20 Questions with Comic Creators: Warren Frantz of Off Season Comics

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     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:  

 

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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.

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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!!

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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!

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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

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   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:

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20 Questions with Comic Creators: Kevin Fagan of Drabble

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     Welcome back True Believers, Today we are broadcasting live from the vast Root Beer Party Estates, located in a undisclosed location in a unknown region of an undiscovered country.  Fall means that the dedicated Root Beer Monks are hard at work harvesting and brewing up next years bounty of the Elixir of Life that is Root Beer and we welcome one of our own members and world renowned comic creator Kevin Fagan of Drabble here to the Broadcast Booth for another of our world famous 20 questions interviews!  You can find Kevin’s work daily over at GoComics here: 

https://www.gocomics.com/blog/2810/kevin-fagan-drabble

Or in your local newspaper for the last 40 years.  Drabble has been a mainstay in the comics industry and ha brought a lighthearted suburban family humor to generations of comic lovers all over the world.  My own personal favorite character is Wally the Wiener Dog.  But Let us get to the man of the hour, our good friend Kevin Fagan.

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

I’m pretty old school. I draw with speedball pens and India ink on heavy paper

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

Schulz was my greatest influence. I also loved Bil Keane, Jim Unger, and Hank Ketcham.

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

Diet A&W. That’s what my wife buys!

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

I hope DRABBLE brings people a smile every day or at least as often as possible.

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

I like jazz music and art museums.

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

After 40 years, I guess I’m a professional now.

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

No politics. I like to bring people together if possible.

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

See #1

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

Dumb luck. No training. I volunteered to draw cartoons for my college newspaper.

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

Highlight: When Charles M. Schulz called to tell me that the Halloween cartoon I had done one year was the best Halloween strip he’d ever seen.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

Low Point: When Schulz died.

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

I’ve done a dozen or so DRABBLE books. Latest is “ALL WALLY.” Next one is “Family Calamities’.

(You can find Drabble Collections on Amazon Here:    https://www.amazon.com/All-Wally-Kevin-Fagan/dp/1976050928/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537849476&sr=1-1     ) -Editor
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

I like “Amanda The Great.” I haven’t seen a lot of the others, since I’m not really a computer guy.

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

Hard for me to imagine not doing the strip every day, unless some other project took over. No interest in retiring.

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

No. But it is increasingly evident that lots of people do not have a sense of humor.

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

I have deadlines set by my syndicate.

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

Diet Coke

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

Yes.

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

Most challenging aspect: Keeping the strip fresh. I hope I do.

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

I’m collaborating with David Benoit on a musical comedy based of DRABBLE. Fingers crossed.

     So there you have it True Believers, Another interview with Root Beer Party Members and a peek behind the scenes of how your favorite comics are made and what the future holds in store for them.  Since the cave painting from the caves at Lascaux in France sequential art has been one of the most influential forms of art in history and here at the Root Beer Party we celebrate the modern day cave painters who bring us all the humor, joy and even sorrow and pain that are the essential experiences of life.  So we say so long again from the vast Root Beer Party Estates and hope that you will join us next week for another frosty mug of root beer and another interview with your favorite comic creators.  Thanks again to Kevin Fagan and until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your Root Beer Always Foamy.  Now here is some comics about my favorite character Wally the Wiener Dog:  

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20 Questions with Comic Creators: Amanda El-Dweek of Amanda the Great

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    We are back once again True Believers, live from the vast Root Beer Party Estates in an undisclosed location, of a forgotten land in an undiscovered country.  We are here with a couple of frosty mugs of root beer overlooking the vanilla bean fields.  It is fall harvest time and the Root Beer Monks are busy in the fields harvesting the vanilla for a new batch of the elixir of life that is root beer.  

     We are here today with our good friend and fellow Root Beer Party member Amada El-Dweek, who has agreed to share her super secret recipe for Hot Dish exclusively with Root Beer Party Members and answer a few questions as well.  You can find Amanda’s comic on GoComics Here:  https://www.gocomics.com/amanda-the-great  

     Now lets get to know Amanda El-Dweek.  
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I was pretty young when I started drawing comic strips. I was given a Garfield comic book one Christmas, and that was it for me. Comics were my true love – I mean, after cake.

