Friday, April 4, 2014

Michael Mitchell - Cartoonist Survey #282

Michael Mitchell is a cartoonist living in New Hampshire. I first discovered his work through his Facebook page and was immediately drawn to his retro 70's comic book style. Michael's latest project is his Zombie Sub-920 comic book series. Zombie Sub-920 combines just about everything I love in comics...undersea adventures, zombies, talking apes and aliens! Michael does everything on the book, including writing, drawing, lettering and coloring the whole thing by hand.

I recently met Michael and his lovely wife Michelle at a comic show here in Massachusetts and they couldn't have been nicer. Michael was selling the first two issues of his Zombie Sub-920 and t-shirts, as well as giving away free sketches. His love of comic art was clearly visible as he even took the time to show me some thumbnails, workups and the cover of issue #3 of Zombie Sub-920 which is in the process of being completed.

Zombie Sub-920 is a nostalgic flashback to the comics of my youth, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! You can order your own copies by sending Michael an instant message through his Facebook page. Be sure to visit his new Mitchell Comic Art website which will have a web store coming soon.  You should also check out the Mitchell Comics blog where you can see much more of his artwork.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I use Fiber-Microns most often. I've tried some other things, some cheaper, some more expensive. I go through pens fairly quickly so I've found that the microns don't break the bank, and yet they last a good while, so it's as simple as that.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I do outline in pencil always, and usually it is a 4B for outlines. I'm always trying out new ones. My Mom found a yard sale once where some guy was selling some art supplies he found in the basement of a house he bought. There was a small box of 5 un-sharpened pencils from the 50's called MEPHISTO... I'm using those currently, and I swear to God they are like magic... I'll be sad when those babys are all gone.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I color entirely by hand. I use art markers... most often I use PRISMA watercolor markers. It really gives my stuff an old school look which is what I'm after, and mostly what I'm known for. People have seen some of my pages that I just made, and mistaken it for comic pages that were 40-50 years old.

What type of paper do you use?
Sometimes I breakdown and buy expensive stuff, but I mostly use high quality HAMMERMILL office paper. I'm cheap...haha, and if your real careful you won't smudge, smear or tear it, so why pay $3 a page for stuff you can get for 3 cents a page...right?

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Ummmm...nothing. Everything is a challenge, and that's the fun of it right? It's all a part of the process, and I love the process... so even though it sounds like a cop-out I really do love it all.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
If I can't get it any local quality office/art supply probably isn't in my kit.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Usually I sacrifice a small household pet, or annoying neighbor children seriously...I work a full time "regular" job so I draw whenever I can squeeze it in. I have to be ready to draw at the drop of a hat, so nope... no rituals.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
70's music...ya baby!

What was the first job as a cartoonist/illustrator that you were paid for?
They pay people? I actually did get my first "real" paying job doing a paperback book cover it was a painting of a guy being attacked by a Mummy.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
Most often I read MAD, and FAMOUS MONSTERS magazines, but I liked the DC, Marvel, Dell, Charlton, and Gold Key mystery/horror titles too. I was not really that big on the super dude books.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I don't have any stand-outs really... I have a pretty broad range of stuff I like.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
(See above)

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Not really.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Time will tell... I liken it to the early days of TV... it has its good and bad qualities like everything else.

Did either of your parents draw?
My Mom did some light sketching... she currently likes to paint.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My Wife Michelle...she is a constant source of encouragement...she is my #1 fan, my muse, and my source of inspiration often.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Nope... I get right down to it.

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

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
I feel that doing it every day is the #1 most important thing.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I buy any 70's stuff I think looks cool, and that I don't already have.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Doctor Quest...Jonny’s Father.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Left man... what are you CRAZY?!?

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

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Anywhere... I draw in waiting rooms, buses, trains... anywhere works for me.

Do you play any musical instruments?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Do it every day.

Who is your favorite artist?
The guy who loves doing it.

Thanks again for taking the time to participate Michael!