We are back once again True Believers at the gorgeous Root Beer Party Estates here in an undisclosed location in an unknown region of a lost continent. Today we have with us one of our long time Root Beer Party Members and founder of the International BrOlympics games himself: Warren Frantz. You can find all the latest Off Season comics here: http://offseasoncomic.thecomicseries.com/
So let’s get to know the man behind the international cartoon games over an ice cold frosty mug of root beer as we enjoy the indelible scent of vanilla and anise flowing from the fields as the dedicated Root Beer Monks harvest the bounty of the land so that we may brew next years batch of the elixir of life that is root beer. So let’s talk now to Warren:
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I started designing my own characters around 1999. Then I started doodling them into comic strips in notebooks, designing mixed CD covers, but didn’t do much else with them. Then I found the old Drunk Duck website and was enthralled! I thought: Amateur cartoonists sharing their work? I gotta get on this!
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
I could say Peyo, Jim Davis, Dik Browne and Don Martin, but that would be the professionals. My mom drew a lot. Lots of life drawing. She was so talented. But it was her huge cartoon hockey mural she painted in our basement that blew my mind!!
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
A&W, hands down. It’s not about the taste. I remember the drive-in restaurant (it’s the only one I ever remember up here in Northern Ontario, Canada). The tuba. The Root Bear. Love the color scheme. Taste is the last thing I think of with A&W!
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I want to help grow the game of hockey, and inspire others to get involved in the sports they love. Play to be with friends. Laugh. Tell stories, make stories. Every game is a new adventure. Plus, sports keep you young and healthy! Never stop playing!
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I dabble with the guitar. I wish there was more time in the day to do that. I’m also trying to learn how to paint my comics so I have pieces of art that you can touch, not just view digitally.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I think I’m a cartoonist in training. I absolutely love my day job, but I also know that I need something to occupy my mind in retirement (still many years away!) I hope to be ready for professional status at that point!
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
I enjoy a wide range of humor away from my cartooning, but my comic is family friendly. Sex, drugs… They’re off limits right now, mostly due to my job as a teacher. I feel obligated to keep a squeaky clean reputation in public.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I start with pencil & graph paper. I take a photo with my iPad and digitally ink/color it in a rudimentary app called “Brushes”. I then use “Comic Life” to arrange my drawings in comic strip or comic page form.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
Mostly self-taught. I didn’t even know I could draw until art class in teachers college!
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
I helped my school win an environmental award. I had created enviro superheroes, wrote stories and presented them in assemblies on the big screen in the gym. It’s kind of cool to have a captive audience of 500 fans!!
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
I’ve had some bad ruts, but the worst I felt about cartooning is when I had surgery on my drawing arm. I taught myself how to draw with the other hand, which was cool, and I did well with it. But then my opposite hand stopped moving the way I wanted while I drew. I felt pretty low and decided to stop cartooning and wait until my drawing arm healed.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Not really. I’ve printed a couple of books for close friends and family, but that’s about it.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
You know I love the work of the heavy hitters here: you, Jon Esparza, Kim Belding. You guys make things a lot of fun! Then there’s Mark Stokes, Frank Jordan. I’ve been following them for quite a few years. It was great to connect with David Craig (@HorovitzComics on Twitter). I knew his work from my university newspaper. He’s still awesome after all these years!
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
It is therapeutic. It gives me a different connection to my family. It gives me time to sort out situations. I do have busy spells for weeks on end when I’m just not able to get to it. I miss cartooning in those times. I can’t see myself quitting cartoons for good.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
I’ve luckily never had any encounters with trolls. As hard as it is to hear the crap they spew, you need to take a positive spin on it: people are noticing your work. I work with small children who say horrible things on a regular basis. We don’t always know their whole story. You may have unintentionally struck a nerve with a joke. Who knows? No matter what, it does not take a lot of courage to hurl insults from your keyboard. If you have a problem with an artist, DM them explaining the situation. Why you feel that way. If the troll’s situation isn’t any of the artist’s business, the troll shouldn’t make it their business. And then there are other trolls that are just idiots. Block and destroy those guys!
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
Haha. Bad timing for this question! I had built up a 4 month buffer, and it has dwindled away recently! I try to find a local donut shop or library while my daughters are at volleyball practice. I generally get a lot done in that time. It does feel awesome when you get on a roll. When things are clicking, try to keep doing what’s working in that moment. Who knows how long it’ll last?
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I’m a craft beer kind of guy. I enjoy visiting small breweries, chatting with the staff, getting their story. There is literally a beer for every occasion. It’s just a matter of hunting it down!
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
I dip my toes in from time to time. I follow the wild and wacky conversations that come out of it. Some I can contribute to, others I just sit back and learn…. and hope no one spills their root beer on me!
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Drawing hands! Haha. Seriously though, finding the style I truly want for my character design. I think I’ve finally found what I want (after 10 years of trying). It’s now time to start working at it and perfecting it!!
Question 20: What are your future plans involving comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’ve had ideas of a series of graphic novels for the current Off Season characters. I’ve also batted around some non-fiction ideas. They all center around family, friends & sports.
I also do a lot of coaching though my school and am constantly looking for new ways to motivate athletes.
So there you have it True Believers, another one of our world famous 20 question interviews with one of the original members of the Root Beer Party. But before we leave, let’s check out some highlights from this years BrOlympics
What a great time we had. It was a ceremony of peace, brotherhood, great comics and root beer. So that is all from the glorious Root Beer Party Estates, join us again for another interview and all the latest news in the world of comics. Until next time, True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy. Now here is a scene from the closing ceremonies of the BrOlympics: