Bob Staake, who lives right here in my own state of Massachusetts, is an illustrator, children's book author, designer and cartoonist. I really love his use of bold colors and shapes in his illustrations, especially his children's books which remind me of my childhood some, eh hem, 40+ years ago. His art has been used by Walt Disney, MAD, The New Yorker, TIME, Sony and many other corporations. He has written multiple books on cartooning including, The Complete Book of Caricature and The Complete Book of Humorous Art. Bob has been awarded the Reuben Award for Best Cartoonist in Newspaper Illustration and The New York Time's Best Illustrated Children's Books Award. There is a lot to see on his website including a paper model of his studio complete with cupola.
Being the geek I am, I had to build it...
What is your favorite pen to use?
Black Fountain Pentel.
Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Any pencil will do, though I like 3B's by Ticonderoga.
Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
All my work is digitally colored using PhotoShop 3.0.
If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
A combo of things. Acrylics, Prismacolors, watercolor, gouache -- it's always a mixed bag.
What type of paper do you use?
Cheap, white bond.
What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I used to hate drawing horses. Probably because horses hate me. I fumbled through it, found a way to draw them -- now I LOVE drawing horses. Go figure!
Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Again, white bond paper -- usually from Staples. I can only find Fountain Pentels at the MOMA store in New York, so when I'm in the city I stock up.
Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Yes, I try and remember to put on pants.
Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Mainly NPR in the studio.
Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Wasn't really a huge comics reader, but if I read anything it was probably those Harvey Comics (Casper, Little Wendy, Richie Rich). Never was into super heroes at all.
What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Der Struwwelpeter. No idea where my original copy went.
Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No. I took art in high school, but never after that. In college at USC I majored in journalism and international relations.
Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing, of course.
Did either of your parents draw?
Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Really, I think it was me. I worked very hard to get to where I am in my career.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
No. I draw all day and night for work. I don't have time to play around sketching.
Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, I have taught and have written a number of books on cartooning/illustration.
Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
If you have a REAL talent, then you'll have the passion. Simple as that.
Do you collect anything and if so what?
Vintage Fiestaware, Heywood-Wakefield furniture, Mid-Century Modern design, books.
If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Are you a righty or lefty?
If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Probably a writer.
In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A 3-floor studio with a cupola on the roof. It' my sanctuary, my own little world where I spend at least 18 hours a day.
Do you play any musical instruments?
Clarinet - and poorly.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Read more than you draw.
Who is your favorite artist?
Thank you Bob!
Cartoonist Jason Little is on deck with his answers.