20 Questions with Comic Creators: Mat Washburn of Evan Yeti

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     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:  

http://www.matwashburn.com/

     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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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!

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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:

https://www.savebabyjames.com/?fbclid=IwAR2brs6yFqKkP-GoiTcepUu_8HJ5b48SdrC5BO8f4YEdHkcZEXLEk-UQKao

 

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.  

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20 Questions with Comic Creators: Bill Abbott of Spectickles

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     Welcome back once again True Believers, we are here once again broadcasting live from the vast Root Beer Party Estates in an undisclosed location in an undiscovered region of an unknown land.  Today we have with us our good friend Bill Abbott of Spectickles comics which you can find here:  

http://www.abbottcartoons.com/product-category/cartoons/

     Spectickles reminds me of classic comics like The Lockhorns or Andy Capp, but with the fantastical elements of The Far Side.  We follow a couple marked by their signature Spectickles at various times and places throughout history or even fantasy worlds.  It is sort of a parable of sorts that throughout all of history and even art lies the same underlying fundamental relationship between two people.  No matter what form creativity may take us, we are still social creatures trying to figure out how to live with one another.  

     Bill brings us a great tribute to that ultimate relationship we call marriage, and we follow it throughout the infinite characters and timelines of history to understand that the true root of making a relationship work is at it’s very heart, humor.  In a single panel, Bill reminds us of that fundamental truth.  So let’s sit down and get to know the man of the hour:  Bill Abbott

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1. What got you started in doing a comic series?
My cartoon Spectickles evolved over time – it wasn’t so much started with a specific intent such as making it a series, as it was drawing the goofy ideas that wander around in my head like it was Grand Central Station on dollar beer night.

2. Who was your greatest influence?
There were quite a few, really, and not all necessarily cartoonists. Jim Unger, Charles Schulz, and Mike Peters from the comics pages, and Mort Gerberg, Mischa Richter, Charles Saxon, and Robert Weber from the New Yorker. Just stunningly brilliant. I find the writings of H.L. Mencken and Mark Twain really inspiring and very, very funny – if you haven’t read, “Innocents Abroad”, you’ve missed out on something extraordinarily humorous.

3. What is your favorite root beer, and why?
It would have to be A&W – a family favorite from when I was a kid – root beer floats in the Adirondacks.

4. What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
There’s nothing more rewarding to me as a cartoonist than to see someone chuckle or laugh at my work, then feel compelled to share it with someone else. That’s an amazing feeling that’ll never grow old. In the professional sense, I’m blown away I’ve gotten as far as I have, to be honest.

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5. Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I’ve always wanted to do more illustration work. I never grow tired of flipping through books filled with the art of Arthur Rackham, Charles Dana Gibson and others from the Golden Age of illustration. It may be somewhat anachronistic now and have very few market outlets, but that’s the type of work I’d really love to spend time developing and practicing. I’ve played guitar for many years and have been teaching myself some classical, although the quality of my playing is enough to scare children and small dogs.

6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I don’t really think of it that way – it’s just something I love doing. Although when deadlines loom large, I tend to love it a bit less.

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7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
It’s a matter of personal taste and viewpoint, but for me, I give everything the Grandmother Test. My grandmother was a wonderful woman with a great sense of humor. She had a specific set of values that were imbued in our family and guided our behavior and conduct. If I wouldn’t show the cartoon to my grandmother, it doesn’t get drawn. I know that’s not for everyone, but it is for me, and the people who follow my work.
8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
Until very recently, I drew on Strathmore Bristol board with an old Rotring mechanical pencil that’s heavy enough to be used for a Medieval bludgeoning device of mortal destruction, and an even older Pelikan fountain pen with an M250 medium nib – really a pleasure to draw with. But due to the demands of producing 2 daily cartoons for syndication, I’ve switched to all digital to speed up the process. I have the Surface Pro 5 which is really great, and use the Clip Studio Paint Pro drawing program. I’m far from having perfected drawing digitally, but I’m slowly figuring it out.

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9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
If you take a pen, a blank sheet of paper, close your eyes and let the pen wander aimlessly over the page for about an hour, you would have a reasonable facsimile of the path I followed to becoming a cartoonist. I actually spent all of my adult life in the military – 24 years total deploying frequently, which is a pretty tough way to launch a career in the comics. But I’m fortunate that the stars aligned and this is ultimately where I’ve ended up – pursuing something I’ve had a lifelong passion for – cartooning.
10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
That’s a tough one – there’s so many events that I didn’t see coming which have made this experience pretty amazing. The first time I received a call from a greeting card company to license some of my cartoons was a big one. Getting syndicated was definitely huge. The group that have assembled to spend time on my Facebook page is a big-time highlight – really an extraordinary group of very kind, and very funny people – some of their comments are funnier than my cartoons they’re commenting on!

