Monday, September 13, 2010

Jim Keefe - Cartoonist Survey #163

Illustrator and cartoonist Jim Keefe was born in January of 1965. He graduated from Joe Kubert’s School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. Jim started his career working as a colorist in the bullpen of King Features Syndicate. As a colorist he worked on such strips as Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible and Blondie. He also spent a short while “ghosting” for his friend and mentor George Evans on the Secret Agent Corrigan strip before being hired as the writer and artist for the Flash Gordon comic strip. Jim’s tenure on Flash Gordon ran from January 1996 to March 2003. Since then he has provided graphic art for syndicated features and companies including King Features Syndicate, Jantze Studios, Manuscript Press and Viz Media.

He has taught and guest lectured at the School of Visual Arts, Hofstra’s UCCE Youth Programs and most recently at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Jim is presently working on a graphic novel that will chronicle his father’s service as a member of Patton's Third Army during World War II. There is a lot to see at his Keefe Studios website, including his Vault page featuring interviews with greats such as George Evans, John Cullen Murphy and John Romita Sr. There is also a page devoted to research on his dad’s Infantry Company. Click here to purchase some of Jim’s original Flash Gordon artwork.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Gillott 290 (prefer brush though).

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Standard pencil to start out with, mechanical for small details.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both, depends on the project.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
For color guides, Dr. PH. Martin's transparent water color. For finished color that's scanned for print, Winsor Newton Artists' watercolour.

What type of paper do you use?
2-ply Bristol - varied brands.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Anything on a tight deadline.

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?
It's nice to get a good night’s sleep and all items organized and ready for use.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I like to listen to books on tape - history, documentaries etc.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?

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?
As a pre-teen I used to buy anything by Robert E. Howard. Don't have the copies I had back then.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Atelier Lack summer programs as a teenager (Minneapolis).
The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing for research, curse as a distraction i.e. your email ;)

Did either of your parents draw?

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Growing up it was parents and relatives, now it's my wife and family.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes but I use it far too infrequently.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I'm currently a Visiting Artist at MCAD in Minneapolis and enjoy the experience immensely.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
They're dependent on each other. Passion leads to more talent.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Original art (mostly by trading as I can't afford it).

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
If it's 3:00 am and I'm on deadline, Ren Höek.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Is this political? Will I get in trouble for this?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I don't know, what do ya got?

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Cramped but an organized use of space.

Do you play any musical instruments?
1st Trombone in Middle School - can't play a note currently.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Get an education so you're not flailing in the dark.

Who is your favorite artist?
John Romita

Thank you very much Jim!

Cartoonist and painter Jesse Reklaw, creator of the comic strip Slow Wave, is up next.


P.L. Frederick said...

Hi Dave! Will you be able to make it to the first monthly get-together tomorrow (Wed)?

David said...

Yes Paula, I'll be there with pencils sharpened and a great thirst for Guinness!