Sunday, March 27, 2011

Paul Fell - Cartoonist Survey #216





Cartoonist Paul Fell grew up in Massachusetts before moving to Nebraska to play college football and study art. He earned a BFA and BA from Peru State College and a Masters in painting from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. While teaching high school art in Auburn, NE, Paul began drawing editorial cartoons as a freelancer. In 1984 he became the editorial cartoonist and newsroom artist for the Lincoln Journal and continued in this position until 1992 when his staff position was eliminated. Since that time he has operated his own freelance cartoon and humorous illustration business, providing work for a wide variety of clients. When the Lincoln Journal merged with the Lincoln Star to become the Lincoln Star Journal in 1995, Paul was contracted to draw three editorial cartoons a week. He continued to supply the Lincoln Star Journal with cartoons until the middle of 2007.

Since the late 70’s he has been drawing cartoons that focus on the fans and players of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and these cartoons have been regularly published in the Huskers Illustrated Magazine. He has also been creating a weekly editorial cartoon for the Nebraska Press Association since the early 90’s which accompany the NPA’s weekly “Capitol View” column and is distributed to dozens of member newspapers throughout the state of Nebraska. Artizans Syndicate began distributing Paul’s award winning cartoons to newspapers in North America and worldwide in 2005. In addition to creating editorial cartoons he is a talented caricaturist and guest speaker whose presentation titled, "Life As A Cartoonist / Why Don’t You Get A Real Job?" has been enjoyed by groups of all ages and interests. Paul and his wife Arlene live in Lincoln, NE. Learn more about Paul and see many more examples of his work over at his Paul Fell Cartoons website.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I like the Pigma Micron fine tip pen and the Pitt brush pen.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I do draw in pencil first. I use a mechanical pencil (don't have to stop constantly to sharpen it) with HB lead.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I pencil and ink my cartoons, then scan them into the computer and color them in Photoshop.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore 300 bristol. Smooth.

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

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

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

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I listen to classical music on NPR during the day. In the evening I listen to a variety of musical styles on a local station.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I didn't have the money to buy or collect comics when I was a kid, but I used to love to read the creepy ones, like "Tales From The Crypt".

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I loved Walt Kelley's Pogo during its run. My favorite now is Non Sequitur by my buddy Wiley Miller.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I have a BFA and BA in art from Peru State College (NE) and a Masters in painting from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
More of a blessing than a curse.

Did either of your parents draw?
Nope.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife. She encouraged me all during my career as a fine artist and then as a cartoonist.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I have taught cartooning to all ages. I enjoy teaching it most to high school age and above.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion. I have met very few people who were truly talented who actually did anything with that gift.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I have a bunch of cartoon originals from friends in the business hanging in my studio, but I'm not a real serious collector.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Donald Duck. My temper gets the best of me every so often.

Are you a righty or lefty?
I draw right handed. My politics lean toward the progressive side.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
That's a good question. Art-related work, either from the teaching or from the creative side is all I have ever done. Maybe be a travel agent or a tour escort.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It is located in the lower level of our home and shares space with the family room/TV/fireplace. I have plenty of space to work, and have to keep it reasonably clean and organized since it IS part of the house.

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?
Go for it. If you don't make a serious attempt to pursue your dream, you'll spend the rest of your life asking yourself "what it...?"

Who is your favorite artist?
The great illustrator N.C. Wyeth, father of Andrew Wyeth.

Thanks again Paul.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Steve Lafler - Cartoonist Survey #215




Purchase your very own FrankenJerry t-shirt by clicking on the above picture.

Steve Lafler is a cartoonist who was born in upstate New York in 1957. He studied painting at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and graduated in December of 1979. While at UMass he drew the daily comic strip, “Aluminum Foil” for the school newspaper, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian. In 1980 he published his first book, “Benb and Gerald”, a collection of his “Aluminum Foil” strips. Steve then published the 24 page comic, “Mean Cat” in 1981 under his own Cat-Head Comics imprint. His “Dog Boy” series came next and was also published under his Cat-Head Comics until Fantagraphics picked it up for a ten issue run in 1987. In the 90’s he and his long-time friend Stephen Beaupre created the magazine-sized comic anthology Buzzard, which ran for 20 issues and included work by many well known and up and coming cartoonists.

