Wednesday, December 8, 2010

David Petersen - Cartoonist Survey #197

David Petersen is a comic book creator and illustrator who was born in Michigan in July of 1977. He studied at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan and Eastern Michigan University earning a degree in Fine Arts. He is the writer and illustrator of the comic book series Mouse Guard that is published by Archaia Entertainment. Mouse Guard tells the story of a few brave mice who are committed to protecting their fellow mice from all kinds of dangers and predators. David has always loved cartoons, comics and drawing and came up with the basic premise for Mouse Guard back in high school, and reworked it while in college. He won the Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer in 2007 and in 2008 won two Eisners, one for Best Publication for Kids and another for Best Graphic Album Reprint. The Mouse Guard series is popular world-wide, has gone through multiple printings and has been translated into French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. There is even a Mouse Guard Role Playing Game that came out in 2009. David lives and works in Michigan with his wife Julie and their dog Autumn. Visit David’s website and his blog to see more of his work. To learn more about the Mouse Guard series, check out the official Mouse Guard website.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Uniball Vision.

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

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Computer color, though I think my hand watercolor work informs my digital technique.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I still do watercolors from time to time.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore bristol board.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Technology and attractive women...because I draw them booth poorly and wish I drew them better.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Sometimes I go to my local Utrecht (though that is a chain) and sometimes I place orders online when I'm low on lots of things and need to restock the studio.

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. I listen to music including: Beatles, Cake, Simon & Garfunkel, Barenaked Ladies, and movie soundtracks. I also listen to audio books and old time radio.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read Classic X-Men, Eastman & Laird's Ninja Turtles, and some Archie comics of my sisters.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Growing up it was Calvin and Hobbes. Now it's a webstrip called the Abominable Charles Christopher.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
As a little kid it was 'The Monster at the End of this Book'. And yes, I still own a copy.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Yes, I have a degree in Fine Art. I started at Mott Community College in Flint, MI and finished at Eastern Michigan University.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
My dad was a draftsman who did technical drawing and did some sculpture. My Mother did a lot of sewing and pattern making. But neither of them drew things freehand.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents and wife.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Not that I draw in for fun...but as a place to work out panels and pages for my comic.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I have done a few guest lecture appearances, but never a full class.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Talent...but only by a sliver of a percent.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Original artwork from artists I respect and admire.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I'm part Roger Rabbit, Donald Duck, and Wakko Warner.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Puppet Builder or Furniture maker.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A finished basement area flanked by a computer table, a lightbox table, and a drawing table. Off to the side I have flat files filled with artwork, and book cases with reference books and favorite comics.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Not really. I play around with recorders every now and then and can figure out melodies to songs...but not very well.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Marketing can be just as important to getting work as how well you draw, but you never want to sacrifice doing your best work in favor of marketing yourself.

Who is your favorite artist?

Jeremy Bastian.

Thanks again David.

Up next is one of my favorite cartoonists, Fred Hembeck.


P.L. Frederick said...

I really admire David Petersen's illustration style. Very nice.

Dave, it seems like a lot of cartoonists either live or got their start in Michigan. What's up with that? (I ask because I'm originally from there, but had no clue about all the talent around me. Now, through your blog interviews, I'm gettin' it.)

David said...

You are right Paula...a quick search comes up with 6 from Michigan...

David Petersen
Harley Schwadron
Jeffrey Brown
Chris Houghton
Terry LaBan
Lloyd Dangle

...must be the cold weather :)

P.L. Frederick said...

Six out of almost 200 interviews; that's what, 3% of all great cartoonists in the land. (Only the greatest are on David Wasting Paper.) Not bad, Michigan, not bad.