Friday, August 27, 2010

Ed Piskor - Cartoonist Survey #159

Cartoonist Ed Piskor was born in July of 1982, in Homestead, Pennsylvania. As a kid, he saw a documentary featuring Harvey Pekar and instantly became interested in alternative comics. After high school he studied at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art learning all he could about the business of drawing and selling comics. Ed has created dozens of his own independent comics and mini-comics including Deviant Funnies and the autobiographical, Isolation Chamber. He has also collaborated with some of the biggest names in the alternative comics world. In 2003 he worked with Jay Lynch (Cartoonist Survey #57) drawing strips for Jay’s planned book of autobiographical comic strips, Ink & Anguish. A year later Ed was illustrating stories for Harvey Pekar’s graphic novel, American Splendor: Our Movie Year. He worked with Harvey again when he illustrated the graphic novel Macedonia. Macedonia is based experiences of Heather Robinson, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, who traveled to the Republic of Macedonia to do research for her thesis. In 2009 the two got together once more producing the graphic book, The Beats: A Graphic History.

Ed’s self published Wizzywig strips began after he developed an interest in the history of Hacking and
Phone Phreaking. His Wizzywig strips have been collected into three volumes telling three quarters of the whole story. While working on the fourth volume, Ed decided that he wanted to refine the existing work by reediting, rewriting, and in some cases redrawing the strips. The “COMPLETE” story will be serialized on his Wizzywig Comics website that has two new pages going live each week. Ed lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Be sure to check out both his website and his blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I've been using the Hunt 102 for a long time and I confess to using it now simply out of habit. I haven't been happy with it much lately and have been experimenting with other nibs, brushes, microns, and markers. I keep going back to that stupid 102 though.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I do draw in pencil first and use a non-repro blue mechanical pencil.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
By computer. I don't know much about color so I steal color palettes from my favorite artists.

What type of paper do you use?
Mostly Strathmore Bristol board.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I guess probably animals. I still can't draw people as good as I want and learning a whole new set of anatomical proportions kills me.

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

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I usually wake up right before I start drawing.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I'm a Howard Stern listener because the program is entertaining and keeps my butt in the chair for a reliable 5 hours each day. After that I listen to all sorts of music.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Sure, I've read comics forever. I was a Turtles fan as a kid and big into the X titles.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
All time fave? Dick Tracy. I am such a nerd for that strip and it's the only piece of work that I refuse to look at critically. It just entertains me so much.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I used to sign out Comix by Les Daniels at the library every 2 weeks and I recently found a copy on Ebay for 3 bucks.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Went to the Kubert school for a year.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Too much of anything is bad but the 'net' is pretty important to me.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mom dabbles.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Well, my parents never broke my balls about it. I guess that's the best you can hope for.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yeah, but I don't sketch enough.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I have taught it and I liked it OK. I'd really like to teach some people who really want to learn though. The stuff I was doing was pretty much for people looking to try something different.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Both seem pretty important to me. Passion more probably. There are plenty of guys who know how to construct a figure but if you're passionate about your work that becomes imbued with what you do and adds an interesting personal flare. I'm still trying to accomplish that.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Comics, comics, comics.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
A geeky, lanky, nerd, with a big head, and Adams apple.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
A big loser. That still might happen if I become complacent too.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Claustrophobic as hell.

Do you play any musical instruments?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Just keep working. Discipline yields a lot. I know many people way better than me who can't sit at the drawing board long enough to work consistently.

Who is your favorite artist?

So many. Robert Crumb is obvious. I guess I have too many artists I love to pick an absolute favorite.

Thanks again for your time Ed.

Political cartoonist Jeff Danziger is next.

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