Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brian McFadden - Cartoonist Survey #263





Self-taught cartoonist and comedy writer Brian McFadden was born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts (also the birthplace of legendary boxer Rocky Marciano and…um…me). As a child he fell in love with the Simpsons’ animated shorts on 'The Tracey Ullman Show' and a few years later discovered Matt Groening’s “Life in Hell” comic strips. After high school he studied mechanical engineering at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. While at John Hopkins he started reading alternative weekly comics, enjoying the works of Derf (Cartoonist Survey #25), Ruben Bolling and Tom Tomorrow. By searching the web, he was able to find the work of many more alternative weekly cartoonists including Ted Rall, Keith Knight (Cartoonist Survey #251) and Max Cannon. Bored with his studies, Brian started his own comic strip, Big Fat Whale, on a GeoCities website in October of 2001.


In July of 2002, the cartoon moved to its own website and later that year, began appearing in the Boston monthly, Editorial Humor. The first Big Fat Whale mini comic, "The Lonely Captain's Erotic Scrimshaw", came out in November of 2003. A few months later BFW was picked up by the Cleveland Scene/Free Times and soon after, the Boston Phoenix started featuring the strip. Since that time, BFW has also been featured in the Gayzette Denver, Portland Phoenix, Chico Beat, Buffalo Beast, and many other national and international publications. Brian’s second BFW mini comic, "Sea Anomie", was printed in the fall of 2005.


Big Fat Whale was featured in the third installment of Ted Rall's Attitude series of books; “Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists”. Brian was also involved in the formation of Cartoonists With Attitude, a group which consists of many of the nation's subversive alt-weekly cartoonists. The first BFW book, “Fun Stuff for Dum-Dums” came out in May of 2009 and includes strips from late 2005 through mid 2009.


Since June of 2011 Brian has also written and drawn The Strip for The New York Times' Sunday Review section. As of earlier this year, his comics are also part of the comics lineup at the political blog Daily Kos.


Brian now lives live in Jamaica Plain, MA. In addition to cartooning he enjoys comedy writing and performing sketch comedy. Visit his Big Fat Whale website, which is updated every Friday, to read the weekly BFW strip. Check out his blog and the BFW store where you can purchase books, prints, stickers, t-shirts and original artwork. To read The Strip visit this page at The New York Times. Brian is also available for speaking engagements. These one hour talks feature a slideshow of his recent cartoons with behind-the-scenes commentary.


What is your favorite pen to use?
I'm all digital now, so I use whatever stylus came with the Wacom Intuous3 I use. Before then, I used a Hunt 108 nib and an inkwell.


Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I do a rough digital sketch to figure out the layout, especially with my text-heavy comics, then flesh out the details in the final pass.

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

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Any vehicle with wheels. Bikes, cars, a human centipede on roller skates. They all take too much time.


Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Since I went digital, the only supplies I end up buying are shipping materials. I'm definitely a regular at Staples and the local Post Office.


Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yeah. I like a wide variety of styles and try to mix it up, but generally I start out listening to NPR for material, then comedy podcasts, and shift to music when I need to concentrate on writing. And when I'm really up against a deadline, especially at the tail-end of all-nighter, and the coffee isn't working, I rely on blasting Eagles of Death Metal, White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, and anything else that can push me across the finish line.


Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I never read comic books, except for MAD. And it's embarrassing now, but I was a huge "Garfield" fan as a kid in the mid-eighties. Thankfully I quickly graduated up to "The Far Side" then to "Life in Hell" by the time I got to junior high.


What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Groening's "Life in Hell" will probably be at the top of my list forever. It's influenced me in so many ways. I didn't read alt-weeklies until college, so it was the first comic I read that catered to my more irreverent sensibilities. Even "Big Fat Whale's" square, generally nine-panel format is a direct inspiration (or rip-off) from Groening's strip. The list of my current faves is too long to list, but if I follow a cartoonist on Twitter, it's safe to assume I'm eagerly awaiting their next strip.


What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"There's a Monster at the End of This Book," starring Grover from Sesame Street. It's either in my parents' basement or hopefully found its way through the thrift store supply chain and it's entertaining another kid, thirty years later.


Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
No training, and it shows.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A blessing. I started posting cartoons regularly on the web in 2001, and every opportunity that has come my way in the eleven years since has been directly or indirectly a result of someone seeing my cartoons online.


Did either of your parents draw?
Not unless they picked it up in retirement, which is a possibility!

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Definitely my parents. They encouraged me even when I began to think pursuing a cartooning career was a pretty dumb idea.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Nope. I'm more of a writer who illustrates his ideas. I always have a notebook with me to jot down ideas, and I have a bulletin board in my office to keep track of all the comic scripts in the pipeline. But I only draw when it's absolutely necessary.


Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
When I was in high school, I taught an after-school cartooning class of elementary school students. I had a blast, although I doubt the students felt the same way.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Definitely passion. Talent comes to anyone who sticks with it long enough.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Not really. I'm pretty frugal, and I like to spend my hard-drawn dollars on having fun rather than accumulating things.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
It's not very flattering, but Ren from "Ren & Stimpy" seems to capture my essence the best.


Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
If I stuck with mechanical engineering, I'd probably be AutoCADing the newest bomb for the military industrial complex. But I'd hate that. If/when the cartooning thing dries up, I'd be content as a park ranger somewhere in the mountains of northern New England.


In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's ridiculously neat, especially for a guy who looks like an old-timey hobo.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Nope.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
If you like drawing, keep doing it, and get your work out there. The same goes if you like writing jokes. And if you like doing both, you just might be a cartoonist.


Who is your favorite artist?
That's a tough one, but without a doubt my biggest influence was and still is Conan O'Brien. Even before "Mr. Show," he was showcasing a style of comedy that really spoke to me. I know he's a comedian, and not a graphic artist, so if you need one of those, I'd say Groening. He can draw in a quick and loose style AND be just as irreverent as Conan, while also providing pointed commentary. And that's what I aspire to do with each cartoon.




Thank you very much for taking the time to participate Brian!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Daniel Govar - Cartoonist Survey #262







Daniel Govar is an artist and illustrator who works in pencil, ink, watercolor and digitally. While majoring in Imaging and Digital Art at the University of Maryland, he focused on animation, interactivity, web programming and traditional film. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, he worked for a few years as a programmer/animator and project lead at the Calvert School in Baltimore, MD. Daniel developed two award-winning animated series for the SyFy Channel, ‘Eclipse’ in 2000 and ‘Chi-Chian’ in 2002. He spent the next four years creating concept art for gaming, film and magazine clients.


He co-founded the Tolkien and Lord of the Rings website There And Back Again. The website, dedicated to illustrating the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, won many awards and was featured in TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. There is a ThereAndBackAgain Curiosity Shop where you can purchase TABA themed, t-shirts, mugs, stationary and more.


In October 2008 Daniel entered the Zuda Comics Competition and won a contract with DC Comics for his sci-fi, underwater, post-apocalyptic adventure series, Azure. The Azure series, which Daniel created completely in Photoshop, lasted for two years until DC closed its Zuda line of comics. It is still available online here at comiXology.


Daniel has illustrated close to 15 books, numerous album covers, written and illustrated comics, and created art work for a diverse list of clients. Just a handful of those clients include Marriott, the USDA, Nike, MCI and Simon and Schuster. He is also a Creative Director for the Washington, D.C. media firm MetaMedia Training International, Inc. He is presently developing a number of creator-owned comics projects.


He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his 2 cats and a boxer named Sandor. Visit Daniel’s website where you can see much more of his Tolkien work, comics, illustrations and sketches. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


What is your favorite pen to use?
Copic Brush-tip Multiliner


Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Drafting pencil with replaceable leads.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both - traditional if a commission, in the computer if sequential work.


If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Copic markers and watercolors.

What type of paper do you use?
Arches hot press tablets and papers.


What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Nothing!

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Both online and a chain called "Plaza" art supply.


Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
If it's been a day or so, I do warm up sketches to loosen things up.


Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
All different types - but probably Alternative mostly.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Still do, and my favorites are all over the place - I think when I was younger though, "Sandman".


What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin and Hobbes

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
American Gods - yes - many.


Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Yes and no - the only formal would be a few watercolor classes here and there and painting courses. My degree is in imaging and digital art. The illustration work I do though could be attributed to drawing all the time - self taught for the most part.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
A little bit of both.

