Friday, November 26, 2010

Stephen Silver - Cartoonist Survey #192

Cartoonist and character designer Stephen Silver was born in August of 1972 in London, England. He got his professional start drawing caricatures at amusement parks in 1992. A year later he started his own illustration business and caricature concession company called Silvertoons. He spent a year doing graphic design for the clothing company “No Fear” before being hired as a character designer by Warner Brothers in 1997 and has worked in the animation industry ever since. Stephen has worked as a character designer for Nickelodeon Animation, Sony Feature Animation and Disney Television Animation. He has designed characters for animated series such as “The Fairly OddParents”, "Kim Possible", "Danny Phantom" and Kevin Smith's "Clerks: The Animated Series”. In 2000 he won the Golden Nosey award as caricaturist of the year from the National Caricaturist Network, and in 2007 he received the National Cartoonists Society's Television Animation award for his designs on Disney's “Kim Possible”. Stephen is also the artist and author of five self-published books on sketching, life drawing and caricaturing. You can purchase them here at his Silvertoons store.

If you would like to learn more about the art of character design you can take Stephen’s class over at If you are in California he teaches a character design course at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in Valencia and a quick gesture figure class at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Arts. Learn more about Stephen by checking out his website and following him on his blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Mars Staedtler graphic 3000 duo.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Col-erase blue or red.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Marker, watercolor and colored pencil, sometimes acrylic paint.

What type of paper do you use?
Anything that feels right or is thick enough, sometimes a Via felt 80lb.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Buildings, cars and robots.

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?
Take a deep breath and hope for the best.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Sometimes, mainly Beatles radio on iTunes.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I did not.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
The Lockhorns.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Didn't like to read as a child, so I don't have one. Cartooning books are what I collected.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
The only serious art class I really took was one in San Diego with a guy by the name of Jeff Watts.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing.

Did either of your parents draw?

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Both my parents.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes I have and still do. I teach currently a character design course at

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Original art from the MAD magazine artists.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Snow White, I don't know, the first thing that popped up.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
SWAT team.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
1970' 80's.

Do you play any musical instruments?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw, draw draw…have passion and have fun.

Who is your favorite artist?

Mort Drucker.

Thank you Stephen.

CARtoons cartoonist George Trosley will be next.

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