Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steve McGarry - Cartoonist Survey #60





Cartoonist and illustrator, Steve McGarry hails from Manchester, England and now lives in California. He started freelancing full-time as a cartoonist in 1971, with his first published work appearing in a British comic book for girls entitled ROMEO. In the early 80's Steve's career as a cartoonist took off as he made his national newspaper debut in the Daily Star. Starting in the 80's and continuing throughout the years he has been creating packages for the Wold Cup and European Championships soccer series. These packages contain wall-sized posters with brackets for the tourney, profiles of legendary players and retrospectives of the previous years.

When he moved his family to California in 1989 he started producing work for the UK's biggest soccer magazine, SHOOT! 1989 also saw the beginning of his 13-year run with THE SUN, writing and drawing his Badlands comic strip, which was a spoof on the Wild West genre. Pop Culture, Kid City and Biographic are other features that Steve has had success with. His cartoons and strips have been syndicated worldwide by both United Media and United Press.

Steve was the President of the National Cartoonist Society for two terms, 2001-2003 and 2003-2005. He has been nominated six times for National Cartoonist Society Illustration awards and, and received the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Illustration Award in 2002 which is the same year he was named Illustrator of the Year (Stanley Award) by the Australian Cartoonists' Association. The apple didn't fall too far from the tree because Steve's twin sons, Joe and Luke, are quite talented themselves. They are the youngest recipients of the Silver T-Square Award (presented to persons who have demonstrated outstanding dedication or service to the Society or profession) from the National Cartoonist Society and they form the indie music duo Pop Noir. Make sure you visit Steve's website and see more of his wonderful illustrations.

What is your favorite pen to use?
For the last year or so, I've switched to creating everything on a Wacom Cintiq. Prior to that, I used Rapidographs and Microns to produce my photo realistic stipple illustrations ((as well as dip pens and brushes for hair, garments) and the cartoons were created using Rotring artpens (usually B or BB nibs), and dip pens. For simple cartoon illustrations, I usually went with a Sharpie.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I'm a mechanical man.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
As I say, everything is now done on a Cintiq. I create the art in a program called Sketchbook Pro – switching to Manga Studio EX4 for hair – then color everything in PhotoShop.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I used to favor dyes and inks on CS2 illustration board. British newspapers began running daily strips in full color in the early 1990s but in those dial-up days, they were unable to take the files electronically. So, for a couple of years, I used to hand color photocopies of the art using Pantone markers and ship them by courier. By the mid-1990s, I was doing all my coloring in PhotoShop.

What type of paper do you use?
For the realistic stuff, I used to use CS10 illustration board for b&w and CS2 hard pressed illustration board for color. Letraset made a great illustration paper for years, and when that line was discontinued I switched to Borden & Riley #234 Bleedproof Paris paper. For cartoons, I always used Strathmore smooth finish bristol board.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Bicycles!

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
When I lived in England, my hometown of Manchester had a great art supply store, and I was frequently in London, so always used to call in at a big art store in Covent Garden. Here in Southern California, there are two really good specialty art stores within a 10-mile radius of my house. I have bought illustration boards via the Internet from time to time.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Cups of tea. Endless cups of tea.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Frequently ... or the TV is on and tuned to either Fox Soccer Channel or MSNBC.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I used to read all the DC and Marvel titles and Mad magazine growing up, as well as all the British weeklies, from The Beano and Dandy, to The Hotspur, The Victor and The Eagle.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
When I moved to the States and became a member of the NCS, I was struck by how revered Charles Schulz was by practically all of my peers. They'd all grown up on a daily diet of Peanuts! In the UK, we have national newspapers, so unless your family subscribed to the Daily Mail, you rarely saw Snoopy and the gang. My family were Daily Mirror readers, so as a kid my favorites were Andy Capp, The Perishers and Garth. In later years, I enjoyed a UK strip called Beau Peep in The Daily Star. I admired Waterson and Larson ... and I adore Segar's Popeye stuff. I also love the Asterix the Gaul books.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Being a British kid, I always loved The Eagle annuals and the Rupert the Bear books. Ronald Searle's St.Trinians stuff was a big favorite.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No. I was going to go to art school but landed a summer job in a studio, so that was it.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
The Internet has revolutionized my business. When I first moved to the US, I used to send my strips back to my UK clients by courier. My Fed Ex bills were horrendous. When I started creating digital color, I had to ship SyQuest disks to London, or to publishers in New York. Every four years, I create a big set of features on the Soccer World Cup and these are syndicated worldwide. We used to have to mail prints to every continent. These days, I create something and within seconds it’s delivered to every corner of the globe.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mum doodled.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Not really. I've given lots of talks to schools - that's always fun.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
For cartooning, the writing is just as important as the art ... probably even more so. And who is to say who can and can't cartoon? Rudimentary art is no impediment in cartooning. The key is not whether or not someone can "draw" ... it's whether they can produce cartoon art to a professional standard on a regular basis. In illustration, the onus is obviously on the talent and ability. But you can't succeed in any walk of life without drive, ambition and passion.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Not really.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
The older I get, the more Homer Simpson and I have in common, unfortunately.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Not got a clue!

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Cluttered.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Guitar, piano. I was in bands for years. My twin sons, Joe and Luke, have an indie rock band called Pop Noir - www.popnoir.org
- that has enjoyed a little bit of success. I've managed the band up to this point (although at some point soon I'll be looking to step back) but I do enjoy seeing them evolve as musicians. They are also very talented illustrators and designers in their own right. They are the youngest-ever recipients of Silver T-Squares from the NCS. Their art website is: www.fantasticheatbrothers.com.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Whatever you want to do in life be prepared to really put the work in to pursue your goals.

