20ish Questions with Comic Creators: Kim Belding of Picpak Dog Comics


Today, True Believers, we have a special treat for you.  It is an interview with our glorious Co-President Kim Belding of Picpak Dog Comics and it is being conducted by our illustrious Secretary of State James Boyd of Sunny Side Up.  It is a high profile meeting of the top brass here at the Root Beer Party.  A top secret summit meeting which we have opened up to you, the True Believers to get an inside look at the inner workings of the Root Beer Party.  So now let us turn this interview over to James Boyd, Secretary of State, Chief Ambassador and Webcomic Crossover King of 2017.  


Q1 Welcome back Kim! Let’s start off with the Garfield 40th Anniversary Book. Tell us about it. What does it mean to you to be included in such a milestone? What has Garfield and Jim Davis meant to you?
It’s a pleasure to be back James. Garfield was having a contest to submit your artwork to be featured in their upcoming 40th Anniversary book. Needless to say, I submitted my work and made it in! To say Garfield and Jim Davis were an influence of mine would be a massive understatement. Snoopy was the first character I ever drew, and Garfield had to be second. The comic lends a lot of its humor and visual cues from the early Garfield strips. Picpak himself is really just a bigger Odie! And there’s been so many ideas I’ve had where I’ve thought “Man, this would make a much better Garfield strip”. That was actually what I had submitted in to the contest, and I got in! What a dream come true. I couldn’t believe it.
Q2 Speaking of 40 years, how long have you been doing PicPak? Calvin and Hobbes lasted 10 years, Far Side 15, Garfield is going at 40. Do you foresee a time when you will end PicPak or will it continue forever?
Believe it or not, Picpak has been around in one form or another since 1996! So about 22 years. I was only five years old at the time. I started drawing him in comics in 1999. Before that he was just drawn in a sketch or two. The very first comic was actually just him in a variety of styles, because by that time I had forgotten how to draw him!
The secret to Picpak’s longevity is that it’s such an adaptable comic. When I grow, it grows. When I was a younger I would have never thought of doing puns. Now that’s what I’m known for!
Q3 Lorenzo Music, who voiced Garfield on Garfield and Friends, did such a great job that I can’t read Garfield without hearing his voice. If PicPak became an animated cartoon who do you think should do the voice? Who does PicPak sound like in your head?
Are you familiar with the 90s Pink Panther? It got a lot of backlash because he could talk. The parrot Jules was actually an inspiration for the Parrot in my strip. But anyway, he was voiced by Matt Frewer, AKA Max Headroom. I think he has a strong, but playful and friendly quality to his voice that could work for Picpak. Or perhaps I just have an affinity for pink characters.
Q4 What is your absolute favorite PicPak strip you have done and why do you like it so much?

There are so many to choose from! The Good News (http://www.picpak.net/comic/good-news/) is one that comes to mind. But my favorite must be the very first one I ever put online (http://www.picpak.net/comicgenesis/d/20070630.html). The gag is so wacky and right away it introduces you to both Picpak and Wakky’s characters. I’m actually surprised this wasn’t made into a Way Back Wednesday comic!
Q5 One of the best and worst things about social media is interaction with fans. What’s the best comment you have ever received and why did it mean so much to you?
That’s a really good question! I’ve gotten many great comments, especially from Jon Esparza and Chris Gobbett, that always put a smile on my face. One of my favorites is Chris’ review of the first Picpak Dog collection on Amazon. In it he calls Picpak “a new classic comic in the making” and the “Garfield of the new millennium”. It’s always a pleasure to receive comments like this, and the fact that Chris took the time to write this review means a lot me.

Q6 The RootBeerParty has really grown in the last year. I’m really proud to be part of our community. As one of the founders, what are your thoughts on where we are at and how would you like us to continue to grow?
To be honest, I didn’t really expect the Root Beer Party to grow into anything! XD You can thank Chris for all that. Having a hand in such an amazing community is a great feeling. I personally invited Brett Koth, one of my biggest influences and an artist from Paws, Inc. into the group, and now he posts his comics there. How cool is that?

