Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vic Lee - Cartoonist Survey #230

Vic Lee is an artist, internationally syndicated cartoonist, athlete and musician. An All-American athlete, he left college early to become a professional soccer player. Suffering an on-field, career-ending injury, he spent the next 10 years working as a stage actor and bartender in Seattle, WA. He got together with three business partners and they opened a series of health clubs in San Diego. Appointed marketing director, Vic looked for a way to advertise the clubs in a non-traditional way. He settled on a weekly cartoon that would combine fitness and humor to hopefully get people to read the advertisements. After spending months looking for the right cartoonist but with no luck, he decided to do it himself. His cartoon ads were extremely successful, winning three Nova 7 Awards for Marketing.

Vic soon began creating his own daily comic panel and ended up selling his shares in the gym to focus on his cartooning. This move paid off as King Features Syndicate picked up his comic and now his “Pardon My Planet” is distributed to close to over 150 newspapers. “Pardon My Planet” covers a wide range of subject matters such as “courtship, marriage and divorce to birth, death, the afterlife and all the fears in between, including doctors, lawyers, monsters, and puberty”.

In 2002 Vic went through a period where he immersed himself in religious studies challenging his own deeply rooted religious beliefs. During this time he began to paint and used it as “an outlet to help him deal with the process of his own spiritual evolution and changing view of the world”. Even though he has no art training he has become a prominent oil painter painting under the name St. Victor. His paintings have been displayed at museums, galleries, festivals and featured in magazines including, Juxtapoz, Architectural Digest and Art Buyer Magazine. He was named one of the “Top 500 Artists Worldwide” by New York Arts Magazine and World Arts Media. Learn more about Vic’s painting at his Saint Victor Diaries website and then visit the St. Victor Diaries Gift Shop.

Vic made a New Year’s resolution in 2008 to start writing songs and learn to sing and play the synthesizer. He followed through with it and is now the front man for the band Spitfire Sparrow. The band has just released their second CD, “Raised By Wolves” which is available for download on iTunes and The “Raised By Wolves” CD was conceived, written and recorded for the purpose of raising and donating a percentage of the proceeds to rescue and rehabilitate dogs that are on death row in shelters. Vic and his wife Lisa live in Santa Fe, NM where they run a dog rescue sanctuary. See more of Vic’s “Pardon My Planet” at King Features. You can purchase “Pardon My Planet” prints, mugs and tote bags here.

What is your favorite pen to use?

I use a Picah brush pen.

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

I use a mechanical pencil and a big gummy eraser.

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

On the computer.

What type of paper do you use?

Standard ultra bright 24lb 98 brightness from Staples or whatever office store is closest when I remember that I need more paper. I'm just going to scan it in anyway.

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 go Staples for paper and Michaels for brush pens.

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

Take one half a vicodin and an 8oz Red Bull.

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

I do - I listen to my own band Spitfire Sparrow as we're in the final stages of our first CD, so I'm critiquing each song and making mixing changes while drawing. We're what you would get if Green Day mated with Herman's Hermits.

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

Yep, read Fred Basset, BC, Bringing Up Father, the Far Side, Calvin & Hobbes, Bizarro and Herman when I got older.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

Bizarro and Speed Bump.

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

Favorite book was a book my grandmother gave me about horses - I still have it.

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

None whatsoever.

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

As a cartoonist it's a blessing in that it makes my job a lot easier as I'm also a fine artist ( and musician so I'm on the road a lot and being able to upload from anywhere is a blessing. The obvious curse is the loss of newspaper readership. As a fine artist and musician my sales and exposure are ten times what they would be otherwise. All in all - a big blessing.

Did either of your parents draw?


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

My parents and my wife, Lisa - who is a big influence on all my endeavors.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Only for the fine art.

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

Never taught. Have been offered opportunities for the fine art but never really interested in doing it.

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

Talent for cartooning and music - passion for the fine art.

Do you collect anything and if so what?

Dogs. My wife is a rescuer.

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

Mowgli from "The Jungle Book".

Are you a righty or lefty?

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

NFL placekicker and punter or college special teams coach.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

It's either crowded with art canvases and music recording gear, or open to a botanical garden and gorgeous pool yard, or a Starbucks.

Do you play any musical instruments?

Synthesizer and vocals.

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

Study marketing and psychology.

Who is your favorite artist?

John Waterhouse.

Thank you very much Vic!

1 comment:

Sushma Clark said...

Vic Lee's Dec. 22 strip of "frosty" stabbed "to death with stem of corn cob pipe" was too far over the edge. Today's paper reported a woman killed with a screw driver. It is not funny. The overly black "humor" in several comics this week pulls us all down.