Who is your favorite artist?
Frank Bellamy. Followed by E.C. Segar, Albert Udurzo, Ronald Searle and W. Heath Robinson.

Thanks again Steve!

Terri Libenson, creator of King Features syndicated strip Pajama Diaries, provides answers for the next Cartoonist Survey.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mack White - Cartoonist Survey #59



Mack White is a comic book artist and writer who lives in Austin, Texas. In the late 1980's he began creating and self-publishing comics. This lead to his first professionally published story which appeared in Rip Off Comix in 1990. During the 90's he continued to contribute comics to such publications as the comics anthology Buzz, Heavy Metal, Boing Boing and the Austin Chronicle. Mack has also had many books published including, The Mutant Book of the Dead, Villa of the Mysteries, The Last Renegade and Raw Deal. He has done illustrations for everything from magazine covers to board games with his artwork being featured in art shows across the country. Aside from this world-renowned interview with David Wasting Paper, Mack has also been interviewed by Rolling Stone and the Comics Journal. Be sure and checkout his website.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Micropen drafting pens, Faber Castell brush pens.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Standard no. 2 pencil.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Computer these days, but years ago I colored by hand (acrylic animation paints on back of film positives).

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore Bristol for final artwork. Canson tracing paper for preliminary work.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I don't think there's anything in particular I hate to draw. Some things are more challenging, but the challenge is what keeps it interesting.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I go to a local art store.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I work out, meditate, and pray first thing in the morning before I do anything.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I listen to all kinds of music while drawing: every genre of rock, jazz, country, classical, from all parts of the globe. Sometimes, though, music is too distracting and silence is better.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read a huge amount of comics as a kid and had a bunch of favorites: Al Capp, John Severin, Curt Swan, and Steve Ditko. Later as a teenager, I became a big underground fan: Crumb, Williams, Spain, Shelton, Moscoso, Wilson. Their work kept me interested in comics; otherwise, I probably wouldn't have continued to follow the medium to any significant degree.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Little Nemo in Slumberland.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and yes, I still have the same old battered copy. In the summer of 1961 I read that book so many times I memorized entire chapters.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I started drawing when I was three, watching my mother draw. I became obsessive about it from an early age, always drawing, creating my own cartoon characters and comics. My parents and teachers thought I was a prodigy. In '61 (the same wonderful summer I read Tom Sawyer) my parents enrolled me in an art class. Portraits, figure drawings, still life, landscapes-I did all that, but after that summer, I didn't take any more art classes.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Like everything in life, a bit of both. But the blessing is greater, I think. With the Internet, there's much more opportunity for artists and writers to get exposure, feedback, and so forth.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mother drew for a period of time in the 1950s and was good. She didn't keep it up, but later became a professional portrait photographer. My father didn't draw, but he was a journalist, therefore wrote a lot. So, apparently, I got the writing gene from him, and the drawing gene from my mother. Her father, incidentally, was an aspiring cartoonist. He never pursued it as a career though, because his old rancher father (my great-grandfather) discouraged him, said it wasn't man's work. So, he went into ranching and farming, but continued to cartoon on the side. Sometimes, he would even do chalk talks for the school kids. Finally, in his late 30s, he enrolled in an art school in Fort Worth, but died of cancer before he could attend. I never knew him, but of course feel a strong kinship.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
In the 70s and 80s, I kept sketchbooks. But later it evolved into scrapbooks: sketches, doodles on Post-Its and napkins, mixed in with story ideas, poems, dreams, collages of newspaper and magazine clippings, interesting pieces of paper I find, brochures, religious tracts, stickers, stuff I print off the Internet, and on and on. The scrapbooks are many things, a pastime, a creative tool, and a focal point for meditation and connecting with alternate realities. I've tried keeping separate sketchbooks (for art) and journals (for writing) and scrapbooks (for clippings, collages etc.), but eventually they all evolve into scrapbooks.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
About a year ago, I was invited to give a talk at a Sequential Art class at St. Edwards University in Austin. This was not teaching, exactly, but mostly question-and-answers. I enjoyed it and would like to do that sort of thing again some time.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
To me, they're the same thing.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Mostly I collect books. I have a large comics collection-still have all the old Silver Age DC and Marvel comics I bought as a kid, undergrounds I bought in the 60s and 70s, a complete run of National Lampoon, Heavy Metal, and much, much more up to the present. However, comics aren't the biggest part of my library. Mostly I collect all types of fiction and non-fiction, with certain areas of special collecting interest such as: ancient history, metaphysics, Texana and Old West history, the JFK assassination, and various writers, Mark Twain, Melville, Hemingway, Philip K. Dick, Beat Generation, and more.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Popeye, only I'd smoke the spinach.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I write as well as draw, so if I ever stopped drawing, I'd continue writing, or vice versa. But, if I stopped doing both, I'd do more talk radio. PsiOp Radio, the weekly show I host with SMiles Lewis on the American Freedom Network, gives me a break from the drawing board once a week and is a lot of fun. It's a creative outlet as well. I've played some of my audio dramatizations of dreams on the program.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Studio is a bright room with books and artwork with desk, computer table, file and supply cabinets, and drawing board in front of a large north window filled with Texas sky.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I played trumpet years ago.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Persistence is the key: keep doing your art every day, keep improving, and keep showing your work every place you can.

Who is your favorite artist?
Cartoonists: Winsor McCay, Moebius, Crumb, Robert Williams.

Thanks again Mack.

