Thursday, January 14, 2010

Carol Lay - Cartoonist Survey #47

Carol Lay has been drawing professionally for over 25 years. Her work has appeared in MAD, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and many other magazines. In 1992 she launched her comic strip Way Lay which runs in Salon, LA Weekly and is also printed in newspapers around the world. Carol got her start drawing for Mattel, DC, and Western Publishing (Disney books). At the same time she was writing and drawing underground comics for Weirdo and her own Good Girls comic. She has written a novel for DC that features Wonder Woman and the Justice League of America. In 2008 she released her graphic novel which teaches how to have a healthier lifestyle by incorporating low-fat cooking, calorie counting and exercise. She has a really fun website that has some original artwork, pins and prints available for sale.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Dip pens. I use vintage Hunt, Esterbrook, and other points for a variety of line weights. I also use Speedball B5, B5 1/2 and B6 (?) for panel borders and lettering.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Sometimes I rough in lightly with non-photo blue pencil, then I tighten up with an HB.

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

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Sometimes I use acrylics or watercolors and markers.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore 2-ply 500 series vellum (?) (I'm out of town right now so I can't check the labels)

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I won't draw situations that are morally repugnant to me.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Some materials I buy online, some from my local art stores. Depends.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
No.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I mostly listen to books on tape or CD -- unabridged only.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I sampled several, but didn't happen on the really good stuff so I was more interested in books. It wasn't until I was in college that I discovered ZAP comix, which influenced me. After college I finally studied comics in general from Kirby to Kurtzman to Barks.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Krazy Kat. When I was a kid I dug L'il Abner.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
The OZ books. I have a few of them still.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I took painting classes when I was young, and majored in Fine Art at UCLA. Got my BA in art, and then sat in on classes at a community college to learn practical drawing techniques.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Both.
Plus: it's a handy resource for music, images and information.
Negative: it's killing newspapers.


Did either of your parents draw?
My dad was a skilled wood worker, but not a designer. There were a few talented artists on my mother’s side of the family.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents, especially my father.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No. I've archived my roughs and drawings, but I put loose pages into notebooks rather than keep a sketchbook.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I've only been a guest lecturer/teacher for friends who taught. It was enjoyable, but I’m not the full-time teacher type.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion, probably. A good idea can carry bad art better than good art can carry a banal idea.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I accumulate things of interest, but not to excess. The thing I pursue most is digital copies of books so I can be enlightened or entertained while I draw.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Right-handed liberal.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I'm a cartoonist (not "artist"). If I couldn't cartoon I would write fiction.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A large vintage drawing table opposite a desk with a Mac and two monitors. A tabouret next to a small set or drawers holds paints, pens, and so on. I also use flat files and a large cabinet for materials.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I've just started learning an instrument -- more on that later.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Never miss a deadline.

Who is your favorite artist?
Cartoonist: G. Herriman or H. Kurtzman Fine art: Marcel Duchamp and Picasso.



Thank you Carol.

Next up are answers from Eisner Award winner Steve Lieber.

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