Monday, June 27, 2011

Chris Schweizer - Cartoonist Survey #231






Born in 1980 in Tucson, AZ, Chris Schweizer is a cartoonist, writer and a college professor. He started drawing when he was very young and was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of comics. Surrounded by his dad’s trade collections of Peanuts, Dick Tracy, Calvin and Hobbes, Pogo and The Far Side; and his mother’s Cathy and For Better or Worse, Chris was exposed early to some of the greats of cartooning. He continued drawing strips and gag cartoons throughout his school years and during his studies at Murray State University, he had a strip in the school’s newspaper. He graduated from Murray State in 2004 with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. At first Chris thought he wanted to do a newspaper strip, but after having his submission rejected and noticing the ever-expanding graphic novel sections at bookstores he decided against it. He researched graduate programs and chose the Savannah College of Art and Design (Atlanta). He not only received his M.F.A. in Sequential Art from SCAD, but he is now also teaching comics there fulltime. Chris believes that one of the things that makes SCAD such a great school is that all of the faculty “regularly publishes professionally” and therefore “know what's happening in the industry and have established relationships with editors”.

Chris’s award-winning historical fiction series of graphic novels titled Crogan Adventures (published by Oni Press) features different members from the Crogan family tree. These action packed adventure stories are set in different corners of the world and span 300 hundred years. When he pitched his idea for the series to Oni Press he included a poster size copy of the Crogan family tree with all 16 characters including a private eye, lion tamer, secret agent, pirate, gunfighter, ninja and more.


The first in the series is “Crogan’s Vengeance”. It stars “Catfoot” Crogan, an honest sailor who gets thrown into the world of pirates. A fun story filled with sword fights and naval battles, it contains a positive moral without being preachy. The second volume in the series, “Crogan’s March”, is set in North Africa in 1912 and tells the story of French legionnaire Corporal Peter Crogan who is fighting for France. The third book in the series, “Crogan’s Loyalty”, should be released this fall. Chris has created the Crogan Adventure Society for fans of the series. For $25 you receive a lifetime membership, an original inked 4”x6” drawing of a Crogan character of your choice, a quarterly newsletter and more.

Chris’s other comic works have been published by Top Shelf Productions, Evil Twin Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, Image Comics and more. He recently wrote an upcoming six-book series for Lerner Publishing called “Tricky Journeys”. Recommended for ages 4–8, each of the “Tricky Journeys” books allow the reader to choose how the story unfolds. Look for the “Tricky Journeys” series to be out sometime in October of this year. Chris has also just released a 180 page sketchbook which is available for purchase here. This thing looks great! Be sure to watch the video preview of the sketchbook below. Chris lives in Marietta, GA with his wife Liz and daughter Penelope. He has a great website called the Curious Old Library where you can see many of his drawings and comics, read more interviews and even purchase original art. He also has a blog that is loaded with a lot more of his work.



What is your favorite pen to use?

It depends on whether or not I’m sketching or doing finished pieces. If the former, I use a size S or F Faber-Castell PITT pen. They’re filled with India ink, and I find that sketching with a pen comes much more naturally to me than using a pencil.

If I’m doing finished art, I use a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Pentel makes two brush pens – one with a soft plastic shaft, the other a hard plastic shaft with a tiny silver Japanese writing character on it. I use the latter. The soft one is called the Pentel COLOR brush, though a lot of people confuse the two. The pocket brush is synthetic, behaves like a real brush, and has a wonderfully consistent ink flow. It uses cartridges, and the ink works great on the paper that I use. It smears TERRIBLY on Bristol, though.

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

Occasionally, if I’m doing a for-the-heck-of-it drawing, I’ll use a Col-Erase Blue pencil. Col-Erase pencils are nice because, unlike a lot of colored pencils, they are not wax-based. Have you ever tried to draw with ink on top of, say, a prismacolor or crayola pencil line? It breaks up, beads up, won’t lay down. That’s the wax. The Col-Erases allow you to avoid that. I use the blue, NOT the non-photo blue. The latter is TOO light, and I can’t do a really light sketch and build, the value just won’t shift the way it will with regular blue.

I don’t use graphite for a lot of reasons, most of them having to do with strip tradition, but also for the practical reason that I don’t like to erase, and levels rarely get rid of graphite on scans in the digital stage with the success that I want. Most of the time, though, I sketch with pen, scan that into the computer, blow it up, and print it out in light blue. Then I ink on top of that, often cleaning it up a little with a col-erase.

