We are back here once again True Believers, at the top secret headquarters of the Root Beer Party, nestled away in an undisclosed location in a far away land in a secret region of an undiscovered land. We look out from the veranda over the fields of vanilla beans at the vast, flowing, Root Beer Party Estates. The dedicated Root Beer Monks are preparing for the harvest, so we can make this years vintage of the elixir of life that is root beer.
Today we have flown out, at no small expense, Sean Boley of The Brothers Bob comic strip which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/thebrothersbob/
A long time dedicated Root beer Party member, Sean has finally found time in the jet setting lifestyle of a cartoonist to sit down with us for an exclusive interview. So lets get to it.
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
It all started many years ago as a one-time random gag cartoon that I had drawn, about two worms opening a can of beer. I liked that one so much that I drew another one, of two worms debating over who’s pulling whose finger. I didn’t think much of it after that, until right when Former President Obama got into office, and I then wondered if I could do an actual series of these worm ‘toons….and strangely enough I did! After having successfully completed my “test run”, that’s when I decided in 2013 to start up the series again, and am still at it.
So technically, “The Brothers Bob” was born long before the worms or myself even realized it.
Question 2: Who was/were your greatest influence(s)?
There’s quite the handful here that has inspired me in some shape or form, ranging from the likes of Jim Davis and Charles Schulz to Berke Breathed and Bill Watterson. I hold Gary Larson responsible for making me realize that animals can talk just as well as humans can. The sarcastic, smartass humor, though, comes from my family, which I tweaked to make it a brand of humor all my own….bad puns included.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
My favorite root beer is A&W. Mug is o.k. and so is Barq’s, but I thought A&W just always tasted better.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
To enlighten and entertain the masses. I mean, sure it would be nice to gain some fortune and fame for my comic, but that’s not what motivates me to keep drawing. Everyone and everything around me serves as inspiration for my cartoons, so if I can at least bring laughter in a world that’s too damn serious anymore these days, then I’m doing a good job.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I like doing logo designs, which I seemed to have become a natural at. I also enjoy drawing caricatures, which I’ve turned that into what I call “cartoonitures” per se — once you see one of those masterpieces, you’ll see what I mean.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
Well, to me “professional cartoonist” means you’re getting paid for your craft, you’re syndicated in newspapers, you’ve joined the NCS, etc. But in my head, I’ve been a pro at it since birth, as this is something I’ve been doing for decades. I refuse to believe this is just for me, for S’s and G’s.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
Nothing and no one is safe from my pen and ink, but I try to steer clear of stuff like religion, politics, and things of that nature. Not that there’s anything wrong with drawing cartoons about said subjects, but it would have to be something really funny to me in order for me to even consider it. People have gotten too sensitive in this day and age…my purpose is to entertain, not to offend. The way I see it, you believe in what you choose to believe in, and you vote for whoever you wish to vote for.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I’m very old school with my approach. I use a regular ball point pen to sketch my idea, and then I use a Sanford Expresso medium point pen to do the actual inking…I’ll go over my lines a second time for a much bolder look. If there’s any coloring to be done, that’s when I bring out my Sharpies.
Question 9: What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
It was all self-taught discipline at a very young age. I was enamored with the idea of there being cartoons/comics in the ‘funny pages’ of our newspaper — I wanted to be that person. I wanted to be “a famous drawer”, as I called it when I was kindergarten. And as I got older, I practiced religiously of learning how to draw Garfield, Snoopy, and the like, before later discovering my own brand of humor and drawing my own characters.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
It’s more of a personal highlight, if nothing else, and that would be me creating my own characters that have come across uncharted territory. I wanted to create something that nobody has done yet, and begin carving my own little niche in the process. If that isn’t highlight reel material, then I don’t know what is!
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
Not being able to draw as much or as often as I used to.
Question 12: Are there any collections of your work available beyond the web? And if so, where?
Well, technically yeah. My collection of “The Brothers Bob” cartoons is ever-growing, as I crank out each cartoon when the opportunity strikes. A while back, I did a very limited trial run of an unofficial self-published book titled, “A Buck Late & A Day Short”, just to see what some friends thought. Since then, I decided to not try the book thing again, until my comic and myself are a bit more known. Like, I don’t want to produce a bunch of books, and people are like, “Who the hell is this guy? Never heard of him…” Sounds silly, I know, but it’s a personal thing for me.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Oh wow, the list is long here! I’m just going to drop some names, but in all reality, there are so many of my fellow comic artists that I truly admire. So please understand that if you don’t see your name mentioned here, it’s nothing personal and doesn’t mean I think of ya any less. So…who does come to mind? Let’s see, there’s folks like Bill Abbott, Phil Juliano, Brad Perri, Mike Wilke, Bret Juliano, Steve Ogden, Tim Winstead, R.F. Tame, Amanda R. El-Dweek, Kim Belding, James Boyd, Nick Seluk, Laura Yang, Alan Archer, Saad A, Fox Layng, Jon Esparza, Chris Grabowski, and many, MANY others!
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Cartooning is what I eat, sleep, and breathe. It’s what keeps my mental gears turning at any given moment, processing what I should draw next. Could I ever see myself not doing it though? Absolutely not! It’s a talent that I’ve been blessed with, and I don’t want that to go to waste. Cartooning is my way of sharing my twisted mind with the universe.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean…)
Get a fucking job (or life). Seriously. If you used that energy for something constructive, instead of giving us shit for something that we put our souls and endless hours into, just imagine what your own life — and attitude — could be like. But, alas, haters are gonna hate, potaters are gonna potate…
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I’ve tried that, but when you have a full-time job and a household to help run & maintain, you just do the best you can. Just make sure to remind yourself of that, before your brain has you thinking otherwise.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I have many favorites, and Pepsi is like numero uno to me. I also like milk, orange juice, hot chocolate, and a whole slew of alcoholic beverages.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
Of course I am! Next question, por favor.
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Time and life in general. Between work and home, I’m almost always “on the clock”. Because of that, my drawing time is very limited at best. But now that I’ve created space for myself, a place for me to escape to as needed, I hope to be cartooning more frequently again.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
Right now it’s just onward & upward for me. I recently got a new job that pays me decently, am about to be a grandpa again, and I’m getting my home office organized. I’m going to try to develop more of a balance that’ll give me more free time, which in turn will hopefully get me to drawing more. And my endgame of course is to make “The Brothers Bob” a regular feature.
So there you have it True Believers, another peek behind the curtain of the artists who make all the comics that you enjoy everyday. Sean must be off again, back to the hectic life of a modern day cartoonist. He has temporary clearance to fly out of our personal airport through the restricted airspace since he is a long serving member of The Root Beer Party in good standing.
We hope you enjoy our little interviews and I hope they encourage you to check out some great new comics and the amazing artists behind them. So until next time True Believers, as always, May you mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.