Steve is probably best known for his “Bughouse” comics which feature anthropomorphic jazz music playing insects. Originally published in the pages of Buzzard, “Bughouse” soon became its own series published through Cat-Head Comics and eventually published by
Top Shelf in three volumes, “Bughouse”, “Baja” and “Scalawag”. Other works by Steve include, “Duck & Cover”, “Femme Noire”, “Prometheus’ Gift”, “40 Hour Man”, “Self Employment for Bohemians”, “Tranny” and his most recent “El Vocho”. Steve is also a talented painter and illustrator who has done work for Sony Music, Bill Graham Presents, Apple Computer, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, Seattle Weekly, San Francisco Weekly, Worcester Magazine and many others. He lives with his wife Serena and their two children in Oaxaca, Mexico. Stop by his website to see more of his work and buy his books. You should also follow him on his Self Employment for Bohemians blog. There are also some pretty cool t-shirts that he has for sale over at CafePress.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Micron 03 and 05, which I use for details after inking with a brush. Speedball B-6 for lettering, can't beat it for classic cartoon feeling.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I draw with HB drawing pencils.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I use Photoshop for the most part.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Acrylics.

What type of paper do you use?
I like 2 ply bristol, or heavier, and I like both smooth and rough finish. You just can't get bristol in Oaxaca where I live, so I try to stock up when in the states. Down here, I go to the art stores and papeleria and just look at various stock until I find something good. Right now I'm drawing a Dog Boy story on some heavy paper with a rough texture, it defines a lot about how the work goes--it will be very rustic looking!

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
The only real problem is drawing when I'm rusty--and as a dad of two small kids, I'm rusty a lot these days. I'm not a fan of doing illustration work, but on the other hand I take it because I need the bucks!

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
All of the above. Dick Blick is good when I'm in the states.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Review the script, check my supplies, and go. Sometimes I like to smoke some pot, depending on the task at hand.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Oh yeah, lately been listening to Cracker, Capt. Beefheart, Elvis Costello, Grateful Dead, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, the Cramps, and some bad ass Bob Dylan shows from the mid 90s with lots of snarling guitars -- a very edgy, bluesy moment for Bob, most folks don't even believe it's him. I was 20 in 1977, so you can figure that defines part of my taste.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Archie, Sad Sack, Gold Key, Dell, Uncle Scrooge, then at age ten on to Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and Marvel stuff. Later, Will Eisner and Crumb. Reading Spider-Man in '67 - '69 was insane fun and very exciting.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
For the storytelling and great art, Steve Canyon. The imperialism, that aspect of Caniff's work is sort of dumb, but other than that he's the man.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
As a teen, read thru Lord of the Rings three times. When really little, you can't beat Dr. Seuss.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Bachelor's of Fine Arts, concentration in painting at UMass Amherst. The profs were a bunch of drunks, letches and ego maniacs. Quite a bunch.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Yes. I love the web, but I love print even more. I love printing presses and ink.

Did either of your parents draw?
A bit, both had talent but did not pursue it.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife Serena. My friends Mike Perkin and Stephen Beaupre.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I don't have time, with other responsibilities. Here and there I'll do a stretch of sketching. I'm not a compulsive life drawer like Crumb or Peter Kuper (Cartoonist Survey #126).

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Taught at Lane Community College in Eugene Oregon for two years, and later in the Oakland CA Parks and Rec art program for kids. I'm not a true teacher though. I prefer students 18 or older who exhibit a real commitment.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
For me, it's a matter of will and a sense of mission. The talent is important, but passion trumps talent.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Collected Marvels as a kid. Now, I'm the least materialistic person I know, can't be bothered. I'd rather do than collect.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
A combo of Shaggy and Spider-Man. Well, I'd be Daphne for Halloween.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Left handed lefty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Cow punk guitarist/singer/songwriter -- basically a rock star.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A drawing table in a corner, with a cluttered table full of crap next to it.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Acoustic and electric guitar, have just started a band with Bill Stair, who's been onstage at CBGB's, provisionally called Bughouse. Sort of cow punk/country/rock and roll. Just played our first gig, with more to come this spring.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Go to a cool art school and make lots of friends. My nephew Dan James, aka Ghostshrimp, went to Pratt. Some of his college buddies hired him to work at Cartoon Network and now he's the lead background artist on Adventure Time. Not bad, kid! Rock on.

