Friday, October 22, 2010

Scott Chantler - Cartoonist Survey #180

Graphic novelist and illustrator Scott Chantler was born in 1972. He has been nominated for the Joe Shuster, Russ Manning, Doug Wight, Harvey and Eisner Awards. Scott is the artist for Oni Press’ graphic novels Days Like This, Scandalous and Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen. He is the writer and artist for Northwest Passage; originally a three-volume graphic novel but now collected into a single annotated edition. Northwest Passage is the story of the colonial Canadian northern frontier in 1755, when British, French, and private interests competed for the lucrative fur trade. This past August his Tower of Treasure (Three Thieves) was released and is the first book in a three part series for kids ages 8 – 12. The story in Tower of Treasure revolves around Dessa, a 14-year-old orphan who is an acrobat in a traveling circus in search of her long-lost twin brother. Scott’s most recent work, Two Generals is scheduled to be released next Tuesday. Two Generals is an intensely researched graphic novel that tells the accounts of his grandfather and his grandfather’s best friend during the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944.

Scott has done animation work for the BBC/CBC children’s series Shoebox Zoo and he directed the short film Gone with the Wind in Sixty Seconds. As an illustrator his clients have included Reebok, McDonald’s, Macy’s, The New York Daily News, Atlanta Magazine, The National Post, The Toronto Star, Maclean’s and many others. He also teaches Writing for Graphic Novels at
Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto. Scott and his wife live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. To see more of Scott’s work head on over to his website, where he just put up a great post on creating a magazine cover illustration. You should also pay a visit to his Two Generals Research Blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Unlike a lot of artists, I'm not actually that fussy about tools and materials. I tend to like to try new things, or just use what's on hand, or that's cheap and available. So I might at any time be using a variety of brushes, nibs, markers, Pitt pens, etc. And the one I'm using that day is my favourite that day.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, and it's usually a mechanical pencil. I use two of them, one filled with regular lead and the other with non-photo blue lead.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Computer, definitely.

What type of paper do you use?
Like most comic book artists, 11"x17" Strathmore bristol.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I'm sure you hear this a lot, but cars and crowds.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
A little bit of both. I buy paper in bulk, which they don't have at the local shop, so I need to order it online.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Not really. I don't even warm up. I just sit down and dive in.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I listen to music more or less all the time, whether I'm drawing or not. A lot of it depends what I'm working on. If I'm writing, it's classical or instrumental jazz. When I'm penciling, it'll be anything that's engaging and creative: indie rock, etc. When I'm inking it's anything that's lively and fun, like swing or rockabilly. When I get tired of music, I also listen to a lot DVD commentaries, podcasts, old Charlie Rose or Inside the Actors Studio interviews, just to get some voices in the room and be inspired by other creative folks.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
When I was really little, it was Batman, and other superheroes. But by the time I was 12 or 13 and started getting really seriously interested in comics, it was fantasy comics like Conan the Barbarian and DC's The Warlord that really bent my crank.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin & Hobbes, by a country mile.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I don't remember any books from when I was very little, but when I was around eleven or so I began to read "adult" fantasy novels like Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara. I still had my beaten, cover-less copy floating around until just recently. I tried to read it for the first time as an adult, and realized that it was a piece of completely derivative rubbish.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I have a year of university fine arts, and also had a high school art teacher who drilled figure drawing into me, bless her. But other than that, no.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Clearly, it's both.

Did either of your parents draw?
Absolutely not.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My mom, for sure. And more recently, my wife.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I do, but it's nearly empty. Unlike a lot of artists, I really don't sketch much. I'm almost working on a finished piece that I'm going to get paid for. It takes me literally years to fill a sketchbook, which I use mostly for working out character designs and such. I really don't know where a lot of artists find the time to draw for fun.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Not cartooning or drawing specifically, but I do teach Writing for Graphic Novels at Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto, a course I created myself which deals with a lot of visual storytelling concepts.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
The debate about craft or expression is a false one. The two things are by no means mutually exclusive, and people who think art is strictly the domain of one or the other make me feel sorry for them. Clearly, both are important.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Nope. I don't really "get" the collector mentality.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
To steal an answer from Chuck Jones: I'd like to think I'm Bugs Bunny, but in truth I'm probably Daffy Duck.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I've tried doing other kinds of work, and it's just not for me. I really can't imagine being anything but an artist of some kind. But I do enjoy teaching my college class, so if I really had to choose, that'd be it.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A messy drafting table piled with reference material.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I play guitar, a little bit.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Too many artists, especially new ones, undervalue their work because they feel like they're just lucky to be doing it at all. And it's true; this is something you do for love, not money. But that's no excuse for not treating it like a business, being a professional, knowing your rights, and trying to make it as profitable as you can.

Who is your favorite artist?

Will Eisner, without question.

Thank you Scott!

Up next is the creator, author and artist of the comic book series Love and Capes, Thom Zahler.

1 comment:

Andrei B said...

Scott Chantler is a genius. I've been working through 'Northwest Passage' and 'Two Generals' recently and I've loved them to bits. Very strong creator who handles his subject matter with humanity and pathos.

Glad to hear he doesn't sweat the materials too much!