I've been called it before. I prefer to be known as an illustrator, but I started out as one of them, so I understand where the name comes from. I'm talking about being a cartoonist. When I began drawing, cartoons were a great way to express my ideas. I drew strips and dreamed about doing an independent comic book series. There are so many amazing cartoonists out there that influenced my art. My work in the college newspaper led to paying gigs and I realized that there might be a way to make a living from this.
Drawing cartoons is a great way to add a narrative to the pictures. Setting up a panel teaches composition and layout skills. You have to be fast and adaptable. Over time, I realized I didn't have the patience to stick with a given set of characters and a given style over time. I wanted to have the freedom to explore new ideas, techniques and directions. The thrill of deadlines and the constant input of ideas from editiorial illustration assignments drew me into becoming a full-time illustrator.
That's not to say I don't do cartoons, I haven't left them behind, I have a lot of fun cartooning. I host The Monthly Prince Edward County Comix Jam (last Wednesday of the month at the Acoustic Grill) and work on books and assignments in cartoon style.
I have worked with Doogie Horner at Running Press and with Josh McDonnell on epic volumes like Sci-Fi Baby Names and First Timer's Kit: The Safe, Effective Way to Loose your Virginity. My latest project for Running Press is The Fart Dictionary. Written by Scott Sorenson, it's an A to Z compendium of fart definitions. A fart for every occasion, if you will.
When you get an assignment like this, the first question is: How do you draw a fart? There is plenty of cartooning shorthand for facial expressions and emotions, and movement and profanity, but a fart? I started sketching - scribbles, clouds, but wanted to keep things classy. A flourish, a sophisticated calligraphic swirl, would do the trick.
I was also limited to two colours on this project. It's the kind of thing that sounds like a restriction, but working in a limited palette requires better design and smarter use of what is available. I choose an acid orange and black combination. Josh agreed.
The Fart Dictionary - available at fine bookstores everywhere.