Who is your favorite artist?
It's always changing. I like ink slingers like Eisner and Caniff, but hell Jack Kirby ruled my childhood. And now, who can beat Jaime Hernandez, he's incredible. Well, I also love Lux Interior, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, Jerry Garcia and Howlin' Wolf as much as any visual artist.



Thank you very much Steve!

Next time on David Wasting Paper is cartoonist Paul Fell.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Johnny Ryan - Cartoonist Survey #214

This portrait of Johnny was done by Rama Hughes (Cartoonist Survey #19)



Alternative comics creator Johnny Ryan was born in November of 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts. He grew up in Plymouth, MA and went to college at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After graduating from UMass he worked various jobs doing everything from bussing tables to house painting. Encouraged by friends to pursue a career in comics, Johnny started self-publishing his "Angry Youth Comix" in 1994. Four years and 10 issues later he showed his work to Peter Bagge (creator of Hate comics). Peter showed it to Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics Books and in 2000 Fantagraphics picked up Johnny’s "Angry Youth Comix". Over the years AYC has earned multiple Ignatz, Harvey and Eisner nominations. Johnny’s other comic works include, “The Comic Book Holocaust”, “The Klassic Komics Klub”, “Blecky Yuckerella” (which originated in the alternative newspaper the Portland Mercury) and “Prison Pit”. His work is reminiscent of the underground comix days of the 60’s and 70’s in that it is politically incorrect, sometimes shocking and filled with great gross-out humor.

Johnny’s comics and illustrations have also been published in MAD, LA Weekly, National Geographic Kids, The Stranger, Vice and Hustler Magazine. His gag cartoons appeared in almost every issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, which included a section called "The Comic Book" and featured regular comic strips from underground artists. He has done work for Rhino Records, Fox TV and Nobleworks greeting cards as well. He recently collaborated with Chris Duffy, his former boss at Nickelodeon Magazine, to create the Comixer app for the iPad. The Comixer app features individual cartoon panels which Johnny drew and colored that can be re-mixed to create a multitude of different cartoon stories. Learn more about the
Comixer app here. Johnny lives in Los Angeles with his wife. Visit his website to see more of his work and buy books, prints and toys. You can also purchase much of his work over at Fantagraphics Books.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Copic.

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

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

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Copic markers or gouache.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore bristol.

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?
Swain's & Blue Rooster.

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?
Sometimes. I listen to death or black metal or krautrock. Mostly I listen to the Howard Stern show.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Yes, Spider-Man.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Dick Tracy.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Sure, it was "Who Needs Donuts" by Mark Alan Stamaty.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I was an art major for 2 semesters at UMass Amherst.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Internet's cool.

Did either of your parents draw?
No.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Sure.

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.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Not really. I can't afford it.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's in a hallway.

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?
Give lots of rim jobs.

Who is your favorite artist?
Al Jaffee.



Thanks again Johnny.

Up next is cartoonist and illustrator Steve Lafler, who also happens to be a UMass Amherst alumnus.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Brian Biggs - Cartoonist Survey #213





Illustrator Brian Biggs was born in 1968 and spent his early years split between Arkansas and Texas. In 1987 he moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design. He spent time in France and San Francisco and has lived in Philadelphia since 1999. Over the years Brian has worked as an art director, graphic designer, animator, teacher, writer, and illustrator. Between 1991 and 1999 Brian wrote and drew graphic novels and comics including Frederick & Eloise, Dear Julia, (nominated for an Eisner Award) and his two self-published works, Nineteen Weird Guys and a Portrait of the Artist and Interim.

