Saturday, January 29, 2011

Steve Artley - Cartoonist Survey #207





Steve Artley is an editorial and freelance cartoonist who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. He started cartooning professionally in the 1980s. His father Bob Artley is also a cartoonist who worked for the Des Moines Tribune and The Worthington Daily Globe before going on to write and illustrate books. Steve is a member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and his editorial cartoons are syndicated in the United States and Canada through Artizans. His work has been printed in publications such as the Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, and Time. Steve draws between one and five cartoons a week and since the Spring of 2009 has been producing a weekly editorial cartoon that is featured on the opinion page of The Alexandria Times.

His cartoons have also appeared in congressional publications, text books and trade journals. He has twice been awarded the “Best Editorial Cartoonist of the Year” award from the Minnesota Newspaper Association and in 2009 received both First and Second Place from the Virginia Press Association News Contest. Steve has also participated in the International Cartoon Festival in Budapest, was a member of a team of American cartoonists who met with their counterparts in (then Soviet) Moscow and has been a guest at the White House. In addition to his editorial cartooning he creates cartoons and illustrations for advertising, packaging, websites and promotional materials and has taught classes in cartooning and theatre. Visit Steven’s
artleytoons website, read his profile at the AAEC and browse through this collection of his editorial cartoons.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use a variety of the commercial pre-filled drawing pens. Faber-Castell PITT, Zig Millennium, Pigma Micron. They come in various fixed point sizes, as-well-as brush. All use acid free, archival quality waterproof ink (like traditional India ink).

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, I sketch in pencil first, using a Faber-Castell 9000 or Staedtler Mars Lumograph with HB lead. I like the feel of a wood pencil, although occasionally will use a mechanical lead-holder as well.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
For my published cartoon work, I color on the computer. After scanning in my hardline drawing in 300 dpi or higher, I adjust levels for a crisp black base. Next, I add layers in Photoshop using a graphics tablet and stylus to hand paint in the colors. The end product is a "flattened" TIF in RGB. I let each final user do the conversion to CMYK per their own specs for dot gain, etc. I also save a copy in Gray Scale, as many newspapers and a few magazines are black & white only.

What type of paper do you use?
Mostly, I use Strathmore 300 or 400 series bristol vellum surface, 100 lb stock.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I go to an art store. It's the one kind of shopping that I actually enjoy. Sometimes, I'll take an hour to browse through the store, chatting with the owners, or other artists.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
No ritual, other than the chanting and a burnt offering. Seriously, I do some stretches, hand massage, set the lighting, turn on the radio, CD, or iTunes, maybe have a hot or cold beverage within reach (safely placed away from the art). Then, I jump right in.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Primarily, classical or jazz. Otherwise, NPR.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
For comic books, my favorites were Superman, The Flash, and Batman. For newspaper funny pages, I pretty much read every feature, other than Dr. Morgan, MD and similar of the more serious variety. My all time favorite comic satire was MAD Magazine.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
As a little kid, my favorite was House at Pooh Corner and Milne's books of poems, When We Were Six, and When We Were Very Young. Yes, I own the same ones that I had as a kid (with my added sketches in the margins).

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Some college, and various courses and classes throughout my life.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
My father is a cartoonist and illustrates books that he has authored and books that others have authored.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Tons of sketchbooks.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I taught cartooning and theatre (two separate courses) at a private arts school in Minnesota. Loads of fun.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Yikes! This question would require an essay for proper answering. So, in essence I'd have to say talent is the mechanism you have on hand. Passion is its fuel.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Too many things. Art, antiques, books.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
A writer, actor, musician, or scientist (not necessarily in that order).

Do you play any musical instruments?
Used to play drums. Still play piano.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
I'd say there are basically three components that comprise a professional artist: talent, skill, and knowledge. Talent you are born with. Skill you hone (develop). Knowledge you acquire. So, practice your drawing, trying different techniques and media to develop your skill and acquaint you with various media to express yourself. Take classes! Also, study life drawing and still life. Develop a diverse portfolio. Be disciplined. After a time, you will settle on a preferred medium, and will see a unique (and hopefully marketable) style emerge.

Who is your favorite artist?
There are too many high in my stratosphere of admired artists for me to elect a favorite.

Thank you very much Steve!

A special thanks also goes out to Mike Rhode from the wonderful
ComicsDC blog who suggested I send my Cartoonist Survey out to Steve.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wardell Brown - Cartoonist Survey #206





Wardell “War” Brown is a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and comic book artist who works out of San Diego, California. He is known for his “neo-retro” style vector cartoons and illustrations. He began drawing cartoons and comics as a child and was heavily influenced by Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. He continued drawing cartoons throughout high school and spent time studying with cartoonist Bebe Williams, creator of the ‘Bobby Ruckers’ comics. Wardell graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1998 with a BFA in Illustration and moved to San Diego, CA to begin his career as a freelancer.

