Friday, December 21, 2012

Bob McLeod - Cartoonist Survey #276

Bob McLeod is a comic book artist, a writer and illustrator of children’s books and an educator. He was born in Tampa, FL in August of 1951. Like most participants of the Cartoonist Survey, he started drawing at an early age, copying newspaper comic strips and drawing Disney characters. Growing up, Bob was big into sports and spent a lot of time water skiing. He also played the trumpet throughout junior and senior high school, with dreams of becoming a professional musician. Though he spent some time studying art at Auburn University, the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and the Barnstone Studio after high school, he is mostly self-taught.

In 1970 he tried selling a newspaper comic strip he created called “Tom Nosey”. Unfortunately, the strip, which featured himself as a private investigator, was never published. He continued sending out his work and was disappointed, but not defeated, when both Marvel and DC rejected his work. He was hired by Neal Adams at the Continuity Associates Studio and worked as one of the 'Crusty Bunker' inkers. Then in 1973, at the recommendation of Neal Adams, Bob got a job in the production department at Marvel Comics doing lettering and art corrections.

He was soon given assignments inking backgrounds and quickly began getting freelance jobs inking for Marvel's kung fu comics. Bob was also penciling and inking movie and TV satires and the “Teen Hulk” strip for Marvel's Crazy magazine. At the same time he was studying the artwork of Neal Adams and John Buscema, which helped to improve his penciling skills. He continued at Marvel where he worked on titles including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Star Wars and many others. In 1982 he co-created The New Mutants, the group of younger X-Men, with writer Chris Claremont. Bob also worked on Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Legion of Super Heroes and more for DC comics.

From 2006 through 2009 Bob edited TwoMorrows Publishing’s Rough Stuff magazine. Rough Stuff featured preliminary artwork for comic books with notes and comments by the work’s artists. The magazine also had interviews and columns that often contained never-before-published pencil pages, sketches and layouts. One of my favorite parts of each issue was the section where Bob showed constructive critiques of new artists trying to break into the business.

In 2006 Bob’s wife, Lucy, encouraged him to write and illustrate the children’s alphabet book, “Superhero ABC". The beautifully illustrated book, which is published by HarperCollins, contains all-original superheroes, created and drawn by Bob. From Astro-Man, who is "Always Alert for an Alien Attack" despite his asthma, to the Zinger, kids are introduced to the letters of the alphabet in a way that makes learning fun. Bob makes school visits where he shows the whole process of creating a comic book and he often uses ‘Suprehero ABC’ in conjunction with his demonstrations. Go here to learn more about the visits and how to schedule an appearance.

Bob lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Lucy, where he teaches part-time at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in Lancaster and is working on more children’s books, in addition to working on his tennis game. Visit his website and Facebook page to see much more of his artwork. You can also buy Bob’s original artwork and learn about taking correspondence art classes from him.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use the Hunt 102, like most people. For a decade or more, when looser styles were popular, I used the Hunt 103, an extremely flexible nib. My favorite pens have a way of being discontinued, such as the old Gillotte 290 and the Rotring Rapidoliner. I think both of those are still around, but they're not how they used to be.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes, I usually use a 2.5 standard pencil. Sometimes I use a mechanical pencil, but not often.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both. It depends on the project.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Watercolor, markers, and/or Dr. Martins dyes, depending on the needs of the project.

What type of paper do you use?
Strathmore 300 or 400 series usually.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Guns, and complicated superhero costumes (which other artists almost always draw differently panel to panel).

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I have a Blick store nearby that I use a lot, and buy online if they don't have something.

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

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Generally, no. I'm usually concentrating to the extent that I'm unaware of what music is on anyway. There's no single genre I prefer.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
MAD magazine was my favorite. I also loved the old Harvey comics.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I mourn the death of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant. Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side were always consistently great. I liked Peanuts when it was psychological humor, before Snoopy took over and it got stupid. The only strip I read now is Dilbert.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
I don't think I had a favorite. I read a great variety of books as a child. My favorite series was "The Black Stallion", by Walter Farley, but I no longer have them.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I studied art at Auburn University for a year, The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale for a year, and The Barnstone Studios for a year. For most of what I do in my professional career, I'm self-taught.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Both, but more blessing than curse.

Did either of your parents draw?
No, no one in my family is artistic but me, that I know of.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents were always totally supportive. I wouldn't have become an artist without their support.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No. I find the idea ridiculous. When I'm not drawing something to sell, I generally prefer to do something else with my time.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, I've taught many times and places. I teach now, and love teaching.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I think talent leads to passion. I don't know how passionate you can be about something you don't have an aptitude for.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect art books of various kinds, and some original art, and a lot of dust.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I don't know. Mr. Magoo?

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Teach, or be a musician.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Cluttered describes it best. It's claustrophobic and totally uninspiring, but I rise above it.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Not currently, but I used to be a good trumpet player in school, and I taught myself piano for awhile.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Study other artists and take drawing seriously.

Who is your favorite artist?
Mort Drucker.

Thanks again for participating Bob!

1 comment:

Mike Rhode said...

I've always liked his work. I bought that New Mutants new on the stands.