Former President of the National Cartoonist Society, Steve McGarry is up next.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shary Flenniken - Cartoonist Survey #58


Writer, illustrator, editor and underground cartoonist, Shary Flenniken was a major contributor to the world of underground comics in the early 1970's. Starting out in Seattle she moved to San Francisco and worked on Air Pirates Funnies which was distributed through Last Gasp. Air Pirates Funnies caused quite a stir with it's parody of Disney characters, leading to a law suit by Walt Disney Company started in 1971 and dragging on until 1980. In 1972 Shary's comic, Trots and Bonnie started running in the National Lampoon and continued until 1990. During her career at National Lampoon she was also an editor for three years and she co-wrote the screenplay of National Lampoon Goes to the Movies. Shary was profiled in the documentary, Comic Book Confidential that I own and highly recommend. Now living in Seattle she freelances with her work having appeared in various publications including MAD, Details, Seattle Magazine and the Graphic Classics book series. Stop by her website to learn more.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Sharpie.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Pencil, Mechanical (several widths).

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both, depends.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Watercolors, gouache.

What type of paper do you use?
Depends... I love those water color blocks.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Anatomically correct stairs.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Local with helpful artist salespeople who work at this day job. Or Staples.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Clean the kitchen.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
TV or Book on CD/MP3.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
J'onn J'onzz, Manhunter from Mars.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Now it is Dilbert, because it is a Dilbert world.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
The Black Stallion. Yes, I still have the series.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
The Burnley School of Commercial Art in Seattle, which is now the Art Institute.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
Yes! My Daddy, the career Naval officer, drew and was published in the Naval Academy yearbooks in the 1930s.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Other cartoonists.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Many.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, many times, love it.

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

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Stories.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Tasmanian Devil.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Both.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Political consultant / speech writer.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
18 X 24 inches(?)
Stories that make you think.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Guitar, banjo.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Treat it like a business. Don't work for peanuts unless you are a monkey.

Who is your favorite artist?
Charlie Russell - He painted history, remembering all those details in his head.


Thank you again for answering my questions Shary!

The answers from Austin, Texas writer and comic book artist, Mack White are up next.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jay Lynch - Cartoonist Survey #57


Underground comix artist, Jay Lynch (Jazey Lynch) has been influencing the world of cartooning since 1967 when he put out his Bijou Funnies. Bijou Funnies featured such underground comix greats as Jay, Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman and Skip Williamson. In 1980 Bijou Funnies was collected in the book, "The Best of Bijou Funnies."

In 1968 he started working on one of my favorite pop culture items of the 70's, Topps Wacky Packages. I had scores of these and stuck them everywhere. In 5th grade we completely covered the ceiling of our school bus with them. I still have my originals from 1973-1975. He also contributed to the highly successful Garbage Pail Kids as well. In 2004 Topps reintroduced Wacky Packages and they are still going strong. Jay continues to produce work for them and he wrote the introduction for the upcoming book, "Wacky Packages, NEW NEW NEW" (April 2010). In February the latest series called Wacky Packages, Old School, comes out and in every box is a sketchcard drawn by Jay!

Through the 70's and 80's the strip Phoebe and the Pigeon People, by Jay and Gary Whitney, ran for 17 years in the Chicago Reader. His work has also been published in many other publications such as MAD, Playboy, TIME and Cracked. Jay has recently been collaborating on children's books including "Otto's Orange Day" and "Mo and Jo Fighting Together Forever." Stop by
his website and then order one of his children's books here. To find out more about Wacky Packages go to Topps' official site and also Greg Grant's site which is loaded with pictures.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Mostly I use a Crowquill pen with a hard steel point, and Rapidograph pens of various sizes.

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

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both. Mostly PhotoShop these days, though.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Acryla brand acrylic gouache. It works like gouache...but it dries like acrylics.

What type of paper do you use?
3-ply Strathmore...smooth surface for pen, 4 ply Strathmore kid surface for painting.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Sports...chess...portraits of ugly children that I gotta make cute...things that are perfectly circular.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I live out in the middle of nowhere. I get my supplies from the Dick Blick catalog.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Wash my hands...just so the paper doesn't get dirty.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Country mostly.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Mad comics...Mad imitators...funny animal stuff. Crime stuff.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Lil' Abner.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Havelock Ellis' "Psychology of Sex." I have a copy somewhere.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
My father did...It was pretty bad.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My colleagues in the old fanzines of the early '60s.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I have notebooks. I write ideas down. I don't sketch them unless absolutely necessary.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I taught cartooning as art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the State University of NY at Binghamton, and a yoga place in Chicago called The Discovery Center.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
For the individual, passion. For the sake of society, talent.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Satire stuff. Mad, Stan Freberg records, books, whatever. I don't collect comics...unless they are satirical in some way.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Right.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Writer...musician...mowing lawns.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's a 12 X l6 room on the second floor of my house, which is crowded with stuff. I have an old l930s steel drawing table. Can't fit a bed in here...I sleep on the floor, using an old dictionary with a bunched up bathrobe on it for a pillow.

Do you play any musical instruments?
A little ...I have a one-string guitar, keyboards and stuff.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Expand your mind to the point where you can see your own mistakes and improve on them. People who don't improve in drawing skills often can't see past their own egotistical denial factor...and read Korzybski's TIME BINDING.

Who is your favorite artist?
Wil Elder.



Thanks very much Jay.

Up next is cartoonist, writer and editor, Shary Flenniken.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drew Dernavich - Cartoonist Survey #56

Cartoonist and illustrator Drew Dernavich was born in Massachusetts and received a Fine Arts degree from William and Mary. While living in Boston he started out drawing political cartoons for local papers such as the Arlington Advocate and the Belmont Citizen-Herald, winning numerous awards. He has done work for The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, the Harvard Business Review and in 2002 he had his first cartoon published in The New Yorker. Drew won the Reuben Award for Best Gag Cartoon in 2006.

