20 Questions with Web Comic Artists: Byron Wilkins 1977 The Comic

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Well, True Believers, we are back again with our famous interview segment 20 questions.  Today’s guest is Byron Wilkins a famous graphic artist and creator of the comic 1977 the Comic.  You can check it out here: http://1977thecomic.com

Web comic creators 20 Questions:

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

As a young boy, I wanted to draw comics like Charles Schulz. Then, at age 50, I was looking at a changing my careers. So I Googled “comics on the web” and found “Girls With Slingshots” and knew that was the path for me. Been drawing ever since.

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

The Sunday comics in the 1960s. Everyone says Charles Schulz, and certainly he influenced me considering my age. But, I have to say it was Danielle Corsetto who inspired me the most to get back into drawing. I met here in 2010 and she was the nicest person.

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

A&W. Hands down. Great taste and what memories of going to their old Drive-Up Restaurants as a kid in the family station wagon.

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

To re-train myself in digital and traditional drawing methods. It has done that very well.

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

Rock and roll. I play electric bass and played in bands back in the ‘70s. I also build a ton of model kits. Mostly Sci-Fi kits and cars.

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

No, I’m a professional. It is my second career choice. I’m still climbing the ladder, but I’m a professional at this point. I was hired to do my first Ad Agency work this summer, that “certified” it in my head.

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

I do not do political or religious humor as a rule. I’m not going to change anyone’s minds, so why beat them up with my point of view? Also, those subject matters are very touchy for most people and I’d rather not have that kind of negative attention to my works.

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

I do everything on a WACOM Intuos 4 tablet and draw in Manga Studio EX5. My style has been called “sexy-innocent” to “Archie on steroids”. I emulate Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Jonny Quest and Space Ghost in my own opinion.

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

I’m self-taught. I took art and drawing courses in High School and College, but that’s it. School of Hard Knocks, as they say.

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

Two things. Being hired to draw illustrations for NASCAR/NBC Sports, and working with the gang over at the Webcomic Alliance.

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

The early days when I was struggling with not only digital technology, but re-learning my art. I was often made fun of for my lack of body proportions and content. At first it really hurt, then it made me mad enough to want to prove them wrong. Which I’ve done.

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

Strictly on the web. I do attend the occasional comic convention to sell print materials, but that’s rare. (You can get Byron comic here: http://1977thecomic.com/1977-store/1977-comic-books/)

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

A lot, trust me. If I name any, I’d have to say Dawn Griffin of “Zorphbert and Fred”. She’s kicked my butt and inspired me to do better. She gives me constructive critiques and that’s what you need to grow as an artist.

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

At this point, I’m going to draw until the day I die. Seriously. I’m 58 years old. I have maybe 25 or 30 years left in my life. I don’t intend on doing anything else but draw. As long as my health holds up, which at this point looks very good.

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

Fuck them. At first, I let trolls bother me, then I realized they’re not my audience. Move along. I’m lucky that I rarely have anyone leave nasty comments at my comic’s website. If they do, I just politely let them know they can move along or “change the channel” if they don’t like what they see. It’s hard not to let harassment bother you, but it’s best to ignore it. You’ll be better off by doing so. Also, don’t engage in their arguments, you’ll never win.

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

Yes, I do my comic for every Monday. If you don’t have deadlines, we as humans will not do it.

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

The one and only Mountain Dew. For beer it’s Killian’s Irish Red. My favorite mixed drink is a 7&7. Yum.

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

LOL! No, I’m not. I’m old I guess.

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

Time. I have SO many ideas. But you have to structure your time to finish things. If I started drawing every time I had a creative idea, I’d never get anything done. Finish what you start, then move on to the next.

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

“1977 the Comic” will retire in 2016 and then I’ll launch my new comic which will be a Sci-Fi comic which nods its hat at the Sci-Fi TV shows I grew up watching. I do intend on to join a rock band again and start playing at small bars again. That was a lot of fun back in the day.

Byron is also a regular guest and member of the Webcomics Alliance Chat podcast which can be found here: http://webcomicalliance.com/chat-podcast/alliance-chat-40/

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Byron is also planning on going to Manila for comic con, you can help here: https://www.gofundme.com/byronrocks

As you can see True Believers, we web comics come in all shapes and sizes.  Byron does more of a standard comic book as opposed to the many newspaper style comics that we have covered recently.  There is a vast world of great comics out on the web and each week we will be brining you interviews and spotlights on the different series out there, so stay tuned to upcoming posts for new and exciting introductions to the best the web has to offer.  Until next time, May your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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