Monday, October 31, 2011

Evan Dorkin - Cartoonist Survey #246






Evan Dorkin is a multi-Eisner Award winning cartoonist, artist and writer who was born in April of 1965. He started drawing at a young age, copying ‘Peanuts’ characters from the newspaper. He is mostly self-taught aside from a couple of artist’s anatomy classes and an animation drawing class while he was attending film school at New York University. Evan is probably best known for his alternative comic 'Milk and Cheese', the adventures of an anthropomorphic milk carton and wedge of cheese. Both characters were created and drawn on cocktail napkins while he was under the influence of adult beverages in the wee hours of the morning back in the mid-80s.



He continued to draw the characters and the first ‘Milk and Cheese’ strip ran in the final issue of Greed Magazine in 1988. ‘Milk and Cheese’ strips continued to be printed in various magazines and comics until the early 90s when Slave Labor Graphics started collecting them and printing them in ‘Milk and Cheese’ comic books. Numerous issues of the comics were released including a trade paperback that collected the first four issues in 1994.



In addition to ‘Milk and Cheese’ comics, he created the anthology comics ‘Dork!’ The ‘Dork!’ comics consist of random comics and strips that are a mix of new material and reprints from other sources. Other early comics works by Evan include ‘Pirate Corp$’ and ‘Hectic Planet’. He has also worked for the major comic companies including; ‘The Goon’ and ‘Predator’ for Dark Horse, ‘World’s Funnest Comics’ and MAD Magazine for DC and a ‘Thing’ miniseries, ‘Agent X’, and ‘Bill and Ted’ comics for Marvel. Lately he’s been writing and drawing for Bongo’s ‘Simpsons’ comics including the recent ‘Bart Simpson’ #63 for which he wrote and drew a 10-page story that was colored by his wife, Sarah Dyer.



Evan and Sarah have written for television and animation. Together they worked on Cartoon Network’s “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” for seven years, writing scripts for more than a dozen shows. Evan and his wife have written and designed costumes for the children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba!” including the show’s Super Martian Robot Girl segments. The writing team of Dorkin and Dyer also wrote some episodes of “Superman: The Animated Series”, “Batman Beyond” and “Batman: The Animated Series.”



Evan teamed up with comic book writer and illustrator Jill Thompson for the supernatural pet epic ‘Beasts of Burden’ for Dark Horse Press. ‘Beasts of Burden’ features a heroic gang of dogs and a cat who protect the town of Burden Hill from evil forces such as canine zombies, cannibal frogs and a secret rat society. The ‘Beasts of Burden’ comics were collected into a hardcover edition last July. Speaking of hardcover editions, this coming January Dark Horse Comics will be releasing a deluxe hardcover edition of ‘Milk and Cheese’ that will contain almost every strip from 1989 to 2010.



To learn more about Evan and see more of his work, visit his and Sarah’s The House of Fun website and his blog. You can also purchase original artwork by Evan here.



What is your favorite pen to use?

These days it's a Hunt 22 nib.



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

I pencil everything out pretty tightly because I'm a very hesitant inker, I can't draw in ink, at least not to my satisfaction. I use standard pencils, 2H, 2B, 3B, 4B, sometimes plain old Ticonderoga #2's.

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

Any color comics I do are colored on the computer by my wife and partner, Sarah Dyer. I can't use Photoshop; I'm not very handy with a computer.

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

If I color a piece or a commission drawing I use colored pencils and/or markers.

What type of paper do you use?

Strathmore bristol board, usually a 400 or 500 series. I switch around a lot and sometimes buy sheets of bristol when I can afford it because the pads vary in quality and I can't seem to find anything I'm satisfied with. Paper, as with art supplies and manufactured goods in general, seems to be declining more and more in quality every year. For a long time I was able to work with a cache of Marvel and DC board that I managed to acquire (editors and publishers were much more generous with paper back in the 1990's), I really got used to that paper and haven't found anything I've liked as much since the sad day my stash ran out.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Animals, cars, people, buildings, nature, computer keyboards, furniture...anything with a deadline. I could make a long list of things I don't enjoy drawing because to a large degree I don't actually enjoy drawing. I find it difficult and am always fighting the page and what I'm trying to draw. I'm compelled to draw because I do enjoy telling stories in comics form, but most of the time I find the actual act of drawing stressful. I don't think I draw anything particularly well, sometimes I find myself hitching even when drawing my own characters, even characters I've drawn for many years. I enjoy having drawn more than drawing, if you get me. The same goes for writing, as well. I like working out the material in my head and in my notebook, executing the material is usually an exercise in anxiety. Sometimes the work flows and it feels organic and 'right" like it did back when I was young and didn't know how bad my work was, when I just did it and had fun.

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

Both, but the local art supply stores where I live are terrible and unreliable. I only go there if I need something basic that they will most likely have, although they can surprise you. No kneaded erasers, or 3B pencils, or Rapidograph ink, I've been stymied plenty of times going local.



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?

I listen to all sorts of music, usually I just listen to WFMU.org, a free-form radio station whose various deejays play pretty much anything and everything you can name -- punk, power pop, new wave, hip-hop, doo-wop, garage, electronic, hillbilly, country, western swing, big-bands, standards, black metal, soundtracks, classical, experimental, the list goes on. I like all sorts of genres and sometimes pick what I'm listening to based on what I'm working on. Sunday nights at 8 pm I listen to the Big Broadcast on WFUV.org, a four-hour show of mostly 20's and 30's big band music I enjoy working to. I also often like to draw while listening to old radio shows, all kinds, but usually horror and crime stuff, as well as some comedy shows. Years ago I used to only work with the television on, Jack Kirby-style, but I stopped and don't even know if I could do it again if I had to. It was good company but too distracting.



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

I followed newspaper strips, Tintin reprints in Children's Digest magazine and Marvel Comics. My sister read Harvey and Archie comics and when I was done with my Marvel comics I'd read those, as well. My favorites were Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers. The Tintin translations made a lasting impression. Of my sister's comics I liked anything with Spooky the Ghost and Hot Stuff.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

Growing up it was Peanuts, my favorite current strip is Cul De Sac. I like a lot of old strips, Barnaby, Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy, Terry and the Pirates, Dick Tracy, Gasoline Alley, Prince Valiant, King Aroo, The Little King, The list goes on and on.

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

“The Curious Clubhouse”, if I had to pick one. I have a copy of it although it's not the one I had as a kid. I still have my kidhood copy of “Alice in Wonderland”, that was a cherished book. It's always hard for me to pick a favorite anything.



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

I took two artist's anatomy courses at New York University, where I also took an animation drawing class. That's pretty much it. I'm largely self-taught and had a bad teacher in myself. It's a reason I believe I've always been at least ten years behind where I should be as far as my craft goes.

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

Both.

Did either of your parents draw?

No.

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

My wife, Sarah.



Do you keep a sketchbook?

I keep several but I only sporadically work in them. I get discouraged because drawing doesn't really come easily for me, and I'm often disappointed by the results. I also don't have a lot of spare time to draw stuff that isn't for a concrete project. I tend to use my sketchbooks like notebooks, pragmatically working out ideas, dialogue, character designs, and images for a project.



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

I've spoken to classes and groups about making comics, but I've never formally taught anyone anything. I could never teach an actual drawing class, I don't have a good enough grasp of the fundamentals, I know about as much about draftsmanship as I do quantum mechanics. I do enjoy giving talks about comics and cartooning, I don't know if I could actually teach a class, though. The talks I've done have gone over pretty well, but I don't know if I could translate that into a sustained course that students can take anything away from.

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

For me it's the latter, even if the passion is tempered these days. I have a modicum of talent, there are legions of people out there who draw better than I do, but the energy and honesty and personality I try to bring to my comics helps set them apart. I think. I hope. Passion will come across on the page even if the chops aren't always there, passion can overcome some wobbly drawing and staging. I don't believe in dismissing craft, but I'd rather listen to a compelling, messy punk band than a group of technically-proficient musicians who bring nothing to their music but immaculate playing. That being said, true talent plus real passion is ideal, I'd think. Something to aspire to.