People just need to find out there’s a place on Facebook without all the politics and fighting where everyone is positive and shares great work. I know it’s helped me out from time to time. The best way for it to grow is simply through word of mouth!
Q7 Since our last interview with you are there new collections of your work available? Do you have any future plans to publish work?
Now there’s the question on everyone’s mind! Picpak Dog Volume 3 exists somewhere in-between Half-Life 3 and Portal 3. While there haven’t been any collections in a while, the comic does appear regularly in Zenith News (https://www.zenithcitynews.com/) in Duluth, MN. Someday I may launch a Kickstarter to produce a third book. That seems to be the thing that’s in nowadays. Someday!
Q8 Your twitter bio says “Currently working on Season 3 of LouisSaysTV and owner of QCIndieDotCom” – what are those projects and where can we find out more?

Louis Says is a children’s animated series I work on for a Canadian channel called APTN. It’s about a young boy named Randy who tries to help his old friend Louis, but gets mixed up and learns some Cree (a native Canadian language) along the way. There’s more info at http://www.louissaystv.com/.
QCIndie is an Internet radio station I made that airs alternative and indie music. It’s a little different from what you normally hear, and sometimes I just need to remind myself that today’s music isn’t all that bad. You can check it out at http://qcindie.com .
Q9 How do you ‘write’ a PicPak comic? Take us through your typical process? Do you write in batches or do you create a strip or two daily? How long does one strip take to create?
First I jot down the “script” in Google Keep. This is a bit handier than a notebook because I can use it on my phone, laptop, etc. There is where I perfect the timing and the wording. I write when the mood fancies me, but I always make sure I have enough ideas for the upcoming week. I create the strips a day or two before they go up, but occasionally I’ll have a buffer. I start with an initial rough sketch in Photoshop and ink over top that. The whole process for a simple, 3 panel strip is about half an hour.
Other times I like to challenge myself. Recently I did a storyline where Picpak stays in a hotel run by chickens. I had no idea of an ending for this one when I first put it up. I just made chicken jokes until I ran out!

2017-11-29-chicken-motel-4 (2)

Q10 How can fans best support you and your work?
Before this week I would have pointed you to my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/picpak), but their announcement of their new rules (which they ended up going back on) drove everyone away. I suggest buying a t-shirt or book from the shop (http://www.picpak.net/shop/), or using Ko-fi (http://ko-fi.com/picpak).
Q11 What are your thoughts on the various collaborations, guest strips, and art challenges you are involved in? Specifically, the inflation days on twitter and the monthly patreon sketches.

I love ‘em! The Patreon sketches are always a great way to try something new. The people I draw them for aren’t even patrons anymore. Some of them never were to begin with, I just made them for them anyway!
Picpak is such a simple strip it’s hard to sneak other characters in. But recently I included both Tiffany and Corey (http://tiffanyandcorey.blogspot.ca/) by Max West into some comics. It’s good to do little shout-outs like these from time to time, especially if they don’t feel forced.
Every time I think there can’t be another inflation joke, the Animaloons make you think again! While reinventing the same joke can sometimes be a challenge, it’s always a pleasure to do them. I especially got a kick out of this month’s Reindeerloon! Inflating an reindeer through its nose will never not be funny!
Q12 Are there any comics out there you think more people should be reading?
There’s so many great comics that you can find in the Root Beer Party every day! A few that come to mind are your strip (Sunny Side Up), Jon Esparza’s Bubble Fox, my friend Donna’s Once Upon a Donna, Dana Atnip’s Galactic Dragons, Charles Brubaker’s Fuzzy Princess and Ask a Cat, Crispin Wood’s Small Blue Yonder, PJ Day’s Flatt Bear, Peter Rasmussen’s Fatherhood Badly Doodled, Jim Horwitz’s Watson, Tim Green’s Vinnie the Vampire, Brad Perri’s Pirate Mike, George Ford’s Addanac City, Brett Koth’s Diamond Lil, Bob Scott’s Bear With Me…there are SO many! I’m sorry if I forgot you, but it’s impossible to list ‘em all!
Q13 I’ve heard you also work in animation? Are there plans for any animated projects for PicPak like the feeling groovy video? What animators do you admire? Which ones influenced you the most?
I do work in animation full-time, and while I would love to see a Picpak series come true, it would have to be under the right circumstances. No crappy soulless CGI! My favourite animators are Chuck Jones, Tom Ruegger, Hanna-Barbera, and Jay Ward (Ok, you can question if he counts as an animator or not! XD). Hanna-Barbera has a huge influence on my style. In fact, the logo on my website has Picpak modeled after a Yogi Bear pose!