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

I use the computer almost exclusively for coloring, using a Cintiq screen to draw my colors. I’d like to learn watercolor, though, but I doubt my ink would stand up to it.

What type of paper do you use?

I use a commercial printing heavy paper stock, Hammermill 11x17 100# Color Copy Cover. It goes through my printer, which is important, but because it is a color copy/laser paper, it has a coating that makes it slick (which I like) and that makes ink dry fast (which I also like). Since it’s designed to go through printers in high volumes, the ink has to dry fast or otherwise it will gunk up the rollers. This helps me because I drag my hands all over my page while working, and when I used Bristol it would ALWAYS smear.

I get mine at a commercial paper supply company called XpedX. I don’t know how widespread they are, but they have them in Atlanta and Austin, TX, so I assume they’re in a lot of places. It’s around thirty bucks for 250 sheets, which comes out to WAY cheaper than Bristol.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Hands. I stink at hands. I practice, but my big problem is that my hands are shaped weird. My knuckles become concave when my hand it relaxed. It makes for an efficient fist – I’ve never broken anything boxing or fighting – but a REALLY lousy model, and as such I’ve always had trouble with them. I’ll keep trying, but they’ll probably always look a little wonky.

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

I mostly buy from a local store, Binders, that carries LOTS of comic supplies. If I know I’m gonna be on a tear, I’ll order a bunch of Pentel cartridges from Jetpens, but mostly it’s Binders.

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

Not really. I’m drawing pretty much all of the time, so I do it whenever I have a spare minute.

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

The music that I listen to is generally instrumental, and generally relates topically to the subject matter on which I’m working. When I did the pirate book, I listened to lots of pirate movie soundtracks. Phillipe Sarde’s Pirates, John Debney’s Cutthroat Island, Eric Wolfgang Horngold’s stuff, Hook, Pirates of Dark Water, plus swashbuckling-sounding music like Willow. For the Foreign Legion book I listened to a lot of North-African-inspired music, again mostly working to film scores. I have a real affection for Jerry Goldsmith, who can keep to comfortable western structure while incorporating a lot of regional/ethnic elements into his pieces.

When I’m inking I listen to podcasts, NPR, and audiobooks. This American Life is a perennial favorite, as is Stuff You Missed in History Class, which I think is produced just a little way down the road from my school. Lately I’ve been working my way through the Patrick Tull readings of O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series.

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

I read a lot of strips. Calvin and Hobbes was at the forefront, and from middle school onwards I really dug Bill Amend’s FoxTrot, which is a significant influence on my dialogue pacing. I also liked looking at Kelly’s Pogo as a kid, but didn’t really READ it until later. Ditko’s first ten Spider-Man issues.

I also had that Burne Hogarth comic adaptation of the first half of Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes. It was a big, hardcover book – not a collection of his Tarzan STRIPS, but a genuine book (I guess you’d call it a graphic novel – it was huge, and drawn to fit the format). I don’t know how much it influences my work – Hogarth is EXTREMELY stiff and beautifully illustrative, and I don’t think I’m either – save for my penchant for making my protagonists fight exotic animals hand-to-hand.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

These days, it’s a toss-up between Roy Crane’s Captain Easy Sunday run and Richard Thompson’s Cul de Sac.

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

It may have been that Tarzan book. If so, yeah. I had a lot of favorites.

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

I studied art at Murray State University straight out of High School, but aside from a few things here and there it didn’t really inform the direction that I ended up going. It gave me a basic overview of Photoshop, which helped a lot later. What was most beneficial about my time there were the peripheral classes that I took – a LOT of English classes, history classes, theater and film. I changed majors half a dozen times.

When I figured out that I wanted to do comics, I applied to SCAD-Atlanta for my MFA. Every craft has rules and structures, and I wanted to actively study them so that I could be the very best that I could be. My primary professors were Shawn Crystal, who does a lot of Marvel work, and Nolan Woodard, the colorist. I learned a LOT from both of them. Now I teach alongside them, and am proud to do so.

