Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Leigh Rubin - Cartoonist Survey #179

Leigh Rubin is the syndicated cartoonist of the single panel cartoon Rubes. While standing in the greeting card section of a pharmacy in 1978 he realized that he could create and sell his own line of cards. He dropped out of Pierce College in Los Angeles in 1979 and started his own publishing business, Rubes Publishing. In 1981 "Notable Quote,” his first cartoon collection, was published. Leigh started self-syndicating Rubes, his single panel cartoon in 1984. Four years later Rubes was picked up by Creators Syndicate and now appears in more than 400 newspapers. To date there have been over 10 million Rubes greeting cards, t-shirts and calendars sold and over 14 comic collections published. His most recent release, “The Wild and Twisted World of Rubes” celebrates Rubes 25th anniversary (now in his 26th year) and is packed with the best of his cartoons that he handpicked himself. In addition to drawing Rubes, Leigh also gives cartooning workshops and presentations to schools and professional organizations throughout the country. He lives in California with his wife and three sons. Visit his Rubes Cartoons website where you can buy his books and prints, send Rubes e-cards and even book Leigh for a speaking event. The holiday season is rapidly approaching; get your shopping done early by ordering some of Leigh’s books and the 2011 edition of his ever popular “Rubes Zoo in a Box” desk calendar.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use three different sizes of Rapidograph technical pens. (They are welcome to send me a lifetime supply if they’d like to...or offer me a substantial endorsement deal).

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I prefer Mars Lumograph 3-B pencils. No other pencil will do. They are also welcome to offer me a substantial endorsement deal.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
By hand only....But I am willing to switch to a computer if there is a computer company willing to offer me a substantial endorsement deal. (Apple, are you listening?)

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Good old-fashioned colored pencils. However I am thinking of returning to my early roots...crayons.

What type of paper do you use?
It’s a super-secret due (Classic Crest) to the confidential terms of a very lucrative endorsement deal.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Hate is such a strong word. But even then, I cannot think of anything I even have an intense dislike of. If there’s something funny about it, I’ll draw it.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Sadly, my local art supply store went belly up and so now it’s all online.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Do you mean other than the occasional goat sacrifice?

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I prefer to work in silence until I develop a concept. Once I come up with an idea I can play music, listen to lectures, make phone calls, watch reruns of Law and Order, etc, etc, etc.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Geez, doesn’t everyone?! Peanuts was probably me early on favorite.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
My favorite one changes day to day. I’m pretty fickle that way. Whichever one gives me the biggest laugh that day is my favorite.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"Kippy the Koala." My sister owns it. She's nuts about koalas.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I majored in advertising arts in college. Naturally life got in the way and I never did complete that degree so if anyone at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California is listening I’m more than willing to accept an honorary degree.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
The internet is just the internet, neither a blessing nor a curse. It is what you make of it. I do find it useful.

Did either of your parents draw?
My parents art both artistic in different ways. My mom is an amazing knitter. Love those sweaters! My dad taught me how to draw my first cartoon character when I was six or seven. Thanks dad, now just look what I’ve done with my life.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Both my parents were highly supportive...and now I am highly supportive. I support a family of five.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I would gladly to trade it for a nice villa on the Mediterranean.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I have done some workshops and it’s always a kick to see someone say that up until that time they’ve never been able to draw and now they can. Very fun.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Please substitute “lovemaking” for drawing and then ask me that question again.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Just cartoons. I have about twenty-six years worth right about now.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Hmmm, definitely not a super hero. I am quite fond of Bugs Bunny.

Are you a righty or lefty?
I’m a moderate.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Sorry. There is and never was a plan “B.”

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Chaotically organized.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Sadly, no. But I have spent my entire retirement on music lessons for my kids.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Become a doctor or a lawyer. It’s a much more secure way to make a living and you’ll have plenty of disposable income in which to become a patron of the arts, especially cartoonists.

Who is your favorite artist?

Like ice cream, whatever flavor I find most desirable at the time.

Thanks for taking the time to answer Leigh.

Next time on David Wasting Paper is graphic novelist and freelance illustrator Scott Chantler.


P.L. Frederick said...

Hee hee! Leigh, you're funny. Obviously, you're also a good writer.

But, colored pencils? Even the cartoons shown here in this post were colored with pencils? They're so clean and even that they look like Photoshop.

Dave, this interview is a timely reminder of the necessity to secure lucrative endorsement deals. I'm hoping to get one from Chips Ahoy.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

P.L. Frederick said...

P.S. I would love to take one of his classes if he's ever in the Boston area.