Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mike Shapiro - Cartoonist Survey #151

Born in 1962, Mike Shapiro is a full-time freelance cartoonist and caricaturist. In 1987 he had his first cartoon published in The Saturday Evening Post. Since that time his cartoons have appeared in many publications including, Barron’s, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Reader’s Digest and Forbes. Mike has done work for animation studios, advertising agencies and has been published in numerous books and humor collections. His work has appeared in museum and gallery shows such as the International Museum Of Cartoon Art and a Wall Street Journal cartoon exhibition. Mike’s cartoons are also featured as part of a permanent collection at The Harvard Business School's Baker Library. As if all that wasn’t enough, he is also a talented caricaturist and frequently draws at live events. Mike lives in Washington, DC with his wife and their two children. Visit his website and blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
For magazine cartooning I use a Pigma Micron 08. I use a Copic Sketch marker for live caricatures.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I pencil first with a mechanical pencil. 0.7 HB led.

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

What type of paper do you use?
I use 24 lb., 8 1/2 x 11, Laserjet for magazine cartooning. 11 x 17 65 lb. cover stock by Cougar for caricatures.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Nothing really comes to mind.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
When I'm organized I order online. More often than not I go to a chain. The one by me is Plaza Art.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I usually listen to something. I like a lot of different kinds of music. I also listen to sports talk, NPR, etc. If none of that's working for me I'll have the TV on in the background.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read the strips, some comic books. MAD, etc. When I was a little older I got into The New Yorker.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
If I had to choose I'd say Calvin and Hobbes. I also love Doonesbury.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Nothing stands out. My parents made sure we had a house full of books including all the classic kid's books.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I studied animation at the Joe Kubert School.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A little of both.

Did either of your parents draw?
No, but my dad loved comic books and cartoons.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents were very supportive when I was growing up and my wife is very supportive now.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes. I usually use a Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine when I'm drawing in it.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I taught a basic cartooning course class for kids a few years ago. I enjoyed it and would do it again.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I've found that the best artists I know have worked the hardest at their craft. This is without exception in my experience. This seems to be the case in almost everything. The best musicians I know put in the most time practicing and thinking in a constructive way about music. This probably holds true for plumbers, auto mechanics, neurosurgeons, and homemakers. So, if passion leads putting in the necessary time, I'd go with passion.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I don't collect stuff.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
El Kabong.

Are you a righty or lefty?

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
My work space is currently in our basement. It's a finished basement so in addition to my drawing and computer gear there's also a few couches , a stereo, and TV. It can be easy to goof off down there. Often late at night I'll just work at our dining room table.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I play drums. I'm better when I practice.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
The harder you work at your craft the better you'll become . . . and don't put a couch by your drawing table.

Who is your favorite artist?
Tough question. There are too many to name.

Thank you very much Mike!

Up next is cartoonist and animator, Graham Annable.


nanke's stuff said...

I enjoyed your cartoons, and the interview was fun to read. I like knowing a bit more about the EDMers! nancy

Mike Shapiro said...

Thanks, Nanke!