Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shary Flenniken - Cartoonist Survey #58



Writer, illustrator, editor and underground cartoonist, Shary Flenniken was a major contributor to the world of underground comics in the early 1970's. Starting out in Seattle she moved to San Francisco and worked on Air Pirates Funnies which was distributed through Last Gasp. Air Pirates Funnies caused quite a stir with it's parody of Disney characters, leading to a law suit by Walt Disney Company started in 1971 and dragging on until 1980. In 1972 Shary's comic, Trots and Bonnie started running in the National Lampoon and continued until 1990. During her career at National Lampoon she was also an editor for three years and she co-wrote the screenplay of National Lampoon Goes to the Movies. Shary was profiled in the documentary, Comic Book Confidential that I own and highly recommend. Now living in Seattle she freelances with her work having appeared in various publications including MAD, Details, Seattle Magazine and the Graphic Classics book series. Stop by her website to learn more.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Sharpie.
Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Pencil, Mechanical (several widths).

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both, depends.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Watercolors, gouache.

What type of paper do you use?
Depends... I love those water color blocks.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Anatomically correct stairs.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Local with helpful artist salespeople who work at this day job. Or Staples.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Clean the kitchen.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
TV or Book on CD/MP3.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
J'onn J'onzz, Manhunter from Mars.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Now it is Dilbert, because it is a Dilbert world.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
The Black Stallion. Yes, I still have the series.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
The Burnley School of Commercial Art in Seattle, which is now the Art Institute.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
Yes! My Daddy, the career Naval officer, drew and was published in the Naval Academy yearbooks in the 1930s.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Other cartoonists.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Many.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, many times, love it.

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

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Stories.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Both.
If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Political consultant / speech writer.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
18 X 24 inches(?)
Stories that make you think.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Guitar, banjo.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Treat it like a business. Don't work for peanuts unless you are a monkey.

Who is your favorite artist?

Charlie Russell - He painted history, remembering all those details in his head.


Thank you again for answering my questions Shary!
The answers from Austin, Texas writer and comic book artist, Mack White are up next.

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