20 Questions with Web Comic Creators Vol. 3 (Brad Perri) Pirate Mike

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Well true believers, we are back again with the long awaited 20 questions with web comic artist Vol. 3 and today we talk to the maladjusted Brad Perri in our chats with web comic creators.  Brad is the creator of Pirate Mike: Maladjusted Suburbanite which you can read here: http://piratemikecomics.com/

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
Garfield. My cousin and I were part of that legion of children in the early ’80s who fell under that cat’s spell. My cousin introduced me to Garfield and then he started making comics. I pretty much started doing comics because my cousin started doing them first. We loved it. We made a lot of comic strips. I briefly toyed with doing comic books, but those take too long and involve too many people. Once I realized I would have to draw somebody else’s scripts (generally speaking) there was no turning back. I like the possibility of doing the whole strip myself, though I am not a member of the historically-questionable “do it all yourself or it doesn’t count” school of comic strip theory.


Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
I really love Don Heck’s Iron Man. When I saw his art as a child on the old Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man Cartoons, I was just transfixed. I really still am, particularly on Tales of Suspense #45 “The Icy Fingers of Jack Frost!”

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I love the Harmon Killebrew root beer here in Minnesota, “Killebrew Root Beer.” I think it has a really unique taste to it and I love buying it in the aluminum can at Target Field (even though I still root for the Chicago White Sox).


Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I hope to make a comic strip that brings a lot of joy to a lot of people. And, yes, it would really be awesome if I could make it part of a revenue stream that supported me! 🙂


Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I like 1960s British Invasion and I like to play the same five chords on an acoustic guitar. For some reason, I find that soothing.

Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I see myself as a comics artist who hopes to be able to be taken seriously by other folks as a real comics artist. And, yes, it would really be awesome if I could make it part of a revenue stream that supported me! 🙂

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
Stuff that I think is bad for kids. I like my comics to be able to be enjoyed by children and adults alike. So balancing that line without becoming insipid is a challenge I enjoy. That said, I, like most intelligent human beings, enjoy entertainment that is not appropriate for children, including much art, and I do not believe that everything should be child appropriate. I have just set my audience as including children and I want to respect that limitation.


Question 8: What kind of equiptment or style of drawing do you use?
For equipment, I have used a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 computer with Manga Studio 5.0 on it for the last year or so. Because I am not paid for what I do, I have to have a day job and that means my time for cartooning is limited. I like to think that the computer takes the place of a studio that Al Capp may have used or an assistant that Walt Kelly may have used. Corrections, etc., all slow me down tremendously and the Surface Pro 3 has enabled me to make all of that go much faster.

Prior to that, I used a variety of brushes, including the hallowed Winsor Newton Series 7 #2 round, but eventually settling on a Raphael 8404 #2. These days, if I fiddle with a brush, I use a Pentel Pocketbrush with the Pentel ink in it, though if I had a studio, I’d go back to the Raphael. I preferred Bristol vellum surface. For ink, my favorite ink is Deleter black #1 even though I find it a little thin and a little bit flat finish, but it’s extremely smooth and I like the way it comes off the brush. Unfortunately, it’s also expensive and tough to find if I just want to pick something up at Wet Paint (my favorite art store in the world which is also conveniently located here in St Paul, The Capital of Cartooning! and true home of Charles Schulz and his Peanuts), so when I’m just goofing aound with ink, I use Speedball india ink, which I really like for its deep black and shiny finish, but it’s very thick and gums up my brush quickly, so I’m easily annoyed by it. For nibs, I use the usual Hunt 102, though, if given a preference, I like the more expensive Leonardt Hiro 800 which is the tool, I have found, that gives me the line I love best, though I desperately wish I was better with the brush. For pencils, I draw very lightly with a Mirado Black Warrior #2. They remind me of the black shiny fat pencils we had in first grade at St. Zachary’s school in Des Plaines, Illinois. Though, I must say, I think the quality has dropped since they stopped making them in the good ol’ USA (for instance, they no longer have the shiny black finish I liked; now it’s matte) and moved shop down to Mexico. I think they got bought by PaperMate or RubberMaid or something.


Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
None. I avoided it because I had family members who had attempted to make a living in the arts and had not had any luck. Eventually, though, whether I liked it or not, I wanted to draw a comic strip. I could only fight it for so long. I figured 25 years of fighting it was enough.


Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
Having strangers congratulate me on having created something they recognize as a geniune comic strip character (Pirate Mike).


Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
Realizing while still putting together my first syndicate submission many years ago that the strip was not syndicate material. I nevertheless still submitted it just for closure. Oh, and, yes, it was rejected by everbody. It took me seven years to recover from that. Now I’m on Comics Sherpa where I pay for the privilege of being told “no” by Universal Press’s editors three times a week. It’s tremendously helpful in learning how to focus on what matters (making the strip) as opposed to focusing on dreams (I can’t wait to be a cartoonist someday! But, first, I need to be syndicated to _really_ do it!) I highly recommend Comics Sherpa for that reason. Plus, you start to meet other cartoonists and that is really a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s the most fun. 


Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Yes! I put together a comic book collecting the first year or so of Pirate Mike! If one were so inclined, one could purchase it at Mike’s website!  (http://piratemikecomics.com/)

Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Too many to list, so I’ll restrict myself to the one who has been kindest to me and who has gone out of his way to help me meet other like-minded cartoonists: Phil Juliano. He does a strip called Best In Show about a guy and his dog who go back in time but retain all their memories of the future. I love it and highly recommend it.  Comics artists in general (not just on the web) have been extremely kind to me and I am very thankful for the reception they have given me.


Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Well, I include in that question the cartooning that has been done by others like Don Heck, Jack Kirby, Jim Davis, E.C. Segar and many, many others, so I would say that the impact of cartooning has been decisive in my life. Cartooning is the single most important experience in my life (Folks can safely assume when I say “cartooning is the most important thing in my life” that I mean apart from people I love, right?)

Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
No, not really. Naysayers are a part of anybody’s life who chooses to be an entertainer outside of the family living room as a five year old. Everyone is entitled to their opinion when it comes to comics and while it’s never nice to have somebody tell me that they do not enjoy my comics, it’s also not something that I think needs to be eliminated from my audience in order for me to feel that I have succeeded.

Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
Nowadays I like to have one new strip a week with two strips out of the archives. I like to publish a new strip on Monday (it used to be Fridays, but I’ve been told web traffic is higher on Mondays) with the other two archive strips on Wed and Friday (though I recently did archive strips 3x a week recently while I busied myself at failing to build a buffer). Some day, I want to be a 7 days a week strip, but that will come gradually. I haven’t yet figured out what kind of intermediate goals and deadlines to set to get me there.


Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Orange drink (Hi-C ?) from McDonald’s. Non-carbonated. I could drink that stuff all day. Love it.


Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
I thought it happened automatically when I discovered Killebrew Root Beer! Seriously. That stuff is a revelation. It’s the only soft drink I jones for when I’m walking through the grocery store. Every bottle is a special treat.


Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Speed. To me, I want to be able to create a top-level comic strip in a regular sustainable 7 day a week manner. Right now, I’m just too damn slow. So speed without compromising the quality of the strip is key. So, for instance, I haven’t figured out how to letter digitally yet. I still do my lettering by hand. Somewhere out there is a person who knows how to do my lettering digitally and could letter my strip ten times faster than I can do it by hand. I just haven’t figured it out yet. Ideally, that will come with time, just like everything else that has developed.

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?

I will soon be setting up a Patreon page. (which we will update you on as soon as it’s available.)
Once again true believers, the Root Beer party has delivered on it’s promise to provide you with news about web comics, root beer and the people who love it.   Until next time, may your mug always be frosty and you root beer foamy.

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20 Questions with Web Comic Creators Vol. 2 (Bret Juliano) Dust Bunny Mafia

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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.

20 Questions with Web Comic Creators Vol. 1 (Kim Belding) Picpak Dog Comics

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This is the first installment of 20 questions with Web Comic Creators.  In these posts we ask 20 questions to all the great web comic artists out there to tell us about their web comic and the process they use to create it.  it is only fitting that our first guest is Kim Belding, Co- founder of the Root Beer Party and life long cartoonist.  you can read his comic here:  http://www.picpak.net/

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?

I’ve literally been drawing comics for as long as I remember. I started out drawing characters like Snoopy and Garfield, and naturally created my own comic from there. I was 5 when I created him, so that’s why the basic idea of the strip seems so surreal. 😀 But I like the surrealism and I try to keep it in there.

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

Charles Schulz. 50 years of doing a comic on his own and not a single fart joke. That deserves respect.

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?

I like A&W because it’s not too creamy and not too sweet. It’s the perfect middle!

Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?

I want a float in the St. Macy’s Day Parade. But seriously, I just want it to be well known enough that more people outside of my family and some followers on Twitter will recognize it.

Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?

I run an online radio station, I doubt many webcomic artists can say that. 😛 I used to make mashups, but when Soundcloud deleted my account I sort of lost interest.  ( http://qcindie.com )

Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?

People continually ask me for artistic advice, so in a way it feels like I “made it”. But at the same time, I write the strip for me and solely me. If I don’t like it, who will?

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?

Anything NSFW, unless it’s just subtle enough to pass my personal censors. 😛 And fart jokes. I’ll only do them in an ironic setting. Otherwise, I refuse!

Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?

