We are back once again with our world famous segment here at the Root Beer Party, It’s time for 20 Questions. (Crowd goes wild) Yes, that’s right, you demanded it and once again, we deliver. Today we bring you the embodiment of the Evil Dead himself James Florence of Jay Unplugged which you can check out here:
Here we have a man who has serious issues with his computer so we’ll get right down to business:
Without a doubt, my number one influence was and still is “Calvin and Hobbes”. I spent countless hours reading it during my childhood, and still revisit it regularly. In particular, I admire how Bill Watterson uses the comic medium to express not just humor but deep emotion and profound truth. His depth, versatility and tonal balance are what I strive to replicate in my own work.
Usually, I go for good old Mug root beer. I also remember Henry Weinhard’s being really good, but it’s been a while since I’ve had it.
My goal is to build an audience and get as many people as possible to read my stuff. Heck, I’d like to one day do it for a living, of course. However, in the end, I think my personal satisfaction in my work is the most important thing.
I love music and movies. Before I got into comics, my main artistic outlet was music: I’ve played both guitar and drums in several bands and even produced my own solo album. I still enjoy jamming with friends and hope to do more recording in the future.
Definitely not a professional. Maybe when someone offers me a large sum of money to do this, I’ll consider myself a pro.
None, really. I generally keep my strip pretty clean, just because I prefer it that way, but I also don’t mind pushing the envelope if the joke is there.
I draw on a large 14”x17” pad, starting with non-photo blue lead and ending with black ink. I use two pens for inking: a 0.8mm Uni-Ball Vision Elite (I like the hard tip) and a Micron 0.25mm for finer lines. I draw my boxes with a 1.0mm pen. I also use an Ames guide for lettering, so the lines are straight. I do all my coloring in Photoshop.
Recently, I had the opportunity to be featured at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in my hometown of Santa Rosa. While I was there, Jeannie Schulz (Charles’ window) stopped by to say hi and asked me for the lowdown on the world of webcomics. It was quite a treat for me; I even got to give her a signed print.
About 3 or 4 months after I started “Jay Unplugged,” I hit a dry spell. I thought it was all over, and I moped and whined about having no good ideas and how I was doomed to fail at everything I attempted, blah, blah, blah. About a week later, I was back on the upswing, working on an inspired three-part arc. This taught me a crucial lesson about creating art: there will always be ups and downs, floods of inspiration and dry spells. The key is to hold on and ride through the tough times. Never give up.
Currently, no, but I’d love to do a print collection one of these days.
Oh yeah, a bunch, too many to name. Some of the stand-outs would be Poorly Drawn Lines, Lunarbaboon, Awkward Yeti, Fatherhood. Badly Doodled., Fat Bassist Comics, and Dogs, Ducks & Aliens.
After dreaming for years about being a cartoonist, it’s very fulfilling for me to actually be doing it. Can I see myself not doing it? Sure. Would I be happy? I doubt it. While it’s often challenging and frustrating, in the end, making comics just makes me feel good – like I’m doing something, you know?
Go find something you love.
Keeping a regular update schedule is helpful, but I don’t give myself a hard time if I miss. The fact is, I’m not getting paid to do this and I have a lot of other responsibilities, so I’m not going to make a big deal about staying on schedule. One of the best motivators for me is having a continuing story arc, because the story kind of propels itself. Other than that, I just do my best to put out content regularly, whether once or twice each week.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Regular beer—preferably a craft-brewed IPA.
I think this questionnaire is my initiation. So… yes, yes, I am. I would’ve gotten to it sooner, but hey, I’m a busy guy.
I’m just gonna keep at it, and we’ll see what happens next.