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Interview – Operation Funnybone

26 March, 2008

This interview was conducted in 2006 for the Operation Funnybone book collection that I was fortunate enough to have my work included in. Operation Funnybone is an independent charity supporting the Australian Comic Art Community and The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  Further information can be located here.

When did you first start drawing cartoons and what inspired you to start?

I have always had an interest in illustration and remember drawing ‘He-Man’ comics as early as Year 4! I scribbled my way through high school and illustrated for fun throughout my working career but didn’t start drawing gag cartoons until 2000. I had an idea for a cartoon which I thought was funny so I had a go at drawing it. I didn’t being to draw cartoons regularly until an illustrator friend and I ‘dared’ each other to create one on a regular basis: I continued and she’s yet to fulfill her end!

What do you enjoy about drawing comics?

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.

How would you describe your style?

Simplistic, clean, a ‘work in progress’.

What subject matter do you generally deal with?

I like dealing with ‘plays on words’ or take sayings or things people are used to experiencing and flip them on their heads.

How would/do others describe it?

I’ve never asked!

How much time do you spend creating your work?

I’m always thinking about new ideas and it takes about 10 mins to come up with a rough drawing, then, depending on how ‘devoted’ I am, it may take a number of weeks before I work on the final draft (I have an issue with drawing the final picture and need to become more disciplined!). On the whole, about 10 mins to draw the ‘rough’, about 15 mins to draw the final copy and 10 mins to ink. I then scan the finished product and use a computer tool to ‘tidy up’ the scan before releasing it.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

I am examining my own material for another calendar for 2006 and attempting to build and publish my own website

Where does your inspiration come from and what are your influences?

It doesn’t come from anywhere in particular, however, a lot of my ideas come from simply interacting with people and something that is often said will spark an idea in my head and go from there. If I feel like drawing comics but have no ideas, I’ll reread a few Gary Larson anthologies I have and sometimes ideas are generated from there.

What are the hardest things about drawing comics?

Definitely the discipline of meeting the deadline. I have no problems with coming up with ideas, actually drawing and inking the cartoon, it’s the discipline of doing it on a regular basis that I struggle with sometimes.

What are the best things about drawing comics? Are you creative in any other areas?

Almost everything I do outside of work has creative output.

Do you have a favourite comic book or comic artist?

Many! In terms of the same genre, I like Larson’s sense of humour and the simplicity of his cartoons (not necessarily his style however), and Mark Parisi, an American cartoonist as my work and sense of humour is very similar to his. Outside of single gag strips, I love the work of Legendary Phantom artist Ray Moore and Batman artists Norm Breyfogle and the late Jim Aparo. All did stunning work.

How would you describe the way comic art is perceived in Australia compared to overseas?

Definitely not with the same level of seriousness, however, recently a number of Australian artists have cracked the overseas market which should (hopefully) lift the profile of Australian artists (that is, if America is considered the market to ‘crack’).

What visions do you have for the future of comic art in Australia?

I hope that it will be on the same level here as it is overseas. Australia has some of the most creative people in the world and anything to lift the profile would do wonders for the rest of the artistic community.

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