Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jason Little - Cartoonist Survey #50!

Jason Little is a cartoonist and illustrator living in New York and is best know for his Ignatz Award winning online comic, Shutterbug Follies. In 2002 Doubleday released Shutterbug Follies as a graphic novel. The story is based on the character Bee who is a photographer and photo lab technician. While working at the photo lab she ends up keeping copies of the more interesting pictures she develops. The plot thickens when she develops some pictures that have dead bodies as their subjects. Jason uses many techniques including, rounded borders like old photos and panels that look like the are shot through a fisheye lens to highlight similarities between photography and the graphic novel. He has also created the comic book, Jack's Luck Runs Out which was release by Top Shelf Productions. Visit Jason's website and his blog.

What is your favorite inking tool to use?
I like the Kuretake brush pen. Unfortunately the ink isn't waterproof, so I'm experimenting with loading it with Kooh-i-noor Ultradraw, with a drop of windex in there to thin it.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I've always used Colerase light blue, but have recently started using blue and indigo as well.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
In PhotoShop. I hate it. I want to watercolor right on the board. We'll see if I have the balls to do it.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
When I do, it's Dr. Martin's transparent.

What type of paper do you use?
Lately Canson watercolor paper, but I'm switching back to Strathmore bristol (300 or 400 series) which is harder and lets you scrape the ink off with a razor blade.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both. I've found the Canadian website
good for some things that are unavailable in the U.S.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Brewing a pot of tea (P.G. Tips).

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Mostly , but also lately lots of renaissance chamber music (Atrium Musicae de Madrid) and prog rock (Gentle Giant).

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Tintin. Captain Marvel. Little Nemo.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Presently Ganges by Kevin Huizenga might be my favorite comic book.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Probably The Secret of the Unicorn by Hergé. Yes, I still have that copy.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I majored in art at Oberlin, but wasn't inspired by the drawing and painting classes so I mostly did printmaking and photography. Later I had guidance from professionals through internships. I had some very helpful criticism from Steve Geiger at Marvel, Mark Rubinchik at DiC Animation, and Jason Lutes and Dale Yarger at Fantagraphics.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?

Did either of your parents draw?
A little.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I do, but it's mostly clogged with to-do lists and lists of books, records, and paintings. Occasionally I'll draw the people on the subway if I'm caught without a book to read.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I presently teach drawing to Sophomore cartooning majors at SVA. I enjoy it a lot. One of the models once told me that I was the most well-organized teacher she had ever met. My drawing has improved more quickly since I've been teaching then during any other period in my life.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I've started collecting 3d comics.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Compose music.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I share a rented studio with Joe Infurnari, George O'Connor, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, Kat Roberts, and Steve Ellis. Nice bunch of folks. It's in a building under the elevated F line in Brooklyn. I use the same desk I've had since I was a teenager, a folding "space-saver" (Alvin, maybe?). I've got a big black stack of institutional shelving pressed against the back of the table so I can keep books and pages organized. I have the tabouret from my teenage years at my right. I recently retired the Panasonic pencil sharpener that dates back to my teens as well.

Do you play any musical instruments?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Consider whether or not you are an intrinsically high energy person. If you're not, like me, prepare to spend a lot of time working, and prepare to eliminate petty distractions from your life, like television, magazines, video games, and the Internet.

Who is your favorite artist?
It might be a toss-up between Hans Holbien the Younger and M.C. Escher at the moment.

Thank you Jason.
Coming soon are the answers from children's book illustrator, Matthew Cordell.

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