20 Questions with Comic Artists: Frank Altomari of Pink & Black

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We are back once again True Believers with another new exciting debut of our world renowned, award winning, life changing segment 20 Questions with comic artists.  This is where we introduce to you the newest members of the Root Beer Party and the amazing comics that are available on the web.  So join us in taking a look behind the scenes of Pink & Black by the newest addition to the Root Beer Party, Frank Altomari

You can check out Frank’s comic Pink & Black here: http://pinkandblackcomic.tumblr.com/

Let’s meet Frank:

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
For a long time, I wanted to draw a comic but artistically never felt like I could do it. I’d attempt to draw what I was thinking and would always be disappointed in how it came out. Finally a good friend told me to just “draw it and worry about the way it looks later.” So I did.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
My partner, Ray, was my greatest influence in developing the comic. You’d be surprised how much of what happens in Pink & Black is based in actual events.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I think A&W is pretty good. It’s nice and smooth. I’m more of a birch beer fan. Its medicinal redness speaks to me. Does that get me kicked out of the club?
(Birch Beer is acceptable to the Root Beer Party.  We embrace all variations of root beer.) -Editor  
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I hope I’ve created something that makes people happy. Or makes people laugh. I love shows like the British Are You Being Served? and comics like Calvin and Hobbes which create these wonderful characters and universes that you get to peek into every once in a while. Over time, like a crazy person, you actually start to care for the characters and worry about them a tiny bit. I’d like to accomplish that at some point.
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Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
In my day job, I’m a graphic designer for a large accounting firm. That really isn’t the most creative work in the world so outside of the office I sometimes create digital artwork using Photoshop and Illustrator.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I am definitely not a professional cartoonist. The comic is just a way to work out some demons and to have a creative outlet.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
My characters are nude 24/7 so I think my strip is as vulgar as it’s ever going to get.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I’m pretty old-school. I pencil a rough comic on a normal piece of letter paper. Then I trace it in Micron pen using a light box. I then scan it and take it into Photoshop where I color it. Usually I do all the drawing and tracing while lying on the floor. There isn’t an ounce of professionalism in the entire process.
Question 9: What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I have an accounting degree from the early 1990s and a graphic design degree from the early 2000s. I think both of those have been useful in creating Pink & Black. They’ve both contributed to my overall lack of wealth. Great art comes from rough times.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
The highlight of my “career” was reaching #100. For me, that milestone meant that I’d probably be able to continue coming up with ideas for future strips.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
Luckily, I really haven’t had one. I think because I’m just doing it for fun, I don’t feel any stress or pressure surrounding it.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If so where?
Nope. Right now, an electromagnetic pulse from deep space would erase Pink & Black from history.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
I’m really impressed with Skroode (www.skroode.com). He draws that comic in ink on Bristol paper. Each layout is something new and creative. The hand lettering alone on that comic is impressive.
Dust Piggies (https://dustpiggies.com) makes me laugh. I love the style of that comic. I’m blown away by the ability of someone to do the one-square comic and make it work. Growing up, I was a big fan of The Far Side and Herman.
Sunny Side Up (https://tapastic.com/series/Sunny-Side-) is another favorite. I honestly can’t believe that someone can create so many comics in one week. I can barely do one per week. And they’re funny. And loaded with references to things from the 80s and 90s.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Cartooning has been great. I can remember drawing every single episode. Yet, I can’t remember conversations I’ve had with coworkers from 2 days ago. So that must mean something. I don’t think I’ll ever stop. It’s something I happily think about every single day.
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Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (No need to keep this answer clean.)
I haven’t run into that yet. I’m not too worried about it though. Even though it can be strange and crudely-drawn, I’m very proud of Pink & Black. To be blunt, I don’t care if someone doesn’t like it. There are plenty of other webcomics out there to move on to if you hate my little guys. Besides, trolls really shouldn’t get on Black’s bad side.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
A while back, when I first showed my brother Pink & Black, he made me promise to do at least one episode a week. So that promise keeps me motivated.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I really like bourbon. And scotch. And whiskey. Right now my favorite drink is Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
Yes? No? I don’t know!
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Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
For me it’s the promotion part of the whole thing. I feel like I should be looking for ways to get Pink & Black out there to more potential readers but the reclusive hermit in me always talks me out of it.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’d like to develop as an artist and storyteller. The longer I keep at it, the more I’ll feel that I have to keep Pink & Black interesting, both visually and in storyline. When I was younger, I’d always say “Look at my face. My facial expression didn’t even change while reading this comic.” (Usually it was a comic like Family Circus). So for me that’s the ultimate goal: to change your face.

 

And there you have it True Believers, another exciting episode of 20 Questions with comic artists and a new member of the Root Beer (or Birch Beer) Party!  Welcome to the party Frank.  So let’s raise our frosted mugs to Frank Altomari.  So go check out his comic and as always, True Believers,  may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy. 

 

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