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Young Amanda, with cake.
Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
Back when I was younger and learning to draw, it would have been Jim Davis (because Garfield), and the various people who drew Archie comics. Later it would be Bill Watterson, Cathy Guisewite, and then later after college I was influenced by Jamie Hewlett. Man, that guy can draw.
You know whose drawing style I wish I could steal for a day? Jim Mahfood or Kate Beaton.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
Hires or 1919 root beer. 1919 is kind of spendy, so Hires is more attainable.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to win awards and things, but I mean, being syndicated has been a big accomplishment for me. If I don’t ever win an award, I’m not going to spiral out of control. I think? (Haha.) “And the award for ‘Biggest Baby for Not Getting an Award Ever’ goes to…Amanda El-Dweek!”

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Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
Once in a while, I like to make decorative signs – you know, like a wall plaque. My husband (Dan) will cut out whatever shape of wood I need, and I’ll paint something on it.
I also like to draw other things besides comics, though, my style is a bit cartoon-y. Last year for Inktober, I drew some saints, and various pop culture characters (like from Star Trek, X-Files, et. al.).

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I enjoy making posters and things like that. I’m also supposed to be painting a pin-up girl on some motorcycle tanks for my dad, but he is still waiting. Hi, Dad!
I use visual aids when I teach CCD class, so I use my artistic skills there.
(Sometimes the kids are impressed and sometimes not, which amuses me. They got a kick out of how I drew St. Michael’s hair. I called it his “hockey flow”.)

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I used to paint, but I haven’t in a few years. My easel is in storage! But even if I had it here, unsure what I’d paint.
I draw stuff to give as gifts to people sometimes. I enjoy that.
I don’t really do much in music anymore, but I used to be pretty proficient at the bass clarinet (and the clarinet family). I can play a little piano by ear, and I can read music. I want to learn a lot of instruments, actually. I kind of miss it.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I guess I see myself as a cartoonist. I’ll let someone else decide if I am a professional or not.

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Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
It is pretty clean as far as humor goes in my comic strip [Amanda the Great]. I want all ages of people to be able to read it.
I have other ideas for some comics, and I doubt they’d get terribly dicey, but I have limits. I’d never get lewd.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I use Strathmore Bristol 300 series – smooth, for paper; pencil (.05 mechanical); Speedball Super Black ink and a Windsor & Newton Cotman series 111 round brush (for inking); an ink wash; a Kuretake brush pen for lettering; and most recently, a Tombow pen when I am too lazy to use a brush and ink.
My dad made me a stencil for the strip itself – it is just some flimsy plastic-y material we found, and he cut it the size of the entire strip. I trace around it, and then use a ruler to mark the panels.

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Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I taught myself, mostly, by practicing drawing from other people’s comics. I did go to art school in college, but it was for visual arts (studio art) and not cartooning.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
The day Shena emailed me to inform me that GoComics would like to have my comic strip on its main page. I was eating, and I dang near fell off of my chair.
You know the part where Mary Tyler Moore throws her hat in the air? That was me.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
There were some years where I wasn’t drawing much at all. I wouldn’t touch a sketchbook for months and months. I was a little depressed. Maybe a lot.
I have to give credit to Dan (my husband) – he pushed me to get back into it, without being pushy.

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Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
No collections of my work (yet) other than on GoComics. Unless you want to go through the totes and boxes in my storage unit. Haha!
I would like to start self-publishing collections, though. I have a lot of material.

