We are back once again True Believers with another episode of our world famous interview segment: 20 Questions with Comic Creators. Today we are live from the glorious Root Beer Party Estates in an undisclosed location of a far off land in an undiscovered country. Today we have with us Mat Washburn of the epic fantasy comic Evan Yeti. You can check out Mat’s website here:
Evan Yeti is a great comic series about a young yeti who is orphaned from his family by a mad scientist and his evil army who capture his family. Evan sets out to find and reunite with his family with a little help from his friends that he meets along the way. It is a hero’s quest for the 21st century. So let’s get to know Mat Washburn.
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I had always drawn comics as a kid and all through school. After school I mostly worked on music and felt my drawing skills slipping away. I wanted to create a comic that had all the weirdness and rebellious energy from the comics I made as a kid and try to learn how to draw better-er. I decided to make a webcomic because I figured if people would actually read it I would feel obligated to finish it.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
Rob Schrab, Doug TenNapel and Steve Purcell are my top three favorite longform comic artists. If you look at Evan Yeti, I think their influence (along with Matt Groening) on my art is embarrassingly obvious.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I’m not too picky about my root beer. I’d have to say Stuarts in the glass bottle is top notch. Goes down smooth.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
Well the Evan Yeti webcomic has ended (for now). People often ask if I’ll write another Evan story. I actually started writing a second story as I was writing the first one. But I’m more likely to make an Evan Yeti video game before another comic. I felt like I was able to accomplish a lot with Evan. I made a webcomic, printed it as issues and a graphic novel, made t-shirts, minifigures, gave presentations at libraries and still show art exhibits with original Evan art and some large replicas of things in the comic – like the snow rat vehicle. So I haven’t set anymore goals for Evan as of yet.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I compose music for commercials, video games and short film and play in a band when I can. Currently I’m on a video game creating kick. I like making games for mobile. I have one published for Android and iPhone called Save Baby James and another game hopefully published by the time this is posted called Spider Rider.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I don’t think that’s for me to say. I’ll keep trying to learn and make things I can be proud of and let others decide if they think it’s professional or not.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
In my personal life humor is king. I will gladly throw my integrity away for a stupid joke. My comics however are pretty safe. I like to make comics that I consider fun and that also have some heart. I don’t like to limit who can join in on the fun by being too crass. So just a little crass.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
For Evan I would sketch a page on graph paper with a mechanical pencil. Then I lay marker paper over that and ink over a lightboard with a Faber-Castell brush pen. Then scan the inks into the computer and color with Photoshop. I colored over the ink lines with colors because I like the way it makes the characters pop. If I had a tablet it would have speed pages up considerably. Something to consider for next time I suppose.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
No school. I’m a terrible student. But there are some books that I learned a lot from. Particularly books by Will Eisner and Scott McCloud.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
All the cool people I’ve met. Fellow storytellers of all types of experience levels and many different styles. Telling their stories and jokes and helping others tell theirs. I’m not good at being part of a community as I’m fiercely independent but the webcomic community has been so supportive and creative and is what I miss the most about working on Evan.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
Nothing about cartooning has brought me down but when life absolutely sucker punches me in the guts it makes it hard to create work that is fun or has enthusiasm behind it.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Outside of the webernet there is just me selling books and stuff at my art exhibits and comic cons.
You can order Evan yeti comics on his webpage. Get the whole set, they are amazing! -Editor
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Yes and I hate to start naming names cause I know I’ll leave out a bunch of great people on accident. However, it’s no secret I’ve been a big fan of Mark Stokes (Zombie Boy), Jazyl Homavazir (The Beast Legion), and Crispin Wood (Small Blue Yonder).
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
It keeps me sane-ish and helps me express things I otherwise don’t think I would know how. I went to school for cosmetology and my instructor saw me drawing in my textbook and said “You love drawing don’t you? I bet you’ll draw no matter what you do in life.” And as usual, she was right.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
That’s a tough one. I’m all about free speech, but I also don’t like the idea of someone giving up on their ideas just because they were discouraged. So my advice to trolls? Tear artists down all you want, but when you decide to create something we’ll be watching. And your success may depend on our ability to forgive.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
For Evan Yeti I posted a page every other week. That way I had a free week and an “Evan week”.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I had to quit Mt. Dew. I drank it too much and didn’t like the idea that I couldn’t stop. So I stopped. Now I don’t have a favorite drink and that’s a good thing.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
Yes *glug glug* I am!
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
That first sketch. Everything hinges on all those first calculations and decisions and the mistakes you make if not caught carry on through the rest of the process and get harder to fix as they are integrated. After the initial sketch is done though, each step after that gets gradually easier for me.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’m sure I’ll get around to the next Evan Yeti story eventually. I miss the little guy. I also have another comic idea that is much smaller I might pursue first. Currently though I am developing three mobile games and promoting my game Save Baby James!
You can check out the Save Baby James Video Game Here:
So there you have it True Believers, another amazing 20 questions interview and a look behind the scenes at the artists and creators that make it all happen. Be sure to come back next time for another behind the scenes look at how all your favorite comics are made. Until Next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.