Monday, February 22, 2010

Kevin Pope - Cartoonist Survey #80

Kevin Pope is a cartoonist, illustrator and animator who has a very distinctive style. His character designs are really something to be seen. He graduated from Indiana University in 1981 with a BA in art. He has created characters and cartoons for clients all over the world. He has worked with animation studios, non-profits and Fortune 500 companies, illustrating advertisements and even greeting cards. Since 1997 he has contributed to MAD magazine, drawing the Melvin and Jenkins series of behavioral guides which are written by Desmond Devlin. He also draws his own one-panel cartoons called Fishstiks. To see tons of his work including character designs, advertisements, animations and licensed products, go to his website immediately. And, you can see his very funny and off-the wall Fishstiks cartoons here.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Pigma micron 01, 02, or traditional Speedball old-timey pen with Hunt 001 nib.

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

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both. For efficiency I will use Adobe Illustrator, I also paint by hand.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Dr. Martin Inks and Dyes, liquid acrylics, and gouache.

What type of paper do you use?
With Pigma Micron pens, I use traditional Hammermill 8.5x11 laser copy paper. Painting, I use a Strathmore 400-500 series, smooth.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I cannot draw very well, horses and bicycles. I usually make up all mechanically moving machines.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Small art store, or a chain, whichever is closest.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I close my eyes and wish upon a star, that what I am about to draw, what I have imagined will look like it when I start.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Anything. I used to like experimental, music, Brian Eno, now more low key, Iron and Wine, Calexico...and crap that Dave Coverly sends me.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Fantastic Four, and the magazine Cracked, and National Lampoon.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Didn't really have one. I liked Herman, and then anything Kliban or Gahan Wilson did.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I really didn't have a favorite. I read a series on famous Americans, from Jackie Robinson to Teddy Roosevelt.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I have a BFA degree from Indiana University.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
It's a blessing and a curse...

Did either of your parents draw?
No, but my great uncle was a good illustrator, and woodworker.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My grandfather at first, both parents later and then of course my wife.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes, many...

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No, but it would be fun. I draw outside the box, no traditional big round eyes, and structurally correct dimensions. I cheat.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
You need both. I see people with passion that cannot draw, and people with no passion who can.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect vintage Americana stuff. Not on an obsessive level, but unique items, such as airline tags from the 30's, great designs during that time period, letterheads, etc.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Droopy Dog. Loved that guy.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
A farmer who is a jack-of-all-trades guy, or perhaps a marketing rep for a low minor league baseball team, every Wednesday, haircut night.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Sometimes messy, sometimes in OCD order.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, but I can in Garage Band.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Cliched, but just draw and keep at it, seek out advice, go to school for training etc.

Who is your favorite artist?
Tough question. For cartoonists, B. Kliban, for illustrators-Ralph Steadman, for fine art/painting- John Copeland.

Buy Kevin's newest book at

Thank you very much Kevin.

Brian Anderson, the creator of "Dog Eat Doug" will be next.

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