Saturday, March 20, 2010

David Paccia - Cartoonist Survey #100

I really can’t believe that this is the 100th Cartoonist Survey! I started sending out my set of questions only 4 months ago, and at that time never expected to reach 100--especially in such a short period of time. It has been a lot of fun and I have met some incredibly talented and kind people. I have learned so much from their answers and hope that you have gotten something out of reading them too. In the process of compiling the answers, I have corresponded with cartoonists from all over the world including the US, Canada, the UK, France, Australia and Israel.

One thing I learned during this project was what a tight-knit group cartoonists are, willing to share their knowledge and help out anyone who asks. I will be taking a short break (maybe a week) from posting to rest my carpal tunnel. Fear not though, as I still have more sets of answers and will continue to send out requests. By the way, if you are a professional cartoonist and would like to be included, just send me an email or leave me a comment about it and I will send you the questions. Thank you to everyone who has participated and stopped by, I really appreciate it. And now, without further ado, here is the 100th Cartoonist Survey, with answers by none other than me…

David Paccia was born on a foggy, rainy day in June of 1962. He grew up on a steady diet of Captain Crunch, Pillsbury Space Food Sticks and Moxie. Saturday mornings were devoted to cartoons with the afternoons reserved for Creature Double Feature (a 4-hour classic monster and sci-fi movie double feature that aired in the Boston area during the 70’s and 80’s). On Sundays it was Davey and Goliath, Gumby, the Captain Bob Show (a drawing show for kids hosted by Bob Cottle) and Ultraman. In grade school he excelled at drawing in his notebooks and making gum wrapper chains without getting caught. After keg partying his way through high school he bounced from one major to another in college. Anthropology was followed by Solar Energy Technology, which was followed by Architecture, thus giving David a well-rounded education in none of them.

He spent a decade working his way up the ladder at a supermarket chain before he had enough and quit, moving on to a steel factory where he fabricated rebar for a few years. He now works for a financial institution where he has been employed for the last 17 years testing their website. Through it all he has maintained a love of comics, cartoons and drawing. David aspires to one day become a professional cartoonist and member of the National Cartoonist Society. He lives in southeastern Massachusetts with his ever-patient wife and two cats. He maintains the blog David Wasting Paper, which features cartoonist Q&As and sometimes his own original artwork.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I'm still forcing myself to learn how to use my Kuretake Brush pen, but until I have it mastered, Pigma Microns and Faber-Castell Pitt pens.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I've been using the same Pentel Twist-Erase .9mm for about three years now. For loose cartoony drawings I'll sometimes use a Prismacolor non-photo blue.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I'm presently in the process of learning to color in Photoshop.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Winsor Newton watercolors and colored pencils.

What type of paper do you use?
Everything from post-it notes to Arches Aquarelle Hot Press Watercolor blocks.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I don't hate drawing anything, but I suck at drawing hands and feet.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I tried shopping at my local art store but I got tired of them following me around like I was going to steal something every time I went in there. Now I buy my pens exclusively from and most everything else from Dick Blick and Jerry's Artarama.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I'll usually fill a couple pages with nonsense drawings and doodles to warm up. Sometimes a glass of Balvenie Doublewood 12 year-old single malt Scotch will do the same thing.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yes, I have to have music going. I just put my iPod on shuffle. I listen to most genres except Country and Rap. I love Joe Bonamassa, Frank Zappa, Dropkick Murphys, the Kinks, The Persuasions (an a cappella band) and classic monster movie soundtracks like Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Godzilla and King Kong.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read a lot of MAD magazine, those old Ripley's Believe It Or Not! paperbacks and Creepy and Eerie magazines.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I would have to say Peanuts, with Calvin and Hobbes and the Far Side running a very close second. As a kid I used to buy all of the Peanuts paperback collections through the Scholastic Book Club at school.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"Where the Wild Things Are" by Sendack. I also would spend hours looking at the illustrations in my Richard Scarry books. My wife bought me a nice hardcover of "Where the Wild Things Are" a few years back.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Not really. I had drafting classes all through high school and I did take a cartooning class with Mat Brown (Cartoonist Survey #2) and Bill White (Cartoonist Survey #1).

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing in that you can find any reference picture you need, but a curse due to all the cool things you can find to spend money on.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mom was into painting ceramics when I was young and my dad is still a very good artist.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
I'd have to say my Grandmother on my dad's side. I never met anyone who showed so much genuine interest in what you were doing as she did.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I have about 10 of them going at once, which ensures that I will never completely fill any of them.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I've shown my wife's nieces and nephews some basic drawing lessons. I really enjoyed seeing the excitement in their eyes when they could transfer what they were seeing in their head onto paper.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I agree with many of the previous cartoonists that you really need a combination of both, but I think that in the long run if you aren't passionate you won't go anywhere.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
What don’t I collect…Classic monster and sci-fi movies, cartooning books, Godzilla and classic monster figures and pretty much anything else that catches my eye.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Physically, Baby Huey or Peter Griffin from Family Guy. Mentally, Bugs Bunny or the Chicken Hawk from the Looney Tunes Foghorn Leghorn shorts.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty for most things including writing, drawing and throwing. The weirdest thing is that I play golf righty, but I'm a lefty playing hockey.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Something to do with history or archeology.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A desk from Ikea covered with monster and classic cartoon bobble heads and figures, a portable DVD player with a stack of classic cartoon DVDs (Popeye, Woody Woodpecker, Droopy, and Looney Tunes) a small light box and more pens than I could ever use.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I have played the guitar for over 35 years. I recently taught myself how to play ukulele and I taught myself the basic chords on the keyboard.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Make tons of mistakes and learn something from all of them. Also when you want an honest critique of your drawings, stay away from asking friends or family members. They're friends and family, they have to tell you it looks good!

Who is your favorite artist?
R. Crumb followed closely by Don Martin.

See you in a few days. In the mean time, check out this great Toon-Ed website with lots of valuable information about cartooning.

Answers from the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist, Paul Szep will be next.


Kathy Prario said...

David, This one is the most awesome post to me. How fitting it is that you should take the 100th spot. This was a wonderful idea to have all of these talented people put into the spotlight on the same website. I remember saying to Patti one time, he is a keeper, he is a gem. Keep sketching. Love Kath.

David said...

Thanks Kathy, I really appreciate it!

P.L. Frederick said...

Congratulations on your 100th interview, Dave! I agree with Kathy: it's so fitting to read and learn about you on the 100th. Awesome job on the interviewing, the writing, and most of all the drawing, man!

David said...

Thank you Paula. And congratulations to you on your new gig!