In 1999 he started an online weekly comic strip, ‘Spifficated’, about an angry mouse named Miles who has been committed to an asylum for having radical opinions. The first four years of the ‘Spifficated’ strips were collected into a single volume collection in 2004 titled, Spifficated: Sometimes You Just Have To Shout! The same year he also published his first sketchbook, The Art of War: A Wardell Brown Sketchbook. The Art of War features animal sketches, caricatures, original character designs and pin-ups. A second volume of The Art of War was issued in 2008. Other books by Wardell include his The Nice Guy's Guide to Dating Women, Doodle Buggy and War!: Veni, Vidi, Vector. As a freelancer he has created illustrations for magazines, animation, custom web site designs, logo designs, t-shirts and skateboard decks. To see more of Wardell’s work check out his website and his two blogs, War! Sketchpad and MariosHammer.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I don't know that I have a favorite pen. I like Zigs, Pilots, and Microns but I wouldn't call any my favorite.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, I always draw with pencil and paper first. I use both standard and mechanical. I usually start with a rough sketch using a color pencil and tight up the drawing with a mechanical one.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I do both. Professionally, I usually use the computer to ink and color.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
When I color by hand I usually use marker or watercolor.

What type of paper do you use?
I don't know the name of any paper I use. Usually it's just copy paper or illustration board when I paint.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
While there is nothing I hate to draw I won't enjoy drawing cityscapes and buildings as much as figures and vehicles.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I usually get my supplies online or at the local Dick Blick store.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
No. I don't think I have any rituals before I draw.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yes, I do listen to music. It's usually a mix of Hip-Hop, Rock, Pop, Jazz, Latin, Alternative, R&B even some Country every now and then.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Yes, I read comics as a kid. I was more a Marvel guy then DC with Spider-Man being my favorite.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
My favorite comic strip of all time is Calvin and Hobbes.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
My favorite book as an adolescence was John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" and yes I still own a copy of it.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Yes, I have a BFA in illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology and I have studied character design at the Animation Academy.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
The Internet is definitely a blessing. I find it levels the playing field and allows me to work with people all over the globe.

Did either of your parents draw?
No.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My mother has always been my number 1 fan.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No, I have never taught cartooning or drawing.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion is way more important than talent. No matter how talented you are, without passion you will not have the patience and discipline to be successful in the long run.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I don't really collect anything currently. As a teenager I collected comic books but I've not bought a comic book in years.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I would definitely be Popeye the Sailor.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I think I would be a writer or photographer.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I have a drawing table across from my computer.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, I do not. I played the clarinet as a kid but not anymore.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
My best piece of advice would to be to never get discouraged when a drawing doesn't turn out the way you wanted it. You can always draw it again.

Who is your favorite artist?
My favorite artist is Chuck Jones.


Thanks again Wardell.

Up next is political cartoonist Steven Artley.

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 Google.com, 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?
Both.

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?
Bicycles.

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?
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!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Marc Bell - Cartoonist/Artist Survey #204




Marc Bell is a Canadian artist and cartoonist who was born in London, Ontario in 1971. He studied at Bealart in London, Ontario and Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. His comics are reminiscent of the 60’s underground comix with wild drawings of strange people, talking plants and bizarre backgrounds. Marc self-published his comics for over a decade, producing dozens of titles including Knoze Clippah!, The Stacks, Gooma and Mojo Action Companion Unit. His comics have also appeared in numerous anthologies and were serialized in The Halifax Coast, The Montreal Mirror and Vice Magazine. In 2003 Highwater Books released a collection of his 'Shrimpy and Paul’ strips and since then his work has also been published by both Drawn and Quarterly and Fantagraphics.

Marc also creates Fine Art, combining drawings, mixed media cardboard constructions, altered found text and watercolors. The most recent release of his work was the book “Hot Potatoe” which came out in 2009. “Hot Potatoe” showcases his comic work as well as his Fine Art from 2001 through 2008. Marc now focuses mostly on his Fine Art and is represented by the
Adam Baumgold Gallery in Manhattan, NY. He lives with his partner Amy Lockhart who is an artist and animator. By the way, Amy is raising funds through the Kickstarter website to fund her new animated film, "Dizzler in MASKHERAID". Go here to make a donation. You can follow Marc on his blog and visit his page at Drawn and Quarterly.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I guess, for cartooning, it would be a hunt 107.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
When I draw comics I use pencil first: Standard, Staedtler, made in Germany. When I create standalone drawings, it varies, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I colour comics on the computer. Other work I colour by hand usually.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Watercolours and/or acrylic inks (similar to gouache).

