We are back once again True Believers with an exclusive interview with the people who make it all happen. It time for another segment of our popular series of 20 questions with comic creators. Today we have Vince Dorse with us from The Untold Tales of Bigfoot which you can see on his site here: https://untoldtalesofbigfoot.com/
Lets start at the beginning:
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
Some illustrator friends were making comics – both as assignments and personal projects – and it looked like a lot of fun. Reading their comics online, I stumbled onto more. And it started to seem like a viable, creative outlet I could explore. I figured doing a weekly comic would challenge me to hit deadlines, improve my drawing and storytelling chops, and give me a nice opportunity to play around with some stories I had gathering dust in my brainpan. I was right about all of that, which is rare.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
I have tons of artistic influences. Literal tons of illustrators and cartoonists whose work amazes me. Too many to list. But if I had to pick my greatest influence, I’d probably have to say my dad, who wasn’t a professional artist. He was a businessman – suit, tie, long commute, the works. But he liked to draw, and he loved to tell stories. He always made art and storytelling fun for me. And I will always treasure the fact that he was cool with my decision to become an artist and not a traditional businessman. The commute would’ve killed me.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
This is gonna’ come as a shocker….but I don’t drink root beer. But – don’t worry, I’m pulling up out of this nosedive – a friend left a six-pack of Virgil’s Micro-Brewed Root Beer in my fridge earlier this year. One hot Saturday after mowing the lawn I broke into it and thought, yeah…this is not bad at all.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
From a creator’s standpoint, I just wanna tell some stories, get people to smile or cry, maybe get their hearts beating a little faster for a while. Another goal is to get the first book (about 139-pages of story) printed. And that’s why I’m running a Kickstarter (it launched May 24th, runs until June 23rd ) But long-term, business-wise? I’ve got at least one more Untold Tales of Bigfoot book in me. And if I had unlimited time, resources and connections? I think Bigfoot and Scout would make a great animated cartoon.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I think most of my interests are kind of artsy. I’m a freelance illustrator when I’m not making comics, and I like to write and play music when I’m not drawing. I’m a sucker for live theatre, too. And all that balances out nicely with my utter lack of knowledge about sports, cars, or starting a barbecue grill. So yeah, mostly art. Nothing too practical.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
Yeah, definitely a professional cartoonist, professional illustrator. Semi-pro afternoon napper, but I feel like I could go pro with just a little more practice.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
Plenty of adults read and enjoy my comic, but it’s also designed to be an all-ages, family-friendly story. So I stay away from anything too risque – no nudity, no swearing. I use creative replacements for expletives the same way I do in real life. So in a tight situation you may hear Scout shouting “FUDGEPOPS!” or “CRUMBCAKES!” I say that stuff all the time and it works just as well as the four-letter alternative. So, yeah, I try to keep things pretty clean. I also don’t rely on bathroom humor. I know people get a giggle out of it, and that’s cool. It’s just not my style. Oh, but when I think of all the money I’d be rolling in if I just wrote a fart joke now and then…
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I sketch most things out on paper. Character studies, page layouts, dialogue – that stuff’s just more fun on paper. Then I scan it, arrange it and do the ink and colors in the computer. For process/equipment geeks….I use an old WACOM tablet, nothing fancy. The inks for Book One were done in Corel Painter, if you can believe that, and the colors in Photoshop.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I studied art and graphic design in college but, truthfully, most of my cartooning training came from poring through art & design books, comics, magazines and cartoons. And being part of the National Cartoonists Society and Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators, I have access to some of the most talented, generous illustrators and cartoonists anywhere. Communities like that can be really instrumental in helping you challenge yourself and grow as an artist. I learn something new from people like that every day.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
A lot of great stuff has happened since I started the comic! I made a lot of new friends, learned a lot about making comics, expanded my knowledge of bigfoot… But I guess one of my favorite highlights was Untold Tales of Bigfoot being nominated for two Reubens from the NCS and winning one in 2012. And it’s not so much about the award, but just getting to meet all those people whose work I’d admired for years, and having them give me that nod of approval for my work. It’s gratifying. It’s a great feeling when the people whose work you respect also respect your work in return.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
