This is the second installment of 20 Questions with Web Comic Creators. This one is from the newest official member of the Root Beer Party Bret Juliano of Dust Bunny Mafia which you can read here: http://comics.dustbunnymafia.com/
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I always loved drawing since I was a kid. Originally I wanted to be an animator for Disney, well, that didn’t pan out…mostly because as I got older I was less interested in going that route, but yet I never lost my desire to be creative and keep drawing. One of the things I loved was part of my family’s Sunday morning ritual where I would be reading the comics in the Sunday paper on the way to church, which I did for years. So after I got out of college with the idea of creating the DBM characters, it just “fit” for me to make them into a comic strip. I felt like I needed to breathe life into the static characters and that was the best way I knew how to do it.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
In the comics sense, it would have to be, like many other creators, Bill Waterson of Calvin and Hobbes…but for the general style it would be Chuck Jones, director of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. That style had the biggest influence on my style of characters and world-building.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
My favorite root beer is Faygo Root Beer, which I discovered during college. I was experimenting with different types of hard to find root beers for a few years and out of the ones I tried, this one always stuck around as my favorite. For me, the taste was a bit drier than most mainstream root beers without being too sweet and sugary.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I don’t have a lot of lofty goals with my comic. I would love to be behind the table and conventions down the road, selling some merchandise (books, shirts, mugs, etc.), but for me, the joy I get in creating the characters and telling the story is really all I need. Would I love to make them into an animated series or a movie? Sure! But right now, I’m happy with just a comic strip.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I’m a creative person by nature, so I’ll be working with these characters in different mediums until something else captures my passion, but I don’t see that happening for a long time now, but outside of comics, I do illustrations for fun, shoot photography and have been known to dabble in the poetic mediums.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this justsomething you do for yourself?
I’m a professional hobbyist. I love my comic and I’m deeply interested in it’s growth and success, but I’m not looking to “jump off” into a professional sense and turn illustrations into a freelance career (or actually gain riches from the comics) though it’d be a nice perk! I need my day job routine so that cartooning can be my passion project/hobby; it’s definitely my way to wind-down from the real world.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
As an all-ages comic, profanity is out of bounds for my strip, as well as sexual jokes. If anything I try to follow the Looney Tunes model. If it could fly in a Looney Tunes short, then it’s acceptable, otherwise find another way to do it. Like swearing for example, worst case scenario, I’ll throw in the old “$%&*@!!!” if I need an un-named expletive or strong emotional dialogue in a pinch.
Question 8: What kind of equiptment or style of drawing do you use?
In the equipment side of things, I just use my laptop and Adobe Illustrator for creating the strips and Photoshop to create the actual files, whether it be for print or web. I’ll normally thumbnail out my strips in my sketchbook using the traditional pencil and eraser method before I jump into digitally working, but sometimes I’ll skip that and jump straight into the digital design when I have the time or when inspiration strikes.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I didn’t have any training. I’ve always been drawing since I was a young kid, so when I got older and computers came into widespread popularity (at an affordable rate), I naturally moved from traditional drawing to learning how to create the same stuff digitally.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
The highest point in my cartooning career thus far was a few months ago, back in April, when I received the physical copy of the Unlawful Good Anthology. A few years ago my comic was reviewed by Girls Like Comics, and the reviewer was a lady named Heather Antos. After the review, I connected with her on social media and was able to get involved with an awesome comic anthology project centered on the theme of crime, featuring 50+ creators, which was successfully Kickstarted and can be bought
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
The lowest point of my cartooning career was probably the first few months of starting out and being relatively obscure. My comics during that time lacked consistency, character design and also there were plenty of randomness that wasn’t intentional. Some questions arose like, “Are they on Earth or in an alternate dimension?” and “Are they interacting with humans in x strip, but yet they have miniature cars, etc…” Now, after 3 years, I have a better grasp on the world I’ve built and have gone back and modified a few strips so that I can cover up those plot-holes.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Currently I don’t have anything in print other than the Unlawful Good Anthology, which can be found at http://dudewhatcomics.bigcartel.com. Other than that, I have a small online store, shop.dustbunnymafia.com, where you can buy a small assortment of DBM-related goods.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Some of my favorite webcomics are (in no particular order): Awkward Yeti by Nick Seluk, Dogs Ducks and Aliens by Ben Starzec, Bubble Fox by Jon Esparza, Pirate Mike by Brad Perri, Vanguard by Dan Butcher, The Demon Archives by Daniel Sharp, Rabbitual Offender by Edward G. and Wade Crodhil, Nameless PC’s by Wesley Hall, Black Mudpuppy by Ethan Kocak, Oversimplified by Jim Kersey, and Zombie Boy by Mark Stokes.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Between the great community of webcomic creators and the joy I get out of cartooning, I really couldn’t see myself not cartooning.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need
to keep this answer clean.)
Go back to the bridge from whence you came! Don’t mess with us, we live in an internet age and our creations will outlive your trolling.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I give myself a deadline of twice a week to post comic updates, Tuesdays and Fridays, and so far I’ve yet to miss a deadline. I try to keep a buffer of at least a few gag-a-day strips lying around so if I’m in a pinch, I’ll always have something to throw up in case I can’t make a deadline. Other tricks to keep myself motivated? Well I do lots of research into anything I’m going to pursue, so for instance, the mafia is a big interest of mine…go figure. So I am constantly looking for ways to learn more about the topic, whether it be historical/fictional, books, movies, documentaries, I’ll consume it in almost any format.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Coffee, no question, usually the darker the roast the better.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
Yes, I believe I’m the newest member of the Root Beer Party. 😉
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
The most challenging aspect of cartooning for me is: 1) Keeping details under wraps; and 2) getting a storyline out fast enough. I always feel like I am ready to move onto bigger and brighter things, whether it’s in terms of stories, new characters, products, etc, I am always wanting to move faster or show people what I am working on, but oftentimes that ruins the suspense/mystery of what goes on behind the scenes. Luckily, I have some good network of people that I can share ideas with and bounce things off of them, both figuratively and literally.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’m going to keep plugging along and seeing how far I can go! Currently, I’ve had some people start to pressure me into gathering a collection of my comics into a print collection…Jon Esparza being the most recent instigator…so we’ll see where that goes! I don’t know what’s coming down the pike, but I know if you stick with me, you’ll be in for a heck of a ride!
So you see true believers, on this site, we make promises and deliver. With our second interview done we have many more in the works from more of the greatest web comic creators in the business. The Root Beer party is about root beer and all the people who love it. Join us again for another exciting post from the Root Beer Party. There is always something good going on here.