Currently, Brian does illustrations for newspapers, magazines, advertising, puzzles, toys and children’s books. He has illustrated the popular children’s book series, “Roscoe Riley”, “Goofball Malone”, and “Shredderman" as well as several other titles. Visit
Brian’s website to see more of his comic and illustration work. In addition to his illustration work, Brian enjoys electronic music, even building and programming his own synthesizers. He has a website devoted to his electronic sounds and ideas called Dance Robot, Dance where you can hear and see examples of his creations.

What is your favorite pen to use?
Pentel RSVP ball-point, fine.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, mechanical. Various sizes.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Computer and Wacom tablet.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore 500 Series Bristol, vellum surface.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Plants. Bushes, trees, etc. In fact, most natural things. Mountains are tedious. I like man-made junk, especially mechanical.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both, depending on what it is and how much I need it. I buy my paper in bulk so the web is my friend. But sometimes I like wandering art supply stores picking out inks or things.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Just coffee. Lovely, lovely coffee.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Often, yes. I listen to a lot of news-radio as well. When it's music, it's almost always electronic.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Nope. I discovered comics in college.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin & Hobbes.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy Town. I don't own the same copy, but I have a copy, yes.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I studied graphic design in college. Is that formal?

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing. I have to weigh the pros and cons all the time, but it comes down on "blessing." Hard to concentrate sometimes when the email is so easy to get lost in.

Did either of your parents draw?
Both of them could/can, though neither of them was serious about it.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yeah, I do. But it's funny -- it's mostly to-do lists and ideas for things that I don't have time to do. Since I draw pictures all day every day, I don't sit around and sketch, really.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I taught illustration at The University of the Arts here in Philadelphia for four years. I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I don't do it anymore.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion. A lot of talented illustrators are sitting around waiting for work to come to them. Passionate illustrators are just doing it. Both are a plus.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Not really. I have my insane esoteric hobbies; I, um, invest in modular synthesizers and other weird music gear, for instance.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Oh, well, Calvin. His life is a perfect one.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Leftist. Totally. I draw with my right had if that's what you’re asking.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Play music in a band on a stage.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I work at a big old wooden drafting table that sits surrounded by bookshelves and bulletin boards in an old garage which I share with no one. Nearby sits another large wooden table on which I have my digital stuff like the computer, scanner, and that sort of thing.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes. A little accordion, a little ukulele, I'm learning guitar, and I program synthesizers.

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

Who is your favorite artist?

The best answer for this I can give you is based on a thing that went around Facebook last year. Fifteen in fifteen. I can't come up with one favorite, so here's fifteen. For now.

Edward Gorey
Jacques Tardi
Chris Ware
Seymour Chwast
Arnold Lobel
Richard Scarry
Walt Disney
Saul Steinberg
B. Kliban
George Tooker
Ben Shahn
Jorge Colombo
Robert Crumb
Bill Watterson
Maurice Sendak




Thanks again for your time Brian.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stay Tooned Magazine Issue #6

Issue #6 of John Read's Stay Tooned Magazine is out and available for you to order. If you have read any of the previous issues then you already know how great this magazine is. If you have yet to check it out, I strongly recommend you order your copy today. All five previous issues are completely sold out, so I wouldn't wait very long to get this issue.

Here's what you'll find inside;

"Issue 6 features a multitude of Mikes: new profiles (that's interviews and art galleries) of Mike Arnold, Mike Cope, Mike Edholm, Michael Jantze, Mike Lynch, Michael Maslin and Michael Ramirez; Cartoonist Surveys conducted by David Paccia with Mike Marland and Mike Shapiro; a "True-Life Adventure" told by Mike Mignola. Photo reports share John Read's "One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages" travels to Disney ToonFest and Omaha, Nebraska, and his visit to the Cartoon Library at Ohio State University for the Sunday Funnies stamps First-Day-of-Issue ceremony. AND: articles/columns contributed by Tom Richmond, R.C. Harvey, Jim Ivey, Rich & Neil Diesslin and John Hambrock!"

Congratulations to John for another great issue!