Monday, February 8, 2010

Bob Flynn - Cartoonist Survey #67

Illustrator, cartoonist, animator, website and game designer, Bob Flynn has been creating comics since he was a little kid. He received a BFA in Visual Communications from Washington University in St. Louis. In his senior year, his love of animation lead him to make a 3-minute cartoon called “Jinx the Monkey” for his thesis. Now “Jinx the Monkey” is the name of his website, which is loaded with wonderfully drawn monsters, animals and strange creatures. Highly skilled in Flash and web page construction, he is the Lead Designer at the Boston based educational media company FableVision. While at FableVision, some of the clients Bob has worked with include MIT, Carnegie Hall and the National Academy of Sciences. He drew the Sponge Bob comic for Nickelodeon Magazine and is a regular contributor to ARGH!, a Spanish comic anthology magazine. You can see much more of Bob’s work at his website including the above mentioned "Jinx the Monkey" thesis cartoon. You should also check out his blog where you will find some very good tutorials that guide you through inking and also drawing in Flash. Read more about ARGH! here and check out FableVision’s blog called Creative Juices.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Lately I've been doing a lot of inking with the Pentel Pocket Brush pen. But I also draw a fair amount in Flash with a tablet.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, standard—either a 2H or 2B.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I do all my coloring on the computer—in PhotoShop, Flash, or Art Rage.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I've dabbled in watercolor, gouache, and acrylic...but not in a long time.

What type of paper do you use?
Mainly Strathmore Bristol Series 300.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Good question—I'm not often asked this. I have a hard time with anything mechanical or specific, because I like to be able to make things up. Certain kinds of anatomy are tricky, especially in the animal kingdom (horses come to mind). Backgrounds in general drive me crazy, but it's a good feeling when I knock one out. And lastly, anything boring.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
A mix—Blick is the closest to me, but in Boston there are a number of smaller stores like Artist & Craftsman. I order specialized tools online.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Not so much, except putting on the tunes and sharpening my pencil.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I guess I'd call myself an indie rock guy, but I'm friendly to most genres of music—new and old.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Leaps and bounds above anything else, Calvin & Hobbes. And the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin & Hobbes is definitely at the top, but Herriman's Krazy Kat is a close second.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
For some reason, Charlotte's Web comes to mind. My copy is probably tucked away at my parents. I loved anything by Roald Dahl, too.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I have a BFA in Visual Communications (Illustration) from Washington University in St. Louis.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A complete blessing—especially in staying connected with other artists.

Did either of your parents draw?
My father is great with crafts, and my mother has shown me drawings she did of the Peanuts characters when she was a kid, but neither of them really draw.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Back in the day, definitely my parents—and they still very much are. And I would lump all my friends and family into the bunch now.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I certainly do. I'm a doodler—a sketchbook is essential for tapping into weirdness and coming up with new characters.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Not in an official teaching environment, but I enjoy helping other artists grow and would consider it a privilege to teach some day.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Drawing is more important than anything else. Passion is useful in terms of raw output (an energy source). Talent gives you a bit of an edge.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Not really. Maybe art books and comics?

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
SpongeBob. In spirit, anyway...I like to think I'm more optimistic than people take me for. He's my favorite cartoon character, too.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Hard to say, because I love it more than anything else. But physics would be up there.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
The corner of a small room in my apartment that I like to call the Studio. A drafting table with room to spread out.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I used to play trumpet. Haven't picked it up in a while.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Don't worry about picking a style—it should find you. And make art that is honest.

Who is your favorite artist?
I can't say I have one, to be honest. But I have a ton of respect for Bill Watterson, George Herriman, Robert Crumb, Jim Woodring, Chris Ware, and Richard McGuire, to name a few.

Thanks again Bob!

Up next is cartoonist and writer, Nate Fakes.

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