Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Paul Combs - Cartoonist Survey #225

Lieutenant Paul Combs is an award winning illustrator, cartoonist and firefighter/EMT. He received a degree in Fine Art from Defiance College in 1991. He is a 15-year veteran of the Bryan, Ohio Fire Department where he is a Firefighter II, NREMT-B, HazMat Technician. Paul is also an Instructor for the City of Bryan Fire Training Academy where he teaches basic and advanced fire suppression, auto extrication, ventilation and ground ladder courses. As an illustrator his artwork has been published worldwide in newspapers, books and magazines; both print and online. He is the former editorial cartoonist for the Tampa Tribune, has been nationally syndicated through Tribune Media Services, Inc. and has had his cartoons published in multiple years of the “Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year” book series. He currently contributes editorial cartoons to Fire Engineering Magazine, FireEngineering.com, JEMS magazine and Public Safety Communications. In September of 2010 Paul’s book “Drawn by Fire” containing more than 150 of his fire service editorial cartoons was published. “Drawn by Fire” is available through all major booksellers, but you can also get a signed copy through his website. There you will also find signed and numbered limited edition Giclee prints of Paul’s cartoons for sale. See much more of Paul’s work here at his Art Studio Seven website and follow him on his blog.

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What is your favorite pen to use?

I use primarily Pigma Micron pens (assorted sizes).

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

Yes, everything thing I draw is penciled first with traditional Derwent wood drawing pencils.

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

After my work is inked, it gets scanned into Photoshop for painting.

What type of paper do you use?

Strathmore Bristol Smooth

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

I love drawing everything!

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

I shop at an art store in Ft. Wayne, IN for most supplies, but will use online stores like Cheap Joe's for hard to get items.

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

Coffee! Lots and lots of coffee! And, my studio has to be spotless with everything in its place - OCD, I suppose.

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

Yes! I will listen to classical, movie scores, or jazz instrumentals while thinking and composing an idea. Will switch over to rock or blues for the actual drawing.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?

Captain America and Superman are my favorites, but I read just about all of them religiously!

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?

My books were always comic books (drew my first one at age four) - and I wish I still had those! $$$

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?

Have a degree from The Defiance College in fine art, but am mostly self-taught.

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

Blessing. It gives artists new ways to communicate and share their work like never before. It can be a tool for research, marketing, and selling our work.

Did either of your parents draw?


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

My mother, and now my wife of twenty years - she's incredible! I would have divorced me years ago:)

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Oh, yes - 24/7. It goes everywhere I go...

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?

Never formally, but it's something I'd like to pursue in the near future.

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

It's 50/50. Technical skills are important and draw interest to your work, but if there's no meaning or passion behind what you are doing, what's the point.

Do you collect anything and if so what?

No, not really - I do not need another distraction.

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

The Tick - I'm kind of stupid like that:)

Are you a righty or lefty?


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

Well, I'm already a fireman, so I get to live both dreams.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

Neat woodsy decor with warm natural colors on hard wood floors that creek and drive my family crazy - especially when I do the mamba with my cat, Chloe!

Do you play any musical instruments?

Guitar - Fender Strat.

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

Be passionate about art, and draw, draw, draw, draw, and then do some more drawing. After 45 years, I still learn something new every time I sketch.

Who is your favorite artist?

Berkeley Breathed probably tops my list, but it's a very crowed list!

Thank you very much for your time Paul.

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