Friday, January 21, 2011

Ian David Marsden - Cartoonist Survey # 205

Illustrator, cartoonist, designer and Flash animator Ian David Marsden was born in August of 1967 in Greenwich Village, NY. He grew up in Zurich, Switzerland where he graduated from the Formen and Farben Art School. In 1983 at the age of 16, he sold his first cartoons to Nebelspalter, a Swiss satirical magazine and soon was being published in various other Swiss and European newspapers and magazines. After opening his own studio in 1986 he worked on everything from advertising campaigns for Coca Cola and Visa to a children’s television show. He published his first book, “Zurich, My Little Town” in 1988 and soon after moved to New York City.

While in New York he studied illustration at Pratt Manhattan and continued to sell his cartoons to a variety of clients and publications including MAD Magazine and The New Yorker. Ian moved to Los Angeles where he lived and worked for the next 10 years. He got involved in web graphics and design, co-founding Sham Records Multimedia. At Sham Records he worked on Shockwave and Flash interactive websites and animations. He became one of the first creators of the ‘Google Doodles’ for the newly formed, designing the abduction of the Google Logo by aliens and the Kangaroo Doodle which ran during the Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. Ian graduated from the Academy of Entertainment Technology, Santa Monica College as a computer animation major and received the Mary Pickford scholarship.

In 2006 he moved back to Europe and continues to work as an international illustrator, art director and multimedia artist. He is also working on graphic novels and illustrated children’s books based on his own characters. Ian now lives in a small village in the South of France with his wife and their 3 daughters. To see more of his work go to his Marsden Cartoons website and follow him here on his blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
When I draw traditionally I use several dip pens with Pelikan black ink. When I work digitally I use a Wacom Cintiq 21UX.

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

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

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Winsor and Newton Watercolors or Ecoline washes.

What type of paper do you use?
Depending on the project I use watercolor paper or bristol.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both. Also whenever I travel I purchase local brushes and pens and nibs to experiment with.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I generally clean up my desk surfaces and organize everything quite rigidly before I begin a project. As the project progresses my studio becomes more and more cluttered and messy. When the project is completed and delivered I then look forward to the big cleanup and the next project.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yes. I listen to my iTunes mostly which has a very wide range of eclectic music from a pretty good jazz collection over classical to electronic music, Depeche Mode, rock and metal. I also listen to podcasts a lot such as MSNBC countdown with Keith Olbermann, TED talks, audio books and other shows.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Yes of course. Loved them. My favorite was Mad Magazine, then Heavy Metal and other underground comics, Marvel Comics but also some DC, Freak Brothers, Wonder Warthog, EC Comics, lots of European Comics, Belgian Ligne Claire and Atomic Style stuff, The Spirit, also early Disney strips. Pretty much whatever I could get my hands on.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Dilbert, Lil Abner I don't really follow strips too much.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Many, many. And yes many of them. If not the original from my youth then I have repurchased them.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Yes. I apprenticed as a graphic designer in an advertising agency. I also took illustration courses at Pratt Manhattan and I studied animation (traditional and computer animation) at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology, SMC Santa Monica.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing. Firstly I also create a lot of Internet content. Secondly I am an information junkie. Thirdly I live in the middle of nowhere in the south of France and still work with clients and publishers all over the world. This would simply be impossible without the Internet.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mother painted a bit. There are others in the family who were very artistic - grandmother and even further back but none of them made a profession out of it.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Well I would have to say my wife who has been enjoying the feast or fast lifestyle with me for 15 years now.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes. Several.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I have visited various schools (mostly my daughter's) and given individual little presentations and classes but I have never actually been on staff as a teacher.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Certainly if you had a talent but no passion the outcome would be less interesting than if you showed a lot of passion.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect books and I collect watches. A few times in my life I have moved halfway around the world and have given up pretty much all my belongings so sometimes I start at 0. I don't place too much value in items or things.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
SpongeBob or Batman or both.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I guess I would be a singer or a writer or an actor/comedian. If I had to choose a non-creative profession I would probably do something that involved travel, scuba diving, languages.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I draw cartoons and illustrations for magazines, newspapers, comics, and websites. I also create and design characters for logos, companies and events. I also work as an animator, mainly in flash for the Internet.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I sing and play keyboards. I used to have a home studio with reel to reel tape and various electronic instruments. Now I sometimes play around with their way more powerful software based grandchildren.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
No matter how incredible the software and hardware gets, never underestimate the importance of live figure drawing classes and traditional methods to 'hone your chops'.

Second piece of advice: Don't let rejection slips get you down. Keep sending in your stuff.

Thank you very much Ian!


Mike Rhode said...

David, you're still doing a great job. If you take requests, I'd like to see some hum0rous illustrators like Guy Billout, Christopher Bing, Istvan Banyai, Bob Staake...

Mike Rhode said...

Just found the early 2010 Staake one...

David said...

Thank you Mike. At your suggestion, I've just sent my questions out to Guy, Christopher and Istvan. Hopefully they will have the time to respond.

Thanks again, for stopping by and also for your ComicsDC blog ( which is a great resource.

Gordon Shumway said...

David, awesome tutorial, but while drawing you said your tablet didn't show what you were drawing on it, and yet in your info, it says you use the new Wacom 21UX... were you using a different tablet during this tutorial?


David said...

Gordon, that tutorial was an early video that Ian did. He does now use the Cintiq 21UX. You can see many more tutorial from him (some that use the new tablet) here on his Youtube channel...