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

Oh, a blessing. It makes everything so much easier. I can order reference books easily and find just about anything I need. Well, no, I still have to hunt for a lot of stuff, but it does make it a lot easier. I don’t care for its insistence on brevity. I’m terrible at returning e-mails because I treat them like letters, writing quite a bit. But that’s how correspondence should be, I think. This survey is a good example. I’m sure everyone else would write one word or the other for this question, and I’m too full of hot air.

Did either of your parents draw?

My dad can draw, but doesn’t, never really developed it. He took his storytelling in different directions – he’s a mystery novelist, and a choral music composer, and often a librettist. My mom’s a violinist. My granddad drew. He was an architect. He designed Epcot’s Mexican Pavilion, and a lot of mid-century modern buildings in the Orlando area, including that angular Cavalry Church off the interstate downtown, and a chunk of the airport. He did a painting of Kelly’s Pogo reading to all the little animal children; it’s in my dad’s office. A lot of my relatives are architects, and I have an aunt who is an illustrator.

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

There really isn’t anyone is ISN’T. My wife is at the forefront. She’s very patient with me, and has allowed me much freer rein to pursue my career than her logical and pragmatic nature probably felt comfortable with, with no complaint and lots of encouragement. My parents were always supportive. Both have creative jobs, but treated them like jobs. They were always fine with me doing anything provided I treated it like work, put in the hours, did my best. No waiting for the muse to hit.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

I fill up about four a year in addition to the project-specific ones that I keep for the Crogan books. Most of what’s in there is terrible, but a quarter or so usually yields good results. I make my own sketchbooks using the department’s perfect-binding machine, using Bristol for the cover and Hammermill 28# color copy paper for the interior, usually around 200 pages or so. Before we had the glue-binder, I used the contact cement-and-clamps method of binding. The sketchbook is where I work out all of the pre-production for the comics – designs, dialogue, thumbnails, as well as preparatory sketches and from-life observations, that sort of thing. I’ve collected a lot of my sketchbook work into a book that I have on my website – if anyone is interested, it can be found on just about any current blog post.

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

I teach currently, at SCAD-Atlanta, and just finished my third year as a professor. We have an undergrad and a graduate program. I love it. I love being in a position to help these students (who show a real single-minded devotion to their craft) learn to hone that craft, as well as help them with the career side of things. They’re really an incredible bunch. Teaching also helps me to articulate principles that I find affecting my own work. It keeps me constantly examining our medium and striving to better it through my own work and through instructing the next generation.

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

Passion. I never use the word “talented” when describing someone, because it almost doesn’t matter. To me, saying that someone is “talented” is no more a compliment than noting someone’s height. It’s a given. One is born with a certain degree of innate ability, and whether or not it is developed has more to do with passion that what’s initially there, though folks with talent are probably more likely to cultivate their abilities. But I’ve seen a lot of talented folks whose work doesn’t amount to anything, and some folks who have had to teach themselves to draw through uphill struggle and who make fantastic comics. If teaching has taught me anything, it’s that the ones who try the hardest produce the best results. Flaubert said, “Talent is just long patience,” and the “developed” talent we see is just that – patience and tenacity.

Do you collect anything and if so what?

I don’t collect anything as objects for their own sake, only for what they can do. I do have an inordinate amount of books, but I read them and ruin them. Books are the one big thing on which my wife and I disagree. I want to keep any book that I may someday return to, or pull a fact from. Though I can rarely remember exact quotes, I’ll remember exactly where in a book I read something, and usually be able to flip to it and pull out a quote. The Flaubert quote above is like that – I remembered the quote but not who said it, and so I picked up the book in which I read it (L’Amour’s Education of a Wandering Man), flipped to that page, and pulled it out. I hate to get rid of books, because each one yields gems worth retrieving. And I love having them at easy disposal. Were it up to me, you wouldn’t be able to see our walls. That’s my ideal house.

Liz is more minimalist, and more of a sharer. She thinks books should go out into the world. She also doesn’t like clutter. So I keep adding shelves to my studio and trying to keep the upstairs rooms from being overwhelmed, and provided that I’m not ridiculous about it we keep a comfortable neutrality in which I’m granted a great deal of leeway.

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

The old guy from the Aristocats, only about fifty years younger. Or Gomez Addams. Either way, I’m enthusiastic and tend to knock things over with exaggerated gestures, and challenge dinner guests to fencing matches.

Are you a righty or lefty?

