Friday, July 30, 2010

Steve Bright - Cartoonist Survey #149

Steve Bright is a freelance cartoonist, illustrator and writer. Originally from Perth, Scotland, he now lives in the West Midlands region of England. At age 18 he started working for the UK children’s comic, The Beano and spent the following six years writing and editing humorous comics before becoming a freelance cartoonist. Steve worked with John Geering to create the super hero parody Bananaman, which was launched in 1980 and became an instant and long-running hit. His cartoons have been published in Beano, Dandy, Beezer, Topper, Nutty, Hoot, Buster, Daily Record, Sunday Times, Funday Times, Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Glasgow Herald, Ben 10, Scotland's Runner and many others. His work has been exhibited at the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival and other venues. Steve is a member of both the Professional Cartoonists' Organisation (PCO) and the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain (CCGB). See much more of Steve’s work here at his website and follow him on his blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
These days it's a Wacom Cintiq tablet pen. In the past, it was a dip pen with a Gillot 303 nib. Also love Zig Art & Graphic Twins, particularly the 'brush' tip.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes I do, but again, these days it’s the Wacom pen set to a low opacity. Before that, definitely mechanical - the first and most valued 'gadget' I ever used.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Computer, using Photoshop, but I still have to use my hand.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
That'll be my right.

What type of paper do you use?
Pre-Cintiq, I used bleedproof marker pads.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I've learned from experience never to disclose that, in case some sadistic editor/scriptwriter is taking note, but I'll give you bicycles and brass bands for starters.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
These days it's all online, and there are actually fewer and fewer supplies needed. It's all in the software and hardware. I do still enjoy the occasional nostalgic stroll around art stores when I go to town though, but rarely ever find anything I need to buy.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Coffee - always coffee!

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Rarely. I prefer talk radio. But if I do go for music, it'd be classic rock mostly.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Loads of them. I loved all super hero comics from both the big stables, but my favourite comic of all was the UK funny, Sparky.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Was Peanuts for the first half of my life. Second half, it's Beau Peep, written by my good buddy, Roger Kettle.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I don't think I had one, if I'm honest. I've never actually been much of a book reader (too busy with comics), and nothing's changed there.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
None at all. By an incredible stroke of luck, I walked straight into the job of office junior on the UK's biggest selling children's comic (The Beano), aged 18 - spent the following six years writing and editing humorous comics, then leapt the fence to become a freelance cartoonist using all the experience of those six years. It was infinitely better than any formal training could possibly have been for what I've been doing for the past 27 years.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing, no hesitation!

Did either of your parents draw?
My father fancied himself as a bit of an abstract artist, but stopped drawing the moment it became apparent that I could draw better than him, aged about 7.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
The lady of my life, and best friend, Sam(antha).

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Never have, no.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I did a summer school once, and I've made the occasional visit to schools in my area. A lot of fun, but never enough for me to ever give teaching a serious thought. I don't have what it takes.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I'm not sure you can easily separate the two, but if I was forced to choose, I think the job would be easier to do with talent minus passion, than passion minus talent. But no fun if either is missing.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Rejection slips and wrinkles.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Easy - my very own 'Bananaman' - the body of a man, with the mind and heart of a child, using my powers, badly, for good over evil.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty. Unless we're talking politics... ?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Coach of the Scottish Football (soccer) team.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I work on the same A0 sized draughtsman's board I've had from the start, literally held together with string. But although I still have boxes and desk tidies with pens and other stationery items, they are rarely used, and there is no paper to be seen. There are three screens, however - my Cintiq (12"), my Dell Studio laptop, and a 21" widescreen monitor. And coffee mugs.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Sadly, no. I'm very envious of those who can. I'm told I sing like an angel however. Or was that a dead person?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Don't! I'm serious. Do it for fun, and train to be a lawyer or a car mechanic.

Who is your favorite artist?
Sebastian Kruger at the moment.

Thanks again Steve.

Can you believe it’s time to post the 150th Cartoonist Survey?! Be sure and check back to see who it will be.


P.L. Frederick said...

Neat-o. I went to Steve's website and he also does quick caricatures, like for parties and stuff. They're really, really good. No surprise, of course. But when someone can draw that well in such an environment... man!

Wow, next will be survey #150? Congratulations! I have certainly learned a lot from reading them. Thank you.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

David said...

Thanks Paula, it's been a lot of fun and very educational. It's also given me the chance to meet and correspond with so many talented people.

José Carrilho (Go Detail) said...


I quite enjoyed reading the interview and could relate to some aspects, be it from my side or from my artist coleagues's one.
I have a great admiration for cartoonists and their draughtmanship, and there's a sentence that I read recently that goes accordingly.
It goes more or less like this: "Some artists say that they'd do anything for their art, but few learn to draw"

Best regards,