Friday, February 5, 2010

Stephanie Piro - Cartoonist Survey #65

New Hampshire cartoonist, designer and librarian, Stephanie Piro, is originally from New York where she attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. She started her Strip T’s Design Company in 1984 through which she sells T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs and many other gift items with her designs on them. Her cartoons have been published in many magazines including, Ms., Glamour and the Funny Times. There have been three books published that collect her work; Men Ha!, Caffeinated Cartoons and My Cat Loves Me Naked. Stephanie has her own daily cartoon panel that she writes and draws called Fair Game, which appears on her website and in newspapers around the country. If all of that wasn’t enough, she is also Saturday’s cartoonist for King Feature’s strip, Six Chix, which is in over 125 newspapers worldwide. The National Cartoonist Society recently honored Stephanie by featuring her on the cover of their magazine, The Cartoonist. She loves kitties and has won awards from the Cat Writers’ Association for writing and illustrations she has done featuring cats. Read Stephanie’s daily panel at her website and buy something from her Cafepress shop. Follow the Six Chix strip here.

What is your favorite pen to use?
A Koh-I-Noor Artpen.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I never pencil!

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I used to use Dr, Martens liquid watercolors, but now I primarily use adobe PhotoShop.

What type of paper do you use?
Copy paper.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Cars and things like furniture. My work is pretty stark.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Staples for paper. Ink through eBay.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I write first, so I have to have quiet. Then I just brainstorm ideas as they come to me and write them down. Sometimes I'll leaf through magazines for ideas.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Not while I draw, but if I'm cleaning things up in the computer I'll listen to folky music or Pandora where I make channels like western soundtracks or Cat Stevens or Conor Oberst.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Peanuts, Pogo, Archie comics and Mad Magazine.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Peanuts was my most consistently favorite. I also liked Brenda Starr.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I loved "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" (I was a big Lewis Caroll and John Tenniel fan) Charlotte's Web (I loved Garth Williams) and the Velveteen Rabbit. I also really loved Weekly Reader books like "The Pink Motel" and "No Children, No Pets" both about Florida. I still have all these books.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I went to SVA in the late 60's/early 70's.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
I LOVE the Internet!

Did either of your parents draw?
My Mom was a pretty good artist and a wonderful photographer.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents were very supportive.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No, I write and sketch on clipboards filled with paper.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I've been running a cartoon club for kids at the library for 7 years. It's great fun to see their enthusiasm and to see how they tackle an idea and develop styles.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
You've got to have some sort of natural talent. Passion will only get you just so far if you don't have your own style.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Books. Movies. Affordable art.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
HMMMM, animated? Rocky the Flying Squirrel. A girl did his voice (June Foray), so I think that's OK.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I work p/t at a library, so I'd be a librarian. Second best job ever after cartooning!

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A futon and a drawing board with an artcart filled with pens. I can't do the stool and drawing board.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I wish. Kazoo.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Have a regular job to pay the bills while you establish yourself, unless you have a patron or rich parents who love you a lot!

Who is your favorite artist?
Joseph Cornell. Also Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargent, Max Ernst...oh, too many to narrow it down!

Thank you Stephanie.

The next set of answers will be from another Six Chix cartoonist, Benita Epstein.

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