Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Paul Gilligan - Cartoonist Survey #63

Cartoonist and illustrator Paul Gilligan lives in Toronto, Ontario. He is the creator of the very successful comic strip, Pooch Café. He read super-hero comics, Bloom County and Mad magazine while growing up, which strongly influenced Paul to study illustration and animation at Sheridan College and also comedy writing at the Film Institute in Ottawa. He worked as a florist, gas station attendant and night watchman before landing a job at a large advertising agency. Next he became an on-staff illustrator at the Ottawa Citizen newspaper and won a National Newspaper Award for design in 1990. Paul has done work in editorial cartooning, animation, advertising, comic books and storyboarding. His list of clients includes publications such as TIME, Wall Street Journal, Disney Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and corporations including NFL Properties, Labatt’s Brewery and Visa. His comic strip Pooch Café was first syndicated by Copley’s and then in 2001 it was picked up by Universal Press Syndicate. Pooch Café now appears in about 275 newspapers worldwide and a movie by Sony Animation is in the works. Go to Paul’s website and then go to his Pooch Café blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
A brand new Faber-Castell brush pen. They’re only perfect for about one panel then begin the slide into “background filler pen”.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Mech. Ani. Cal.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
On the computer, but my hands are still involved.

What type of paper do you use?
2 ply, nothing spesh.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Cars. Horses. Vince from “Sham-Wow” pissed me off. I’m pretty sick of drawing the dogs standing at the bar, too.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I pace while I’m writing, so when I’ve got an idea I reward myself with sitting down at the table.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I bought a Marvel 3-pack when I was a kid. In it was a Thor and a Hulk. They launched my love of superheroes and became my favorites for many years. The one in the middle was some filler character called “3D Man”, who was a tad less impactful.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Currently, I’d say Tom the Dancing Bug. Growing up, same as usual, nobody needs the big 3 or 4 spelled out one more time.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I loved this book called “The Little Captain”. I loved it so much I didn’t want it to be over, so as I got closer to the end I read smaller and smaller amounts of it. I never finished it. I have no clue what happened to the book. I tried to find a copy of it a few years ago but it’s out of print.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
1 year animation, 3 years illustration, all at Sheridan in Toronto.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Total blessing; don’t know how people lived without it. And I mean that sincerely, I know it sounds sarcastic when you answer a question like that with genuine enthusiasm via this method, but I mean it.

Did either of your parents draw?
Dad painted, and drew some. And he made these great soapstone sculptures a few times. Mom did a needlepoint owl once.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Parents, for sure. I told them I didn’t have to get good grades because I wanted to go to art college, and they accepted that. That was totally cool of them.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Nope. Sketch, admire, trashcan.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I dunno. Guess it depends if you’re drawing a carburetor or painting “the ethos of creation”.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I guess if anything, I’ll keep graphic novels I respect for further readings.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Don’t let negative feedback knock you back. Use it to galvanize yourself into drawing more, becoming better. Always remember the reason you started drawing was that it was fun, and keep it that way.

Thank you very much Paul!

Up next is New Yorker cartoonist, Mick Stevens.

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