Friday, August 13, 2010

John Porcellino - Cartoonist Survey #154

John Porcellino was born in Chicago, in September of 1968, and has been writing and drawing comics, minicomics and graphic novels for close to 30 years. He began self-publishing comic books when he was only 14. In 1989 he started his mostly autobiographical King-Cat Comics, which is one of the longest-running minicomics. John draws his comics with simple black lines and no shading. Many of his comics have been collected in anthologies including, ‘King-Cat Collection’, ‘Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man’, ‘Perfect Example’, ‘King-Cat Classix’ and ‘Map of My Heart’. They have been reprinted in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish and Korean. ‘Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man’ collected King-Cat stories about his experiences while in his 20’s as a pest control worker. It went on to win an Ignatz Award in 2005. Henry David Thoreau is one of John’s biggest inspirations so it is not a surprise that he created ‘Thoreau at Walden’, a 110 page graphic novel about his impression of Thoreau's time at the pond. Besides creating comics, he has played in indie rock bands and had his own music and comics distribution company, Spit and a Half, which he has started up again. John recently moved from Denver to Florida and will be touring the West Coast from mid-August to mid-September with King-Cat #71, his latest comic. Visit his King-Cat website and follow him on his blog. John also has a page at Drawn and Quarterly.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use either Microns or Rapidographs merely out of the fact that I'm lazy and don't spend time experimenting with different pens. I also sometimes "ink" with black colored pencils or soft graphite pencils.

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

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
By hand mainly as I don't know really know how to color on the computer, but occasionally I have friends digitally color stuff for me.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Colored pencils, watercolor, colored inks.

What type of paper do you use?
For years I used plain office-supply laser paper. I just started using the Strathmore Manga 11 x 17 sheets, cuz I can cut them down to four King-Cat sized pages each!

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Local art supply shops mostly, occasionally a chain craft-type store.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Before starting to ink I write out the alphabet.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
No. At first I always listened to music when I drew. Then I found it too distracting so I switched to instrumental-only music. Then I switched to instrumental-only music only when inking, and now I don't listen to music at all when making comics.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read mostly newspaper funnies along with the occasional comic book off the newsstand. Of those, I read mainly monster/supernatural thriller types. In newspaper comics Ziggy was my favorite.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Gasoline Alley can't be beat. Runner up: Krazy Kat. I also love Alley Oop, and wish someone would start reprinting those!

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
The Hodgepodge Book by Duncan Emrich, with pictures by Ib Ohlsson. I finally found a used copy of it back in the 90's. When I was a kid I had this book perpetually checked out of the Chicago Public Library.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I studied art throughout my teen years and have a BFA in painting from Northern Illinois University.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
It's often a blessing and I don't know if it's ever bad enough to be a curse, but it sure can be a time waster if you're so inclined!

Did either of your parents draw?
Beyond doodles, no.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I keep one but that doesn't mean I use it!

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I think passion IS a talent.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Jack Kirby monster comics.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Woody Woodpecker (?!).

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Usually: A mess. With a little spot cleared out in the middle for drawing. Lately: Nice and simple (I'm on the road so I just have a little drawing area with a lamp, a globe, a notebook, a stack of blank pages, and a stack of drawn pages. And two pens, a pencil, and an eraser!)

Do you play any musical instruments?
I play guitar.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Find what's inside you and bring that out.

Who is your favorite artist?

Picking one is excruciatingly hard: Henri Matisse.

Thank you very much for your time John.

Up next is cartoonist Frank Roberson.

Don't forget the
Rhodia Webnotebook Giveaway ends this Sunday night at 9:00.

1 comment:

P.L. Frederick said...

Dang, this one's awesome too: "Q: Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing? A: I think passion IS a talent." So now I could say Endurance and Passion IS a Talent. Why, I always learn something from David Wasting Paper.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)