Sunday, January 10, 2010

John Klossner - Cartoonist Survey #43

John Klossner is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Maine. John is well know for his technology cartoons that are mainstays in such publications as Computerworld magazine and Federal Computer Week. His work has also been printed in The New Yorker and Time magazine. Go to his website to see some great examples of his cartoons.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use a #2 Winsor Newton Graphic Series 239 brush. I’m not sure if they make them anymore. I bought a case of them a long time ago. When I use a pen it’s a Rapidograph. Technology allows me to use pencil drawings more often.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, a 2H. If the pencil drawing is for the finished piece, a 2-4B.

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

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Watercolors or colored inks.

What type of paper do you use?
Bristol board, but more and more sketchbook/drawing paper – If I mention Canson will they send you or me some free product? (Editor's note: Good idea John! If there are any art supply, paper or pen companies out there that would like to sponsor David-Wasting-Paper just send me an email at

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I don’t actually hate them, but cars take me a long time to work out.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Artist & Craftsman Supply, Central Square, Cambridge, MA. The least pretentious staff of any art supply store I have ever been to.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Grumble at loved ones.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I have a list of podcasts and radio archives I check in on. Lately I have been listening to the BBC radio comedy archives.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Oh yeah. I loved them all. I used to count the printed color dots in the Sunday comics section.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Pogo. Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Early Childhood: “The Silver Robin” (Don’t know who wrote it.) No. Teen years: “You Know Me Al” by Ring Lardner. Yes.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Took a lot of drawing classes at the local (Munson Williams, Utica, NY) museum as a child. Majored in Design at Buffalo (NY) State College, but learned more working on the school newspaper. (The Record!)

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Mostly a blessing. Having information at my fingertips and getting my work seen (and sent cheaply) around the world is a huge plus. For a generation of print cartoonists, however, it has changed the markets they had grown up with and developed in. I'd be interested in seeing an economic treatment of whether the web has increased or decreased the amount of money spent on art in print and electronic publishing.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mother painted when I was young and took it up again in retirement, having her first show at the age of 70. I couldn't be more proud of her. I hope I can still speak in complete sentences when I’m 70.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
The person who buys a drawing of mine.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes. I find that teaching helps me as much as my students, as I have to think about the basics I’m trying to teach them.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion will make up for lack of talent. I’m not sure the opposite is true.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Books I intend to read. Emphasis on the word “INTEND.”

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

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I’d like to be a good carpenter.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Never the same, two days in a row.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I used to play drums. I have a drum kit set up in my barn, in case my neighborhood evacuates.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
You know who you are.

Who is your favorite artist?
I have no clear favorite. There are so many talented people in this field that it makes my kidneys hurt.

Here are just couple from John's site that I found very funny.

Thanks for your answers John.

Ontario, Canada based cartoonist Lar deSouza is up next with his answers.

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