He is still working for the New Yorker and was one of the originators of the New Yorker’s humor blog, The Cartoon Lounge. He is featured in both volumes of the New Yorker’s cartoon anthology The Rejection Collection. Drew has also been etching gravestones with a Dremel tool for almost 20 years. He has etched lettering and images onto about 1,000 gravestones, with images such as Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots logos, Snoopy, the Tasmanian Devil, cans of Budweiser beer and winning scratch tickets. Check out
Drew’s website and then head over to The Cartoon Lounge.

What is your favorite pen to use?
It's really what kind of ink, and I use regular old Higgins drawing ink.

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

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Mostly the computer, but I like to mix the two.

What type of paper do you use?
I use scratchboard, and not fancy scratchboard - the cheap, 12-pt. student grade stuff.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I hate drawing feet (now, everybody, stop looking at the feet in my drawings). With the scratchboard, the line is very heavy, so it's good for drawing rough, angular things but not so good at smooth or curvy things. Clouds look like boulders, and it's difficult to draw a thin, attractive woman without her looking a little bit like a cyborg.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I get my scratchboard straight from the manufacturer, and I mean that literally. They've been great, and I even drove up to the loading dock of the plant once and had them give me a trunk full of the stuff before it ever got cut up and packaged for retail. Other than that, I actually enjoy the experience of browsing through an art store, so even though I could place an order easily, I prefer to go there myself.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Sleep. I can't think or focus well if I'm not well rested. Ideally, it would be good to also have a clean and organized desk, but that's never going to happen. When you're cleaning, you're missing out on sleep.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I listen to music and the radio and the sounds of the people above me taking a shower. In terms of music, I listen to both genres.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I did read comic books, and it was mostly the Bugs Bunny or the Fantastic Four type. In terms of strips, liked Peanuts and Herman and whatever else was in our Sunday paper. The first comics that entered my consciousness in a "hey, I want to do this for a living" way were The Far Side and Life in Hell. I suppose I liked Shoe also. Also, does anybody remember Ed Emberley?

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Speaking of Ed Emberley, his "Make a World" book was something I copied from for hours on end. I don't think I own a copy anymore. I did read a lot of books, but I can't remember many of them that well. I can say that my most cherished books were a dinosaur picture book that my grandfather owned, a baseball card book by Bert Randolph Sugar, and a really stupid joke book called Games You Can't Lose. It had pages like "Word Search" with only one single word on the page, or crossword puzzles made up of one square, and I somehow thought it was hysterically funny, over and over again.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I had great art training in high school, and I did get a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William & Mary, only to disappoint my professors by telling them that I really wanted to be a cartoonist.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
The idea of the Internet is a blessing. The actual Internet is something less than a blessing. As much as it has opened up opportunities and given exposure to a whole lot of wonderful things, it has cheapened the value of cartoons overall.

Did either of your parents draw?
My Dad can draw Donald Duck.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Everybody has been supportive, from my parents and teachers and friends all the way down to my wife and the robot that I programmed to sit at the edge of my desk and repeat, "nice art."

Do you keep a sketchbook?
It's not a sketchbook, but more of a scratchbook. It's got cartoon ideas, ideas for whatever other projects are going on at the time, and lists of things I'd like to eat that evening for dinner.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I did teach a week long cartoon class at Lexington Christian Academy, in Massachusetts. I did it for several years. It was a lot of work but definitely enjoyable, and what really made it fun was seeing the high school kids respond creatively to challenges and unleash their creativity in new ways. From my perspective, the only way you can teach a cartoon class is not "Here's how to draw a dog the right way," but "here's how to think about a dog in ways that will lead you to insights and funny ideas."

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I'd rather look at the drawings of people who have a talent for art, as opposed to people who merely have passion for it.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect thoughts, which I primarily keep to myself, and maybe someday I'll share them. I used to collect baseball cards and I used to be a completist in terms of collecting records and CDs. I had to have that gatefold record cover or the Japanese-only version of the CD single. However, living in a tiny apartment makes it difficult to house a collection of anything. It's not just that one person's collectible may be another person's crap - sometimes your very own collectible is your own crap. I've settled into this position where if I'm not truly enjoying something, if I'm collecting it just to collect it, then I'd prefer to get rid of it.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I'd be that lost penguin in the old Bugs Bunny cartoon
.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Ask me again in six months. It might come down to that.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Pencils, pens, tracing paper pads, a Chinese takeout menu, Sharpies, magazines from three months ago, loose papers of all kinds, eight post-it note pads with only two or three post-its still remaining in each one, scotch tape, some bills I should probably pay, scraps of paper with things on them that I should remember, receipts, a light board, assorted business cards, coffee stains, a mix CD that has a 35% chance of having Johnny Cash on it.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I'm a self-taught iPod master.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Make sure both the lap belt and the shoulder belt are buckled in.

Who is your favorite artist?
I go through a new favorite artist every few years or so as my tastes change, but in general I never get tired of looking at a John Singer Sergeant, I think Marcel Duchamp is by far the most fascinating art figure of the last 100 years, and I think whoever invented the color orange is a genius.


Thank you very much Drew!

