Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Matthew Forsythe - Cartoonist Survey #82

Matthew Forsythe is a comic book artist and illustrator who lives in Montreal. As if that wasn’t enough, he is also the social media manager for the National Film Board of Canada and the editor of the illustration and cartooning blog, Drawn! He attended McMaster University where he studied religion and politics. He has traveled the world, working as a courier in England, a computer programmer in Ireland and a teacher in South Korea. In 2004, while still in South Korea he created his comic Ojingogo. Originally a serialized web comic about a little girl, her squid and their adventures, Ojingogo was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2005 and 2006. Drawn and Quartely published Ojingogo in 2008 and in 2009 it won a Doug Wright Award for Best Experimental Comic. Matt’s Illustrations have also appeared in Chickadee Magazine, The Walrus, and the Wall Street Journal. Check out his website here and also add Drawn! to your daily reading list.

What is your favorite pen to use?
No preference, really. I love the Pentel brush pens though.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Col-erase green and red.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both. More and more by hand.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Gouache. Watercolour.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore bristol, smooth. Arches Watercolour paper (whenever I can afford it) Sketchbook paper - especially if the final product is digital.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Cars. Crowds.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
A big chain. But also a few online shops for some of the Japanese nibs, etc.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Need silence while penciling. While inking I listen to anything. Lots of Creative Screenwriting podcasts. Radiolab. This American Life.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Yes. When I was very young in England I loved Scream - a pulp horror comic, Star Wars comics, Dan Dare, Beano... and Conan. I read a ton of the Savage Sword of Conan.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin & Hobbes. Peanuts.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
1984, George Orwell was one of the first novels I read. I doubt I have a copy of it anywhere.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing. Both. No...Blessing.

Did either of your parents draw?

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Probably my publisher; friends who are also artists.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes. I taught art to kids in Korea. I enjoyed it. I learned a lot.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?

Do you collect anything and if so what?
No. I hate our society's accumulation and dependency on stuff. I do have a lot of art books. But I only allow myself to buy a new book if I'll use it as reference. Otherwise, it goes to the library.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
That cat-bus in Totoro.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A mess. Surrounded by amazing books.

Do you play any musical instruments?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Same advice I'd give to any artist. Do something else besides art for a while. At least at first. You'll be more interesting and have more to offer when you do try to create something.

Who is your favorite artist?
Right now: Jean Jacques Sempé.

Thanks again Matt!

Piers Baker, creator and cartoonist for the strip Ollie and Quentin is up next.

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