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:
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.