Righty, though every couple of years I try something with my left hand to make sure I can still work if something happens to my right. I can usually scratch out some legible image, though to develop it would require a great deal of time.

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

Whatever field I went into, I knew I wanted to teach it at the college level. My dad did that, and it was my one career definite. Geez, I can’t think of anything I’d like to do a tenth as much as what I get to do. Maybe prose, maybe animation preproduction, but I guess those are still almost the same thing. I planned at various points in my life to be a martial arts instructor and an Episcopal priest, but I’m too out of shape for the former and ill-suited for the latter. Let’s hope comics don’t disappear any time soon. What a terrifying prospect, to find a career you love with all your heart and have to pick something besides.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

Meticulously organized, not because I’m an organized person but because I’m so naturally disorganized that if I don’t have a place for absolutely everything then I pile everything up and lose track of all of my tools and papers.


Do you play any musical instruments?

I play a lot of instruments at a very amateurish level. Guitar, piano, bass. I can scratch out a song or two on violin, cello, concertina, and accordion, but they sound terrible.

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

Follow through. Practice, read, take classes, practice, practice, practice. Nothing substitutes for output.

Who is your favorite artist?

Geez, that’s a tough one. Comics-wise, probably Pierre Alary or Guy Davis, on a purely aesthetic level. Ridley Scott and Wes Anderson for film. Glen Keane. Geez, I can’t answer this one. If we encompass all of the arts, including writing, then George MacDonald Fraser wins, hands down.


This is Chris’s awesome submission for the Team Cul de Sac project. You can learn more about Team Cul de Sac here.





Thank you very much for your time Chris!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vic Lee - Cartoonist Survey #230





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

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


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


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

What is your favorite pen to use?

I use a Picah brush pen.

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

I use a mechanical pencil and a big gummy eraser.

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

On the computer.

What type of paper do you use?

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

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Crowd scenes!

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

I go Staples for paper and Michaels for brush pens.

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

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

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

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


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

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

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

Bizarro and Speed Bump.

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

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

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

None whatsoever.

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

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

Did either of your parents draw?

Nope.

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

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Only for the fine art.

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

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

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

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

Do you collect anything and if so what?

Dogs. My wife is a rescuer.

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

Mowgli from "The Jungle Book".

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

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

NFL placekicker and punter or college special teams coach.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

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

Do you play any musical instruments?

Synthesizer and vocals.

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

Study marketing and psychology.

Who is your favorite artist?

John Waterhouse.

Thank you very much Vic!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning

Here's a video I came across about Charles N. Landon, the founder of the Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning.



I have a bunch of correspondence course books including "Cartooning for Profit by David Rand" and the "Cartoonists Exchange Presents...Paul Robinson's Post Graduate Course".


They are a little outdated, but there is still a lot of valuable information in them. You can usually find them pretty cheap on eBay. If you are interested in these type of courses, especially their history, you should purchase this upcoming book from Rick Marshal titled, "Mail Order Geniuses".


Speaking of how-to cartooning books, Mike Lynch over at Mike Lynch Cartoons is offering his own cartooning books. Mike's books have been so popular that they sold out and have had to be reprinted. He is now offering them as a set which includes an original sketch for only $7.00. That's cheap! Go here to purchase them.

Tom Richmond, caricaturist and illustrator extraordinaire has a book coming out next month called "The Mad Art of Caricature: A Serious Guide to Drawing Funny Faces". I've been looking forward to this book for some time now and it looks like it will be ready to order on July 21st. Go check out Tom's blog to see a preview of the cover.



Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I wanted to take a moment and wish my dad a Happy Father's Day.

Here's dear old dad just before my Christening relaxing with his pipe. Don't worry, times were a little different back then (1962) and it was perfectly normal to smoke a pipe around an infant.

Here's one from a few months later with dad giving me my bottle. What better time to have a relaxing smoke.

Here I am around 1972 at age 10.

Thankfully, as you can see, I had a completely normal childhood. (Yes, I believe that is a bottle of Cutty Sark tucked under my "Tales of Edgar Allan Poe" book).

Happy Father's Day Dad!!!

