Thursday, June 3, 2010

Brad Diller - Cartoonist Survey #131

Brad Diller is a cartoonist and illustrator who grew up in Charleston, WV and graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1980. Over the years he has worked as not only a cartoonist and illustrator, but has also been a bartender, baker, carpet layer and writer. His cartoons first appeared in 1992 and had a successful 8 year run until 2000 when he decided to leave the newspaper business to be a freelance illustrator. Brad’s comics have been published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Charleston Daily Mail, the Reno Gazette Journal, Funny Times and numerous other papers. He currently draws the very funny single panel cartoon, ‘Funday Morning’, and has also drawn the cartoons ‘One Brick Shy’ and ‘Bumma Dude’. Brad lives in Reno, NV with his wife and their cat. Stop by Brad’s Funday Morning website and read more of his toons. And if you ever need a printing company that specializes in backstage passes, media and security credentials then look no further than Access Pass and Design, where Brad is a partner.

What is your favorite pen to use?
For my final drawings, I use Micron technical pens, gauges 01 and 05. I like them because they’re disposable. I’ve never been able to put a Rapidograph back together and not have it leak. I use the Pigma brush for large areas of black.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Neither. All of my preliminary work is done with a ballpoint pen up to the final rendering when I use the Microns. I haven’t drawn with a pencil in years.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I’ve used PhotoShop in the past when I was a newspaper illustrator, but currently, I’m only working in black & white.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Before I became proficient with a computer in the late 1980s, I used Prismacolor pencils. I could achieve a rather painterly affect and I didn’t have to clean them when I was finished. I’m lazy by nature.

What type of paper do you use?
All of my thought processes are drawn on a legal pad. Once I get an idea to a certain stage, I trace it on vellum. The drawing is then blown up to its final size (7” X 7”) and I retrace it one more time before I trace it on bristol board using a light table.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I’m not too comfortable with anything mechanical or crowd scenes. There are hundreds of cartoonists who render these much better than I do.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I shop locally – I like to touch what I’m buying. Once I find something I’m satisfied with, I rarely experiment with new products. It sends me into an anxiety attack to have to switch brands once I’ve found something I like.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I usually sketch out my ideas on Sunday afternoon while I’m watching TV. Ideas seem to come to me in surges and I work on several cartoons at a time. This also is a great way to avoid my weekly ironing.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Rarely, because I get up at 3 a.m. and work before I go to my day job. I’m a partner in a business that prints backstage passes, etc. for the rock ‘n’ roll touring industry and I’m in the office by 7 a.m.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
As far as newspaper strips, I read Peanuts (of course) Andy Capp, Hagar, The Phantom, and Steve Roper as a kid. When I grew up, I loved the Far Side, Calvin & Hobbes, Non Sequitur, and For Better or for Worse. For comic books, I was a Marvel freak, especially Spiderman when Steve Ditko was the artist. My interest in comic books faded after Jim Steranko left Nick Fury. I was also into the Warren publications – Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Currently, I read Pickles in the newspaper. I read Sheldon by Dave Kellett and Maximus by Frank Roberson online.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I was a prolific reader as a kid (still am) so I can’t recall any one book that stands out. I read all the Hardy Boys mysteries, Mad and Cracked magazines, typical stuff.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I could always draw, but I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, graduating in 1980. There were some drawing classes, but the emphasis was on design.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing. I love being able to interact with the folks who read my cartoons. The only correspondence I got when I was in newspapers was from readers that hated something I’d drawn. It was very much a message in a bottle.

Did either of your parents draw?
I remember my dad having a Walter Foster kit when I was really small, but that’s it.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife. She’s believed in me even when I didn’t.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I don’t. I only draw when I have an idea for a cartoon. I was a newspaper artist for 12 years and drew cartoons on the side, so keeping a sketch book fell by the wayside for me.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I’ve never taught cartooning, but I have had private students years ago for drawing. I think I learned more than they did.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion! If a person has a passion they develop the talent. They can’t help it.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Not so much anymore. I used to collect jazz CDs, but the Internet has made that a somewhat obsolete pursuit. That and Tower Records closing.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
The Tasmanian Devil.

Are you a righty or lefty?
I’m a mighty righty. I can’t hold a spoon with my left hand.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
As stated earlier, I have another business I’m involved in on a daily basis. I manage the money, something I seem to have a knack for, although I have no formal training. I’m not sure what I’d do if it weren’t for these two pursuits. I only engage in things that interest me.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I work on a folding banquet table in a spare bedroom of my house. I don’t pay much attention to my surroundings when I’m working, so it’s rather cluttered.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Three guitars and two saxophones – none of which I play well.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw as often as you can and keep everything you do. When you’re ready to throw in the towel, you can look back at your old work and see you’re making progress.

Who is your favorite artist?
Tough question. Growing up I loved Howard Pyle, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, Frank Frazetta, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko. I liked Jack Kirby, but he didn’t draw very sexy women. Bill Watterson and Dave Kellett are pretty high on my current list. But honestly, there are too many to think of them all.

Thanks again Brad.

Next time on David Wasting Paper is cartoonist, illustrator, and political satirist Lloyd Dangle.


P.L. Frederick said...

So interesting the different ways people work. Love his funny drawings of people.

Brad, you must be a very busy person. But well balanced, doing comic cartooning and a business partnership and finance. Question: If you get up at 3 a.m. to work on cartooning, do you get 8 hours of sleep?

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

Unknown said...

I usually get around six hours. I just don't seem to be able to sleep any longer than that.


S. Del Soldato said...
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