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11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
I would have to say it was the first time I received a rejection slip for my work. When you’re first getting started it’s sometimes hard to see that it’s not a rejection of you personally, and maybe not even your work if it’s a case of bad timing – it’s just a necessary part of professional cartooning. But it’s tough the first time one shows up in your inbox.
12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
There are a couple – there’s a Spectickles cartoon collection that was published by Willow Creek Press, which is available on Amazon, and a Percenters collection with my earlier work, also available through Amazon.

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(you can find it on amazon Here:

https://smile.amazon.com/Spectickles-Bill-Abbott/dp/1623435455/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539197181&sr=8-1&keywords=Spectickles+by+Bill+Abbott
13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Tons. I really enjoyed listening to the Webcomics Weekly podcasts put out by Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, Dave Kellett, and Brad Guigar, which is how I was introduced to their work. I don’t follow any now with regularity, but I’m blown away by the talent that’s out there and the creative way they’ve broken away from the traditional comics model.
14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Enormous. I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and talk with my heroes – people whose work I have great admiration for, and never once did they seek a restraining order or try to pepper spray me in the face. So far. It’s been the perfect creative outlet for me, a form of art therapy, and I’ve been fortunate that it’s been financially rewarding as well.

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15: Do you have any advice for the trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
Yes. Life is waiting for you outside your Mom’s basement. Put on some pants, put down the game controller, ascend those creaky old stairs and experience life for yourself rather than acting as a virtual peeping tom in the lives of others. It’s creepy. Just stop it.
16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
Because I have to produce two daily gag panels for syndicates, I can’t really afford to miss deadlines. I find that if I get my writing done early in the day and the drawing/coloring and other stuff after that, I can stay on top of the work.
17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
In the words of H.L. Mencken, I’m ombibulous. I enjoy wine, so I drink Cabernet. I also like cigars with which a good single malt scotch or good Cognac fits the bill, and much to the chagrin of my wife, I drink too much Diet Coke because I just love the stuff.

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18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
I believe I am, but I wouldn’t blame you if you changed the locks on the place when I wasn’t looking.
19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Not settling on putting out mediocre work just to meet a deadline rather than give the best I’ve got. When you’re facing a deadline, it can be tough, but I never want to allow myself to cross that line.
20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
Cartooning-wise, I’d love to get one – even just one, into the pages of The New Yorker. That’s been a life-long goal which has eluded me thus far. Outside of cartooning, I want to buy a boat just big enough to live on for short periods of time and make it my floating studio as I navigate the Great Lakes, canals and rivers in the northeast. Oh yeah – and rule the world. With my wife’s permission, of course.

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     So there you have it True Believers, another look behind the curtain into the making of all your favorite comics.  We’d like to thank Bill Abbott for coming all the way out here to the vast Root Beer Party Estates, but he has spent much of his life deployed to distant lands, so he knows the role and perils of life as a cartoonist well.  So let’s have a look at more of Bill’s work:  

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     Be sure to join us again True Believers as we meet more of your heroes of The Root Beer Party and as always, until next time, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  

20 Questions with Comic Creators: Dan Thompson of Rip Haywire, Harley, Brevity, Lost Sheep & Kidspot

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     We are back once again True Believers, broadcasting live from the exclusive Root Beer Party Estates, in an undisclosed location in a long lost region of an undiscovered country.  Today we have with us the busiest man in comics today:  Dan Thompson who makes all the comics in the newspapers.  He does the adventure epic Rip Haywire, a lighthearted parody of the classic adventure comics of the 1930’s.  this comic has two continuities, a weekly story Monday through Saturday and then a separate Sunday continuity.  he is also doing a Young Rip Haywire series as well.  You can read Rip Haywire daily Here;     https://www.gocomics.com/riphaywire

     Dan also does another comic strip called Harley, about a fun loving motorcycle rider who lives the grand life of danger and fun.  You can check out his crazy shenanigans here:     https://www.gocomics.com/harley