Thank you for instilling in me my love of drawing, reading, history, science, nature, hockey, guitar playing, corny jokes, fly fishing, darts, cribbage...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Greg Evans - Cartoonist Survey #229





Born in November of 1947 Greg Evans is a cartoonist and the creator of the syndicated comic strip ‘Luann’. He grew up near Disney Studios in Burbank, CA and had dreams of working for Walt. He earned a BA in Art from Cal State University at Northrop in 1970 and taught high school art in El Centro, CA until 1972 when he and his wife Betty moved to Australia. They lived in Australia for two years and then spent a year traveling through Asia and the Middle East. When they moved back to the States they settled in Colorado Springs, CO. Greg was unable to find a teaching job so he went to work at a local TV station as a cameraman and worked his way up to Corporate Promotions Manager. During this time he continued to work towards his dream of becoming a syndicated cartoonist by freelancing as a magazine cartoonist and submitting ideas for strips to the major syndicates.

One day while watching his six-year-old daughter he came up with the idea for a strip about a teenage girl. He ended up selling the strip and “Luann” debuted on St. Patrick’s Day 1985. The strip centers on the main character Luann DeGroot and how she deals with school, love interests, family and friends. Greg has been praised for the way he touches on the real issues that affect teenagers such as puberty, cancer, drug abuse and drunk driving. He states that his aim is, “to touch readers’ hearts as well as their funny bones, to enlighten as well as to entertain.” Still going strong for over 25 years ‘Luann’ appears in hundreds of newspapers. After six nominations, Greg was awarded the National Cartoonist Society’s highest honor, the Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year in 2003. He was previously nominated in 2002, 2001, 1999, 1997 and 1994.


There are several book collections of the ‘Luann’ strips including, “Luann 25 Years: the Fascinating Behind-the-Scenes History and Trivia You're Dying to Know.” The “Luann 25 Years” book is available for order here directly from Greg, complete with autograph and CD of the ‘Luann’ musical. That’s right there is a ‘Luann’ musical called, “Luann: Scenes in a Teen's Life”. Greg wrote the musical in 2006 with the help of arranger and orchestrator Justin Gray and it has been performed at many theatres and schools. If Luann doesn’t appear in your local paper you can read it at GoComics. Greg currently lives in San Marcos, CA with his wife Betty. Visit his pages here at The Cartoonist Studio where you can see more of his work and more pictures of his studio. Greg also has a blog page at The Cartoonist Studio where he posted a great essay he wrote titled, "So You Want To Be A Cartoonist..."


What is your favorite pen to use?

For the past 3 years, I've drawn digitally on a Cintiq. So the answer here would be "a stylus." Prior to that, when I drew pen-on-paper, I used Faber-Castell Pitt pens.

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

I sketch on a Photoshop layer, ink on a new layer, then delete the sketch layer.

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

Computer, using Photoshop.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Brad's hair. It never looks right. Also cars. I tend to make them too real instead of all cartoony fat and squishy.

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

When I buy art supplies, it's online. There are no art stores near me.

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

Yes. I amp up my motivation and energy by looking at my deadline calendar.

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

I mostly listen to NPR. When I'm sick of bad news, I put on some Sinatra or Beatles.

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

Superman!

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

Peanuts.

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

I had one of those Walter Foster "how to draw cartoons" books that I loved. It got tossed when I went off to college.

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

I majored in art at Cal State Northridge.

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

Yes!

Did either of your parents draw?

No.

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

My wife of 40 years, Betty

Do you keep a sketchbook?

No.

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

After college, I was a high school art teacher for 4 years and I hated it. Since then, I've done occasional one-time lessons, from little kids up to college age and even adults. What I've found is, I have no idea how to teach cartooning.

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

The best artists have both. Some say if you have enough passion, you can develop the talent. I don't buy that. I believe real drawing skill is something you're born with and that can be improved with practice. It's the practice that requires passion.

Do you collect anything and if so what?

Only memories. And those are getting harder to hold onto.

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

Superman! Oh, "would" be, not "want" to be. In that case, Charlie Brown.

Are you a righty or lefty?

Lefty (I assume you're not asking about politics).

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

Be some kind of creative writer - novels, screenplays, musicals.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

A desk with a laptop hooked to a Cintiq. I stand when I draw, so there's no chair.


Do you play any musical instruments?

A smidge of piano.

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

Find a secure day job first. Then hone your craft in your spare time. Build an awesome portfolio that's better than anyone else's. Then go look for jobs. I guess that's four pieces.

Who is your favorite artist?

Norman Rockwell.