If you loved Wacky Packages growing up, then you will enjoy the next set of answers, from none other than Jay Lynch.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Taylor Jones - Cartoonist Survey #55

Taylor Jones is a caricaturist, political cartoonist and writer. His cartoons and caricatures have appeared in many newspapers worldwide including the Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Courrier Internationale (France) and Ma' Ariv (Isreal). Taylor is also a frequent contributor to magazines such as U.S. News & World Report and The New Republic. He illustrated a series of "How to Talk.." sports books which include Baseball, Basketball, Football, Golf and three others. In addition to the sports book series he also wrote and illustrated, "Add-Verse to Presidents" which lampoons the U.S. presidents. Taylor has even done work for Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central. His website features a "caricature of the week" with this week's being none other than Massachusetts' own, Scott Brown. Taylor also has a great blog over at Cagle's Cartoons.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I have largely abandoned dipping pens and the finest inks for markers called Staedtler Pigment Liners. This is for two reasons: First, many of the "fine" art materials are now manufactured in China. "Quality control" does not exist there. The nibs and inks they produce are unreliable crap. Secondly, back in 2007 I had a terrible fall from a ladder. I was unable to work at all for a month, and was confined to a wheelchair for another two months. Unable to get up out of my chair to wash out pen points or brushes, I tried some Staedtler markers that were sitting in a drawer in my studio, unused. Not only do they produce line work that's just about as good as fine pen nibs, but you can paint right over them with ink wash or colored inks without smearing! They've been a godsend, and I hoard them now so I will able to keep working during the Apocalypse.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, and given a chance, I'd ONLY work in pencil. 2B's: Tombow, Staedtler, and Derwent -- whatever's available in the pencil bins. (Sorry to mention Staedtler again -- I don't want to be seen as a shill for the company).

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Like many cartoonists my age, 57, I still draw nearly all my work by hand. However, I do scan all work into digital form, do much of my lettering in PhotoShop, and make occasional corrections electronically as well.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Mostly Winsor-Newton colored inks and some watercolor. I'm not really a painter.

What type of paper do you use?
Mostly Strathmore 500 illustration paper.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
"Hate" is a strong word. I'm NOT GOOD at drawing mechanical objects, including cars, as I have no mechanical ability whatsoever. So rendering machines of any kind is always a struggle for me.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
So far I've only made one purchase of art materials online. How does one buy a $35 watercolor brush without physically examining it first (and discreetly pointing the bristles with some spit)? Someday, no doubt, actual art store buildings will vanish entirely. Then I'll do my shopping online.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Digestion and excretion.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I listen to a wide range of music. However, I learned from Garrison Keillor that it's best not to divulge one's musical tastes, so as to avoid puzzled stares or ridicule. Or, worst of all, discover some musical "soul mate" who wants to talk your ear off about his or her favorite music.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I only leafed through comic books while waiting for haircuts at my local barbershop. In that context, I guess my favorite was the Green Lantern. Otherwise, I paid zero attention to comic books or comic strips, or even political cartoons, as a young child. I did enjoy the TV version of "Batman," however.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
(See previous answer).

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
If I had a favorite book, it was probably "Pagoo," by Holling Holling. Yes, that's right -- Holling Holling. It was illustrated by his wife, Louise Holling. It was the story of the life cycle and "adventures" of a hermit crab, beautifully and very scientifically illustrated. I purchased a copy of the book for my daughters, but they couldn't have cared less.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No, but I should have. I was a political science major in college.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Both, of course.

Did either of your parents draw?
My father was a fine illustrator and ad man in New York. Unlike me, he could draw and paint anything, and could sculpt as well. I grew up on Long Island, surrounded by superb art produced by my father and his friends, as well as wonderful art books, and I met many famous illustrators of the 1950s and early 1960s. Sadly, I took it all for granted. Clearly, I inherited whatever talent I have from him, but had little interest in drawing as a child. I preferred to explore the outdoors with my butterfly net, catching insects. By the time I began to take drawing seriously, when I was in college, it was too late for him to teach me anything. At age 20, children have little patience for parental mentoring. Too bad -- my loss!

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
No one, really.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I've purchased numerous sketchbooks over the years. Haven't filled a single one.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Talent? Passion? I see it more as an ability to meet deadlines.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I do. Never did before I turned 50, but now I do.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Nate the nudebranch. (Pronounce nood-a-brank). There is no such character, but there should be.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Are any cartoonist lefties?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Probably field biology.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
What had once been an illegal studio apartment in my house, under previous ownership, serves as my actual studio.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I drum on my drawing board -- sometimes frantically.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Be smarter than me. You'll go farther.

Who is your favorite artist?
The cave painters of Lascaux.

Thanks a lot Taylor.

Up next is Reuben Award winning cartoonist Drew Dernavich.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rina Piccolo - Cartoonist Survey #54

Rina Piccolo who lives in New York City, began cartooning professionally in 1989. Her cartoons have been published in many magazines including The New Yorker and Parade. Aside from magazines her work can be found on greeting cards, cartoon anthologies and other books. Since 2002 Rina's comic strip, Tina's Groove, has been syndicated by King Features and appears in more than 100 newspapers. A collection of her strips, "Tina's Groove: A Cartoon Collection by Rina Piccolo" was released in 2006. For over 9 years Rina has also been the Wednesday cartoonist for the Six Chix comic strip, which is syndicated in over 120 papers by King Features. Six Chix is a weekly comic that is a collaboration of six women cartoonists, who each have one day for their drawings with Sundays being on a rotating basis. Her website has samples of her strip and even a store where you can buy original art. You can find out more about the Six Chix comic strip here.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I draw my comic strip with a brush. However, I do like the Nikko G nib, and I also use Speedball B6 and A5 for lettering.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes. A mechanical one.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Depends on the job -- my Sunday comic strip and some panels are colored on the computer.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Aqua-tints.

What type of paper do you use?
Depending on the job I use Strathmore Bristol plate 500 series, Strathmore smooth 300 series, and Borden &Riley Bleedproof Paper #234.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Books on a shelf. It always seems like I'm drawing a bunch of sloppy lines that don't look anything like books on a shelf!