Q14 Why don’t you use Scraps more in your comic?
Believe me, I think Scraps is a fascinating character and I’d create a spin-off series if I could, but he’s simply too hard to write for! Picpak is much easier to put in a situation and see how he acts out. Scraps is more particular. That and he’s like dessert – if you saw him every day you’d get sick of him! Plus, if he appeared all the time, all the magic when he does appear would be lost.

Q15 You used to like A&W root beer – why do you hate Barq’s?
I still like A&W! XD My hatred for Barq’s ended up creating one of the best comic communities on the web, so I think the ends justify the means here! To me, Barq’s just doesn’t have the “bite” like it claims. Heck, I don’t even mind it THAT much so long as it’s not watered down!
Q16 If you could revive one discontinued comic which one would it be?

This answer surely is clichéd at this point, but I’d love to see what Bill Watterson could do with Calvin and Hobbes as a webcomic. Or anything, really! He could create something amazing with the unlimited space. The world desperately needs his talent!
Q17 I think I’m out of questions for now. Thanks once again Kim and happy holidays to you and yours!
No problem James, thanks again for the interview! Happy holidays to you as well!


So there you have it True Believers, a meeting for the ages.  Two of the world leading comic experts meeting up to give you a behind the scenes look into how your favorite comics are made.  Sure, they can’t seem to count to twenty, but heck, Seventeen is close enough.  They can’t give away all their secrets.  

Once again we retire with a frosty mug of the elixir of life that is root beer and gaze out upon the vast acreage of The Official Root Beer Party Estates located in an undisclosed location of a unknown country in an undiscovered land.  We hope you enjoy this peek behind the curtain of the Root Beer Party and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  

20 Questions with Comic Creators: Scott A. Jenkins of Madbury

Welcome once again True Believers to the vast estates of the Root Beer Party, It is now December and the first batch of the elixir of life, Root Beer, is coming of age.  from the fall harvest the Root Beer Monks have Harvested the crops and began the brewing process for the coming year.  The smell of Vanilla, Sassafras, and Anise fill the air, the sweet scent of raw sugar being boiled out of the sugar cane heightens the senses and promises delights to come.  It is a truly amazing time here at The Official root Beer Party Compound in an undisclosed location of an unknown country in an undiscovered land.  Here we dedicate ourselves to the true calling of human life, comics and root beer.  

Today, we have with us for another of our world famous 20 questions segments is none other than Scott A. Jenkins.  A world renowned comic genius which has taken a break from the hectic life of a jet setting, playboy cartoonist to meet with us here at The Official Root Beer Party Compound for an interview.  The Official root Beer Party Bartender brings us two frosty mugs of the elixir of life, the standard ceremony of a meeting between any member of the Root Beer Party.  We trade small talk, something about the exotic life of a cartoonist in the outside world, but I put aside the common banter and proceed to get down to business.  

You can find Scott at the following sites:

Scott A. Jenkins “jynksie” on Twitter



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

This would take us back to the year 2000! I came across webcomics.com, which was a webcomics portal for cartoonists back then and was unaffiliated with how we know it today. People displayed their works in the forums, which led me to their websites and I eventually decided to throw my hat into the ring and give this “webcomics” thing a try. I was rusty, so my work was awful, but knowing there was a platform outside of syndication intrigued me then and still does now. The first online comic I ever read was Goats by Jon Rosenberg of Scenes From A Multiverse fame. The first online comic I ever created was “Committed For Life” and it was horribly done.

