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Interview – chewingpencils.com

This interview was conducted in 2007 as a way to generate more interest in my work and my website.The interview was with Matt Glover, a decent bloke who lets me post articles on his website, www.chewingpencils.com from time to time.

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How long have you been drawing cartoons?

I always remember drawing in some form or another and distinctly remember drawing ‘He-Man’ cartoons at 9 yrs old in school once I had finished all my class work. I also remember spending a lot of my time at high-school drawing in class also (when I should have been doing other work, there seems to be a bit of a theme here). I had the opportunity to go to art school afterwards but was too lazy to put any effort into preparing a portfolio and thought talent would get me selected. I stopped drawing for a while then in 2000 when I moved to Sydney I got an idea for a cartoon and decided to have a crack. I didn’t begin to draw regularly until a friend of mine (who was also lacking motivation) dared me to draw a cartoon a week with her. I have pretty much kept some regularity since then and she has since gone!

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If you have one, what’s your day job? What does it involve?

I’m a training manager. At present it’s my job to train the business in which I work on how to use a records management piece of software that is being implemented throughout the organisation. At every possible moment, I try to implement some form of creativity into what I do.

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What made you start to think more seriously about making some money out of drawing cartoons?

I think it was round the time when I started to develop a backlog of cartoons and wondered why I would continue doing so if I wasn’t going to do anything with them.

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Have you done any formal training? If so, what and where?

I completed art subjects in High school and have done the occasional (very) short course but no formal training other than those.

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Where was your first cartoon published?

I have self published monthly desk calendars for the last 3 years and have since had cartoons published in small publications such as the Operation Funnybone digest (created to raise money for Cancer research) and the Australian Chess Magazine. There have also been a number of ‘one-offs’ and publications where I received no payment (such as my current employer’s intranet site) where I submit cartoons simply to get used to the discipline of a regular deadline.

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What materials do you use to create your work?

I wish I knew the name of the boards I use because they are fantastic and I can’t get them anymore! Normally I begin with a simple pacer which I use to draw the rough cartoon idea, then technical pens to ink the design and a soft kneadable eraser to remove the pencils once I’ve finished.

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What hardware and software do you use?

I use Photoshop to tidy up my cartoons once I have scanned them. I hear of people using tablets and the like but there is something to be said about the feeling of graphite on paper. I’m not so sure I’ll ever switch to a tablet because I also like the idea of having something physical once I’m finished however its never too late to be persuaded.

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From where so you draw your inspiration?

Life! Interacting with people, reading the newspaper, I have a twisted sense of humour. Someone will say something to me(which will be completely innocent) yet I’ll immediately see some sort of cartoon in it and need to scribble a rough done straight away.

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What are some of the resources you’ve found most helpful?

I often read a wide variety of books to get a ‘feel’ as to what everyone else is doing. A book I have bought recently which I think has added some value to me is ‘Cartoon Workshop’ by Joel Mishon and Ed Beardwell (co-founders of the cartoonstock.com website). It is the first book I have found which deals with creating humour. I often read and re read it to try and stimulate ideas for future cartoons if I’m in the drawing mood.

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What is the best piece of advice you have EVER been given? The worst?

I think you need to think of cartooning as a business if you plan to make money from it, therefore I believe it’s important to get some skills in business – learn about trademarking and protecting your ideas, work out ways to get a return on your investment (and you will have invested a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears into your work). It can be like pulling teeth and it may be a bit strange to think about cartooning in that regard.

The worst? ‘Why are you wasting your time drawing cartoons? There’s no money in it is there?’ I may sound like I’m contradicting myself, but sometimes it isn’t about the money! I love the medium and feel fortunate that I have some level of ability to work in it.

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Take us through the process you use to create one of your drawings:

Once I get an idea, i’ll work and rework it to see if I have what I’ve considered the ‘funniest’ version, then I’ll draw a draft and add in backgrounds. This generally takes me about 40 minutes. Because I’m uncomfortable with my inking ‘prowess’ it may take me another day or two to actually ink the cartoon as I’m afraid the cartoon won’t be ‘perfect’ because my inking ability isn’t that great. If I sit down and draw from beginning to end, generally about an hour.

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What do you find the hardest to draw?

Female Characters! lol I can’t remember the number of pages I’ve had to throw away because the reworks have gotten so bad they have ruined the page. I’ve only recently noticed a distinct lack of female characters in my work. I definitely need to work on them more.

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What do your friends and family think of you being a cartoonist?

I’m not so sure! Work colleagues are always hounding me for the next cartoon or if I miss a deadline so I’d like to think that is a compliment!

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What do you think is the best part about being a cartoonist?

I like the idea of using something I enjoy doing (drawing) to make people laugh. It’s quick, I always have lots of ‘one off’ ideas and I can move onto the next idea quickly.

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What has been the standout post on Chewing Pencils for you? Why?

I found the website both interesting and helpful as a whole. It’s nice to hear that other people go through similar triumphs and tribulations as an artist that I do and I believe it’s a great resource for others in the industry.

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Anything else you’d like to say….

Persistence and practice and routine is, I believe by far the best attributes to have and to hone as a cartoonist (all attributes I struggle with on a regular basis). The more we practice, the more we persist and the more regularly we do it the better and more fruitful we will become. Start small and work upwards!

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