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Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Oh, many. I have made a lot of great friends from Sherpa (on GoComics), and also from being on GoComics, and the cartooning community on social media in general. I really don’t want to list everyone, because if I forgot someone, I’d feel like a heel.
You don’t want me to feel like a heel, do you?
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
It’s had a giant impact on my life. I was always drawing as a kid. In school, I went through many many notebooks, drawing comics. College, same thing. I’d have to imagine it is something I will always be doing.
(In case people think I am a one-trick pony, I do enjoy things other than comics once in a while!)
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
Before my comic launched, I did worry a little bit about how my comic strip would be in a very public forum, at the mercy of critics. I am not a stranger to criticism, but there is a difference between criticism and general harassment.
I always noticed that when people would comment on a comic strip (mine or other creators’ comics), they could get really pedantic about things. And sometimes just mean. Hey, guess what? There is a human being who draws this comic, and maybe they read your comments. But general anonymity of the internet has changed how we have discourse, so people think it is a freefor-all to say anything and everything that comes into their minds. (That is not limited to just the comics page, but that’s another tangent.)
I dislike it when they point out grammatical or spelling errors. Not because they’re wrong (they’re usually right), but they aren’t doing it to help me. They are doing it so they can say, “Look at me and how much I know, and how stupid I can make this creator feel”. I do make mistakes. I don’t enjoy discovering I’ve made them AFTER I’ve uploaded the comic. I used to correct them and re-scan. I haven’t done that for a while, just to be stubborn.
YOU HAVE TO GAZE UPON MY ERRORS FOREVERMORE.
(Also, I don’t think some people understand that my comic dialogue is oftentimes conversational in nature, and not a doctoral dissertation.)
My comment to those who are just dropping by to be rude: Thank you for reading and driving up my page count. 🙂

Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I don’t know if I have any strict deadlines, other than I need to make a comic strip every day. If Dan and I are going to be gone for any length of time, I have a [self-imposed] deadline to get enough strips drawn and uploaded to cover the time when we are gone. That is motivation.

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Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I love love love sugar pop, but I cannot drink it anymore. I drink diet pop, but it is not the same. I love coffee, though. I love it and I dislike it. Figure that out. I enjoy iced tea, and ice water. Super boring, but I like what I like.
As for libations, my all-time favorite is a correctly made long island tea. If you order one, and the person making the drinks asks you what is in it, do not order it. Maybe get a glass of wine or a beer, something that is hard to mess up.

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Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
I am! (Right?)  (You Are.  -Editor)

 

Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Some days I can crank out a few comics, and some days it is a challenge. I have a lot of ideas, but I will sometimes get stuck on how to execute the idea. Motivation sometimes escapes me as well! But you know, I enjoy drawing, so most days are pretty great.

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Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I hope to keep going with Amanda the Great for as long as I can, and I also have a couple more comic ideas I am working on. I’d love to be in some papers – we will see, right? Dream the impossible dream.

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    So there you have it True Believers, another 20 questions interview with comic creators and Root Beer Party Members.  As we finish our frosty mugs of Root Beer and look out over the sun streaming through the sassafras trees, we welcome another member into our honored and esteemed group.  So tune in next time True Believers as we will return bringing you all the latest in the world of comics and Root Beer, and as always, may your mug always be frosted and your Root Beer always foamy.  

20 Questions with Comic Creators: Donna McKay of Once Upon a Donna

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     We are here once again True Believers with an all new installment of your favorite segment 20 Questions!  Today we have a special guest with us, I have been summoned to the Royal Palace of the vast Root Beer Party Estates to meet with the Supreme Overlord herself Donna McKay!  Donna does two comics, Her original comic is called Once Upon a Donna and focuses on her life while the second one Jacques & Kay focus more on a overview of life in general.  You can find her comics on her site here:  http://onceuponadonna.blogspot.com/  

     It is not everyday we get to travel to the palace, a small army of Root Beer Warriors guard the palace and are the most feared warriors in all the land.  Led by Captain Akela, they keep the vast Root Beer Party Estates safe from the mechanizations of the outside world. 

