Cartoonist Joey Weiser was born in April of 1983 and grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. He attended the Savannah College of Art & Design from 2001 to 2005 and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Sequential Art. Joey’s comics have appeared in many comics anthologies such as “Put the Book Back on the Shelf: A Belle & Sebastian Anthology”, “Jabberwacky”, “Strange Eggs” and the Harvey Award winning “Flight” series. His first graphic novel titled “The Ride Home” was published in 2007 and is about the adventures of a gnome named Nodo who is searching for his lost house. His next book, “Tales of Unusual Circumstance” came out in 2008 and is a compilation of short comics he created between 2004 and 2007. Last May Joey’s newest book, “Cavemen in Space” was released. This 248-page graphic novel tells the story of a caveman named Washington and his tribe, who get removed from their era and placed aboard a futuristic space laboratory.
His latest undertaking has been a series of self-published mini-comics that feature Mermin, a mysterious green fish-boy who washes up on a beach and is discovered by a group of young school kids. Joey just finished the 5th issue of Mermin which completes Part 1 of the series. All five issues of Mermin are available for sale over at his Tragic-Planet store. Joey also draws the weekly gag comic strip inspired by Japanese Kaiju monsters, Monster Isle, which appears both online and in print. A new full-color strip appears online every Thursday and a black and white version is printed in the “Marquee” section of The Athens Banner-Herald in Athens, GA. Joey lives in Athens, Georgia with his wife Michele, who is also an artist, and their cat Eddie. Check out his Tragic-Planet website where you can see much more of his work and can purchase all of his mini-comics, books and more. He also has a blog where you can find his tutorial on creating a comic page.
What is your favorite pen to use?
I prefer a brush, a Raphael Kolinsky Red Sable Fine Pointed Round Brush Series 8404 Size 2.
Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
For my final art I draw with a light blue Col-Erase pencil.
Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I color in Photoshop, typically in channels.
What type of paper do you use?
I use Strathmore 400 Series Smooth Bristol.
What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Probably a cliché, but I still have a lot trouble with cars. I have a few that I can draw from memory and in “my style” but outside of that, they tend to give me trouble.
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 one when I can, but for some of my supplies I order online.
Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Not really, I just get in there and start drawing!
Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I like a variety of music, but in the past few years have really become hooked on drawing to podcasts.
Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read comic strips for as long as I can remember, and in 4th grade started getting into X-Men comics, and then around 6th-7th grade started getting into indie/alternative comics through The Tick and Bone. And in middle – high school I got into manga such as Ranma ½ and Dragon Ball.
What is or was your favorite comic strip?
As a kid my favorite comic strips were Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County. Now probably Peanuts and Popeye.
What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I liked all sorts of books as a kid. My favorite book as a kid that I still have is probably "The Woodland Folk in Dragonland". That book’s world and its illustrations sucked me in and I would often imagine my own stories within it.
Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I majored in Sequential Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing. I love the Internet. Hi, Internet! I love you.
Did either of your parents draw?
Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife Michele Chidester is a big supporter, of course. And I have a group of very supportive friends in Athens, GA where I live.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
I have a sketchbook that I do sketches for stories and thumbnails for pages, but I don’t do a lot of sketching for sketching sake.
Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I’m very shy, so I have some trouble with it, but I’ve attended some cartooning events where I’ve done some informal instruction in small groups or one-on-one.
Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion! Talent is nice, but how many times have you seen something that you think “It’s drawn well, but so what?”
Do you collect anything and if so what?
Books, I suppose. My library is growing out of control.
If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I don’t know, I’m always bad at these kinds of questions…
Are you a righty or lefty?
If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I can’t imagine it. Cartooning is my greatest passion. Probably work in a library or book store.
In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I have a drawing desk with a lamp. Next to it I have all my art supplies and a calendar on the wall with all my deadlines.
Do you play any musical instruments?
I played tenor sax and a little bit of bassoon in high school, but I was never really into it.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw as much as you can, as often as you can! Also, do finished work even if you don’t feel like you’re “ready yet.” If you don’t do anything, you have nothing!
Who is your favorite artist?
Impossible question here! I think the three that I tend to think had the greatest impact on me are Jeff Smith, Akira Toriyama, and Charles Schulz, coming from the three different areas of cartooning that I am most interested in.
Thanks again for your time Joey!