Thursday, July 8, 2010

Austin Kleon - Cartoonist Survey #140

Austin Kleon is a writer, cartoonist and designer who grew up in southern Ohio. He graduated from Miami University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. As a cartoonist, Austin draws and takes visual notes at live events such as the South by Southwest (SXSW) festivals, Austin City Limits and TEDxAustin. He is best known for his Newspaper Blackout Poems, which he creates by eliminating words from newspaper articles with a permanent marker. He started creating these in 2005 as a way to get through a period of writer’s block. Since then they have been featured in Toronto’s National Post, on NPR’s Morning Edition and all over the Internet. In April of this year Harper Perennial published a collection of his poems in the book, “Newspaper Blackout.” Austin enjoys using the web as a medium, designing websites, blogging and making videos. He loves to teach about writing, drawing, and creating better work through visual thinking and play. At his book signings and speaking engagements he covers a wide range of topics including, drawing basics, visual note-taking, Blackout poetry and blogging for creative people. Austin lives and works in Austin, Texas with his wife Meghan and their dog Milo. Be sure to check out Austin’s website which is loaded with samples of his work, how-to’s, videos and blog posts.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Fine Point Sharpie.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Probably plain-old Crayola crayons.

What type of paper do you use?
Whatever's on sale.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Cars! I hate drawing cars.

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

Both. Stuff like Pentel Brush Pens you hafta get online from JetPens or someplace like that. I often hit up Jerry's Artarama here in Austin.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Pet my dog? Drink a beer?

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read newspaper comics and loved those Garfield paperback collections.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Ernie's Big Mess. It's probably still at my Mom's house.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I took a few drawing classes at Miami University in Ohio.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing when it comes to getting your work out there, a curse to actually getting it done.

Did either of your parents draw?
No, but they gave me lots of supplies.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I have. I love to teach.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Yes. I collect unread books.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I'm *am* an artist, and most of my money comes from my day job, designing websites.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes. Piano, guitar, and drums.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Don't. Get a day job you can stand and keep it.

Who is your favorite artist?

Dead: Saul Steinberg. Living: Lynda Barry.

Thanks again Austin.

Next time on David Wasting Paper is surf artist extraordinaire, Drew Brophy.

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