I’ll tell you what I thought was the low point: I had three publishing companies express interest in Untold Tales of Bigfoot. All of them said they enjoyed the story and loved the art. And for a few nail-biting months I waited for pitch meeting decisions on the edge of my seat. In the end, they all took a pass. They were all very gracious about it, but at that point, I was really disappointed in how things had turned out. But working on the print version myself, at my own pace, with no one else’s interference, turned me around on the whole experience. I’m actually okay with it now, and really excited about keeping complete control over the book and my characters. In retrospect, it almost feels wrong handing the reigns over to anyone else.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Not much at all. Untold Tales of Bigfoot was my first big step (HA!) into making sequential art. And I’m putting all of my energy into that right now. I do have some other things I’ve done online that I’m considering publishing myself. Seems like most of the comics I read lately are self-published work from Kickstarters and independent creators. So, again, it’s really starting to seem like that is a viable, creative outlet.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
I admire anybody who’s willing to put in the time and effort to put something out there for people to enjoy. It’s incredibly generous, isn’t it? I follow hundreds of people online that make that commitment every day. And they inspire me. Every one of them. With gag cartoonists, I’m amazed at their ability to come up with something fresh everyday. I’m bound to leave someone out here – Mark Stokes, Sarah Andersen, Nick Seluk, Crispin Wood, Wayno…you know who always gets me laughing is Jeremy Kaye and LunarBaboon (does that guy have another name?), Jon Rosenberg (another Reuben winner) is unflinching with his political satire. And I admire the artistry and storytelling of the long-form webcomics. Pat Lewis inspired me to work on my own comic. Ryan Fisher, Adrian Ropp, Rich Clabaugh, —oh, Eddie Pittman knocks it out of the park, Michael Regina, Tom Dell’Aringa, Sean O’Neil…so many good stories…I enjoy the stuff Natasha Dancy’s doing, and Madeleine Holly-Rosing & Emily Hu are a great team, as are Jocelyn Gajeway and Drew Rausch. So many. Too many to remember. And every week someone tips me off to something new that just blows me away.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Cartooning is the majority of what I do now, in my regular illustration jobs and in my personal projects. I think it’s just part of who I am so, yeah, even stranded on a desert island I’d probably end up drawing cartoons in the sand. And even that reference, actually, the desert island – classic panel gag setup.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
That question caught me off guard. I guess that happens, though I haven’t seen much of it myself. I don’t have “advice” for anyone. But I try to live my life in a positive way. I don’t dwell on the negative. I think, if you do, it’ll suck you right down into the pit. So, I don’t know, I guess if you want advice, that’d be it. Focus on the positive, don’t dwell on the negative. Or, better, turn a negative into a positive. That should be the goal. Not taking pot-shots at people who are just doing their best to entertain.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
Deadlines are just part of the job for me. A great trick I like to use is remembering that if I don’t make the deadline, I can’t afford dinner next week.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I drink a lot of tea. Hot or cold. I know it doesn’t have the glitz and glamor of root beer, but it gets me through the day.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
As long as the root beer party is a force for good and doesn’t oppress any other beverage-based political group, then it sounds a-ok to me. And besides, I’ve seen your Twitter banner and it features a bunch of great webcomic characters laughing and enjoying a frosty root beer. I think I can get behind something like that.
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Trying to get all my ideas down on paper in the time allotted. I have a stack of ideas for horror shorts, gags, other full-length stories…but you have to squeeze those projects in between the paying illustration jobs. And it seems lately that “down time” isn’t all that common.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
If the Kickstarter hits its goal, I’ll have a few truckloads of work to complete in order to deliver all the rewards (many of the rewards offer sketches in the book, character commissions, backer caricatures where they’re in the woods with Bigfoot….it’s nuts!). But once I get my feet on solid ground with that stuff, I absolutely plan on posting more Bigfoot and Scout online. I may start with shorts while I work on the longer story of Book Two offline. But yeah, those two have made it a lot of fun for me, so I’m not planning on abandoning them in the woods anytime soon.
You can check out Vince’s kickstarter campaign here and help support indie comic creators as well as get all kinds of cool swag. Think of it as if you were one of the people who helped Walt Disney get started. One day you might get a lifetime pass to Dorse World and get to ride the Bigfoot ride without having to wait in line. That’s the kind of swag were talking about here.
So there you have it True Believers, you demand it and we deliver, another exciting interview with the men and women who create all the comics we love. So until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.