Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jeremy Eaton - Cartoonist Survey #130

Jeremy Eaton is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives and works in Seattle, WA. Born in Guildford, England in 1963 he spent some time in Scotland and upstate New York before moving to Seattle in 1994. Over the years he has produced work for quite a diverse group of clients including, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, The Village Voice, Walt Disney Productions, SF Weekly, Houston Press, The San Diego Reader, The Jimi Hendrix Family, Sub Pop Records and many others. Jeremy’s illustrations are printed in more than a dozen alternative weekly newspapers such as The Stranger and The Portland Mercury where he’s been providing drawings for the “I Love Television” column since 1996. He also illustrated the weekly dining column, “Dish”, for The Miami New Times and other Florida-based papers for six years, plus his editorial cartoon, “A Drawn Perspective” currently appears in half a dozen weekly papers in the Seattle area. Other cartoon features like his self-syndicated, A Sleepyhead Tale and Jackass run in a variety of alternative papers, including The Seattle Weekly and The Los Angeles Reader. Fantagraphics Books, Kitchen Sink Press and Chronicle Books have all published collections of his comic art and stories with titles such as, ‘Sleepy’, ‘A World of Trouble’ and ‘The Island of Dr. Moral’. Go to Jeremy’s website and see much more of his work. You can also follow his blog here. You can also buy some of his original artwork here.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use brushes, the cheapest, most durable I can find, usually synthetic.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I sketch roughly with a regular pencil, then do a clean version with the same pencil, ready for brush and ink.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
It depends on the piece, there are many variables. Most illustrations and comics intended for newsprint I color on the computer, as the reproduction is muddy, at best, and any subtle hand-coloring would be lost in translation.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
A variety of mediums. Sometimes colored inks, sometimes pastel crayons, colored pencils, gouache paint or even colored paper.

What type of paper do you use?
Very cheap copy paper for the pencil art, slightly less cheap copy paper for inking. Occasionally I'll use standard watercolor paper for paintings. I spend very little on supplies.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Number one: cars. Number two: modern, characterless gadgets and gizmos.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Local and physical.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Legal, no.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Almost always. Many genres. The further behind I am on a job, the faster the tempo.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I grew up in Great Britain, so my comics were very British. My favorite was Billy's Boots, about a boy who finds a magical pair of old soccer cleats.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
A toss-up between Elzie Segar's Thimble Theater and Roy Crane's Wash Tubbs & Captain Easy. Peanuts is wonderful too.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
The Magic Pudding, by Norman Lindsay. I still have it, shattered spine and all.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
None at all, apart from a few clandestine, late-night art classes.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
I curse it daily, bless it when it does something good for me – which is generally less than daily.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mother graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in London. She hasn't drawn in many years.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My mother has always been supportive, but critical too.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No, I haven't done that for a very long time. I'm not a doodler.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I've worked with kids, and this was a mixed experience. If you've ever worked with kids in a teaching role, you'll know what I mean.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I think it has to be a combination of both to be worthwhile. Talent is the filter through which an artist communicates passion, I feel.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Not since I realized I was borderline obsessive compulsive. Collections now terrify me.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Speed Racer, but not because I like driving fast cars. I don't actually drive, never have, I just like the composition of his support family.

Are you a righty or lefty?
If we're talking politics, I'm more of a lefty, especially when it comes to personal liberties and social considerations – even though I find both extremes to be equally annoying, and often ultimately much the same. But if you're asking which hand I draw with, then I'm a total right-wing nut job!

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I'd probably work in the deep recesses of some secret laboratory, drawing conclusions that would only make sense in that environment.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Tidy, efficient, spartan, no-frills, functional, ultimately boring. No toys on shelves, sorry.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, but I own dozens.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
If it presents itself to you as a choice, choose something else. If not, use every skill you have outside of drawing to help you: make lots of friends, be generous, think on your feet, be flexible, be a businessman, learn to promote yourself, learn to mystify, learn to re-invent when necessary, to pick yourself up when you fall, to savor victory, not dwell on defeat, and, most of all, to enjoy what you do, before you receive the paycheck.

Who is your favorite artist?

Jack Kirby. Hands and feet above the rest.

Thank you very much Jeremy.

Up next Funday Morning cartoonist Brad Diller.

1 comment:

David said...

Powerful advice. Thanks!!