Sunday, February 14, 2010

Martha Gradisher - Cartoonist Survey #72

Martha Gradisher is a cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer who lives in New York. She has illustrated many children’s books including, A Valentine for Ms. Vanilla, Lunch Boxes, Who Spilled the Milk and The Princess Needs a Bath. She has done graphic design work for such major corporations as Maybelline and The History Channel. She also spent some time working as a creative director and video game designer. Her illustrations have been published in many publications including The New Yorker, Funny Times and Reader’s Digest. Martha has received numerous awards for her work in illustration, advertising, web design and animation. To see examples of her work from each of these fields visit her website.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I love to use Penstix, especially the brush pen but recently my husband bought me Triart pens and I'm in love. I just need to find a set of gray tone Triarts and I'll be a much nicer person.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I always draw in pencil first and am in awe of those who don't...2B pencil is my weapon of choice.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I paint and color in all mediums including colored pencil, water color (no particular brand) acrylics, and pastels, sometimes all of them at once.

What type of paper do you use?
If I'm using water colors or an ink wash I love arches hot press block, pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes, and sometimes typing paper.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Cars, tanks, horses, trains, guns or any type of artillery.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both, but most recently Blick on-line.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I do anything to avoid sitting down including walking the dog, twice.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I listen to music when I'm not concepting, so just when I'm coloring in the lines, all genres.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I loved them all...the Archie comics, Little Lulu, Richie Rich, Superman, Batman, the Fantastic Four, Blackhawks, Spiderman, Mad magazine whatever I could lay my hands on. I didn't have a favorite.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
No favorites but we didn't actually own books; we took them out of the library.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I had two years of studio art at Ohio University, which was a complete waste of time and money, but I did many caricatures for cigarettes.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
I love the Internet...If I need a picture of a mongoose, I type it in Google, hit return and within seconds have 85,000 or so images!

Did either of your parents draw?
My father was an immigrant from Slovenia. He was a bricklayer who didn't know what was possible in this country. As a little girl sitting on his lap I remember all of the little characters he would draw in the margin for Sergio Aragones did in Mad (though not nearly as funny or well drawn).

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
I've always had a wide array of support from family, friends, clients, and employers but not Robert Mankoff of the New Yorker who insists I' too corny.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I continue to teach cartooning to kids and am always amazed at how wonderfully and naturally they adapt themselves to the task. I sometimes get cartoon ideas from their little noggins.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Is that a trick question?

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect the turn of the century (not the last one but the one before that) illustrations from Punch and Harpers Weekly. They were printed as lithographs and to this day their colors are beautiful. I have; Thomas Nast, Opper, Gilroy (I believe), and Rowlandson. In addition I have quite a few Vanity Fair illos.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
If I were an animated cartoon character I'd be the one-eyed monster voiced by Billy Crystal in Monsters, Inc. or any of the animations from Nightmare before Christmas, or maybe the mom in the Incredibles, though I also loved the short snippy old woman who was their manager.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Conductor on a commuter train.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I have the perfect studio with everything I need at my fingertips or a short slide across the room. paints, pencils, pens, paper and even things that don't start with a p.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I couldn't carry a tune on my back, no dual creativity here.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw everyday as much as you can.....If time floats away you may be an artist.

Who is your favorite artist?

I'd rather say that there are few artists I don't appreciate except for that horrible art with cliched snow covered cottages, and babbling brooks, etc. ad nauseum.

Thank you Martha.

Next time, illustrator and cartoonist Rick Tulka, sends his answers all the way from France.

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