Sunday, August 19, 2012

M. Wartella - Cartoonist Survey #270





M. (Michael) Wartella is an award-winning illustrator, cartoonist and animator who is based in New York City. While growing up in York, Pennsylvania he fell in love with MAD magazine and the works of Don Martin, Al Jaffee and Will Elder. As he got into his teens he found a copy of R. Crumb’s Head Comix and was introduced to the world of underground comix. He attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville where he majored in studio art. While at UVA he created his comic strip Ackxhpaez.


Michael moved to New York after college and used a grant he received from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond to buy a computer and video equipment. In July of 1997 he launched his Ackxhpaez website which featured the cartoon short Dinky Dog “Rolling in the Money”. This animated gif which “was the first online animated feature that was widely-viewable on every web browser without requiring any special "plug-in" for viewing, was referred to by a 1998 New York Times article as "the Steamboat Willie of the internet".


He expanded on his Ackxhpaez comics, and they were syndicated and published in alternative weekly newspapers from 1998-2000. In 2004 Michael’s sequential art was included in DC Comics’ Bizarro World Anthology. He was also a contributor to the "all-new" series of Topps Wacky Packages trading cards from 2005 – 2007 and created similar product parody spoofs for Nickelodeon Magazine.


In 2006 Fantagraphics Books published his short story 'Visions of Rasputin' in the “Hotwire Comic & Capers” anthology. This anthology was nominated for both an Eisner and Harvey Award. His half-page editorial cartoons ‘Runnin’ Scared’, started being published in The Village Voice in 2007 and still appear in special issues. Some of the other magazines Michael has done artwork for include Vice, SPIN, Bazaar, Arthur and Interview.


He has drawn animated segments for MTV’s ‘Wonder Showzen’ and wrote for the first season of Adult Swim’s ‘Superjail!’ Since 2010 his animated cartoons have appeared weekly on Cartoon Network's MAD television series. Visit his Ackxhpaez website here where you can see much more of his work including Dinky Dog, Comix, Magazine artwork and many more videos for MAD.



What is your favorite pen to use?
Pentel Sign Pen (black, blue, purple, red and/or green) for paper, but I use a Wacom Cintiq for drawing digitally.


Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I mostly use standard pencils with soft lead and soft white wood. I also have an "all-lead" pencil which I like a lot, it's the shape of a normal pencil but all lead, without any wood at all.


Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
99% of the time I use a computer.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Occasionally I use paints or colored china markers (grease pencils).


What type of paper do you use?
Newsprint for rough sketches, Arches (or similar) for important stuff.


What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
The same thing over and over.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Local stores here in NYC. I like walking the streets.


Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Yes, coffee and getting my mind into the right place.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yes. Always rock and roll. I also have a special loop of ZZ Top's Eliminator for when I really need to crunch.


Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Yes. Mainly MAD Magazine.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Hmmm... Probably Zippy the Pinhead, Dick Tracy, or Nancy.


What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"Al Jaffee's MAD Inventions". Yes, I still have it.


Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
School of Hard Knocks. I've mostly learned "on the job".



Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing, for sure.

Did either of your parents draw?
No.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
No.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, once when I was a kid.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Hmmm... Tough one. I'd say talent and passion are both equally important. But it is important to note that "success" requires neither.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
All kinds of stuff. Lots of printed matter: Magazines, newspapers, books. Plus Vinyl LPs, old board games, wooden indians, all kinds of stuff.


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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty.

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Rock & Roll. I'd dial in that sound and produce hit records.


In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I basically work in Ken Kesey's abandoned school bus. It's parked in a hidden back alleyway in New York City.


Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes, but not as a master.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Define your goals. Write them down every ten years. Never give up. Keep trying. Believe in yourself. Practice mental magic. Tap into your inner child. Success always comes in a way and time least expected.


Who is your favorite artist?
Salvador Dali


Thanks again Michael!