After years of refusing to go digital, I use a Surface Pro 2 with the Frenden brush set. I don’t think I could go back.

Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?

I took 3 years animation college and produced my short film “Picpak Dog in: Feelin’ Groovy”. I don’t think I can ever listen to Harpers Bizarre again. XD ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXiydhSemwk )

Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?

Getting published in a newspaper! That was a huge feat in my books. I also came in second in the YBEX Youth Business awards…what can I say, I started early. 😛

Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

A lot of my early work just stole jokes from other strips. I really regret that. Be original — even if it sucks!

Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?

They’re framed at the Louvre. But seriously, a local comics magazine has published my strips. It’s something I should look more into.  ( Picpak Dog Volume 1 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Picpak-Dog-Collection-Kim-Belding/dp/1453840613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443218206&sr=8-1&keywords=kim+belding  ) Picpak Dog Volume 2 Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Picpak-Dog-Collection-Kim-Belding/dp/1475264739/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1443218206&sr=8-2&keywords=kim+belding )

Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

Jon Esparza is an indispensable wealth to the webcomics community. We all can’t owe him enough. Leroy Brown (no really, that’s his name) got me into the papers, so a huge thank you to him. And thanks for Frank Jordan for sending me pics of my artwork at a museum just outside San Diego Comic-Con!

Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?

I’ve met some amazing people and received some amazing fan art over the years. At this point I’ve done it for so long I don’t know how to not make comics. I actually get depressed if I haven’t made one in a while!

Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)

Critique is one thing, harassment is another. And webcomic creators have every right to ban you/report you/whatever. If the situation still continues, contact authorities. They might not even take you seriously, but at least you’re taking action.

Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?

That comic goes up Monday, Wednesday, and Friday no matter what, except for earlier this week when it didn’t. XD I still had the comic prepared though! I just forgot to put it up!

Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?

Can’t go wrong with chocolate milk.

Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?

Some people have *GASP* actually requested not to be part of the root beer party. It’s the world’s most pressing issue! We need to provide adequate root beer for all!

Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?

I suck at promoting the comic publically instead of online, I admit it. And I hate inking speech balloons. You gotta draw one big confident line or it just looks like a mess!

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?

Picpak Dog plans on dying his hair blonde to compete against Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Right now the plans are just to keep drawing for my readers/Patrons and promoting my radio station. Neither are going away any time soon!  Kim Belding Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/picpak?ty=h

Thanks for the interview, Chris. I really appreciate it.

And there you have it true believers, the first post of 20 questions on the Root Beer Party Site.  Truly a monumental occasion.  Look forward to more interviews with web comic creators and more hijinks from the Root Beer Party.  Until next time, may your mug always be frosted and your Root Beer always foamy.

Fan art for Evan Yeti:

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The root Beer Party is about more than just Root Beer.  We also support web comics and web comic artists.  Jon Esparza & Kim Belding, the founders of the Root Beer Party are both popular web comic artists themselves, so when a call goes out to support another web comic artist, the Root Beer Party answers the call.  The above fan art was done for the web comic Evan Yeti http://www.evanyeti.com/

You can also check out Picpak Dog comics by Kim Belding http://www.picpak.net/

You can check out the many web comics from Jon Esparza

http://peppertown.thecomicseries.com/

http://bubblefox.thecomicseries.com/

http://jonscrazystuff.blogspot.com/

Check out all these great web comics supported by the Root Beer Party.

Big News in the Root Beer Party!

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After years of neglect by Kim Belding the icon, Mr. Blob has found a new home with me as his official owner and creator.  According to Root Beer Party tradition, Mr. Blob has been officially transferred to me.  In an official ruling Judge Jenna made the official announcement :  “This is amazing. You actually did it all! Chris now owns Mr. Blob! *gavel bang*”

This has been building for months and Jon and I have tried to convince Kim of the great potential of Mr. Blob.  It led to a week long series of comics by me called “Way Back Wednesday Presents: Scraps and Mr. Blob see above.

So after all of that Mr. Blob has finally found a home and once again the Root Beer Party came to the rescue of a forgotten maligned character.

Welcome to the Root Beer Party

The Root Beer Party is a group of people who love Root Beer and want everyone to love it as much as we do.  Created by the comic genius’s Jon Esparza and Kim Belding, webcomic artists extraordinaire, Jon is the creator of Bubblefox  http://bubblefox.thecomicseries.com/comics/ and Peppertown http://www.peppertown.thecomicseries.com/comics/ as well as the Crazyverse http://jonscrazystuff.blogspot.com/ and Kim Belding is the creator of Picpak Dog http://www.picpak.net/ and also runs an internet radio station for indie music http://qcindie.com/listen-live/ and despite all of this they still found time to create the Root Beer Party.  This website is dedicated to all things root beer and webcomics.  check back often for updates.