Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brian Anderson - Cartoonist Survey #81

Cartoonist, writer and illustrator, Brian Anderson, started drawing cartoons in the second grade. His first published gig was in his grade school newsletter. His high school and college newspapers were soon to follow. After college he worked for a while as an editorial cartoonist for his hometown newspaper. During this time Brian also created his own comic book series, Absence of Light and worked as a screenwriter. After getting married in 2003 he got Sophie, a chocolate Lab puppy who was ended up being the inspiration for his daily comic strip, “Dog Eat Doug.” First appearing as an online comic in 2005, “Dog Eat Doug”, is now syndicated through Creators Syndicate worldwide. In 2008 he released his first “Dog Eat Doug” collection, “Dog Eat Doug: It’s a Good Thing They’re Cute” and a children’s book based on his strip, “Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps”. Brian also endorses JetPens and gets all of his pens through them. He is featured here on their website. Stop by Brian's "Dog Eat Doug" website and have a look around.

What is your favorite pen to use?
That's a tough one. I'm a pen addict. It really depends on the style I'm shooting for. Right now my all around sketch/doodle pen is the Pilot Slim Knock.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I use a UNI Kuru Toga pencil with blue lead. Then straight to inks.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I color the Sunday strips in PhotoShop.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
When I do color by hand, I use watercolors and acrylic inks. But that's generally for other projects.

What type of paper do you use?
I use the Strathmore sequential bristol board series.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Oh man, lot's of things. I force myself to use reference photos more and more when I come up against a challenging subject. Especially for tougher perspective shots.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
All my pens and pencils are from JetPens. I order my paper through Dick Blick. There aren't any decent art stores nearby.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I sacrifice a one horned goat, but I guess that's pretty common among cartoonists.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yup. I only listen to film scores when I write. I pick the soundtracks that fit the book I'm working on at the time. My playlist while working on the strip is all over the place: Metal, classical, Celtic, or whatever sounds good at the time.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes were the main two strips I read. Only after discovering my Dad's Peanuts collection from the 50's did I get hooked on Schulz's work.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
That's really hard. I love tons of comic strips and comic books. If I had to pick one cartoonist to stare at for eternity it would be Herriman.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Alice in Wonderland. Got hooked by the illustrations. Now I collect different versions of the book (and almost anything to do with Alice). I'd also have to list LOTR and "Great Expectations".

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
None. I was trained by wild ferrets in the hills of Central Mass.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Absolute blessing. It certainly cuts out the middleman for cartoonists. There's not a lot of overlap between my print and online audiences. However I interact everyday with my web readers. That and the Internet makes it a heck of a lot easier to hang out with other tooners.

Did either of your parents draw?
Both. My Dad is a straight up cartoonist. My Mom was more on the artsy side of drawing.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Certainly my parents. They had a few qualms when I wanted to pursue cartooning, but they would still do anything to support me.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I have one surgically implanted in my thigh. I'm never without one. I keep one for daily noodling and then one for each project.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I've done some tutoring here and there. I did love it. You really have to step back and refocus yourself on the basics in order to teach. That of course helps improve your own abilities.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
You need both. Passion, though, is what gets you through the tough times.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Comics and toys. Of course anything to do with Alice. I'm hoping to grow my original art collection soon.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I would love to be either Fanboy or Chum Chum for a day.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Lefty for drawing. For somethings I'm a righty. Scissors confuse the hell out of me.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I would love to be a flaming cat juggler. Not much of a market for it.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Pre-baby: An entire room. Post-baby: TV tray in the living room.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Not since the court order. The rest of my family has musical abilities coming out their ears. I'm tone deaf.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Never give up, but always be honest with yourself. You need to have a tiny Simon Cowell in your head.

Who is your favorite artist?
Man, this could be a huge list. Everyday I scan the web for new artists to drool over. However Vess, McKean and Tim Burton always make me hurl in the "awesomeness bucket".

Thank you for your time Brian.

Next time on David Wasting Paper is Matt Forsythe, illustrator, comic book artist and editor of the very popular illustration and cartooning blog, Drawn!

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