     She has arrived in all her royal glory, wearing the royal sweatshirt with the lightning emblem, it is truly an awe inspiring sight.  Now let us respectfully get to know, the Supreme Overlord Donna McKay:  

Happy Swales

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I have a very long-winded answer for this one:
I had just finished Animation College, and getting into the actual field of animation can take a long time, especially in my Province. One of the things that successful animators recommend to newcomers is to get a website going and just keep posting your work and promoting yourself, and eventually it will get seen.
I tried posting some drawings I had (you can see this in my website if you go to the very beginning) but I didn’t really have a direction for it beyond “Hey look what I drew!” and for me that is a hard thing to keep up.
I ended up posting some really crummy comics of how I reacted to certain products, and then started throwing in comics about my siblings, and then one thing lead to another and I found myself posting comics tri-weekly!
I also have to give credit to Kim Belding, who was the first cartoonist I ever met. Until we met at Redhouse College of Animation, the only web comics I had encountered were the more “main stream” web comics. Like “Least I Could Do”, “Questionable Content”, and “Sam and Fuzzy”. Creators who had quite literally made a living from doing web comics. Until I met Kim, I didn’t think it was something I could just start doing.

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
I take influence from a lot of different places, for each art medium I work with. Brian Froud for when I’m just “venting” Hayao Miyazaki when I’m painting, but for my comics I’ve been told my style is like a mix between Calvin and Hobbes and For Better or Worse, and I definitely feel influence from them.

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
A&W, cus it’s delicious.

Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
Hmmm, I suppose I want what most cartoonists want, to be able to make enough money from my comic to live off of. Unfortunately I don’t make ANY money off it due to the algorithm of the website I’m on. So I guess I’d like to be able to gain enough notoriety that I can someday switch to a website that allows ads and not lose a bunch of readers in the process 😛
I also take great joy from knowing that someone read my comic and got a kick out of it.

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Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I’ve always loved art, it’s been my outlet throughout my entire life. I enjoy painting with acrylics and I used to love charcoal, though I haven’t worked with it for some time now. When I want to draw for myself I have a long list of characters from many different stories I’ve made up, going as far back as my early childhood that I doodle and rework. I’m also an Animator and right now am working on a kids show called Robotik that should be airing on tv sometime next year I think. (not my creation, I just animate and design faces)

Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
It’s kinda both. I started Once Upon a Donna to showcase my art work so I could do Freelance art, and animation professionally. And that is what I do professionally. Once Upon a Donna is kinda my calling card, I guess? But it’s also just me doing it because I enjoy it.

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
I usually won’t do bathroom humour. No sex or full nudity. Once Upon a Donna is based off my life and the interaction I have with my family, so that would be incredibly awkward and unsettling for many.
I also try to avoid swears.

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Question 8: What kind of equiptment or style of drawing do you use?
Majority of my comic has been this set up: Idea, Thumbnail on paper (often multiple thumbnails), Pencil rough, Clean up in Ink (Pigma Micron .05), Scan into computer, Color and shade in Photoshop. Post.
But lately I haven’t had time to do all that, so I’ve just been doing it all in Photoshop.

Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
Well, I took a three year course at Redhouse College of Animation to become an animator. Otherwise it’s been an ongoing affair of constantly drawing, sketching and doodling, and absorbing comics from childhood to adulthood. If you wanna draw, then draw. Then draw some more.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
Probably when I realized that real people who I didn’t know, or who don’t know someone in my family was reading my comics and enjoying it!
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
Whoo boy.
There was one comic I posted that one of my siblings took offense to.
The downside to making a comic based on your life, that features other real people in it, is that you run the very real risk of hurting their feelings if you don’t get the point across clearly. That was the case with this one particular comic. It was received well by my audience, but I hurt my sibling so bad that they stopped talking to me for a couple days, and I was 99.9% ready to never post another comic again. Fortunately things smoothed over and we talked. But I still remember that incident and it colors a lot of what I post, and probably always will.

Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Afraid not, though I often contemplate seeing if there would be any interest in a printed collection.

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Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Too many to count. At least in the root beer party community anyway, they’re all just such amazing and awesome people, I kid you not, I have trouble not admiring all of them for different reasons.

Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Cartooning was the start of my Freelance work, and it helped me learn a lot. I also have met a lot of cartoonists online as a result. I have a hard time not picturing myself doing it, even if it was just for myself.

Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
Honey, you gotta love yourself more. And I mean really love yourself. You’re a cool person, you don’t need to put others down to make yourself feel better. Look at you! You. Are. A. Good. Person. I know that, I bet you any money others know that. It’s about time you started to see that maybe we’re all on to something.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
When I don’t feel very motivated, I will often play the first half of the Hamilton soundtrack. That usually kicks me into gear, even if I’m not being particularly speedy in my process.

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Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Hmmm, I like Coffee, Tea, and a few other pops. Like Grape Pop, and Cream Soda.

Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
Uhhhh, It’s complicated. For a while I was the only Official Non-Official Member, and then I think I executed a hostile takeover during a Twitter battle that was going on in my feed. So now I’m the Supreme Overlord. I think my full title was “Supreme High-Warlord Empress-Destructo”. Soooo that’s a thing.
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Right now it’s the schedule. Until very recently I was working two jobs, one that was becoming more and more stressful, but now I’m switching to fulltime at the animation company. This is awesome, but takes a lot of time. I also have a young, high energy dog that requires a lot of attention, and other daily life routines. So right now just trying to keep the tri-weekly update is tricky, and I didn’t enjoy doing bi-weekly.

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
As far as the comic goes, I think one of these days I’d like to print them out and see if I could sell them or take them to the local comic con. It would be fun to meet readers in an environment where I’m expecting that kind of conversation. Thus far when people I know say they really enjoy my comic I kinda just…smile and nod and thank them and slowly back away, because I wasn’t expecting them to say that and don’t know what to say in return. XD
As for the other goings on in my life, as I mentioned above; the kids tv show. I’d also love it if my puppy learned how to behave himself around the little kids in this family and didn’t scream every time they visit. Seriously! He reaches a whiney pitch that hurts my ears, just because he’s so excited. He’s such a brat.

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So there you have it True Believers, The Supreme High-Warlord Empress-Destructo herself Donna McKay!  We follow royal etiquette and bow our heads as she leaves the room followed by a contingent of Root Beer Party Warriors.  It is a life changing experience to sit down and speak with the Supreme Overlord of the Root Beer Party.  So there you have it True Believers, a rare peek behind the curtains of your favorite comics, and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your Root Beer always foamy.  

Happy 40th Anniversary Garfield from the Root Beer Party

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     Welcome back True Believers, we are here to acknowledge the tributes paid to the biggest star of the comics page, Garfield.  I saw a post on facebook which mentioned that they were accepting fan submissions for the upcoming 40th anniversary book.  I forwarded it to the Root Beer Party’s Official Facebook group page and a lot of members submitted their tributes.  Most of them were accepted and are available in the book which can now be purchased here:   https://www.amazon.com/Age-Happens-Garfield-Hits-Big/dp/0345526090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536257547&sr=8-1&keywords=garfield+40th+anniversary

     There is no better way for us to start off then with our own Co-President Kim Belding.  A long time fan of Garfield, he draws the comic Picpak Dog in which we can see the influence of humor and style from the great Jim Davis.  But many of our members made special appearances in this volume;

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Here we have Penny E from Pen & Ink by our good friend Dee Parsons.  He speaks of Jim Davis’ influence in our 20 questions interview with him here:   https://rootbeerparty.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/20-questions-with-comic-creators-dee-parson-of-pen-ink/

Here we have the original gang meeting their modern counterparts 40 years later.  A great piece.  Well done Dee.

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Here we have a comic done for the book by our own good friend Laura Yang of Yin and Yangster comics.  You can read about Laura in our own interview as well here:   https://rootbeerparty.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/20-questions-with-comic-artists-laura-yang-of-yin-and-yangster/

Once again we see the progression of Garfield from his original form to the modern fat cat we all know and love today.

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Here is a comic where our good friend David Riddick pay tribute with a little cos-play from Intelligent Life.

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I don’t know if this is a tribute to Garfield or a tribute to himself, but our good friend Bret Koth of Diamond Lil help celebrate this special event.  Bret actually worked with Jim Davis on Garfield, so this has a special meaning to him to have his own creation appear side by side with the cat he helped make famous.

