here is Ed's Tumblr. I love that the Internet makes archives of the past available. Old Czech book covers, cute photos of Lincoln and Truman Capote, footage of Sinatra, are all a click away. Same goes for new and astounding work by current artists. I would have never discovered the brilliant young cartoonist and animator Rebecca Sugar, as well as many others, if not for the Internet. And I know some people have found my work through the net. And my policy is if anything benefits me, I'm for it.

Did either of your parents draw?
Yes, my mother sketches, does some collage work and painting, and has some art training. It's a hobby more than a serious thing for her but her line has a nice loose quality to it. My sister paints rarely but judging from a third-grade watercolor of a canyon on our NJ home's bathroom wall (she's 20 now), she has a lot of innate talent. She seems to have had even then, a good eye for solid forms and depicting a clear space.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents, number one. They put me through art school. I can't imagine a bigger show of faith. Not only art school, but majoring in making comic books. Comic books. It boggles the mind. I can't remember them ever even questioning it. Other than them, my friends, especially my friends Molly and Rachel.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes, and I draw and write in it religiously. If I look at it and see that I haven't done anything in it in for a day or two, I'm disgusted with myself.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I've taught a lot, and yes and no. There's aspects of teaching that I love and parts that drive me crazy. I love interacting with kids, because of their energy, fresh perspective, and enthusiasm. I love to have them make autobiographical comics. Those are fascinating to me. The drawing of very young children is really interesting. They press hard with the pencil and are confident in their mark-making. When they get a little older they'll usually get more tentative and self-conscious. Gary Panter said at last year's MoCCA talk, "All artists know, you can't compete with children and crazy people," and he's right. Paul Klee was on the right track when he let himself be influenced by his son's drawings. His work has a special balance of simple geometric forms and expressiveness.

To get back to the question, it really depends. I like working with kids one-on-one, but not directing them and often disciplining them from the front of the class. I like working with older kids, like middle school / high school age, because their ability to grasp gray concepts is higher. The worst part about teaching is all the work you don't think about. Lesson planning, all the stuff that means the job doesn't end at the end of the school day. And anyone who needs time to make things knows, a job that makes your free time not free is the kiss of death.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion utilized in the form of hard work, practice, and learning will trump talent anytime.

Do you collect anything, and if so, what?
Bookmarks, records, books, prints.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Daffy Duck.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Publisher, art director, singer.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
This, here but messier and with more pens and materials.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, but I sing for pleasure.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Work, learn, look, read, and be critical of everything but especially yourself. I'd give that advice to anyone doing anything.

Who is your favorite artist?
Can't pick just one. Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez, Ben Shahn, Egon Schiele, Auguste Rodin, R. Crumb, David Mazzuchelli, Naoki Urasawa, Osamu Tezuka.

Thanks Ed, I really enjoyed checking out your comics.

Jan Eliot, creator of the Stone Soup comic strip, shares her answers next.

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