Thursday, August 2, 2012

Derek Yaniger - Cartoonist Survey #269





Derek Yaniger is an artist and cartoonist who was born in Arkansas in 1960. He attended the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, where he drew the cartoon series "Brou-Ha-Ha" for the school’s student newspaper, The Red & Black. He graduated from UGA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1986 and then began working for an Atlanta graphic design company. He worked at the graphic design company for three years until he began freelancing for Marvel Comics. While at Marvel, Derek worked on many different titles including, Web of Spider-Man, Transformers: Generation 2, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Alpha Flight and others.


He then worked for the Cartoon Network where he created artwork for well-know characters and shows like The Transformers. Derek enjoyed the work but was growing tired of drawing other people's creations. In his off hours he worked on his retro-inspired style of art that he is now known for. His illustrations are eye-candy for fans of the 1950’s tiki bar culture, beatniks, burlesque and Vegas glamour scene.


Derek now produces fine art paintings, prints and serigraphs. He also designs clip art images, stickers, limited edition tiki mugs and CD cover artwork. His artwork is showcased in numerous magazines such as Barracuda, Car Kulture Deluxe and Atomic. In 2008 the book “Wildsville: The Art of Derek Yaniger” was released, which collects many of his paintings and illustrations. Visit Derek’s website to see much more of his artwork and be sure to check out his store and news page, which he updates regularly.


What is your favorite pen to use?
Staedtler Lumocolor


Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Yes....Everything starts with pencil to paper....I use a standard pencil. Them Mechanical pencils scare the hell outta' me! Damn robots are takin' over the world!

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I do a little of all of the above! Paintings are acrylic on wood...sketches are Copic Markers in sketchbooks...and serigraph art is colored in layers on the Dell devil machine.


If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I already told you, man!!

What type of paper do you use?
I use Tracing Paper for my initial sketches and my inks.......works super-swell!


What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
TRANSFORMERS!! ...Them Damn robots!!


Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
A little of both...if it's hard to find I order online, but I do miss art stores.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I usually down an entire bottle of gin and eat a box of Twinkies every mornin' before I get to scribblin'! I am just kidding, of course...yes...just kidding.


Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I dig 50's Jazz...Rockabilly...Exotica...Vintage music to submerge me fully into my retro vibe!!


Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I loved Archie when I was but a wee ankle-biter...but as I got older I really dug MAD and CRACKED and PLOP!

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
The early Peanuts strips were hi-larious but for some reason I really liked Snuffy Smith...I dig hillbillies!


What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"Hop On Pop" was pretty damned important to me in my younger days...I also loved Tintin...the art in those books really flipped my switches!


Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I didn't have any fancy book-learnin for art until I was in College...I copped a BFA at UGA in Athens, GA

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
It is indeed a blessing...the very fact that I can receive payment instantly via Paypal and then send a huge art file around the globe to a client in Australia with the click of a button is wild!! I started doodlin long before computers and the net so I know what a royal pain in the arse workin' on board, wrapping it up, callin a courier to pick up and deliver it can be...Oh yeah, that...and free porn!


Did either of your parents draw?
Nope...not nary a one.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My Dad...He believed I could do whatever as long as I worked hard and stuck with it...My Mom however, felt sure I was gonna' end up starvin' in the streets....Oh Mom.


Do you keep a sketchbook?
I keep several...some of my best scribbles start as sketches.


Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Never taught…too many felony convictions.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Depends on what yer doin' with them drawins...If you are makin' a living doing ad illustration, then talent is more important. But if you are drawing for yourself...definitely passion!

Do you collect anything and if so what?
You name it...vintage shotglasses, lunchboxes, tiki mugs, beatnik figures, talking dolls, jazz albums, Rat Fink / Weirdos model kits, hillbilly arty-fax...


If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
I'd be the sloppy drunk lush in the Pink Panther cartoons stumblin' home in the early brights fumblin' for his house keys...


Are you a righty or lefty?
If you ain't RIGHT, then you ain't Right!

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I have absolutely no idea...maybe gargle bees and juggle chainsaws.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Mid-Century Modern Cartoon

Do you play any musical instruments?
Drums...


If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
You may have to kiss a lot of ugly-ass frogs before you get to dance to the beat of your own bongos...don't quit...NEVER stop!


Who is your favorite artist?
Jim Flora


Thank you very much for your time Derek!