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore bristol for comics. For watercoloured drawings I use Arches or Fabriano Hotpress. For mixed media work I use all manner of papers, some probably are not that "stable".

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Hmm. I don't know.

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

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

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yes. Anything I find interesting.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Yes. Mad Magazine.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Amy and Jordan.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I don't think I really had an all time favourite.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Yes. Bealart. And Mount Allison University.

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

Did either of your parents draw?
They doodled.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes. It was OK.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
A bit of both.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Small press.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Lefty.

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Not very big.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I like to play the drums Moe Tucker style.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Don't use liquid paper. Use FW Acrylic ink white (or something similar). It works better.

Who is your favorite artist?
Jim Nutt or Ray Johnson (couldn't decide).


Thanks again for your time Marc.

Up next is illustrator, cartoonist and animator, Ian David Marsden.

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?
Computer.

What type of paper do you use?
Bristol.

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?
No.

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?
Both.

Did either of your parents draw?
No.

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?
Talent.

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!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Shoo Rayner - Cartoonist Survey #202




Shoo Rayner is a British author and illustrator. He attended the Art College in Cambridge where he was introduced to children’s book illustration. Even though he battles dyslexia he has written and illustrated over 150 children's books. Since he has had to work hard to overcome his dyslexia, he is highly committed to ensuring that his books are designed to be both easy to comprehend and entertaining for children who are just learning to read on their own. A lot of the books Shoo creates are series that are based on characters such as Viking Vik, Ricky Rocket, Monster Boy, Axel Storm and the Ginger Ninja.

Shoo is also a big proponent of drawing and encourages both children and adults to grab a pencil and get started. He runs a video drawing school where he demonstrates how to draw people, animals, military vehicles, monsters, plants and much, much more. There are also videos on lettering, drawing in perspective and how to use watercolors. I spent over an hour going through some of these videos and Shoo’s enthusiasm and love of sharing his knowledge is quite apparent. It is no wonder that he is in big demand at schools, festivals and libraries to give his talks and demonstrations. He lives in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire, with his wife and two teenage children. Set aside some time and visit
Shoo’s website and his Shoo-Tube video drawing school.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Rotring Tikky.

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

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

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Watercolour and crayon; Winsor and Newton and Caran d'Ache.

What type of paper do you use?
I have a dwindling supply of CS2.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I'll have a go at anything. If I hate it I let it become a challenge.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both but my favourite store is L. Cornellisen & Son near the British Museum.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I sharpen my pencil and I'm told I always wave my drawing hand in a circle over the paper while I decide where to start.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Not anymore. I like silence now or podcasts and audio books.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Thor and Iron Man.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I liked Fred Basset when I was younger and Dune but I haven't read the papers in years.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Christmas at Blackberry Farm - yes I do.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Cambridge College of Arts and Technology. Diploma in Vocational Graphics (it was illustration really).

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
What! With all that reference material and new eyeballs to see my work?

Did either of your parents draw?
My mum did when she was young. Has started again at age of 85!

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Probably my old Editor Fiona Kenshole who is now a big wig at LAIKA animation and Colin McNaughton the children's book illustrator who taught me at College and encouraged me a lot.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I've hundreds of them and have several on the go for different things. I do all my preliminary work in a sketchbook and work out all my ideas too.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
See my online drawing school at www.shoo-tube.com/ and www.youtube.com/shooraynerdrawing. I love teaching classes, especially very young kids and oldies who think they can't draw.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Persistence is the key.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Stuff I find on walks - dolls shoes to moss and fungi.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty (duh obvious).

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A mess.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I used to play guitar but I haven't picked it up in a long while.

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

Who is your favorite artist?
Botticelli or Maurice Sendak.



Thanks again Shoo.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eric Shanower - Cartoonist Survey # 201




Cartoonist, author and illustrator Eric Shanower was born in Key West, Florida on October 23, 1963. As a child he read and fell in love with the stories by L. Frank Baum and the illustrations by John R. Neill. Inspired by his reading he started writing and drawing his own stories that were continuations of the Oz series. Eric graduated from Novato High School (California) in 1981 and then in 1984 graduated from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey. His first work as a professional cartoonist came the day after he graduated from the Kubert School when he was hired to letter an issue of First Comics’ Warp comic book. Over the years he polished his Oz stories and in 1986 the first volume of his series of Oz graphic novels, The Enchanted Apples of Oz, was published by First Comics. Four more volumes of the series were released, and in 2007 IDW Publishing collected all five graphic novels into a large single volume titled, Adventures in Oz.