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

The most influential, would be Charles M. Schulz. Charlie Brown was a blockhead and so was I! I may still be, but no one will say so out loud! In fact, my main character in Madbury is, in many ways, an adult version of Chuck. Hodge is a blockhead as well!
It was actually cartoons that influenced my drawing and anything Hanna Barbera had my full attention. Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Top Cat, Yogi Bear, the Jetsons etc.

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

I grew up on A&W Root Beer, it was sold in glass bottles at the Granite State Potato Chip Factory we used to go to every Saturday morning to buy fresh hot potato chips buy the bucket, ahhh childhood! It was a thick tasting root beer, I can’t think of another kind that ever came close and it still tastes the same today.

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

I simply want the ability to share my comic with whomever wants to peek over my shoulder and check it out. I’d also like to see my work, printed out in a tangible, touchable book one day! Even if it’s one copy and it’s mine!

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

I dabble in landscape photography, living in New England, there’s always a view you want to capture and keep.

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

Well, the definition of professional, I imagine, means it’s a paid gig and something you have on the ole’ resume. I’ve only made hobbyist money from my cartooning, so I don’t consider myself a professional. I don’t have a body of work that has developed enough to qualify, so, at most, I’m a professional at being an engaged hobbyist!

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

I do a slice of life comic strip, so subject matter is all inclusive. What I consider out of bounds for me, is being overtly raunchy. I prefer suggestive, you know, show a little butt cheek, so to speak!

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

I use a Miscrosoft Surface Pro Laptop w/ pen and I use photoshop elements 14 to digitally create my work.

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

I went to art school in college, but I majored in art history. My art teacher said my artistic abilities were mundane, so I never pursued drawing after that in a trained environment. I would say I am self-taught.

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

I am always humbled with any attention my creative endeavors are given. So, the highlight comes with every interaction one chooses to have with whatever I put out there in a positive way.

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

I have perfectionist issues and in the past it has hindered my ability to grow as a creator. I spent a lot of time reinventing a wheel that wasn’t broken. In the process of reinventing, I had to accept I may have damaged my original product beyond repair. I’m only recently coming out of that low point, with the reprising of my comic strip, Madbury. The original recipe didn’t need reinventing, but I needed to go through this process in order to see it. Hindsight is 20/20 and I was wearing a blindfold.

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

Everything is on the web. The digital age gives one the ability to just lay our creativity on our digital desk [website] for people to paw through at will.

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

There are a few creators who’s word I value and respect and others who’s work I simply admire beyond words. If I’m going to drop a single name, it would be Mark Stokes. Mark creates Zombie Boy, which has this visually enjoyable and playful design to it. His writing, it’s simple, yet engaging and it tickles at the inner child. To write an all ages type of comic, it requires a sort of intellect I don’t have and it’s an intellect I admire. He should be syndicated; his body of work belongs with the best of the syndicated comic strips.

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

I love to draw, I would imagine if I weren’t drawing as I do now, I’d be fiddling w/ a pencil on a napkin somewhere. It’s an outlet that is as innate in me as breathing. Until my inner child moves on, I’ll be doodling something.

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

For their opinion to matter, one has to care. Trolls don’t do a good job of masking themselves, so when one starts spewing their negativity, just remember, trolls suffer from having a small wee-wee and it’s why they must project negativity.

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

At this time, where my work doesn’t demand deadlines be met, I usually allow motivation to push the creativity out of me, so that when a low point comes, I’ve got some equity in that creative bank. I don’t do well with forced creativity, so when it wanes, it needs to wane.

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

A dirty martini, because life is messy! [grin]

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

I am not currently a member of this party. I’m going to “assume” the invitation was lost in the mail!  (You are now. Welcome to the Party! – Editor)

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

I’ve been drawing a long time, but hands… hands and perspective still allude me. How can one draw hands, day after day, after day and sit down to a brain that thinks it’s never drawn them before?
The other challenge, is the isolation of comic creation. I tend to thrive in a more collaborative environment, so making comics can be frustrating for me in this regard. I’m someone who likes feedback and I like to flush out ideas with more than just myself.

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

I’m not much of a planner, but I do like seeing a plan come together. When that day comes, I’ll have a much better sense of what my future plans have in store for me. That’s my standard answer for everything, except planning for retirement.

