Friday, October 8, 2010

Adrian Tomine - Cartoonist Survey #174

Adrian Tomine was born in Sacramento, CA in May of 1974. During high school he started writing and drawing fictional and autobiographical comics and in 1991 he published his first mini-comic, ‘Optic Nerve’. One year later he was creating a monthly comic strip for Tower Records store magazine Pulse! Adrian pursued a degree in English Literature, graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1994 Drawn & Quarterly started producing his 'Optic Nerve' as a regular comic series. Adrian’s series went on to win him the 1996 Harvey Award for Best New Talent. Many of his early mini-comics were then collected in “32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics.” 1997 saw the release of “Sleepwalker and Other Stories” which is comprised of the first four Drawn and Quarterly issues of ‘Optic Nerve’.

In addition to his comics, Adrian’s work has been published in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Time, Esquire and The New Yorker. He has also produced CD and album covers for the Eels, The Softies, Weezer and the Crabs. The second ‘Optic Nerve’ collection, “Summer Blonde” was issued in 2002 and was followed by 2004’s “Scrapbook”. “Scrapbook” collects of the all strips from Pulse! and a lot of his illustration and design work. His latest release “Shortcomings” contains the comics from ‘Optic Nerve’ issues 9 through 11. He has recently worked with Drawn and Quarterly designing and editing three collections of alternative manga from the legendary cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi; “A Drifting Life”, “Black Blizzard” and “The Push Man & Other Stories.” He has a new book coming out next year, “Scenes from an Impending Marriage”, that chronicles his and his wife’s preparations for their wedding. Adrian lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and their soon to be one year old daughter. Stop by
Adrian’s website where you can buy some of his original art and follow his comings and goings.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Tachikawa "G" and "school" nibs, Hunt 102 nib, various Rapidographs.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes: 0.3 mechanical, either 4H or UniColor non-repro blue.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Mostly on the computer, unfortunately.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
A combination of cheap watercolors and expensive dyes.

What type of paper do you use?
I used to buy Strathmore 500 4-ply sheets, but I noticed the quality was declining so much, I couldn't justify the cost anymore. So now I just buy the cheap tablets (which aren't any better in terms of quality, but at least aren't so expensive). The main problem I've had is bleeding...I'll have an image all penciled, and then that first touch of the pen feathers out and looks horrible. So even though I don't really like it, I use the smoother surface bristol now, just because it tends to bleed less. And actually, I just finished a book that was drawn entirely on Strathmore recycled drawing paper. Working on cheap paper actually freed me up in some way and made the whole process more fun.

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?
I either go to New York Central or I order from Cheap Joe's.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Changing my daughter's diaper and putting her down for a nap.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
The two classical stations on Sirius XM.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Yes, and too many to list. "Peanuts" was the first comic I ever really fell in love with, but my tastes quickly eroded and I found myself buying a lot of not-so-great Marvel comics from the 70s.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Peanuts, Gasoline Alley, and Little Orphan Annie.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
A big stack of Peanuts paperbacks, and yes.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No, but I got a lot of informal art training just by getting to know a bunch of great cartoonists.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
It's too integrated into my life for me to take either stance.

Did either of your parents draw?

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
I feel like most people in my life have been supportive, actually. I guess I'm fortunate in that way. Really, the only people that I can think of who were actively unsupportive were the art teachers I had who had an aversion to comics and illustration.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
In general, my sketchbook is almost like an insane person's notebook. Just scribbles and notes, mostly. But if I know that in the near future I'll have to publish some examples from my sketchbook, I suddenly start trying to do my best Crumb/Ware imitations.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I did it once when I was an idiotic teenager, and it was a complete disaster. For one assignment, I told the students to make up their own characters and to draw a comic book cover featuring them. One kid drew the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I said something like, "I hope your name is either Kevin Eastman or Peter Laird, because I told you to make up your OWN characters!" Did I mention these kids were seven years old?

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Too hard to parse.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
At this point, just books. Having a kid has gone a long way towards breaking my obsessive collecting habits.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
One of the adults in a Peanuts cartoon.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I think I might like to work in one of those newsstand kiosks in Manhattan.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Other cartoonists who see my studio almost always comment on how weirdly tidy and spartan it is.

Do you play any musical instruments?
The level of my ability doesn't even merit a "yes" answer to this question, but there is an instrument or two in my apartment.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Marry someone rich.

Who is your favorite artist?

I actually don't have just one.

Thanks again for your time Adrian.

Next up is the creator of some really wild art, Mark Dean Veca.

No comments: