Monday, February 28, 2011

Peter Nilsen - Cartoonist Survey #212




Two weekends ago my wife and I attended the Bear’s Den Fly Fishing show which was held in Taunton, MA. Since my dad is a saltwater fly fishing guide, he had a booth there to answer questions and demonstrate fly tying. After hanging out with dear old dad for awhile, my wife and I took a walk around the show to check out all of the new fly tying material and tackle. My wife was the first one to spot a book of fishing cartoons (“Fish Foolishness”) and introduced herself to the next survey participant, Peter Nilsen. I must have been looking at some new synthetic wing material or searching for the tray of free brownies I was told was in the area. We chatted with Peter and I asked him if he would like to participate in my Cartoonist Survey. He readily agreed, and even saved my brain a little work by sending me his bio ready for posting (with some minor editing for length).

My cartooning started at eight years old, when I used to trace my favorite cartoon characters from the comic section of the local newspaper. When I was only 10 years old, I started taking art classes at the Art Association in Newport, RI. There I learned to draw what I saw and paint what I felt. Even then, I knew that some day, I wanted to become a professional artist. I graduated from High School in Newport and in those four years, took all the art and mechanical drawing classes they offered and of course fished every chance I could. I attended the University of Massachusetts / Dartmouth receiving a degree in Visual Arts and also taking many courses in the fine arts. My career was never about being a cartoonist, but more in the graphic design and advertising field. After college, I started out as a paste-up artist and progressed to a layout artist and then to being a creative director in many advertising agencies, but my interest and love for cartoons always flavored my graphic design work and I always did humorous illustrations at home and for special occasions.

For 10 years I was the editor, designer and producer of my local Trout Unlimited chapter's newsletter. Every month I added a fishing related cartoon to the issue, to spice it up. A lot were slanted towards local political conservation issues but more were silly things that happen to fish and fisherman on the stream. In 1996 my newsletter won the award for the best Trout Unlimited newsletter in the country. Because of my love of fly fishing, I continued to draw cartoons of fish and fisherman. So, after many years and so many cartoons on this subject matter, I figured I had to do something with these, so I worked on a book last year and it was published in December of 2010. The great response to this book and my cartoons has got me wanting to do another, so I have started 2 books with different subject matter and will choose one after seeing which idea will create more quality "toons".

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use a Rapid-o-graph pen for the final. Sometimes a Pilot Razor point (Terrific sketching pen, too).

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Sketch out situation in standard pencil, tissue overlay and refine, then ink.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
By hand. Haven't mastered the "layering thing" on Photoshop as of yes. I'm trying!

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Prismacolor pencil on paper, Watercolor when on illustration board.

What type of paper do you use?
Copy paper or sketchbook for sketching, 18lb smooth marker paper for final.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Dogs. Everyone wants me to draw their dog. Never can get their legs right. Glad I can do cartoons...who cares what their legs look like!

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

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Act silly! Talk to myself.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Only when I do the finish drawings...usually Jazz.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Read them all forever. Action Comics. Captain Marvel, Superman, The Blackhawks (damn, I gave all my comics to my sister when I went to college).

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
The strip "Henry" (ages ago). Simple strip. Started tracing him from the newspaper when I was eight. "Mother Goose & Grimm" is now...Just my style. Also, "Hagar the Horrible".

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

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Yes, BS is Visual Design @ UMass.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Information & resource are amazing. To help creativity...I don't know. A crutch to some.

Did either of your parents draw?
Better than most parents, but not really well.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Mother. Introduced me to art classes at an early age.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Only for travel. Not a daily thing.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion is the most important, a degree of talent can be learned, but real talent usually wins out in the end. But, a lot of people are successful in the art field and can't draw worth a damn.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Along with art, my other passion is fly-fishing and I collect vintage tackle. They are "little works of art".

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Probably Wimpy..."I'll gladly pay you tomorrow, for a hamburger today!"

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
A chef...I love to chop and create, but that's sort of art, isn't it?

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A towering wall of pencils pens, ink, paper, pads, boxes, magazines and other related reference material, that surrounds a large drawing table. The creative cave.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No. But I bang out a mean drum solo with my thumbs on my drawing desk.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Forget it! Be a doctor or teacher and draw and paint on the side. The majority of people can't make a decent living being an artist any more. Unless you can become a technical wiz and can do animation or something like that, being successful with the pencil, pen or brush is limited to the super talented. Don't quit your day job!

Who is your favorite artist?
Wow...mmmm...Cartoonist - Gary Larson. Painter - Renoir.

Order your own copy of
Peter’s “Fish Foolishness” here or by clicking on the book cover below.

Thanks again Peter. It was very nice to meet you!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rich Tennant - Cartoonist Survey #211




Richard Tennant is a cartoonist who was born in Chicago in May of 1947. He started drawing as a boy and honed his skills by copying drawings from newspapers, comics, comic books and magazines. His father was a professional pianist and not only introduced Rich to a wide variety of musical styles, he also taught him how to play the piano. After graduating from high school, Rich spent time studying at both the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. He was drafted by the Army in 1967 and served for two years. When he got back to civilian life he worked as a paralegal, advertising copywriter, caterer, and entrepreneur. He also studied for awhile at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.

His single panel gag cartoon, “The 5th Wave” was started in 1981. This long running cartoon series got it’s name from Alvin Toffler’s book “Future Shock” and has been collected in three books and syndicated to numerous newspapers and magazines. He was the editorial cartoonist for IDG’s (International Data Group) magazines, Computerworld and Federal Computer World from 1987 to 1999. During this time he also freelanced, specializing in computer and technology cartoons for newspapers, magazines, and corporate publications around the world. Rich has been the resident cartoonist of the “For Dummies” book series since 1991. His “The 5th Wave” cartoons have been printed in every single one of the over 1,600 titles of the “For Dummies” books. He lives with his wife Cynthia here in my home state of Massachusetts. Visit “The 5th Wave” website where you can learn more about Rich, see more examples of his work and even buy cartoons for use in PowerPoint presentations, newsletters, books, websites, blogs and personal prints.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Pigma Micron, black, .03 tip for drawing, .05 tip for lettering.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I sketch ideas on tracing paper with Staples #2 HB pencils, then trace sketches onto bristol board with any #4H pencil.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I used to hand color my work with watercolors and Dr. Martin dyes. I now use Photoshop.

What type of paper do you use?
I sketch on any tracing paper around, mostly 9x 12 Strathmore, and finished work on Aquabee 9 x 12 plate bristol board.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
It takes time for me to get groups of people klumped together in the right way, like in the background of a cocktail party, and I'm not fond of drawing people sitting around a table in a conference room. I don't like drawing the backs of people. It's so dull.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I used to buy my materials at a small local art store until he closed up shop. I now drive to AC Moore or Michaels and make my purchases.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
No rituals other than the usual - coffee, newspaper, shower, shave, etc. But I work best in the morning and I try to make sure I'm feeling good before I sit down at the drawing board. I have some "unintentional laughter" YouTube videos that I sometimes deploy just to get me chuckling.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I love music - jazz and classical - but I find it affects my drawing because too much of my energy is engaged with the music and not what's happening on the paper. For that reason, I don't listen to anything when I'm drawing.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I'm not sure I had a favorite, but I read Archie, Blackhawk, Combat, Plastic Man and Superman...

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Again, not sure I had a favorite. Whatever was in the Sunday Chicago Tribune.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
My parents had a large hard-bound book that was a compendium of stories, illustrations, comics, and poems that I would read, mostly when confined to bed with an illness. I don't remember the name of the book and I don't own a copy of it, but it contained fine Hal Foster-type illustrations and wonderful poems, like Robert Louis Stevenson's, "The Land of Counterpane".

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I drew constantly as a young boy, copying the entire Sunday comics page, pictures from my father’s art books from classes he took at the Art Institute of Chicago, and anything else I could find. By the time I was in the 8th grade I had some pretty decent drafting skills. This continued through high school and then 2 years of fine art training at a junior college. I never intended to be a cartoonist, though, (I thought I might be a commercial illustrator), so I had to figure that out on my own.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
It's neither and both. Like money.

Did either of your parents draw?
My father flirted with the idea of being an artist but never really pursued it. He worked his entire life as a pianist in clubs and hotels in Chicago.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My father. He would sit me on his lap after supper and the two of us would draw pictures together.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
No. I wouldn't know how to teach cartooning.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion. Without that, all the talent in the world won't amount to much.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I'm not sure I actually "collect" anything, but I do enjoy procuring DVDs of old horror and sci-fi movies. Everything from the early Universal Pictures stuff to the mid-50's B-grade movies like, "Them", "The Blob", the gill-man trilogy... There's just something warm and fuzzy about those old, schlocky black-and-white films.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Be a jazz musician (fantasy), or, a jazz disc jockey (more realistic).

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Pretty clean and neat. I use a light table so I had a special one built that acts as a drawing board. I face a window with blinds that can be closed; I'm surrounded by bookshelves and have a small couch I sometimes work on, sometimes nap on.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I play the piano. I studied as much piano as I did art, maybe more, and thought I would someday be a professional jazz pianist.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Be persistent. Never stop improving and never stop pushing your business forward. I've found most people become successful in this business because they simply kept doing it longer than anyone else. You win by attrition.

Who is your favorite artist?
Hard to pick a favorite. For cartoon illustration, probably the late, great, Jeff MacNelly. For fine art, I love Claes Oldenburg's work, and recently discovered a few newer artists whose work I enjoy very much, Wosene Kosrof and Cole Morgan.



Thanks again for everything Rich!

Up next is cartoonist and fly fisherman Peter Nilsen.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Upcoming Books I'm Looking Forward To

Here are a few comics related books I'm looking forward to being released. All are available for pre-order with some pretty good discounts.







Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nick Galifianakis Book Signing and Presentation

A couple of weeks back I sent out my Cartoonist Survey to cartoonist Nick Galifianakis. Nick wrote back that he'd be happy to answer my questions but that it would have to wait a while since he was busy on a publicity tour for his new book, "If You Loved Me, You'd Think This Was Cute". Come to find out one of the places on his tour was the Barnes & Noble in Burlington, MA, just a 30 minute ride from my home. My wife Patti and I along with my fellow cartooning classmate Paula, made the trek to B&N for a fun and entertaining afternoon. Nick's presentation was filled with wit, wisdom and drawings.

The display of Nick's new book "If You Loved Me, You'd Think This Was Cute".

The talk portion of the presentation.


A man who truly loves his work.


Nick draws for the audience.






The book signing.



My personalized copy.


Thanks to Nick for a funny and thought provoking presentation.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Matt Wuerker - Cartoonist Survey #210




Matt Wuerker is an editorial cartoonist and illustrator who was born in California and now lives and works in Washington, DC. While earning his degree in International Affairs at Lewis and Clark College, he drew cartoons for the school’s newspaper, Pioneer Log. He graduated in 1979 and began working at Will Vinton’s animation studio in Portland, Oregon creating clay animated films. During this time he also illustrated a couple of books written by Dr. Laurence Peter (author of the "Peter Principle") and worked as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator for newspapers and magazines. In 1981 he got married and he and his wife moved to the Canary Islands. After a year out of the States, they moved to Los Angeles where Matt continued with his freelance work and also started working on a syndicated comic strip project with Dr. Peter. The single panel cartoon, “The Peter Principle” was launched in 1984 by United Feature Syndicate and ran for a couple of years until Dr. Peter’s health started failing. Matt started working in the animation field again in the mid-80’s, animating and designing music videos for the likes of Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Michael Jackson.

A couple years after his son Owen was born he realized that the music video business didn’t allow him to spend much time with his family, so he moved the family to Portland, OR to resume freelancing. Since that time, his cartoons have appeared in The Washington Free Press, LA Times, The Nation, Funny Times, The American Prospect, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other publications. Matt and his family then moved Washington, DC and in 2006 he started working at Politico. He has been their editorial cartoonist and illustrator ever since. He also creates computer animations for Politico’s website. Collections of his cartoons have been published including, “Standing Tall in Deep Doo Doo” and “Meanwhile in Other News”. He also co-authored, “The Madness of King George” and illustrated, “Robbing Us Blind”, “Building Unions” and “Chaos or Community?”. Last year Matt was awarded both the Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning and the Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award. He has also twice been a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. You can see much more of Matt’s work over at
Politico and read his profile from The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can also try your hand at making your own cartoons with “The Cartoon Playground” over at the Funny Times website. All of the elements at the Playground were created by Matt.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I know I should be using nibs but I've become addicted to rapidographs. They're generally tidy and the ink holds up to watercolor.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I use pencil, 9 mm mechanical mostly.... lots of erasing too.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
All by hand, tube watercolors.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Sable watercolor brushes.

What type of paper do you use?
Fabiano bright white hot press watercolor blocks.

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

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

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

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Music sometimes but mostly chatter on the radio or cable news shows. I used to have an unhealthy interest in listening to Rush and evangelical radio shows but I've grown out of it.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I never got into any of the superhero stuff. Classics Illustrated were my faves... does that make me a nerd? I also liked Richie Rich and Archie. I guess that makes me more of a dweeb.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
In the regular daily comics I liked Peanuts and Broom Hilda.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
When I was little I loved Gwendolyn the Miracle Hen that had wonderful illustrations by Ed Sorel. My family also had a lot of Charles Addams books that I spent a lot of time with. I have copies of these still.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I've taken adult classes along the way at places like Otis/Parsons in LA and a painting class at the Corcoran here in DC but I'm self taught.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing, especially once they figure out how to put a little monetizing box on it.

Did either of your parents draw?
My dad would draw little cartoon figures on post cards I'd get at summer camp. I really loved those, usually goofy little boys or sometimes funny Prussians with pointy helmets. My mom has incredibly straight hand writing and speedball lettering skills she picked up as a school teacher. My Prussian helmets and my block lettering still can't hold a candle.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Both of my parents, going way back to grade school days.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Fitfully.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, a number of different places, to adults, kids and even in the California Men’s Penitentiary (I was a guest teacher, not an inmate).

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion, even though personally I'm a throwback to thinking drawing matters. I remember a conversation with Matt Groening back before the Simpsons. I did a traditional political cartoon for the LA Weekly the same time they were running Life in Hell. We were talking about drawing and Matt made the point that it wasn't about a well rendered drawing but about an idea and attitude, and then he closed his eyes and, without looking once, did a lovely automatic drawing of Binky.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Lint is about it.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Dudley Do-Right.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Lefty ...all the way.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Work at the circus twisting up balloon animals.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Traditional drawing table in the middle of a bustling newsroom. Another desk with a computer and scanner right next to it.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I have tortured pianos and cellos and briefly a banjo in my life but I'm the least musical person on the planet.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Do your own thing and at the same time contribute something positive to the big conversation that's going on out there. Drawing skills are something to treasure and work on, but you need to have something to say. Contributing good humor is just as useful as trenchant insight.

Who is your favorite artist?
Can't answer that. It's too long a list of inspired people who've done such great things.



Thank you very much Matt!

And yes...this was yet another great interviewee suggestion from Mike Rhode at
ComicsDC.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chris Gash - Cartoonist Survey #209





Chris Gash is a freelance illustrator who lives and works in Edison, New Jersey and has been working professionally since 2000. He has a retro drawing style that is heavily influenced by illustrations of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Chris’s work includes everything from spot illustrations and covers for books, magazines and newspapers to illustrating children’s books. His client list is a who’s who of publications and includes, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Newsweek, Golf Digest, USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Nickelodeon, Scholastic and Science Times, just to name a few. Chris is also an instructor of illustration at Montclair State University and has even had one of his courses included in the book, “Teaching Illustration” by Steve Heller and Marshall Arisman. See more of his work at his website and follow him on his blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I am a brush guy mostly, but I keep very fine Microns on my desk to touch up a line here or there (and I love a Sharpie on vellum).

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I lean on my pencils pretty hard and most mechanicals are just too brittle. I do all my sketches in black or indigo Prismacolor pencils.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I used to watercolor everything, but in order to be able to take on more work, I started coloring in Photoshop. Now the only painting I do is in my sketchbook.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Winsor & Newton watercolors, gouache and FW acrylic colored inks.

What type of paper do you use?
When I painted for work, I always used Fabriano watercolor paper. Now, since I am simply scanning the line art, I work on marker rag, trace or vellum.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I don’t know if hate is the right word, but I’ve always struggled with four-legged mammals, or most of them anyway. It doesn’t matter if I spend hours looking at the anatomy or how much I try to simplify the shapes; it’s always a miserable task.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I don’t think I’ve ever bought supplies online. I like going to the store and so far I’ve managed to live near a Pearl or a Jerry’s for the past 15 years.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
No ritual, but this makes me think I should have one.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Sometimes music, sometimes NPR, sometimes I put a movie in, something I’ve seen a hundred times that I don’t need to pay attention to…Harvey, Summer Stock, Rear Window, Royal Wedding. When it’s music it’s old - Artie Shaw, Hoagy, Bix, Cab, King Oliver; I could put Sweet Lorraine and Moonglow on endless repeat and be very happy.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I had only a handful of comic books as a kid; my real love for comics came much later, during college.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I loved Peanuts from a very early age, although I didn’t understand why it was so wonderful until many years later. It would be difficult to pick one all-time favorite, but Sam’s Strip is definitely up there near the top.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I can’t honestly say I remember a favorite book as a child, but I do have the contents of my entire childhood bookshelf about three feet away from where I’m sitting, so if I did have a favorite, I do still own a copy.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I have a BFA in illustration and I’m looking at Hartford for my MFA. I also had a three-year internship with Steven Guarnaccia, and I couldn’t possibly sum up how much I learned about comics, cartoons and illustration while I was there.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Google Image Search does make life easy. And the Internet unquestionably has made some work-related processes much easier and faster, but the constant communication and information can be tiresome.

