Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Erik Larsen - Cartoonist Survey #203

Photo Credit: Rachel Swan

Comic book writer, artist and publisher, Erik Larsen was born in Minneapolis, MN in December of 1962. He started drawing and creating comic books at a very early age with his own character “The Dragon”. Together with a couple of friends, he published a fanzine titled Graphic Fantasy that featured his character. In 1983 Erik got his first paid work when he illustrated and helped create a story for the comic anthology Megaton. His Dragon character made appearances in the next three issues of Megaton. Erik went on to work on AC Comics’ “Sentinels of Justice” and Eclipse Comics’ “The DNAgents”. He spent a short while at DC where he worked on the titles, “Adventures of Superman”, “The Outsiders”, “Teen Titans” and “Doom Patrol”. He then moved on to Marvel Comics working on various titles before taking over the artwork duties on “Amazing Spider-Man” with Todd McFarlane’s departure in 1990. After over twenty issues of “Amazing Spider-Man”, Erik then wrote and drew the six-issue story arc "Revenge of the Sinister Six" (#18-23) on “Spider-Man”.

Looking to gain more control of his work Erik and six other illustrators left Marvel in 1992 to found Image Comics. After reworking his “Dragon” character into the “Savage Dragon”, he released it through Image as a three-issue mini-series. Gaining enough success to warrant a monthly series, the “Savage Dragon” comic book was launched in 1993. Becoming very popular his “Savage Dragon” character was adapted into a 26 episode animated series in 1995 by USA Network. After over 16 years “Savage Dragon” is still going strong and Erik still writes and illustrates the series entirely by himself. In 2004 he became the publisher of Image Comics and continued in that position until July of 2008 when he realized “it was not possible to be both a fulltime publisher and a fulltime cartoonist efficiently”. A recent visit to the
New England Comics website shows that issue #168 of “Savage Dragon” should be out tomorrow. Eric and his wife have two sons and live in Oakland, CA. Stop by the Savage Dragon website to learn more about Erik and his work.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use a Hunt 102.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I do rough layouts with a standard #2 pencil.

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

What type of paper do you use?

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Cars, animals.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
A local store for most of it.

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

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Generally not for penciling--but often when I'm inking I'll listen to music--whatever's on my iPod. Mostly rock from the whole spectrum.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I did. Hulk, Kamandi, Captain Marvel Adventures and assorted other comics. I read mostly Marvel books.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin and Hobbes.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
The Real Diary of a Real Boy by Henry A. Shute, and yes, I do.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I do not.

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

Did either of your parents draw?

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My dad.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes--several--but I don't actively draw in them.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I taught a couple classes at conventions but nothing formal. It was okay.

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

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Comic books--original art--music, old books.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Joe Jitsu from the Dick Tracy cartoon.

Are you a righty or lefty?
I'm right-handed.

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's complete chaos.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I do not.

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

Who is your favorite artist?

Jack Kirby.

Thank you very much Erik!

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