Monday, April 5, 2010

Randy Glasbergen - Cartoonist Survey #106

Born in 1957, Randy Glasbergen has created cartoons that are seen all over the world in newspapers, greeting cards, magazines, websites and advertising. His first published cartoon appeared in the New York State Conservationist magazine when he was just 14 year old. One year later at the age of 15, he was selling gag cartoons to many magazines including, Good Housekeeping, Saturday Evening Post, Kipplinger’s and Sports Afield. In 1974, when he was 17, he illustrated his first children’s book, titled Ickle McNoo. After high school he spent a year studying journalism and in 1976 he started freelancing full-time.

As a freelancer Randy has created greeting cards for just about every greeting card company, both large and small, including, Hallmark, Recycled Paper Greetings, American Greetings, Gibson Greetings, Papyrus Cards, Card Connection and Oatmeal Studios. Just last year he signed a five-year contract with Recycled Paper Greetings. He has illustrated cartoons for many textbooks and best sellers such as The Success Principals (by Jack Canfield), Fitness Over 50 ( Beverly Cracom Publications), Yes, Your Parents Are Crazy! (by Michael J. Bradley) and many of the books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Over a dozen books with collections of his cartoons have been published in China, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and here in the US. He has written three instructional books about the art and business of cartooning, Getting Started Drawing and Selling Cartoons, How to Be A Successful Cartoonist and TOONS!

Randy also writes and draws the daily cartoon panel “The Better Half”, which is syndicated by King Features Syndicate. He started working on “The Better Half” 28 years ago in 1982. He has another comic panel, this one syndicated by Creators Syndicate, called "Thin Lines". It is a weekly diet and exercise cartoon for the Health & Fitness pages of newspapers. Over the years more than 30,000 of his cartoons have been published worldwide. Randy lives in New York State with his wife and a small herd of pets. Stop by Randy’s website and look through his vast assortment of cartoons. You should also check out his cartooning blog that he updates pretty regularly. I especially enjoyed reading this post on his blog where he answers the question, Where do you get your ideas? You can follow “The Better Half” here and “Thin Lines” here.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Black Flair pen, all I use. I used a brush when I first got started.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I use some sort of "artist pencil" from Staples.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I do color on computer with software called Colorize first, then finish up in Photoshop.

What type of paper do you use?
Southworth 100% 24 pound bond typing paper. Expensive but good stuff. Takes felt tip without any bleeding.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Cars! Buildings. Anything complicated. I'm impatient for anything that takes a long time.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Staples and Apple. In person and online. But when I go in person, I spend waaaay too much on stuff I didn't plan to buy.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Coffee, radio or TV.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I have Sirius radio in my studio and must listen to Tiffany Granath every afternoon---she makes me laugh out loud and always has great advice for callers. (Playboy Channel 2:00 PM Eastern) Other times I listen to comedy stations or music.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read them all, superheroes (mostly DC), Archie, Casper, Baby Huey, even the unusual comic books like Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope comics. Does anybody else remember The Cowsills comic books from the late 60's?

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I don't really have a favorite. I like some, I dislike others. Not passionate about any comic in particular. I have a few I read every day in the paper or online. When I started out in 1972, I really liked Broom Hilda and Animal Crackers, they were favorites and influences. I've been influenced more by magazine cartoonists than comic strips.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
My parents had some good books in their night stand...

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?
Best thing that ever happened to me. Changed everything. Revolutionary. Can't be overstated! I found success on the web beyond anything I ever had in print.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mom painted as a hobby and used to give me little art tips when I was a kid.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Family (Wife, 4 kids, 4 grandchildren)

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I have written 3 cartooning instruction books for North Light Books, all available on

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Probably a good thing to have both: a talent for passion and a passion for talent!

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect payment for my work. Isn't that the whole point?!? Also, I collect original comic art...I used to, I have a nice collection but haven't gotten anything new in years.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Me but with big round eyes and a large nose. And I would draw me with a lot more hair and less belly.

Are you a righty or lefty?
I'm always right. Just ask my wife.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
My fantasy job: stand up comedy. But the lifestyle seems awful, I wouldn't enjoy that at all.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Entire third floor of a large old Victorian house. A bit messy, but I have someone who comes in on weekends to clean. I have 2 guinea pigs who keep me company while I draw. Three rooms: 1 for drawing, 1 for business and computers, 1 for copier and supplies.

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?
Buy my books.

Who is your favorite artist?
If it's not ME, then I'm in big trouble!

Thanks again Randy!

Children’s book illustrator and, cartoonist of the comic panel, “Reality Check”, Dave Whamond shares his answers next.

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