Do you collect anything and if so what?

I used to collect a lot of things, too many things, I'm in the process of getting rid of a lot of stuff. These days I really only collect comics, almost exclusively comics with a spine, a lot of strip and old comic reprints, some manga collections, pretty much everything Tezuka-related. I get most of them for free or trade. If I had to pay for the bulk of the comics I pick up, I wouldn't be picking them up.

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

What a weird question. Felix the Cat? The original, grumpy version of the character, not the television version.



Are you a righty or lefty?

Righty. Politically, I lean left.

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

Stand-up comedy or professional wrestler, something miserable like that where you're putting yourself out there and entertaining people and the actual business is miserable and there's an element of personal self-destruction involved. Like comics, only with an audience, and a lot more substance abuse.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

A pretty nice, large room with a cheap drawing table up against one wall in-between two windows overlooking the street. The table has a battered old lightbox on it, a lamp that's almost twenty years old and not working properly, and it's covered with comic pages, layouts and reference for a strip I'm working on.

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?

Persevere. Keep going. Work creates work, and improves the work.

Who is your favorite artist?

If we're talking comics, probably Jaime Hernandez. With a lot of folks just beneath him on the list, Jack Kirby, Yves Chaland, Tezuka, Will Elder....yet another long list.



Thank you very much Evan!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monte Wolverton - Cartoonist Survey #245





Monte Wolverton is an editorial cartoonist and fine artist who was born in 1948 in Vancouver, Washington. Being the son of legendary cartoonist Basil Wolverton, it wasn’t a surprise that he began drawing early in life. His dad actually built him a drawing board when he was only 7 years old. Monte graduated from Hudson’s Bay High School in 1966 and then moved to California to attend the now-defunct Ambassador College in Pasadena. After graduating from Ambassador College, he studied at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and worked as a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and graphic designer. His first cartoons and comics where published in the magazines, CAR-toons, Creative Computing, Youth and CB Radio.



He moved back to Vancouver in the mid-70s and started Monte Wolverton Associates, an advertising and design business whose clients included the U.S. Forest Service, Peterson Publishing, First Independent Bank and others. He was recruited by the Worldwide Church of God to become design director for Plain Truth so in 1985 he relocated to Pasadena, CA. Monte was in charge of leading a group of over 20 illustrators and photographers in producing three magazines, promotional materials and other publications. In 1994 he earned an interdisciplinary Master’s degree in management and creativity studies from Goddard College in Vermont.



In 1994 he had his first humorous illustration in MAD Magazine and he soon became a regular contributor. Around the same time Monte started drawing political cartoons and posting them on his Wolvertoons website. A few small weekly newspapers began running his political cartoons and in the late 90s, his friend Daryl Cagle asked him to join his new syndicate, Cagle Cartoons. Monte became one of the most widely syndicated editorial cartoonists in the world with his cartoons appearing in over 850 newspapers worldwide.

Recently, he has also been creating fine art. These colorful works, primarily acrylic on canvas, are described by Monte as “neo-psychedelic” or “neo-surrealist.” He states that, "I try to create works that are at once fun, entertaining and mind-expanding – works that draw the viewer into a vortex of shape, color and texture.”


He and his wife Kayte moved to Battle Ground, WA last year with their two American Rat Terriers, Meg and Kirby, to be closer to their family. Speaking of American Rat Terriers, Monte is the president of the Rat Terrier Club of America. He is also a member of the National Cartoonists Society and the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Visit his Wolvertoons website and also his fine art website that features music for each piece of art created by San Francisco composer Clasher Von Sin. You should also checkout the archives of his political cartoons at Cagle Cartoons.



What is your favorite pen to use?

Tombow Zoom.

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

My roughs are in pen or pencil -- whatever I can find at the time.

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

Depends. My editorial cartoons are colored in Photoshop. Other illustrations may be by hand.



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

Watercolor or acrylic paints. Sometimes airbrush.

What type of paper do you use?