     What must already be a monumental work load for any comic creator is only the beginning for Dan who has also taken over the comic strip Brevity, a wonderful gag a day strip which you can check out here:    https://www.gocomics.com/brevity

     And finally, we have Dan’s work on KidSpot, a children’s activity page with puzzles, humor and just a little cognitive development thrown in for good measure.  You can check out this page here:      https://www.gocomics.com/kidspot

     Did I say finally?  What I meant to say was Dan also does the comic strip Lost Sheep about a plucky sheep who wants more out of life then just following the flock.  You can read that comic Here:    https://www.gocomics.com/lostsheep/2018/10/05

     Did I say we were done yet?  No, Dan also does comics for the Tulsa Pets Magazine, which bring a much needed boost of levity to a magazine focusing on the care and management of all of our animal friends.  You can read his Pet comics here:    http://www.tulsapetsmagazine.com/?s=dan+Thompson

     Despite all of this work he has somehow found the time to travel to the other side of the world to meet with us at our top secret and vast Root Beer Party Estates to answer all the questions from you our True Believers.  So let’s get to know the hardest working man in comics:  Dan Thompson.  

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Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I had tried to get a comic syndicated for a few years with no luck and when Gocomics started Comics Sherpa, I added a strip called “Lost Sheep” to see if I had what it takes to do it longer than just 24 strips I’d submitted to a syndicate.

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Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
I’d say Hanna Barbara Saturday morning cartoons … It seems like their character designs are etched into my brain and everything that I draw comes pretty close to that, and I like cartoons and artists that create in similar styles.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I would say “Hires” root beer … It was my go to root beer growing up … and I liked the logo
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I’d like to have a unique voice in the field that people enjoy reading, something sustainable and popular.

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Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
not at all.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
Both. If you don’t do it for yourself, what’s the point?
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
Things you’d never do or say in front of your mom, but I guess that depend on the kind of mom you have.

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Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
Bristol board, a pencil and markers, but I work on a Cintiq now and I use Clip studio paint (manga studio) for mostly everything, and photo shop for coloring Sunday strips.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I taught myself cartooning, read everything I could get my hands on, Cartoonist Profiles, Hogan’s alley have great interviews with some of the greatest cartoonists to ever work in comics, and just studying the reprint books. hitting every used book store across the country looking for reprints from the popular to the forgotten newspaper comics
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
Being able to work in the field I love, getting the opportunities and the breaks to keep drawing and writing comics.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
These 20 questions.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
I have reprint books available for Rip Haywire and Harley on Amazon.

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You can find Dan’s Author page on Amazon Here:    https://smile.amazon.com/Dan-Thompson/e/B005BLQO58/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1538772888&sr=8-2
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
I like Pat Sandy, Amanda El-Dweek, Stephen Beals … I like a lot of web only cartoonists, but I read them daily on gocomics.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
It’s a great creative field, but I could see myself as a plumber.

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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.)
Trolls are gonna troll … I wish they thought of the sacrifice, time and effort it takes for cartoonists to actually bring them something they can dump on … As a cartoonist, you have to let it go.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
Waiting until the last minute usually works for me … that and coffee.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I drink coffee a lot … We try to stay away from soda with high fructose corn syrup in it, but every once in a while, they’ll sell the big brands with sugar … I love Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper … Dr. Pepper is extra special for those great Johnny Hart ads Hart worked on for them with the caveman “Harmon” … so great.

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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?
yes
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Writing a gag that people will love … that should be the biggest challenge for everyone. Art is only 1/2 of cartooning

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Question 20: What are your future plans involving comics or anything else going on in your life?
As of today, nothing to report just working on the usual … Brevity, Harley, Rip Haywire and Kidspot

 

   So there you have it True Believers, Dan Thompson, the hardest working man in comics.  As he downs another well deserved frosty mug of the elixir of life that is root beer, let’s check out some of his comics from the Tulsa Pets Magazine here:

 

     So thanks for spending all your free time here with us Dan, and a special thanks to all the billions of True Believers out there who keep all of our comics alive.  Until next time true Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  

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20 Questions with Comic Creators: John Rose of Barney Google & Snuffy Smith

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     Welcome back once again True Believers for another one of our world renowned segments:  20 Questions with Comic Creators!   We are here live from the Root Beer Party Studios in an undisclosed location in a far off land in an undiscovered country.  We are here to talk with one of our legacy comic creators and Root Beer Party Member John Rose of Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.  You can check out his comic here:     http://snuffysmithcomics.com/      

     Barney Google made his comic debut back in 1919 where the cigar-smoking, sports-loving, poker-playing, girl-chasing ne’er-do-well Barney Google was born.  Barney was the focus of the strip until 1934 when Snuffy Smith was introduced and soon eclipsed Barney as the star of the series.  Our good friend John Rose took over the comic in 2001 and has made the bodacious comic his own ever since. 

