Welcome back True Believers to the Root Beer Party. We are back once again with one of our world famous, award winning segments: 20 Questions! Today we meet one of the newest members of the Root b\Beer Party Anthony Camarota of Plan C. we invited him to the palatial estates of the Root Beer Party for an interview with a Hires Root Beer so he can fully appreciate the greatness that is Root Beer.
You can find Anthony’s comic Plan C here: http://www.plancomic.com/
Now let’s meet Anthony and find out how the magic of comics happens.
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist since I was a kid. In high school I made a comic for my senior art class and did a weekly comic for my college paper when I was an undergrad. When I went to grad school for Fine Arts, I thought I was done cartooning but I always felt that itch to keep going. In my second year of grad school, I watched the comic strip documentary “Stripped” and it really lit a fire in me. The thesis of that movie was “There’s nothing stopping you from doing this but yourself.” I think that was April 2014 and I launched “Plan C” a month later.
Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
Hands down, Bill Watterson. As a kid, I read and drew “Calvin and Hobbes” compulsively. I remember spending hours drawing those strips, trying to get my pencil lines to look exactly like Watterson’s brush strokes. Calvin and Hobbes has the perfect balance of everything you need in a comic strip . They’re hilarious, meaningful without being pretentious or preaching, and are visually stunning.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I’ll drink anything, I’m really not brand specific. With that being said, I did give up soda a few years ago so I’m more of a seltzer person now…
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I’d love to be able to do this professionally but I know how rare that is. With that in mind, I’d love to be able to build up enough of an audience where I know people are getting something out of my comic. A little bit of money on the side wouldn’t kill me though.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I got my MFA in Fine Arts with a concentration of Drawing and Painting in 2015. Since then, I’ve moved to a different city, got a new job, and now I’m engaged and planning a wedding, so there hasn’t been much time for other projects. I’m still very passionate about my fine art and would love to get to the point where I can work on that and the cartoon at the same time but there are only so many hours in the day. If anybody is interested in seeing any of that work, you can find it at anthonycamarota.com. It’s actually very heavily influenced by comics (shocking, right?).
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
At this point I do it for myself. I would love to be able to call myself a professional but I’m just not at that point.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
I usually try to keep the comic pretty light. I tend to naturally veer away from any topics that seem taboo or out of bounds, as I feel like I don’t have anything worthwhile to contribute to the conversation.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
Manga Studio 5 and I switch between an inutos drawing tablet on my desktop and the surface pro 3. I’ve never drawn digitally before starting Plan C so it’s a really new experience. At first I thought I would always go back to pen and paper but I’m starting to appreciate digital as its own medium and really love it for that. The ability to edit on the fly has become a fairly integral part of my process.
Question 9: What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
Like I said before, my undergraduate degree is in art education and I went to grad school for drawing and painting. It’s shocking how little that helps when cartooning though! It feels like an entirely different style of art which has to be developed independent of other training. When I started the comic I felt like I was going back to square 1.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
Any time somebody goes out of their way to say “Hey, today’s comic was really funny.” I’m also getting a spotlight in the Comic Strip Cartoonist Magazine, which is pretty exciting.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
The days where I think the comic that day is real a winner and I get some rough comments or down voted to oblivion on Reddit. When those days come consistently enough, you start to wonder whether you’re any good at this.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Not yet, but I’m thinking about doing a book compiling the first few years. All the archives are on the site.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
I think Neil Koney, who does “The Other End” is unbelievable. He somehow does a hilarious comic 7 days a week and does these outstanding and detailed illustrations (often in full color). Any time I think about how tough it is to do a black and white strip 3 days a week I remind myself that there are guys doing over twice as much as that.
Also, John Cullen’s “NHOJ Comics.”. He also works 7 days a week and does some of the most surreal and boundary pushing comics out there. It seems like he’s really interested in dissecting the comic making medium and putting it on display, which I love. And they’re visually stunning.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Cartooning is more stressful than I thought it would be. I feel like I’m always stretched by a deadline or looking for a new joke. That being said, it’s an incredibly rewarding process. There’s something special about thinking up an idea and then turning it into something tangible and putting it out there for the world to see.
I could see myself not doing cartooning specifically, but I’ll always be making something.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
Find a hobby you like, we’ll all be better off for it.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I’ve gone back and forth between two and three updates a week and I’m starting to get more comfortable with just updating when I have an idea. Having a constant deadline of 3 comics a week stressed me out and had a really negative impact on the work, so now I just try to focus on putting out good work.
As far as motivation, I’m trying to be better about just following my interests. If I want to do a comic that doesn’t take place in Plan C’s “world” I just do it. If I want to write a fantasy storyline, I just do it. I think keeping things fresh is essential to the process.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I drink a lot of beer and I’m starting to get into wine. I know absolutely nothing about it, which actually works to my advantage as I can drink the cheap stuff without knowing the difference. I also got a sodastream recently and it’s changed my life. Seltzer for days people.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
I’m not! But I’m ready to be inaugurated if it means I get a lifetime supply of root beer. I’m also ready if I don’t get any root beer…
(First you must choose a root beer and be willing to defend it with your life. Then you will truly be worthy of the Root Beer Party membership. Or you can just draw a comic. 😀 _Editor)
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Definitely the writing. The art isn’t where I want it to be but I think with practice it will continue to grow and get better, with the writing I’m starting at square one. I don’t know anything about character development or story arcs other than what I’ve seen or read myself (and that doesn’t help much). Also, it’s tough telling a joke three times a week and not know whether or not it’s going to land.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
Getting married/planning a wedding and working full time pretty much sums it up for the “anything else” portion of that question.
As for the web comic, I plan on continuing to just grind out comics for the foreseeable future. On the horizon somewhere is a Patreon campaign and all of that stuff but right now I’m focused on building an audience and trying to reach out more to other cartoonists and colleagues. I think everything else will just kind of pop up whenever it’s meant to.
And there you have it True Believers, Welcome to the party Anthony. Another great interview with a member of the Root Beer Party, a collection of the greatest comic talent spanning the entire globe. We reach out to only the finest comic creators in the world to bring yo the news and insight into the world’s greatest medium of art. So kick back with your favorite root beer and get to know the genius’ behind the sequential art and as always, may your mug always be frosted and your Root Beer always foamy.