Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chris Browne - Cartoonist Survey #8

Chris Browne who writes and draws the comic strip Hagar the Horrible is up next. Not only is his strip seen in 1,900 newspapers worldwide, but he has also had cartoons published in Playboy, The New Yorker and Esquire to just name a few. Be sure to stop by his two blogs, http://www.chrisbrowne2.blogspot.com/ and http://www.thehistorylesson.blogspot.com/ . I'm really enjoying his watercolor paintings!

What is your favorite pen to use?
Dip pen, Gillot 170, marker, Micron # 8.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Most of the time yes, with a Black Warrior F or Turquoise 3H (wooden pencils).
Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I've done both. Playboy is all by hand; Raising Duncan was done in PhotoShop. Hagar is colored by the syndicate.

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

What type of paper do you use?
I use a variety of mainly Strathmore papers. For Hagar, Strathmore series 500, 3 ply plate.
Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby locally; Dick Blick and Cheap Joe's on line.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?Coffee. Sometimes I'll do a little painting to loosen up.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Lots of classical music on NPR and jazz off my iPod. Then everything else. I like listening to acoustic and instrumental music when I'm writing so the words of songs don't mess me up.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Anything Marvel; Any Superman. Curt Swan, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, etc. Early Mad magazines; later Crumb and undergrounds as I got older.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I loved Hagar of course, BC, For Better or For Worse, Grimmy, Cathy, Sam's Strip, Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois. Also, Jacky's Diary, Pogo, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side... classics like Krazy Kat. So many more!
What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Hmmm... Alice In Wonderland, My Book House, How to Behave and Why, The Book of Tall Tales, illustrated by Garth Williams, Dr. Suess books, Sam the Firefly...

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?No, I learned everything from my dad and a great art teacher in high school, Ed Mack. And lots of life drawing classes.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing. I don't think there's a good business model for comics on the web yet, but it'll happen.

Did either of your parents draw?
Yes, my father drew and my mom was very witty and funny. My aunt was an artist. Now my brother and son in law are cartoonists and my daughter's biological dad is a cartoonist. Yikes!
Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife and my Chihuahuas, in that order.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I taught art for an inter-racial summer camp back in the sixties; I've lectured at colleges, high schools, and to the Disney animators; and I taught very rudimentary art to young at-risk kids as a volunteer for Head Start this past year.
Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?Passion becomes or can become, talent. Everything about art can be taught. But not everything about art will be learned.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Dust. I think I have it all now! I have a few pieces of cartoon artwork that I treasure; a Charles Schulz Sunday with Linus, the blanket and Snoopy- very rare! A David Levine drawing that was awarded to me by David Levine for my anti-war work in 1969. I also love tin toys, ray guns, robots, etc. And bunnies!

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Bugs Bunny, Pepe La Pew, and Rocket J. Squirrel.
Are you a righty or lefty?
I'm ambidextrous. I can also draw upside down just as well as right side up which drives some friends nuts.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I think I'd be a writer, an actor or a cook. I've done all three. I was beaten out for a movie part by Don Johnson when we were both kids. It started his acting career and ended mine. I've had stories and articles published and Columbo used a treatment I wrote. And I was a short order cook in a greasy spoon.
In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's my art cave! I love it. High ceilings, cabinets across one wall, huge windows on two others; windows look out on Bunny Hill, my huge back yard where bunnies and squirrels play.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I sing, that's about it. I'd love to learn piano.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Pace yourself, you're in a marathon. Work hard. Then: work harder. Draw a lot. Challenge yourself. Improve. Draw your heart out. Never leave an interview without a job. Always find work and always deliver more than they expect. You best defense against unemployment is good work. Forget networking. It does nothing for you. Good work does.

Who is your favorite artist?
There are just too many. My father; Toulous-Lautrec, Henrich Kley, William Joyce, Andrew Wyeth, Michaelangelo, John Tenniel, Maurice Sendack, Chris Van Allsberg, Mike Mignola, Fieffer, Bretecher, Herge, Will Elder, Wally Wood, Kirby, Mary Engelbriet, to name a few.

Thank you very much Chris for responding!

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