Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rina Piccolo - Cartoonist Survey #54

Rina Piccolo who lives in New York City, began cartooning professionally in 1989. Her cartoons have been published in many magazines including The New Yorker and Parade. Aside from magazines her work can be found on greeting cards, cartoon anthologies and other books. Since 2002 Rina's comic strip, Tina's Groove, has been syndicated by King Features and appears in more than 100 newspapers. A collection of her strips, "Tina's Groove: A Cartoon Collection by Rina Piccolo" was released in 2006. For over 9 years Rina has also been the Wednesday cartoonist for the Six Chix comic strip, which is syndicated in over 120 papers by King Features. Six Chix is a weekly comic that is a collaboration of six women cartoonists, who each have one day for their drawings with Sundays being on a rotating basis. Her website has samples of her strip and even a store where you can buy original art. You can find out more about the Six Chix comic strip here.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I draw my comic strip with a brush. However, I do like the Nikko G nib, and I also use Speedball B6 and A5 for lettering.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes. A mechanical one.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Depends on the job -- my Sunday comic strip and some panels are colored on the computer.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?

What type of paper do you use?
Depending on the job I use Strathmore Bristol plate 500 series, Strathmore smooth 300 series, and Borden &Riley Bleedproof Paper #234.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Books on a shelf. It always seems like I'm drawing a bunch of sloppy lines that don't look anything like books on a shelf!

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both. Boy, that's such a 21st Century question -- yes, I get physical when it comes to art supplies.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Not really. I have to be warm, so I guess turning on the space-heater at my feet? Sometimes, if it's just inking I'll turn on the radio, or listen to podcasts.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
When it's not talk radio it's music. Classical.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I ATE comics as a kid! Peanuts, and Mad Magazine -- couldn't get enough of them!

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"Harry The Dirty Dog".... and yes, I still have a copy of that wonderful little book!

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No formal training.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
I've changed my feeling to blessing. But in some ways I still hate it. Time will tell which of these polar opposites will outweigh the other for me.

Did either of your parents draw?
Not really, but I have caught my mother drawing grapes once or twice. Grapes, of all things. She also made drawings of birds and flowers as patterns for embroidery when she was younger.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My brothers, my aunts, my cousins. Mostly, my husband.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Once. To little kids. It was fun because I found some of the kids genuinely imaginative and laugh-out-loud funny.

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

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Yes. Vintage Postcards.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
A Barbapapa. I'd love to live in that surreal landscape!

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty. But I’m really trying to change.

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's a small room. My drawing table is surrounded by books, papers, brushes, dirty ink cloths, pumpkin seeds, a radio, and an iPod dock.

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?
Draw obsessively every single day. Learn about the business side of it so you won't go into anything with any illusions. I guess that's two pieces of advice!

Who is your favorite artist?

Aw, do I have to choose just one? Lynda Barry, William Steig, Charles Addams... Sorry, I just have so much admiration to give!

Thank you Rina!

Caricaturist and political cartoonist Taylor Jones provides his answers next.

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