Friday, April 9, 2010

Ed Steckley - Cartoonist Survey #108

Freelance artist and caricaturist, Ed Steckley was born in June, 1973 in Milwaukee, WI. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. In 1992 he started doing live caricatures and since then he has won numerous awards. He worked for Tom Richmond's (Cartoonist Survey #89), Richmond Illustration as an artist, manager and trainer and he owned and operated the caricature facility at the Yankee Candle flagship store which is located in Deerfield, Ma. He also worked for a while as an animation storyboard artist at So! Animation. Ed’s illustrations have been used in numerous advertising campaigns with clients including, Coca Cola, Pizza Hut, Bacardi, Miller and Capital One. His artwork has graced the pages of many magazines including MAD and Cracked. He became a member of the National Caricaturist Network in 1997 and was the Vice President in 1999 and 2000. He has won both a Silver and Bronze ‘Nosey’ award for Caricaturist of the Year from the NCN. Ed has also been a member of the National Cartoonist Society since 2003. Ed is presently living in New York City with his wife Heather, who is a designer and animator for HBO and their two cats, Bob and Mr. Cool. Visit Ed’s website and his blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Depends on my mood, and what I'm doing. .05 .07 mechanical pencil is always an old standby. Micron pens, sharpies, whatever I have available.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Oh... I didn't read this before answering the first question. I like pencils: they're erasable!

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I prefer to watercolor the old fashioned way, but for advertising work and rush jobs I draw and color on the computer, using my laptop and Wacom Cintiq.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Again, I should really read ahead. Lately I've become a fan of watercolors, those nifty Dr. Marten's dyes and Winsor & Newton cakes.

What type of paper do you use?
Mostly white. Now I'm really into watercolors so watercolor paper, but I love drawing in those cool Moleskin books.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Hate's a bit strong, as I usually remember that whatever it is, at least I'm getting paid to draw. Buuuuuuut... Technical things that need to look realistic. Did some work for a plastics company a few years ago, and was bored out of my mind drawing lawnmowers, RVs, etc.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I try to go to a local NYC art store, but they have goofy hours, so I sometimes end up a big chain that's literally around the corner. I won't name names, but the local store's name rhymes with 'Phoo Phork Phart Phuply".

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Go to the bathroom.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I can only listen to music I really know inside and out, because I need to hum and sing along while I draw. That's my singin' practice.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I pretty much stuck to the humor stuff, Mad and Cracked. That's hard to admit, since I had family IN the comic's business. Mark Gruenwald from Marvel was my cousin. He always gave us kids comic books and really supported me in my drawing. I didn't become really interested in comics until years later.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin & Hobbes is way up there. Rick Stromoski's (Cartoonist Survey #90), Soup To Nuts always makes me laugh. Zits and Tundra are also faves.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I always liked joke books. When I was a kid I had a lot of Garfield books. Don't know if they're still in my mom's attic in Wisconsin.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Went to school at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. But, the majority of my training came working on the job in the theme park caricature business, and from mentors in that business who decided I was worth their time and attention. After that, I could name a hundred artists I've learned from.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
I think the Internet is a blessing; in not too much time, the publishing industry will be primarily on the Internet, magazines in particular. Readership has been on a steady decline for years, and this is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mom is a very talented artist, as is my twin sister. Neither have pursued it, which may be a blessing, as my sister was born with way more talent than me! I'd hate to compete against her!

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents and my entire family. I had support and encouragement since the very beginning. In later years I've had and have some great mentors who push me to do better.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I taught a drawing class to a group of elementary kids when I was in college. I also spent years hiring and teaching new artists to do caricatures in theme parks. Both were very rewarding.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion. Talent can help, but without passion, talent is useless.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Tchotchkes. Funny toys.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
The old man from Up is a funny one, but I wouldn't want to admit that one.

Are you a righty or lefty?

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
My NY apartment has a pretty cool improvised drawing space. It's actually the dining room area of our one bedroom place. One wall is covered with bulletin boards and artwork, and very busy. A bookshelf behind me and one of those big Craftsman tool boxes with the drawers. I use a big drafting table, and use a drawing board to rest between that and my lap. I'm 5 feet away from the litter box.

Do you play any musical instruments?.
Played trumpet and piano through high school. I like to sing, but that's reduced to the once a year or so karaoke binge.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Marry rich.

Who is your favorite artist?
This one's too long to answer. I grew up drooling over the artists in Mad. Actually, that never stopped. For non-cartoon art, I'd probably say Rockwell. Tomorrow I'd give a different answer. Depends on my mood.

Thanks again Ed!

Answers from the caricaturist and illustrator, Ken Fallin, are up next.


Boomer Bill said...

Nice interview. Despite the smarty ass questions and answers, it gives a nice portrait of a very talented and funny artist (and a nice guy.)

P.L. Frederick said...

Awesome interview. Especially love Ed's coloring technique.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)