Did either of your parents draw?
No.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Multiple. I have 5 ongoing right now for different subjects.


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


Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Both in equal parts.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Original art.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
No idea. Probably an Animaniac.


Are you a righty or lefty?
Both.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Nothing. Perhaps art direction.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Large office with two drafting tables and an easel, one desk as well which has my digital workstation and scanner.


Do you play any musical instruments?
Nope.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Find your own style quickly and begin honing it.

Who is your favorite artist?
Too many to name - living it changes but I love the work of Charles Vess.


Thanks again for your time Daniel.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gerry Alanguilan - Cartoonist Survey #261







Award-winning comic book artist, writer and publisher Gerry Alanguilan was born January 20, 1968 in San Pablo, Laguna in the Philippines. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas in 1989. During his sophomore year of college, he began sending out submissions to Marvel Comics. Unfortunately, these submissions resulted in many rejection letters. Undaunted, he continued to submit artwork to Marvel as well as the other major companies including DC, Dark Horse, Valiant and Fantagraphics.


Gerry became a licensed architect in 1990, but was unsatisfied with the job and quit. Inspired by fellow Filipino comic book artist, Whilce Portacio, he honed his skills working in Philippine comics for several years. By the end of 1995 he was working for Wildstorm Studios inking Wetworks and then Grifter.


Wasted, an 8-issue photocopied mini comic, was Gerry’s first self-written comic. Originally produced between July of 1994 and July of 1996, Wasted was collected and published by Alamat Comics in 1998. It was serialized monthly in PULP Magazine in the Philippines in 2000, and then in 2003 PULP compiled the story as Wasted: The Final Edition. Now out-of-print, Wasted is available here to read for free online, complete with notes by Gerry.


He has also written and drawn many more of his own comic stories including, Crest Hut Butt Shop, Humanis Rex!, Johnny Balbona, Timawa, and others. The graphic novel Elmer, is another of his own works. Pitting talking chickens against humans, Elmer tackles political and social issues like bullying and racism. His chicken named Solano that he owned as a child was his inspiration for Elmer. The story was originally published by Gerry’s own Komikero Publishing company and has since been published by SLG Publishing in both English and French.


Gerry has been an inker for Marvel, DC, Image, and Millarworld. He has worked on Batman, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Silent Dragon, Superman, Ultimate Avengers, Wolverine, X-Men, X-Force, Superior and Supercrooks. He has also illustrated various short stories for Graphic Classics such as: “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Judge’s House” by Bram Stoker, and “The Plague of Ghosts” by Rafael Sabatini.


Being very interested in promoting and preserving the works of the great Filipino comics illustrators of the past, Gerry hosts the Philippine Comics Art Museum Online at his website. There you can find galleries of artwork by Nestor Redondo, Alex NiƱo, Francisco V. Coching, Rudy Florese, Alfredo Alcala and many others. He is also an active video blogger who creates short films, interviews, documentaries, cooking recipes, and art tips and demonstrations. His comedic short film ‘Hey Baby!’ went viral and was even featured on the television shows Tosh.0 and The Graham Norton Show. Learn more about Gerry by visiting his website, Facebook page and Youtube channel. You can purchase 'Hey Baby!' gear here at Gerry's CafePress store.


What is your favorite pen to use?
Uni PIN


Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I use a Mongol #2 pencil.


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


What type of paper do you use?
Anything that's available at the local shop that works best with my linework.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Hair.

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

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I just start drawing, no fuss.


Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I listen to pretty much anything except hip hop.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Tintin. 70s era Marvel like Uncanny X-Men, Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man.


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

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
‘Star Surgeon’ by Alan E Nourse. No, I don't have a copy. I wish I did!


Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
None.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Both, curse its eyes.

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?
Yes.


Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I did. I didn't enjoy it very much because I wasn't really good at it.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
More important than what? But they are important in any case.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Old Filipino Komiks and original art.


If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Richard (Hartford) in Daimos.


Are you a righty or lefty?
Right handed.

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


In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Very, very, very, very, very, very, very messy.


Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes, a guitar.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
You gotta love it man, or you can just forget about it.


Who is your favorite artist?
Barry Windsor Smith.



Thanks again Gerry!