Monday, November 8, 2010

Andy Riley - Cartoonist Survey #186

Photo credit: Niall McDiarmid

British author, comedy scriptwriter and cartoonist Andy Riley was born in 1970. He grew up in South East England in the town of Aylesbury and studied at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is the creator of the series of best-selling cartoon books that include: The Book of Bunny Suicides, Return Of The Bunny Suicides, Great Lies To Tell Small Kids, Loads More Lies To Tell Small Kids, D.I.Y. Dentistry, and his latest release, Selfish Pigs. Andy’s books have been published in fourteen countries with over one and a half million copies being sold. In addition to the books his cartoons have been printed on calendars, posters, greeting cards and there is even a Bunnycides iPhone app. For eight years he drew the weekly comic strip ‘Roasted’ for the Observer Magazine. ‘Roasted’ followed the adventures of three slackers, Karl, Lottie and Nev who work in a coffee shop, and has been collected in hardcover.

Andy teams up as a scriptwriter with Kevin Cecil, his friend since they attended Aylesbury Grammar School together. Together they have won two BAFTAS (British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards) for their work on the animated special 'Robbie The Reindeer' (2000) and the sitcom 'Black Books' (2005). The two also created and wrote the sitcoms 'The Great Outdoors' and 'Hyperdrive' for the BBC, and 'Slacker Cats' for the ABC Family Channel. Other television writing credits include 'Trigger Happy TV', 'Little Britain', 'So Graham Norton', 'The Armando Iannucci Shows', 'The Armstrong and Miller Show', 'Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show' and many more. Andy and Kevin’s most recent writing collaboration was on the feature-length CGI animated movie "
Gnomeo and Juliet" that is currently in production at Miramax, and the stop-motion animated movie "The Pirates!" for Aardman. To learn more about Andy visit his official website here. Note: A brand new Bunny Suicide book, Dawn of Bunny Suicides was recently released, however, I believe it is still only available in the UK. Here is a link to the order page of the publisher.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use little metal nibs which I dip in Indian ink. I never use anything except Indian ink when drawing in black.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I draw in pencil first, using an ordinary H pencil.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I don't normally use much colour, but when I do, I have a process: I take the black and white drawing, photocopy it onto watercolour paper, then colour it with watercolours.

What type of paper do you use?
Bristol board.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I'm not very good at drawing dogs. My dogs always look like little horses. But I am good at horses.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I go to art shops both large and small. I suppose I could order off websites, but when you're a cartoonist, it's nice to find excuses to get out of the house and meet people.

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

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yes, and podcasts. I will listen to every genre of music over a day or two drawing.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Cheeky Weekly, a long forgotten British comic of the late 70s.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
As a teenager, definitely Krazy Kat. Now I'm not so sure, but at the moment I'm really into the work of Lewis Trondheim.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Small Pig by Arnold Lobel. I still own the same copy I had when I was four.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I got a grade A in art O level at school. Does that count?

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Curse, because it's putting cartoonists out of work!

Did either of your parents draw?

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My great uncle and great auntie, who had both been professional artists when they were younger.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I keep about five, so I can always find at least one of them at any time.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No I haven't – but maybe it would be fun.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Oh, you need both, don't you? It's a bit like saying, what's more important for making an ostrich run, its left leg or its right leg?

Do you collect anything and if so what?
When I was a kid I collected walking sticks.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
A badger.

Are you a righty or lefty

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Comedy scriptwriter – that's my other job anyway; I have two careers.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
The big angled board, and lots of light.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Appalachian dulcimer.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
If you're naturally versatile, then use that to your advantage. If like me you are not such a versatile artist, then use that to your advantage; and develop a style that is recognizably your own and nobody else's.

Who is your favorite artist?

William Heath Robinson.

Thanks again Andy!

Up next is political cartoonist Kirk Anderson.

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