For cartoons I prefer Strathmore Vellum Bristol 500 series -- or 400. Altho nowadays I do most of my editorial cartoons on tracing paper.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

Can't think of anything I HATE to draw.

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

Either online or Utrecht Art Supplies locally.

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

Not really. Find a pen and some paper?

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

Audio books. Jazz. Bach. TV (Big Bang Theory, 2.5 Men, Burns and Allen).

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

MAD magazine (was a comic book then). Weird Tales of the Future. Any horror/sf. Tom Terrific.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

Right now? Cul de Sac. Or maybe Pearls Before Swine. Or maybe Mother Goose and Grimm. Can't think of any comic strip that I don't like/haven't liked. Even the lame ones are funny because they're lame, in the same way that Ed Wood was one of the best directors ever.



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

“They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers”, by Gray Barker. It's still on my shelf along with just about any other book I have ever owned. And any book my parents and grandparents ever owned.



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

Art Center College of Design -- Pasadena (altho it was in Los Angeles at the time).

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

Blessing! But nearly anything can become a curse.

Did either of your parents draw?

My dad.



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

My dad. Now, my wife and daughter.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Sometimes I have. Not right now. I sketch things on scraps of paper, scan them in and save them for future use. So, yeah, I have sort of an electronic sketchbook.

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

Yes. Taught elementary-age kids drawing and cartooning -- and taught art history as part of a high school art class. Yeah -- it was fun. Especially as some of them have become pros -- or at least highly creative.

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

Both equally important. Even if drawing is a problem -- one's passion can drive one to establish a style. But to make the style consistent, one must develop some kind of drafting technique.

Do you collect anything and if so what?

Have a very small collection of comic art, including some of my father's work. Have kept family antiques, books, ephemera.

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

Ren Hoek. Or Stimpy. Depends on the day.



Are you a righty or lefty?

Politically lefty. Dexterously righty.



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

Musician. Writer.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

Otherwise spacious studio crammed with bookshelves, paintings, Stratocasters, two dogs, Macs, audio equipment, old reel-to-reel tape deck, TV, drawing boards piled with stuff, strange sculpture and three paintings in progress on work table, chairs from studios of Basil Wolverton and Carl Barks. View of woods.



Photo credit: Steven Lane

Do you play any musical instruments?

Guitar. I have a keyboard, a vintage-spec Strat, a twelve-string Strat, a classical guitar and a horrible old bass that I got from a pawn shop. I play old Byrds songs, mostly.

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

Have another (possibly related) profession to keep you going -- and then don't give up. Be original. Doggedly pursue your own vision. The world has too many knock-offs.



Who is your favorite artist?

That's hard. James Ensor, Salvador Dali, Edouard Monet, my dad, Hieronymus Bosch, Wally Wood . . .there's so many . . . Chester Gould . . .



Thanks again for your time Monte!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm Mad for "The Mad Art of CARICATURE"!





I just received Tom Richmond's "The Mad Art of CARICATURE" book in the mail. All I can say is WOW! This book is THE book on caricaturing. I highly recommend that if you are interested in any type of drawing, cartooning or illustration that you immediately head over to his Deadline Demon Publishing and get your own copy!



Learn more about Tom and see many more examples of his fantastic artwork at his website and blog. You can also still read his answers to the Cartoonist Survey.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scott (Scott C.) Campbell - Cartoonist Survey #244


Photo credit: Love Ablan





Scott (Scott C.) Campbell is a cartoonist, illustrator, painter, video game artist and children’s book illustrator who was born in San Jose, California in December of 1973. He graduated with a BFA in Illustration focusing on comic and children's book illustration from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 1992. Soon after he graduated, he started working at LucasArts as a concept artist on children’s Star Wars video games. He left LucasArts in 2000 to become an Art Director at Double Fine Productions, the independent game development studio founded by Tim Schafer. While at Double Fine Productions he has worked on such critically acclaimed games as 2005’s Psychonauts and 2009’s Brutal Legend.



