Friday, October 15, 2010

Jeffrey Brown - Cartoonist Survey #177

Jeffrey Brown is a comic book writer and artist who was born in 1975 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2000 he moved from Michigan to Chicago and started studying for his MFA at the School of the Art Institute. He originally focused on painting but decided he’d rather draw comics. Jeffrey won the Ignatz Award in the category of Outstanding Mini-Comic in 2003 for his I Am Going To Be Small. His first self-published graphic novel was the autobiographical Clumsy; the story of a long-distance relationship. It went on to be published by Top Shelf Productions along with his other autobiographical works; Unlikely, AEIOU: Any Easy Intimacy, Every Girl is the End of the World For Me, Little Things: A Memoir in Slices, Funny Misshapen Body and most recently, Undeleted Scenes. Jeffery has also drawn many humor and parody titles such as; Bighead, issues one and two of the Incredible Change-Bots and his two cat books Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Cats Are Weird.

Sulk is his latest series and is comprised of digest-sized satirical graphic novels with topics including superheroes, robots, giant monsters and pirates. Three issues of Sulk have already been published and future issues will be released on a quarterly basis. His work has been featured in the Drawn and Quarterly Showcase, MOME, McSweeney’s #13 and the 2007 edition of The Best American Comics. Jeffrey directed the animated music video for Death Cab for Cutie's "Your Heart is an Empty Room", has contributed to NPR's This American Life and illustrated the movie poster for the feature-length documentary, Rabbit Fever (having it’s World Premier this coming Sunday at the Heartland Film Festival). Bruce Parsons’ 2009 documentary, Drawing Between the Lines, explores Jeffrey’s process and provides insight from friends, fans and fellow cartoonists. Jeffrey lives in Chicago with his wife and their son. Head over to
his website and have a look around. You should also visit his blog where he has been recently posting about the cartooning class he’s teaching at his alma mater, the School of the Art Institute.

What is your favorite pen to use?
It used to be the Uniball Deluxe Micro, and that's the sentimental favorite I suppose, but I've started to use Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens lately. It might just be a phase.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I usually don't pencil, but when I do it's never a mechanical pencil. Occasionally it's a Staedtler non-photo blue, but usually it’s a Staedtler Mars Lumograph 3H or 4H.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
By hand. I've tried coloring on the computer, but I don't like it much, and I'm not very good at it.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Faber Castell brush pens.

What type of paper do you use?
For book projects I draw in whatever blank sketchbook I have or can find that fits best in terms of size, page count and paper. I've used handmade books and printer's dummy books and I still use my original favorite the Watson Guptill blank sketchbook. For shorter stories or covers I occasionally use vellum bristol but usually I draw on illustration board.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Vehicles and buildings.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I'd probably buy locally, but with my wife needing the car for work and me being the stay at home dad, I usually just order online these days.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Mostly just pulling out different things to work on, looking at them, prepare to draw, then put them away and do the same thing with other projects.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Sometimes I'll watch hockey or the Lord of the Rings films, but usually it's listening to indie rock.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I grew up reading a lot of Marvel comics, and X-Men was my favorite.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I don't know if I have a favorite these days - I like Keith Knight's strips. My past favorites are Garfield, Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
"Small In The Saddle" by Mark Alan Stamaty. I lost my original copy, but got a new one for Christmas five years ago.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I received an MFA in studio painting and drawing from The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Most blessings are also curses, and the Internet is a shining example of that.

Did either of your parents draw?
My dad drew a little, usually airplanes and emergency vehicles in profile on place mats at restaurants.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
I've been lucky to have an incredible amount of support from family, friends, publishers and strangers, but I would have to say my parents.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
I try to, but I don't draw in it nearly as much as I'd like to or used to. Of course, most of my comics are drawn in sketchbooks, so in a way I keep a bunch of sketchbooks.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I'm teaching a comics class for the first time right now. I think I'm enjoying it, although I get nervous about it and think I'm not so great at it. My teaching style seems to be some kind of 18 simultaneous independent studies.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Hard work is the most important thing, so I guess that'd be passion.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I sort of collect hockey cards, but only casually. I'm trying to repress all of my collecting urges and tendencies.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Eek the Cat.

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I would want to play professional football or hockey.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
It's wherever I have my sketchbook and some pens. Usually it's at a local coffee shop.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Not by any reasonable standard.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw more. However much you're drawing, if it's not your career yet, you're not drawing enough.

Who is your favorite artist?

If I had to narrow it down to just one I would say Julie Doucet, Chris Ware, Charlotte Salomon and, er... Moebius.

Thanks very much Jeffrey.

The next set of answers come all the way from Sweden and are provided by illustrator, artist and 3D animator Mattias Adolfsson.

1 comment:

P.L. Frederick said...

"Draw more. However much you're drawing, if it's not your career yet, you're not drawing enough." —Jeffrey Brown

This is one memorable quote.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)