Wednesday, January 18, 2012
John Forcucci - Cartoonist Survey #254
Cartoonist Survey #254 is John Forcucci, and his survey is brought to you with a little twist. John’s bio has been written by a guest writer, John’s good friend, and none other than Bill White, Cartoonist Survey #1.
Bill, thanks so much for putting us in touch with John and for contributing your words of wit and wisdom to the blog. Enjoy!
John Forcucci may be the best illustrator you've never heard of. I first met John when he was doing "live" caricatures around New England. There are a ton of people in New England doing caricatures at live events (including me!), but John's work stands out.
Although John is a wonderful "live" caricaturist, his studio work is even better. Most of his work is done, "behind the scenes", doing illustrations and storyboards, for companies like Hasbro. John has worked on a wide variety of properties, including, "Chuck the Truck", "Spider-Man", "Star Wars" and "Transformers".
If this wasn't enough, he has also done the covers for Todd Debonis' "Monkey King's Daughter", series of novels.
He is also an awesome bass player. He is so freakin' talented, it would be easy to hate him, but I can't. His work is too good.
See more of John's work here on his Boston Story Boards website, his personal website and his blog.
What is your favorite pen to use?
Staedtler Pigment liners (different sizes). Marvy "Ball and Brush" textile pens for drawing live caricatures.
Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Most of my contract work is done start to finish in Photoshop. When doing studies, life drawing or sketchbook stuff it's col-erase pencils (blue, carmine red and black) in addition to a Tombow Mono 2B.
Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I've been playing with Copic markers, watercolor and FW inks. Also doing some painting with acrylic and oil.
What type of paper do you use?
What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Nothing really - things sometimes get uncomfortable if I'm unfamiliar with a subject so I'll hop online for reference and try to see whatever it is from different views.
Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
All the above - I like the convenience of having stuff shipped to the door in one big pile. That said we have a lot of local stores in Boston - it's fun to walk around and have the tactile experience.
Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Grab a cup of coffee and acknowledge how grateful I am to be there.
Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
It depends on the task at hand – sometimes I need silence (with thumbnails, for example). When I do listen to tunes it can be anything (except atonal stuff – all my respect, just not my taste). Most often it’s the Beatles. I enjoy podcasts a bunch as well - mostly creator interviews.
Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
John Byrne's run on Marvel Team-up and Mike Grell's Legion of Superheroes got me hooked. Discovering "back issues" sealed the deal with all those 70’s Marvel Gil Kane covers. I lost my mind.
What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin & Hobbes - for comic 'books' it's a toss up between 100 Bullets and New Frontier.
What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Night Shift which was lost in the last move.
Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I have a "degree" in art . . . but there was no training involved. Lots of self-discovery, hanging out with art-peers and trolling the web for info is a continuing process.
Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
That depends - it's indispensable for reference, marketing and new information . . . and can be a true "time vampire" procrastination tool.
Did either of your parents draw?
My mom a bit.
Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My wife is a terrific support and a trusted critic.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
Absolutely - I recently discover how important and useful the sketchbook is thanks to Stephen Silver (Cartoonist Survey #192).
Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Only a handful of after-school programs and some storyboard lectures. I do enjoy it and hope to do more in the future.
Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
That's a fun debate. My 'current' belief is that there needs to be at least a spark of what folks call "talent" or an affinity for drawing. That said when you see success - passion and consistent, focused work seem to pop up again and again.
Do you collect anything and if so what?
I have an art book addiction. I'm fascinated by and collect material on illustration including the Famous Artists Course books, Loomis, Rockwell, out of print How-to texts, "Art of . . ." books and artist's sketchbooks.
If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
If I could pick - it would be that Ant who always get the best of the Aardvark. I think his name is Charlie.
Are you a righty or lefty?
If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I'd be playing music.
In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A Cintiq and second monitor surrounded by books, knickknacks and framed comic book art. Just shy of cluttered.
Do you play any musical instruments?
Bass guitar - I played, taught, did studio sessions, etc. for a living for about 15 years.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Treat your development seriously by allocating the time necessary to practice and grow.
Who is your favorite artist?
Depends on the day! It usually comes back to Norman Rockwell. John Byrne and Gil Kane started it all. Other big inspirations have been Alex Toth, Chuck Jones, Gregory Manchess, Eduardo Risso, Rudolphe Guenoden, Stephen Silver, Glen Keane, Bill Watterson, Darwyn Cooke, Friz Freleng, Sean Gordon Murphy, Sergio Aragones, Olivier Coipel, Brian Stelfreeze, Ben Caldwell, Scott Fischer, Stuart Immonen, Leinil Yu, J.C. Leyendecker, Massimo Carnevale, Adam Hughes, Travis Charest, Albert Dorne, Mort Drucker . . . the list is endless and ever-growing!
Thank you again for participating John!
And another thanks to Bill White for the introduction to John's work.