In addition to his work at Double Fine, Scott has published many comics and has had his paintings appear in galleries and publications around the world. His comics work includes his Great Showdowns series, the “Igloo Head and Tree Head” series, Double Fine Action Comics and the comic anthologies Flight and Hickee (co-founded by Graham Annable, Cartoonist Survey #152). He recently illustrated the children’s book, “Zombie in Love” and his new book, “Amazing Everything: The Art of Scott C.” which has a foreword by Jack Black, has received much praise from both the comics industry and his fans.



He has been nominated for an Ignatz Award in the Best New Talent category and has received awards from the Society of Illustrators. His clients include Nickelodeon, Fantagraphics, Majesco, Vice Magazine, Simon & Schuster, New Line Cinema, Criterion and many others. Scott lives and works in New York City. Visit his website where you can purchase original artwork, books, prints, t-shirts and more. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



What is your favorite pen to use?

This Japanese Pentel brush pen. It is more of a spongy brush tip though. Not a brush tip. And it is not refillable, which depresses me, so I go through a lot of them.

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

I use blue pencil to draw first. Just a normal Prismacolor col-erase.

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

Depends on the comic. If it is Double Fine Action Comics or other such anthology comics, they are all in black and white. Tones done in Photoshop. But my Igloo Head and Tree Head comics are all in watercolor. Including the linework.



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

Watercolors!



What type of paper do you use?

Arches rough watercolor paper for sweet texture. Copy paper or bristol board for the black and white line comics.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?

I am not a fan of drawing tall buildings with numerous windows.

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

I like to go to New York Central Art Supply in my neighborhood in Manhattan. I only go online to buy my cat's tongue Princeton brushes because I can’t find those anywhere!



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

I go to a cafe in the morning and get a coffee and pastry and sit and stare out the window for awhile. Then I read my book to relax my mind. Then I close my book and begin to draw.

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

I listen to whatever is playing in the cafe. If I am at home and need to think hard about something, I either do so in silence or with repetitive electronic music in the background. Or dub music.

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

I love X-Men and all the X-Men sorts of titles like New Mutants, X-Factor and so forth. My brother and I collected lots and lots of comics.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?

When I was much smaller, I loved Garfield and Family Circus, a bit later I loved Calvin and Hobbes and the Far Side.

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

"Hop on Pop" was my favorite. Later on, my favorite was this Troll book that I cannot remember the name of. Richard Scarry was one of my absolute faves though.



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

I went to the Academy of Art College in San Francisco to study illustration. Specifically, comic and children's book illustration.

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

A blessing! I love it! It has opened up this immense sense of community based around all mediums of art. And it makes it easy for people to make things and get them out into the world! I love Twitter and I love Tumblr. They are great for inspiration and meeting other artists. Sure there are a whole lot of terrible comics and art on the Internet, but there are also some very inspiring things to behold.

Did either of your parents draw?

My mom is very creative. She used to oil paint. Now she makes quilts and other sorts of crafty things.

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

My parents have always been the most supportive. They enrolled me in art classes at a young age and could tell that I was really enjoying myself. They are the best, my parents.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Not really! I should! And I would like to. I usually bring stacks of copy paper out with me because it is much less stressful for me to sketch and come up with ideas on these sheets of paper. I have stacks and stacks of copy paper in my house with doodles and notes on them.

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

I have! And I love it. I am excited to do more of it. I did a few workshops in London and a few in LA and SF.



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

I would like to say passion because that seems to drive people to create some pretty amazing things. There are many talented people in the world. But also talent is a broad idea. Talent without meaning seems boring and stale to me though. In my mind.

Do you collect anything and if so what?

Art books. I am addicted to art books. I have too many. And cheese. I buy lots of cheese and then I eat all of the cheese.

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

I have been called Shaggy for many many years.

Are you a righty or lefty?

Righty.

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

An actor! Or a chef!

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.

A drawing table resting against a dirty brick wall with art printouts taped all over it.



Do you play any musical instruments?

Guitar! And ukulele.



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

Enjoy the process! Treat it like an adventure you are going on.

Who is your favorite artist?

Currently, it is Sam Bosma.





Thanks again Scott!