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both. Boy, that's such a 21st Century question -- yes, I get physical when it comes to art supplies.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Not really. I have to be warm, so I guess turning on the space-heater at my feet? Sometimes, if it's just inking I'll turn on the radio, or listen to podcasts.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
When it's not talk radio it's music. Classical.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I ATE comics as a kid! Peanuts, and Mad Magazine -- couldn't get enough of them!

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Peanuts.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"Harry The Dirty Dog".... and yes, I still have a copy of that wonderful little book!

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No formal training.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
I've changed my feeling to blessing. But in some ways I still hate it. Time will tell which of these polar opposites will outweigh the other for me.

Did either of your parents draw?
Not really, but I have caught my mother drawing grapes once or twice. Grapes, of all things. She also made drawings of birds and flowers as patterns for embroidery when she was younger.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My brothers, my aunts, my cousins. Mostly, my husband.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Absolutely.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Once. To little kids. It was fun because I found some of the kids genuinely imaginative and laugh-out-loud funny.

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

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Yes. Vintage Postcards.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
A Barbapapa. I'd love to live in that surreal landscape!

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty. But I’m really trying to change.

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's a small room. My drawing table is surrounded by books, papers, brushes, dirty ink cloths, pumpkin seeds, a radio, and an iPod dock.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Kazoo?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw obsessively every single day. Learn about the business side of it so you won't go into anything with any illusions. I guess that's two pieces of advice!

Who is your favorite artist?
Aw, do I have to choose just one? Lynda Barry, William Steig, Charles Addams... Sorry, I just have so much admiration to give!



Thank you Rina!

Caricaturist and political cartoonist Taylor Jones provides his answers next.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chris Sabatino - Cartoonist Survey #53

Chris Sabatino is a full-time freelance cartoonist illustrator from Canton, MA, working mainly in children's publishing. He has created artwork for such clients as Crayola, Howard Johnson's & Girls' Life. He's produced cartoons for countless Complete Idiot's Guides as well as the illustrations for the best selling "Big Book of Boy Stuff". He created an activity book for Gibbs Smith Publishers called "Pocket Doodles for Boys" that will be in bookstores March 1st (and you don't have to be a boy or have pockets to enjoy it)!

Chris was nice enough to provide me with his own bio above. His book "Pocket Doodles for Boys" is already available for purchase through Amazon, so go take a look and buy it. You can see more of his work on his website. Oh yeah, Chris also just started a spankin' new blog, so stop over and say hello to him.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I have always used rapidographs, but recently Cartoonist Extraordinaire, Bill White (from Cartoonist Survey #1) turned me on to Pigma Micron Pens and I LOVE them!

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I always draw in pencil first and, because I have never met a pencil I didn't like, it changes daily.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I used to color by hand, but clients have forced me to color completely by computer now (in PhotoShop).

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I used to color with watercolors. I've bought some very expensive watercolors, but the thing that worked best for me was a Snoopy Watercolor Set that I bought at CVS.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore 500 series Bristol Plate.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I hate to draw cars & motorcycles. I was hired to illustrate The Complete idiot's Guide to Motorcycles and found creative ways not to draw any for the book!

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I used to always buy my stuff at a local art store hoping to keep them in business. Then I discovered the owner was evil so now I order online from Blicks...or take a trip into Boston to go to Blick's super store there (which is like a trip to Disneyland for me).

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Before I start a new project, I always clean up my studio and empty all the trash barrels.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
No, I keep the TV on. I find it very lonely to work alone all day, I miss having coworkers. The TV keeps me company, although I barely ever look up at the screen. I have Boomerang on a lot.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Big comics fan...mostly Marvel. Favorites were X-men, Fantastic Four & Avengers. Favorite characters were Yellowjacket, Quicksilver & Phoenix.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I think Robotman, which isn't around anymore...now it's Monty.
My all time favorite TV cartoon was Frankenstein Jr. & the Impossibles...just like the guy that runs this blog!


What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
As a kid, I had every how-to-draw book I could find. My favorite always changed, I had no attention span...still don't.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I am a 1984 graduate of the New England School of Art & Design (now part of Suffolk University). I majored in both Graphic Design & General Art (Illustration).

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing! My kids don't realize how lucky they are to have the entire world's information at their fingertips! Remember what it was like to look something up in an encyclopedia???

Did either of your parents draw?
I didn't find out until late in life that my Dad, who was a cop, was actually a very talented artist!

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
By far it has to be my wife. After graduating art school I took a job at a local defense plant. The pay was good, but it was destroying my soul. Even though we had two kids and a mortgage, my wife totally supported me quitting my full time job to become a full time freelance illustrator/cartoonist. She even had to go back to work full time so we could have health benefits!

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Always.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No! Hated school. I get nauseous just going to parent/teacher conferences.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
PASSION! I believe that all art is the expression of emotions. Drawing is just one way people let their feelings & stories be told. There are many ways of expressions in the world and all start with passion.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Bobbleheads, toys, and action figures.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
"Schleprock" from Hanna Barbera's Pebbles & Bamm Bamm (1971)

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Write comic books.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I have a wonderful studio right next to our house. It is filled with toys & books.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No. I can't even listen to music well.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Go for it! I listened to all the people who said I couldn't make a living at this and when I finally got the courage to try (at age 36), it took off!

Who is your favorite artist?
Bob Staake. His book "The Complete Book of Humorous Art" inspired me to quit my job and become a full-time artist!



Thanks again Chris.

Next up are answers from the cartoonist Rina Piccolo.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rick Geary - Cartoonist Survey #52



Cartoonist, illustrator and writer, Rick Geary had his first cartoons published in his college newspaper at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. In the late seventies he became well known for his work in Heavy Metal and the National Lampoon. His work has also appeared in such publications as MAD, The Los Angeles Times, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Rolling Stone and The New York Times.