Did either of your parents draw?
Neither. My closest relative who could draw was my mother’s cousin.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My mom always wanted me to be an artist. Anytime I even considered something else she always seemed so disappointed. Later on I had a handful of instructors who were extremely supportive throughout college. And my wife of course, she tolerates my artistic jealousies and other assorted mania beautifully.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I have several sketchbooks on my desk and in my bag, but I hardly draw in them every day. I always want to be one of those guys drawing on the subway that has to date their many volumes of sketchbooks, but it’s just not me.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I currently teach Illustration Concepts, a sophomore level illustration course and I love it.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
This is a tough question - does talent mean preternatural drawing ability only? I think driving passion, vision, and good ideas will take a so-so drawing a lot further than the other way around.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect those old boxed novelty gifts, the ones that say “Do it every morning, do it every night” with an amorous couple in bed and then you open the box and there are toothbrushes inside. And I have amassed quite a bit of vintage Santa Claus stuff. Comics goes without saying, I guess.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
The elf who wanted to be a dentist.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I have no idea what I would do, honestly, that scares the heck out of me to even think about.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
There’s a small space in the center of my table for actual drawing, the rest is covered with supplies, books, assignments stacked in the order in which they have to be done, sketchbooks and the mountain of shavings spilling out of my pencil sharpener which I never empty, for no good reason. My computer and scanner are behind me at my non-drawing desk.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I played bass in a few bands when I was younger, and it was a lot fun, but then put it away to focus on illustration. I’ve been thinking about the ukulele, it has a beautiful sound.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw. And don’t be lazy.

Who is your favorite artist?
How about a few favorites, in no particular or logical order – Wayne Thiebaud, Claes Oldenberg, Lowell Hess, Charley Harper, Dan DeCarlo, Will Eisner, Gluyas Williams, Herge – I can keep going but I could never pick just one.



Thanks again for your time Chris.

Another thanks to Mike Rhode over at the
ComicsDC blog for suggesting Chris. Good thing I don’t get paid for doing this or I’d owe him some money.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Guy Billout - Cartoonist/Artist Survey #208

photo credit: Talisman Brolin - all rights reserved by the New York Botanical Gardens





Guy Billout is a French artist, illustrator and author who was born in Decize, France in 1941. He has a very clean style and most of his works contain some type of ironic detail. At first glance his illustrations appear to be normal scenes until you start looking at the details and find the little twist he has included. He has been writing columns and illustrating articles for the Atlantic Monthly for years as well as creating artwork for publications such as Playboy, Glamour, Le Monde, The New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Newsweek and The Washington Post. A long time faculty member of the illustration department at Parsons -The New School for Design, Guy is also the illustrator of many picture books. Some of these books include, “Bus 24”, “By Camel or By Car: A Look at Transportation”, “Something’s Not Quite Right”, “The Frog Who Wanted to See the Sea” and his most recent, “Journey”. You can see many more examples of his work here at his website.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Pilot Razor Point.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Directly on paper, with the above tool.

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

What type of paper do you use?
Brightest copy paper.

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

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Procrastination in many forms, like reading, day dreaming, chores that can wait, etc.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Silence, when working on concepts, the radio when executing (mostly public radio in the US and in France).

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Tintin & Milou, and Spirou et Fantasio.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Anything by Jean Giraud/Moebius.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
An illustrated book showing the moon swallowing a thief; copy lost.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Trained as a graphic designer for advertising in Ecole des Arts Apliqués de Beaune, in France.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Mostly a great invention.

Did either of your parents draw?
No.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My grand-mother, and an art teacher, when I was 12.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
A travel diary.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I teach concepts in illustration; still learning the difficult art of motivating young artists.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
What about having fun?

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Children's books, but not seriously.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Right.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Radio operator (I was trained as a Morse operator) on a ship, like Tintin in "Land of Black Gold".

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Tragicomic.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No.

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

Who is your favorite artist?
My first heroes in art-school were Savignac, André François, and Ronald Searle.



Thanks again Guy!

Another tip of the hat goes out to Mike Rhode at the
ComicsDC blog for suggesting Guy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011