Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eric Reaves - Cartoonist Survey #88

Eric Reaves is a cartoonist and freelance artist with over 20 years of experience. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (Marion College) in 1988 with a degree in Art Education. He has worked as a print shop paste-up boy, a high school art teacher and as the creative director for Signal Artwear. For the past 16 years he has been the “ghost” cartoonist (Eric does the actual drawings and Jim Davis gives them his approval) for Garfield. Garfield is still the most widely syndicated comic strip in history, appearing in over 2,500 newspapers worldwide. His other cartooning duties have included drawing editorial cartoons for the Chronicle-Tribune, which earned him the 2007 Hoosier State Press Association's - “Editorial Cartoonist of the Year” and drawing the late Bud Blake's strip, Tiger. Eric also enjoys doing watercolor paintings and wildlife and charcoal portraits. He takes pleasure in sharing his knowledge with students at his alma mater and at a local Community School for the Arts. He is a member of the National Cartoonist Society and the American Association of Editorial Cartoonist. In his free time he loves to go fly fishing. He has drawn many fly fishing illustrations and cartoons, which grace the pages of the recently published book, "The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision". Eric lives in Indiana with his wife and their 5 children. Stop by his website and see many more examples of his artwork.

Update...I received an email today (3/4/2010) from Eric and he let me know that he has also been drawing the Monday through Saturday strips of Hi and Lois since December of last year. Talk about keeping busy!

What is your favorite pen to use?
Rapidograph- size 3 and 4, for lettering only.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Sanford Col-Erase- Blue 20044, then put on a clean line with a regular, yellow #2 pencil.

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

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Still love to use Prismacolor markers on occasion.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore Bristol 500/ 3 ply.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Garfield's feet.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Indianapolis store, but from their catalog.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Coffee usually helps.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Sometimes yes, Jazz, Classic Rock, Blues, Soul, R&B. Sometimes silence.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Yes, Sgt. Rock.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Peanuts as a boy. Now, Hi & Lois.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Andrew Loomis, How to Draw. Yes, I have the copy that was my dad's when he was young.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Marion College, Major in Art Ed. Minor in Art History.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing. Google Image is the greatest picture reference of all time.

Did either of your parents draw?
Father, was/is very talented. Actually interviewed with Walt Disney before moving back to Indiana after completing Air Force in California in 50's.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Several schoolteachers, parents, wife.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Sketchbook(s) yes, several.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, it is a pleasure.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Talent, but passion is an awfully close second.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Peanuts figures, Original comic strips and art.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?

Are you a righty or lefty?
Left hand, right brain.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Live in a van down by the river.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Creatively messy. There are lots of stacks of stuff. I know where everything is when I need it, as long as no one moves one of my stacks.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Would love to, but no.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw, draw, draw. I think Sergio told me best, "Do you draw everyday?" "Yes," was my answer. To which he replied, "Then you need to draw more."

Who is your favorite artist?
Rod Crossman, Frank Frazetta, Dave Stevens, Andrew Wyeth, Bud Blake.

Thank you Eric!

Three time National Cartoonist Society's "Advertising Illustration" award winner, Tom Richmond, provides his answers next.


Rochelle said...

HI Eric,

THis is Rochelle Friedman, I worked at Signal Artwear in Product Development with Dee Anne Hornung. I found you on Google and linked in. Do you keep in touch with anyone?

Anonymous said...

Hi Rochelle,
Yes, I keep in touch with a few people on FB. I still live in the area and every once in awhile I make the drive to Wabash. Send me a request if you are on FB and then you could scroll through my friends list and see who you might remember. Thanks for this note, I just googled myself while sitting at the apple store and saw it. Signal was the funnest job of my career but working at home full time is pretty hard to beat nowadays!