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Here is one from our good friend Mason Mastroianni who is now the artist behind the classic comic strip BC.  from one legendary strip to another, Garfield stands among the most elite comic strips ever created.

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Who better to call for an anniversary special than our good friend Bob Scott?  His style is a perfect match for this type of tribute, Bob works in sort of a nostalgic style of art which invokes the classic comics of old and the newspapers which once ruled the industry.

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A tribute from another classic comic strip and our good friend John Rose of Snuffy Smith.  Snuffy knows a thing or two about turning 40, He turned 40 in 1959.  Next year will mark 100 years for Snuffy Smith and the whole gang, what could be more bodacious then that?

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Here is one from our good friend Mike Peters, who has enough Reubens awards to open a deli.  His Mother Goose and Grimm comics came a few years after Garfield, but Grimmy has never been a stranger to poking fun at the fat cat.

As you can see, Garfield played an important role in all of our lives.  We stand upon the shoulders of giants in this industry, and it is upon Garfield’s hefty shoulders that the Root Beer Party proudly stands.  So let’s all raise a frosty mug of root beer to the great fat cat and the man behind it all Jim Davis.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

20 Questions with Comic Creators: Ron Ferdinand of Dennis the Menace

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     We are back once again True Believers, with another installment of our world renowned 20 Question interviews.  Today we sit out on the upper patio of the vast Root Beer Party Estates overlooking the fields of vanilla beans being carefully tended to by the devoted Root Beer Monks.  It is one of the many ingredients we grow here in order to brew the elixir of life itself:  Root Beer.   

     We have with us today, a legacy comic creator, Ron Ferdinand.  He is the main artist who took over the Dennis the Menace comic.  It is a huge responsibility to take on an iconic character and pop culture icon, who has not only appeared in comics, but in movies as well as television shows ranging from live action to animation.  Dennis the Menace is a cultural institution, so we are honored that Ron was able to take time off to fly out here to our vast estates in an undisclosed location in an unknown land in an undiscovered country.  You can check out the official website here:  http://dennisthemenace.com/

     Well, the melting frost on the Root Beer Mugs tell us that it is time to get on with it, let’s get to know Ron.  

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

I was hired by Hank Ketcham in 1981 to work on the DENNIS comic for Marvel. After a year, Hank put me on the Sunday page.

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

Hank Ketcham , Walt Disney, Chuck Jones and Mort Drucker…to name a few.

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

Actually, I love A&W sugar free Root beer. It’s my favorite drink!!!

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

To try and carry on the legacy of Hank Ketcham to the best of my ability.

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

I love music and play a little guitar and bass.

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

Thanks to Hank, my work appears in newspapers.

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

We try and keep the humor free of politics and other adult oriented subjects. After all, Dennis is five-an-a-half.

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

I’m pretty old school…pencils, pens, ink and paper.

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

I attended THE SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS in New York City for 3 years and studied animation, cartooning etc……

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

Absolutely being hired by Hank Ketcham.

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

After graduating from SVA , I floated around for a few years doing a few little freelance gigs but not enough to earn a living in art.

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

Well, I’ve seen some things on Ebay.

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

Just what I see on Facebook. Not sure of the names but there’s some great stuff out there.

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

Cartooning was always there even when I wasn’t getting paid for it. Guess I just had a one track mind.

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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.)

We get our share of criticism but my attitude has always been ..at least they’re still talking about us.

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

There’s a deadline every week for newspaper comics so it’s instant motivation.

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

Diet Pepsi and milk with ice in it.

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

I believe I am.

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

Trying to keep the comic funny and eye-catching. Scott Ketcham and I work really well together getting these Sundays out every week.

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

To keep DENNIS going and going, etc……..

So there you have it True Believers, another classic 20 questions interview with the members of the Root Beer Party.  I must give Ron a tour of the vast Root Beer Party Estates so we must leave you until next time, and until then True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your Root Beer always foamy.