Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lectrr - Cartoonist Survey #119

Lectrr is a Belgian cartoonist and standup comedian who was born in Rumbeke and now lives in Gent. In the late 90’s he made his debut on the Internet as one of the first Flemish cartoonists with a daily strip. Soon he was appearing in Flemish and Dutch comic magazines such as, Myx and Zone 5300. During this time he also drew for magazines such as Computer Magazine, Reuters (UK), Maxim, and Menzo. In 2001 his weekly cartoon series ‘Hara Kiwi’ debuted and since that time has been translated into Dutch, English, Turkish, German, French and Hungarian. ‘Hara Kiwi has been published by numerous European magazines and has been collected in five compilation books. Lectrr also has the gag strip 'Lars' that runs daily in the Dutch newspaper 'AD' (Algemeen Dagblad), and the Belgian newspapers 'Gazet van Antwerpen' and 'Het Belang van Limburg'. In February of 2009 ‘Lars’ was collected in the book 'Lars Attacks!'. In addition to ‘Hara Kiwi’ and ‘Lars’ Lectrr also runs a cartoon series called ‘The Dork Side' which is a Star Wars/Star Trek/Scifi/Fantasy/LOTR/Matrix-related spoof. As if all that wasn’t enough, he also designs t-shirts for his own t-shirt line, and in 2006 he designed t-shirts and baby clothes for Greenpeace. Stop by Lecttr’s website and say hello.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use a very old-fashioned Chinese ink pen. You know, the cheap ones. With real Chinese ink. Makes me feel like a craftsman, which I'm obviously not.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Everything is drawn meticulously in pencil. I mostly use non-repro blue pencils, but since these are becoming hard to get (especially in Europe, where I live) I've been switching to normal hard pencils.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
PhotoShop, of course. Using a Wacom Cintiq tablet, that way it still feels as if I'm doing it by hand. I tried footpainting a cartoon once but that didn't work out.

What type of paper do you use?
Good question, I don't know! I buy batches of paper all over the place, I've been looking for some kind of paper I feel comfortable with. Unlike many of my colleagues, I don't like Schoellershammer. Right now I use 200g/m2 inkjet paper by a Dutch brand named "mondi". It's not cheap, but I've bought about twelve boxes of them because I like the paper so much. I like heavy paper.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Bicycles, horses and (the terror!) horses on a bike.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
On Fridays I try to work outdoors. Bars, museums or anywhere else in town. Observing people, drawing them as they pass by. There's a chain art store in town named 'Schleiper'. They carry all the goods I need, except for the paper I mentioned before.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I always think out my jokes before I start to draw. Like many great minds before me (Voltaire, for example), I do the thinking while laying down in bed. Yes: my bed is my office. I used to work in the bathtub as well but I nearly got electrocuted when my Macbook fell into the water once so I quit doing that.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Not while drawing, but I love to listen to some music when I'm doing the colouring. Without it, colouring is a dull thing to do. I like all kinds of music, really, ranging from classical music ("Nocturne in C-sharp Minor" by Chopin!), electronic music (Bloody Beetroots! Trentemöller! Royksöpp!) or even breakcore (Venetian Snares!), it all depends on my mood, I guess. I never liked German Schlager music though. Too alternative for me.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I grew up on comics, really. Belgium is a really comic-minded country (remember: Tintin was created here), so I've always been surrounded by great comics. As a kid I loved Tintin, Asterix, or the Smurfs (also Belgian). The Smurfs are great.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Bone by Jeff Smith.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
'Le Petit Prince' by St Exupery. I still own several copies.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I received a Masters Degree in Graphic Design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent, Belgium. Sounds cool huh?

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
I made my first moves as a cartoonist on the net, so I believe it's a curse ;-)
No, I think it's a blessing: as a cartoonist you can reach people beyond your imagination.

Did either of your parents draw?
I remember my dad drew a cowboy once, but that's about it.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Loads of them. I always lose them as well, so my sketchbooks are swarming across town all the time.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
When I started out as a cartoonist I taught some kids in a workshop. They weren't really interested that much, so I never went back for the second half of the workshop. If you even run into a cartoonist that can only do half of a cartoon, that's one that got his education from me.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
In cartoons it's the joke that matters. I've seen some very talented artists create the lousiest jokes ever, and some guy creating the ugliest but also funniest cartoon I ever read.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Books are a huge inspiration, so the entire house is filled to the rim with books. Every time I leave the house, new books come back home with me. Every time I don't leave the house, new books come to my doorstep (Amazon rocks!). I love books, they are like people (yet less smelly).

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Mr. Incredible. Ask any woman who's met me.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Right handed. I do some stuff with my left hand but I'm not gonna tell you what it is.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I'm considering to switch careers, I've always wanted to be a Ninja. I'm pretty sure I'd be a very good one.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Two words: disaster area.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Nope but it doesn't prevent me from doing it anyway.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
You can buy my drawing board for a fair price. As a ninja I won't be needing it much anyway.

Who is your favorite artist?
Jeff Smith.

Thanks a lot Lectrr!

Storyboard artist and character designer Sherm Cohen is up next.

1 comment:

P.L. Frederick said...

Heehee, he's funny! I'll have to check out more of his work. His saying, "In cartoons it's the joke that matters. I've seen some very talented artists create the lousiest jokes ever, and some guy creating the ugliest but also funniest cartoon I ever read." gives me hope!