In 1991 Eric came up with an idea to tell the story of the Trojan War legend in comic book form, combining the Greek myth with archaeological findings to make it as historically accurate as possible. The result is his Age of Bronze series that premiered in 1998. Published by Image Comics, the Age of Bronze comics are first serialized in individual issues of the comic book and then collected into graphic novel format. So far 31 individual issues have been issued and have been collected into three graphic novel volumes. The whole Age of Bronze project is projected to fill seven graphic novels. Eric was awarded two Eisner Awards for Best Writer-Artist for his work on Age of Bronze, one in 2001 and another in 2003. Age of Bronze is popular around the globe and has been translated into Spanish, French, Polish, Italian, Croatian, and Indonesian.

In addition to his Oz and Age of Bronze series, Eric’s work has been published in numerous, books and magazines by Marvel Comics, Archie Comics, Random House, DC Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, HarperCollins and many others. In 1994 he and his partner David Maxine co-founded Hungry Tiger Press which publishes Oz books, Oz-related comics and compact disks. He recently has been writing comic book adaptations of L. Frank Baum's original Oz novels for Marvel Comics, which are being illustrated by Skottie Young. The comics are being collected into graphic novel form. The first collection of these adaptations, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, won the 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for "Best Publication for Kids" and "Best Limited Series or Story Arc." Outside of the comic and illustration world, Eric is a trained ballet dancer and has performed in many theatrical productions. He lives in San Diego with his partner, David. Visit
Eric’s website, the official Age of Bronze website and stop by Hungry Tiger Press to purchase all things Oz. Hungry Tiger Press also has a blog where you can learn more about the world of Oz.

What is your favorite pen to use?
My favorite pen nib is a Hunt 22B.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I draw in pencil before I ink. I currently prefer a Staedtler Mars F, though my preference has changed over the decades, and occasionally it depends on what’s available at the art supply store.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I color both by hand and on the computer.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
When I color for reproduction, I usually use Dr. Ph Martin’s water colors. When I color for permanence, I usually use colored inks.

What type of paper do you use?
I mostly draw on Strathmore 2-ply Bristol board, 500 series, vellum surface.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I hate to draw automobiles.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I buy art supplies from all sorts of sources, including big chain art store catalogues and websites, and local art supply stores that I go to.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
No.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I usually listen to music while I draw. Genres I listen to include current pop, 1980s alternative, 1970s hits, 1960s hits, 1950s hits, swing, ragtime, musical theater, a cappella, romantic period opera, and classical.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read comics as a kid. My favorite changed over the years. At different points my favorites were Tintin, Richie Rich, Shazam!, Justice League of America, Fantastic Four, and X-Men.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I’ve had a number of favorite comic strips. They’ve included Steve Canyon, Peanuts, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Pogo, and Ernie Pook’s Comeek.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
For many years while I was a child my favorite book was Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I still own a copy.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I had many art classes as a child. After high school I attended The Joe Kubert School of Cartooning and Graphic Art.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
I think that the Internet is both a blessing and a curse, but those are both pretty extreme labels that I wouldn’t generally use about the Internet.

Did either of your parents draw?
My mother draws a little bit.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
The person in my life most supportive of my art is my partner David.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I don’t keep a sketchbook.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I have been an assistant teacher in a drawing class. I did not enjoy the experience. I don’t understand why many other people can’t even begin to try to draw on paper an object in front of them. This disconnect baffles me, though there obviously seems to be one. I get frustrated if I’m involved in this situation, and that’s not helpful to anyone.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Choosing between talent and passion, I guess I’d say that passion is more important in drawing, but I think they’re part of the same thing.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect books, comics, and a little artwork.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I have no idea who I’d be if I were an animated cartoon character. I’ve done voices for a couple animated projects, but I certainly don’t think I’m either of those characters. In 1988 people said my hair looked like Hermey the dentist’s hair.

Are you a righty or lefty?
I draw with my left hand.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
If I weren’t an artist, I’d be a writer.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
My drawing area consists of a standard drawing table that I’ve had for more than 25 years, with lamps that every so often need to be replaced because they fall apart, and a chair that also needs replacement less frequently than the lamps; this set-up faces a window. At one side of the table are shelves where I keep the telephone and projects I’m working on, at the other side is a tabouret with drawers where I keep most of my supplies, nearby is my pencil sharpener on a small table with more supplies, and the room is lined with book cases jammed with all sorts of publications.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I don’t currently play any musical instruments.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Retain as much ownership and control over your published work as you possibly can. If you have to sign away all your rights or enter work-for-hire contracts at times because you need the work, the money, or the exposure, okay. But limit these situations as much as you can and plan to implement the federal thirty-five year reversion for all-rights contracts. And while you should produce professional-level results in those situations, DO NOT lose your heart to that work.

Who is your favorite artist?
My favorite artist is John R. Neill.



Thank you very much for your time Eric!