Friday, December 18, 2009

Shannon Wheeler - Cartoonist Survey #24

"Too Much Coffee Man's" creator, Shannon Wheeler won the prestigious Eisner award for Best New Series. He's had his comic published worldwide in newspapers, comic books and magazines. There has even been a "Too Much Coffee Man" opera! He had a weekly strip, "Postage Stamp Funnies" that ran in the Onion, and can be purchased as a mini-book compilation and some of his work was published in The New Yorker this year. Next month an Omnibus edition of his "Too Much Coffee Man" comic, appropriately titled, "Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus" will be coming out. You can check out many of his comics over at his site;

What is your favorite pen to use?
Depends what I'm drawing. Mostly I use a hunt 108 dip pen. I also use technical pens for lettering and borders.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I use an architecture pencil. It's a lead holder. Sort of between a mechanical pencil and a standard pencil. I use to use a blue pencil. Sometimes I'll pencil but use a light table to ink - just to save time because then I don't have to erase the pencils.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Most of my coloring is on the computer. Lately I've been using water colors on the originals before I sell them.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
It's a tiny little travel water color set.

What type of paper do you use?
Pentel Paper for Pens. I used to use Illustration Board but it got too expensive.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Women are tough to draw but they're also fun... hate? Coffee shops. I'm really sick and tired of drawing coffee shops.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
There's a small locally owned shop down the street from my house. Though if there were a big chain store down from my house I'd probably shop there.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I clean my desk... sometimes I clean my whole room.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I mostly write at a coffee shop. I listen to audio books while I draw. Right now I'm listening to the Twilight series. I'm on the 3rd book. I like the werewolves.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I loved Garfield until I found Fat Freddy's Cat. In 4th grade my neighbors turned me on to the Fantastic Four. The Sub Mariner always appealed to me and the X-Men.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I started with Garfield... and ended with Calvin and Hobbes.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
There was a book about finding a place to live. A family tried living on a boat, in a cave, in a tree... they ended up back in their house. It's still at my mom's house along with One Monster After Another. My first chapter book was the Star Beast by Heinlein. Venus on a Half Shell by Kilgore Trout was my favorite book in High School.

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

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
On even numbered minutes it's a blessing, on odd numbered minutes it's a curse.

Did either of your parents draw?
They're both artists.

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

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I go through 2 a month.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I've taught many times. I love it.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Talent. I've seen too many talentless people try and never succeed. But if someone enjoys creating comics they should do it.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
Nudie Playing Cards - pre 1970.

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

Are you a righty or lefty?
Depends on how I put on my underwear. I draw with my right hand.

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I have a tiny drawing table in my bedroom.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Guitar - but not well.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Go in hard and fast. Give it everything you've got. Learn as much as you can.

Who is your favorite artist?
Edward Gorey or Duchamp.

Here is a cartoon that Shannon was nice enough to let me post. This one really is funny, but then when I think about it, it's also kind of sad. (right click on it with your mouse and choose "Open Link in New Window" to see it full size)

Thank you Shannon.

Hopefully I will be able to post the next batch of answers tomorrow. They come from Derf, who collects as much stuff as I do!

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