Snuffy Smith has had a huge impact on American comic culture including Barney Googles famous horse Spark Plug which gave a certain uncle of Peanuts Creator Charles Schultz the idea to nickname the soon to be comic genius “Sparky.”  Snuffy Smith has appeared in a series of his own movies

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and even had a postage stamp dedicated to Barney Google in 1995.

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Recently Snuffy Smith was even chosen for some public service announcements to prevent forest fires.  Look out Smokey the Bear.

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So lets meet the man who will be at the helm when Barney Google and Snuffy Smith turns 100 years old next year.  John Rose.

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

I have always wanted to be a cartoonist and I was blessed to be hired by the legendary Fred Lasswell as his inking assistant in 1998. That began my work on the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

As far as this particular comic strip goes, definitely Fred Lasswell and Billy DeBeck. But other cartooning influences for me throughout my career include Mike Peters, Mort Walker, Jeff MacNelly, Walt Disney and many more.

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

A & W root beer. Probably because we have a KFC/A&W Restaurant near our house so it’s the brand I have most often.

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

Make people smile each day and think back to a simpler time.

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

I admire and enjoy viewing many other types of art, but comic art is the only art I personally create.

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

I consider myself a professional cartoonist and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be one.

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

In the comic strip, I only comment on politics or government in a very general sense. I do not ever get politically specific in any way.

Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I am mostly traditional. I use small point brushes, india ink and the pigma micron pens (with archival ink) in a variety of sizes. I ink the comic strip on Bristol Board. But then I scan the comic strip into Photoshop when I am done inking and clean it up and size it. Then I email it to King Features Syndicate for distribution. Oh, and I use lots of white-out during the inking process! (:

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Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA with a double-major in Art and Art History in 1986. But I worked on the school newspaper, The Breeze, as a cartoonist for the entire four years that I was a student. I feel that I got a great deal of my cartooning education there, as well.

Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
For me this is a two-part answer. The highlights were being chosen by Fred Lasswell to work with him as his inking assistant in 1998 and then being chosen by King Features to be the cartoonist for the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip in 2001. It is the greatest honor of my professional career to be entrusted to carry on the legacy of this wonderful comic strip.

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

Can’t really think of one because if you keep working hard and don’t give up, eventually the low points turn into high points.

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

Yes, I have three Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip book collections. They can all be found by searching “Snuffy Smith” on Amazon.com. I also had an original 10-page Snuffy Smith comic book story published in Charlton Spotlight #9.

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You can find the books here:    https://www.amazon.com/Bodacious-Best-Snuffy-Smith-Collection/dp/1300283300   

 

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

Yes! Bob Scott who creates the Bear With Me comic strip for the web. I love his style. He is such an amazing artist and I really enjoy his sense of humor.

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

Cartooning has always had a big impact on my life. First as a fan and then as a professional cartoonist (and also still a fan!). I have always wanted to be a cartoonist, so I am very fortunate to get to do it every day. I could never see myself not doing it.

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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.)

As a creator, don’t let it get to you. If you are making yourself laugh, you are making others laugh, too. Create what you find funny and others will find it funny, too. Plus, you’ll have lots of fun creating it!

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

I have a daily deadline so that forces me to be motivated. Getting out of the studio for a walk or a change of scenery can help.

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

A half Diet Coke-half Coke mix.

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Are you sure it isn’t ‘Shine?  – Editor  

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

Yes, I am! (:

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

Daily deadlines are the most challenging part, but I truly really enjoy the whole process.

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

I hope to continue drawing the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip for many, many years to come. All my friends at King Features are wonderful to work with! I am bodaciously blessed to get to create this comic strip each day and I am very thankful for each and everyone of our readers! In 2019, the comic strip celebrates its 100th anniversary and I think we will have some fun things in store for our readers!

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So there you have it True Believers, another great interview segment with the creators and Root Beer Party Members who make all your favorite comics.  Just another peak behind the curtain of America’s favorite hillbillies.  So let’s go out and read some great “Bodacious” comics from the comic that invented the term, and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  

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.

Banana etiquette

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.