Monday, January 11, 2010

Lar deSouza - Cartoonist Survey #44

Lar deSouza is a professional illustrator, caricaturist and cartoonist who lives in Ontario, Canada. He is the cartoonist for the online comics, “Least I Could Do” and “Looking For Group.” In 2008 “Least I Could Do” was awarded the Joe Shuster Award for best webcomic. The Joe Shuster award was created back in 2004 to “raise awareness of the efforts made by Canadians who make, publish and sell comic books, webcomics and graphic novels.” Lar collaborates with his writer friend, Ryan Sohmer on both “Least I Could Do” and “Looking For Group.” Stop by Lar’s website, and then go check out his two webcomics, “Least I Could Do” which is updated six days a week and “Looking For Group” which is updated Mondays and Thursdays.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I'm a bit of a pen junkie. I love to try a lot of different ones. When doing live caricaturing it's the Dixon Markette. There's a Japanese pen that I've been trying to source though and the Pentel Brush pen is fantastic.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
When I'm pencil drawing I have a couple of 2mm mechanicals I use for convenience (one is non repro blue, the other HB). I have nothing against traditional pencils though.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I do my entire comic digitally - from the sketch to the inking to the colouring.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
PhotoShop CS4. And yes, it counts by hand :)

What type of paper do you use?
I currently have a Wacom Cintiq to work on, but I've had a variety of Wacom tablets over the years and love them all.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I was thinking about this a long time and I think I have an answer. Telephones. Specifically I dislike drawing people talking on the phone. Compositionally it always poses issues with the one hand blocking the face.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
When I need supplies my first stop is a locally owned art store (Wyndham Art Supplies in Guelph Ontario). If I can't find what I want there I'll head to a chain store. I rarely order art supplies on line - I love the browsing experience too much.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Not particularly. I'll usually check my email and read my online comics while eating breakfast then get into it.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I have horrible taste. I could have said eclectic but that would be lying. I listen a variety of stuff from rock, pop rock, show tunes… a lot of comedy and novelty stuff too. Other than that I listen to a lot of talk radio while I work.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I was a voracious comics reader as a kid. I went through Marvel and DC phases but always read a smattering of both. Spiderman was a constant favourite though. I liked team books too, like Avengers, Justice League, and the Legion of SuperHeroes. I also read a lot of books like Asterix and Tintin.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Ooo. Too hard to call. I collected Peanuts, B.C., Wizard of Id, Broom Hilda… the list just goes on.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Think think think. I still own many of my old comics and comic paperbacks. Nothing comic wise jumps to mind.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Yes, I received my diploma in Illustration from Sheridan College School of Visual Arts (Ontario Canada) in 1987.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing! Google Images is better than any reference morgue I ever had. And a curse when I'm in a distractable mood but have deadlines looming!

Did either of your parents draw?
No, but one of my older brothers did.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Probably that same brother, Gerard. We were two years apart and very close (still are). He ultimately went into animation and I went into illustration. My wife is hugely supportive of my work too.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I do although I am less diligent about using it over the past couple years. I used to fill at least a book a year, now it's more like two or three years. I keep them all though and have them stretching back over twenty five years. :)

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Not formally taught. My wife is an elementary teacher so I've done some small guest-teaching with her classes from time to time. I have enjoyed it but I don't consider myself a teacher. I just love to talk art.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
There's not much point in having talent if you don't have the passion to use it and improve it.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Ha! Besides *dust*? Comics and art books for one. I have a huge collection of origami books too. I wouldn't call it a collection but I have a number of strange hats and any number of small toys in my studio to amuse me.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Hahahahaaa! Probably some early 1940s WB character with rubber hose arms, a bouncy walk and corny background music.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Oh geez. Maybe something in the service industry. I like people.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Very, very messy. I have a long desk that is home to my computer, comprising the Cintiq and two additional monitors, a dvd player, some peripherals and a basket for my cats to sleep in while I work.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Does the jaw-harp count?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Art is not hand/eye coordination but eye/brain coordination. Learn to see and never stop thinking or drawing.

Who is your favorite artist?
Too many to name. I'm not good with 'favourite' questions. I'd rather take it all in and learn from it.

Thanks very much Lar!

Next up is Greg Ruth who did a lot of the artwork for one of my favorite Dark Horse comics, Conan.

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