Here's a video of Greg discussing the making of a comic strip. Hat tip to Mike Lynch who posted this video a couple years back.





Thanks again Greg.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Vinny, don't put too many onions in the sauce."

The movie ‘GoodFellas’ is one of my all-time favorites. While searching for a new book for my Kindle (which I absolutely love), I came across “Gangsters and Goodfellas: The Mob, Witness Protection, and Life on the Run” by Henry Hill. I had to have it…and it was a great read. Since I was still hankering for more on Henry, I did another Amazon search and came across “The Wise Guy Cookbook: My Favorite Recipes From My Life as a Goodfella to Cooking on the Run” and ordered the sample. One of the first recipes given in the book is for a basic tomato sauce. This weekend I cooked up a batch and it came out really good. While watching TV, I often pull out my sketchbook…and last night was no exception. Here is the recipe along with my sketched rendition of the ingredients required. This is a great quick recipe with only a few healthy ingredients, and I highly recommend it.





Here's a link to a YouTube video with the prison cooking scene from 'GoodFellas'.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Anita Kunz - Cartoonist/Artist Survey #228





Artist and illustrator Anita Kunz was born in Toronto, Canada in 1956. She graduated from The Ontario College of Art in 1978. In addition to Toronto she has lived in New York and London and has contributed to magazines and worked for book publishers, design firms and advertising agencies throughout the world. Anita’s clients include Rolling Stone, Time, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, The New York Times, Sony Music, Random House Publishing and many others. She has also illustrated more than fifty book jacket covers and created cover art for numerous magazines such as Sports Illustrated, the Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, The New Yorker and Rolling Stone.

Anita has been honored with many distinguished awards and medals. Her artwork has appeared in galleries and museums worldwide, including the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Teatrio Cultural Association in Rome, Italy, the Creation Gallery in Tokyo and the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration. In the fall of 2003 she was the first woman and first Canadian to have a solo show at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Permanent collections of her work are housed at the Library of Congress, the Archives of Canada in Ottawa, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, the Musèe Militaire de France in Paris and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Anita often teaches workshops and lectures at universities and institutions including the Smithsonian Institution, the Illustration Academy in Sarasota, Florida, the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC, the Masters of Art degree program at Syracuse University and online through TAD. In 2009 she was one of the 100 artists chosen by Google to contribute an image for Google Chrome. She has been named one of the fifty most influential women in Canada by the National Post newspaper and that was backed up in 2009 when she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.


Being named an Officer of the Order of Canada is Canada’s highest civilian honor and is the Canadian version of knighthood. Anita is in good company as other Officers of the Order of Canada include Wayne Gretzky and Neil Young. Last June her alma mater, the Ontario college of Art and Design in Toronto presented her with an honorary doctorate degree. Visit Anita’s website where you can view her portfolio, fine art and also purchase prints and books. You can also follow Anita on her blog here.

What is your favorite pen to use?

I don’t use pens...acrylics and watercolours.

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

Regular.

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

By hand.

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

See answer #1.

What type of paper do you use?

Crescent board #110.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Business men shaking hands.

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

The art store beside OCADU.

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

I worry.

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

Sometimes...whatever. Usually radio.

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

No...just MAD magazine.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

So many...

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

"Stranger than Science"". I used to love books where people spontaneously combusted. Scared the crap out of me. No I don’t have the book any more.

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

Yes...OCA.

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

Both.

Did either of your parents draw?

Nope, but my uncle did.

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

My partner.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

No but I have a box full of sketches.

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

Yes I teach. It’s difficult but I love it. I teach online with TAD.

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

Passion!

Do you collect anything and if so what?

Too much stuff...I’m trying to get rid of it.

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

Boo-Boo bear.

Are you a righty or lefty?

Righty.

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

I can’t do anything else.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

Drawing board.

Do you play any musical instruments?

No. I used to play the accordion but thankfully my parents let me stop the lessons. It was traumatic enough.

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

Work hard and listen to your inner voice.

Who is your favorite artist?

Too numerous to mention.


Watch this TAD video where Anita discusses her idea process and conceptual portraits.



Thank you again for your time Anita.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How It's Made - PENCIL

Ever wonder how those pencils you've been drawing with are made? It's quite an amazing process.


A hat tip goes out to the wonderful blog about pencils, Woodclinched, for originally posting this video.