In the more immediate future however, I’m trying to migrate to new social media platforms for my creative projects. While Twitter has been good to me, I need to engage in a less volatile atmosphere, as it is hindering my creative flow. What you’ll see from me in 2018 is a continuation of me building a thicker archive of work, while drinking root beer and looking for that lost invitation!


And  there you have it True Believers, another in depth interview with the people making the comics of our age.  These are the legends of tomorrow who we will speak of in hushed whispers in the future.  The people who are making sure sequential art is still relevant in the too much information age.  These are the pioneers of new technology and the lawmen that will tame the wild lands of the new frontiers and make comics once again the premier form of communication in the new enlightened age.  we lead the charge here at The Root Beer Party and we welcome you to come along for the ride, and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.   

Comic Collection Review: The Fuzzy Princess Volume 1 by Charles Brubaker


Once again we descend into the sacred repository of The Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives.  Today we will look at one of our latest additions to the greatest collection of human achievement, our comics.   I was notified from our illustrious Co-Presidents of the arrival of a new submission and immediately leapt into action to archive and review our latest acquisition.  This masterpiece of comic art comes to us from one of our own Root Beer Party members Charles Brubaker.  This is his third collection of comics, but the first in this series.

The Fuzzy Princess Volume 1 is sort of an innocuous title, at first glace one might mistake it for the usual sort of kid literature that one dismissively walks by everyday.  The art of the cover reflects this sort of childish innocence that one would expect to find in the Pre-teen section of any bookstore, but this deceptive packaging hides a much more subversive truth.


We are immediately thrown into the action of the story as Katrina or Kat the Fuzzy Princess of St. Paws, a kingdom where all animals live in harmony,  crashes to Earth to the surprise of Jackson, who is about to be attacked by “Bloated Whale.”  Bloated Whale is the preferred nickname of the bully in this story.  It is also an allegory of a much larger symptom, Bloated Whale represents the manifestation of life or at least modern life, which at this moment in the action is about to crush our protagonist Jackson.

The Fuzzy Princess is a humorous moral tale of modern society.  We get the removed perspective of the alien princess in Kat, but also the wide eyed innocent view of Jackson as well.


Here we have the introduction of the alien perspective to the apathetic view of life in the form of Jackson’s sister.  Her role in the tale is to represent the normal view of life, she is sort of the baseline of the average joe in this world.  Unlike Jackson, she has learned how to cope with the world and has found the key to co-existence even in the face of the Bloated Whale of life.

Her responses to the absurdity of the new found situation is a sort of litmus test for Jackson and Kat’s challenging of the societal norms.


We find that Jackson is not alone in his opposition to the social norms, we also have Gladdie and her sister the “Weird Princess.”  The Weird Princess is sort of a human counterpart to Kat’s disruptive and challenging view.  She is more of a thrill seeker looking at the bloated Whale of life and finding the absurdity of it all amusing.

Kat is also not without her own problems as a political element is introduced into the story in the form of a rat spy from another alien kingdom.  He will later align himself with the Bloated Whale in order to attempt to stamp out the challenge to the conventional societal structures.

Kat also has her consorts, Kuma a solipsistic bear who is easily distracted and Bat who is the voice of reason reigning in the chaos of Kat’s personality while maintaining a royal decorum.


This comic has far more going for it than you would first imagine by glancing at the cover.  It is an engaging tale of challenge and acceptance in the face of the overwhelming pressures of life.  Everyone is weird in their own way, and the connection between us is ultimately what allows humanity to overcome the obstacles of life.  The Fuzzy Princess is at once an engaging tale of comic frivolity and at the same time a biting social satire on the importance of friendship and family in staving off the cold reality or Bloated Whale of life.

I would highly recommend this work for your own collections and you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Fuzzy-Princess-1-Charles-Brubaker/dp/0998948217

You can also check out his web site her for the latest comics: http://fuzzy-princess.com/

The Fuzzy Princess is a comic which can be read for the fun of a engaging story and hilarious hijinks, or you can delve in deeper to find the deeper meaning of our universal connection in life, our humanity.  Sometimes it takes an alien to point it out to us.  Check it out.  So until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.