Rick has done work for three of the major comic book giants, DC and Dark Horse and Marvel. One of the comic books he did the artwork and lettering for was Wildcard’s Eisner Comic Industry Award winning Gumby Comics that came out in 2006. He has done many graphic novels including adaptations for the Classics Illustrated series, a nine-volume series called A Treasury of Victorian Murder. The Treasury of Victorian Murder series focuses on criminals of the 19th century including Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper and Charles Guiteau. Check out
his website here, and make sure you spend some time perusing the wonderful postcards that you can purchase directly from Rick!

What is your favorite pen to use?
I exclusively use a Rapidograph Pen, generally with a #0 size tip.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I always do a detailed pencil sketch before inking. Just a standard Ticonderoga H3 pencil.

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

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Prismacolor Pencils.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore 400 series 2-ply Bristol.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Crowd scenes.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I'd love it if there were a local art supply store where I live. Instead, I order online.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
None that I can think of.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Most of the time I have the television on (Turner Classic Movies or MSNBC), but if I listen to music, it's usually Classical.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Never a big comic fan as a kid, although I enjoyed Carl Barks' Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge stories.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
As a kid it was Dick Tracy. Nothing now since I don't have access to a daily paper.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I can't recall having a favorite book.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I graduated from the School of Fine Arts at the University of Kansas, but I feel that, as a cartoonist, I'm largely self-taught.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
Nope, neither one of them.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents were supportive, but never thought I could make a living at it. I was encouraged more by my contemporaries at school and at work.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No, I've never been a compulsive doodler.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No, I've never been a teacher.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Having both is ideal, of course, but if it's to be just one, I'd say Talent.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
For many years I've been an avid collector of postcards. I love images of all kinds.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Lefty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Some kind of historical research.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A four-foot table in a corner of my at-home studio with all of the materials and entertainment I need within arm's reach.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Used to play (badly) the clarinet.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Keep at it no matter what.

Who is your favorite artist?
The list would be very long, but I guess my all-time favorite cartoonist is Edward Gorey.



Thanks very much Rick.

Tomorrow's answers are from cartoonist Chris Sabatino who is the creator of the new book "Pocket Doodles for Boys."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Matthew Cordell - Cartoonist/Artist Survey #51

Matthew Cordell is an editorial and children's literature illustrator who lives in the suburbs of Chicago. He grew up in South Carolina and moved to Illinois in 1999. His wife Julie Halpern who collaborated with him to create the children's picture book, Toby and the Snowflake is also an author of young adult books. Some of the other children's books he has illustrated are Righty and Lefty, The Moon is La Luna and Return to Gill Park. In September of 2009 the first book in which he did both the illustrating and writing came out entitled, Trouble Gum. Matthew has both a website and a blog, so go look around! Plus he is a Bob Dylan fan which makes him A-OK in my book.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use Speedball nibs sizes B-5, B-5 1/2, and B-6. They tend to drive me crazy, and I often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, but those are what I use. Love/hate, really.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I've always drawn in pencil first. I would love to go straight to pen, but I just don't have the guts yet. Ticonderoga 2 HB.

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

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Watercolor. I typically use the junky pans (the kind kiddies use in preschool), but am considering ponying up for some better tube paints.

What type of paper do you use?
Lanaquarelle Hot Press 140 lb.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
In general, backgrounds. It's just so tedious and boring. But what're you gonna do? Sometimes, actually, I do without.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
When I lived near a decent art supply shop (Chicago), I would do the brick-and-mortar thing. It's nice to touch and feel, especially when considering new tool or product. But since we moved to Chicago's burbs, there's not one close enough. So I'm pretty much all Internet now.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Check email, sip coffee, clip fingernails, pet cat.... basically anything that's not drawing. Drawing's a scary, scary thing, man.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I have to have something going in the background. Usually music. Often Dylan. Sometimes NPR. I dig me some Terry Gross.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Absolutely. My fave was X-Men. Or Spider-Man.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Of all time: Peanuts. Of present time: Cul de Sac.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
GREEN EGGS AND HAM. Not the exact copy, but yes a copy.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I have a BFA in Graphic Design from Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC). Plus miscellaneous art programs, classes, studies along the way. Nothing in pen and ink. Nothing in watercolor. Oh well.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A big blessing. I wouldn't have the career I have today without the Internet. What a breeze. I mean, yeah, there are some things that are definitely unlikable about it, but I'm cool with it.

Did either of your parents draw?
Nope.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes. An often-neglected one, but I do go through heavy sketchbook periods.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Never have.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Hmm. I suppose talent. Although, creativity might be better. A truly creative soul can seem to make something out of nothing. Or is that the same thing as talent? Passion is good too.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect books and Bossons. (Editor's note: I'm pretty sure that Matthew collects those neat, chalkware head wall plaques and not the Swedish singer-songwriter's memorabilia.)

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Julie sometimes says I sound like/say things like Hank Hill. I don't think I'm quite so unyielding, but she might argue the point.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Mail Carrier always looked pretty cool. Or Archaeologist.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I've been cluttering one of the three bedrooms in our house. I can never seem to get organized.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I once played amateur-style hand drums. Only mildly embarrassed, admitting it.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Be nice, be cool, and be patient. There's a lot of competition out there, and if you're one that's not nice, not cool, and not patient, you will be cooked.

Who is your favorite artist?
At the moment, positively, John Burningham.



Thanks a lot Matthew!

Cartoonist and illustrator Rick Geary shares his answers next.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jason Little - Cartoonist Survey #50!

Jason Little is a cartoonist and illustrator living in New York and is best know for his Ignatz Award winning online comic, Shutterbug Follies. In 2002 Doubleday released Shutterbug Follies as a graphic novel. The story is based on the character Bee who is a photographer and photo lab technician. While working at the photo lab she ends up keeping copies of the more interesting pictures she develops. The plot thickens when she develops some pictures that have dead bodies as their subjects. Jason uses many techniques including, rounded borders like old photos and panels that look like the are shot through a fisheye lens to highlight similarities between photography and the graphic novel. He has also created the comic book, Jack's Luck Runs Out which was release by Top Shelf Productions. Visit Jason's website and his blog.

What is your favorite inking tool to use?
I like the Kuretake brush pen. Unfortunately the ink isn't waterproof, so I'm experimenting with loading it with Kooh-i-noor Ultradraw, with a drop of windex in there to thin it.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I've always used Colerase light blue, but have recently started using blue and indigo as well.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
In PhotoShop. I hate it. I want to watercolor right on the board. We'll see if I have the balls to do it.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
When I do, it's Dr. Martin's transparent.

What type of paper do you use?
Lately Canson watercolor paper, but I'm switching back to Strathmore bristol (300 or 400 series) which is harder and lets you scrape the ink off with a razor blade.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both. I've found the Canadian website www.Currys.com
good for some things that are unavailable in the U.S.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Brewing a pot of tea (P.G. Tips).

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Mostly www.WFMU.org , but also lately lots of renaissance chamber music (Atrium Musicae de Madrid) and prog rock (Gentle Giant).

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Tintin. Captain Marvel. Little Nemo.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Presently Ganges by Kevin Huizenga might be my favorite comic book.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Probably The Secret of the Unicorn by Hergé. Yes, I still have that copy.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I majored in art at Oberlin, but wasn't inspired by the drawing and painting classes so I mostly did printmaking and photography. Later I had guidance from professionals through internships. I had some very helpful criticism from Steve Geiger at Marvel, Mark Rubinchik at DiC Animation, and Jason Lutes and Dale Yarger at Fantagraphics.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
A little.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I do, but it's mostly clogged with to-do lists and lists of books, records, and paintings. Occasionally I'll draw the people on the subway if I'm caught without a book to read.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I presently teach drawing to Sophomore cartooning majors at SVA. I enjoy it a lot. One of the models once told me that I was the most well-organized teacher she had ever met. My drawing has improved more quickly since I've been teaching then during any other period in my life.

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

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I've started collecting 3d comics.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I share a rented studio with Joe Infurnari, George O'Connor, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, Kat Roberts, and Steve Ellis. Nice bunch of folks. It's in a building under the elevated F line in Brooklyn. I use the same desk I've had since I was a teenager, a folding "space-saver" (Alvin, maybe?). I've got a big black stack of institutional shelving pressed against the back of the table so I can keep books and pages organized. I have the tabouret from my teenage years at my right. I recently retired the Panasonic pencil sharpener that dates back to my teens as well.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Violin.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Consider whether or not you are an intrinsically high energy person. If you're not, like me, prepare to spend a lot of time working, and prepare to eliminate petty distractions from your life, like television, magazines, video games, and the Internet.

Who is your favorite artist?
It might be a toss-up between Hans Holbien the Younger and M.C. Escher at the moment.

Thank you Jason.
Coming soon are the answers from children's book illustrator, Matthew Cordell.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bob Staake - Cartoonist/Artist Survey #49



Bob Staake, who lives right here in my own state of Massachusetts, is an illustrator, children's book author, designer and cartoonist. I really love his use of bold colors and shapes in his illustrations, especially his children's books which remind me of my childhood some, eh hem, 40+ years ago. His art has been used by Walt Disney, MAD, The New Yorker, TIME, Sony and many other corporations. He has written multiple books on cartooning including, The Complete Book of Caricature and The Complete Book of Humorous Art. Bob has been awarded the Reuben Award for Best Cartoonist in Newspaper Illustration and The New York Time's Best Illustrated Children's Books Award. There is a lot to see on his website including a paper model of his studio complete with cupola.
Being the geek I am, I had to build it...


What is your favorite pen to use?
Black Fountain Pentel.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Any pencil will do, though I like 3B's by Ticonderoga.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
All my work is digitally colored using PhotoShop 3.0.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
A combo of things. Acrylics, Prismacolors, watercolor, gouache -- it's always a mixed bag.

What type of paper do you use?
Cheap, white bond.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I used to hate drawing horses. Probably because horses hate me. I fumbled through it, found a way to draw them -- now I LOVE drawing horses. Go figure!

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Again, white bond paper -- usually from Staples. I can only find Fountain Pentels at the MOMA store in New York, so when I'm in the city I stock up.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Yes, I try and remember to put on pants.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Mainly NPR in the studio.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Wasn't really a huge comics reader, but if I read anything it was probably those Harvey Comics (Casper, Little Wendy, Richie Rich). Never was into super heroes at all.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Der Struwwelpeter. No idea where my original copy went.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No. I took art in high school, but never after that. In college at USC I majored in journalism and international relations.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
No.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Really, I think it was me. I worked very hard to get to where I am in my career.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No. I draw all day and night for work. I don't have time to play around sketching.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, I have taught and have written a number of books on cartooning/illustration.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
If you have a REAL talent, then you'll have the passion. Simple as that.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Vintage Fiestaware, Heywood-Wakefield furniture, Mid-Century Modern design, books.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Right.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Probably a writer.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A 3-floor studio with a cupola on the roof. It' my sanctuary, my own little world where I spend at least 18 hours a day.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Clarinet - and poorly.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Read more than you draw.

Who is your favorite artist?
Diane Arbus.



Thank you Bob!

Cartoonist Jason Little is on deck with his answers.