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benignkingdom:

Part four of the Becky & Phil talk. Also did you know BOOM! Studios just announced they’ll be publishing Becky and Frank’s series Capture Creatures? I think that is pretty cool personally.
Becky: Having Jen as an agent has been so great! It’s just so nice knowing that someone is looking at contracts for you and making sure that companies aren’t giving you a bad deal. And like you had said before we don’t have to include her in everything that we do, which is great if you are just doing little illustration jobs. And it’s great to have someone to shield you, which has mostly been Frank’s job and it’s nice that he doesn’t have to worry about that stuff as much. Collaborating with Frank, it varies from project to project. Like with the back up stories that we do for BOOM! Frank comes up with the idea and writes the whole thing and then I draw it. With our own comics like Tiny Kitten Teeth we came up with the concept and characters together but he still writes all of the stories and comes up with the scenarios. For  Tigerbuttah one panels and Capture Creatures I’d come up with the illustrations and then get Frank to write something about the creatures or a caption for Tigerbuttah. Before I met Frank I had made some comics in college and in high school. I made a few by myself, but mostly I’d get a friend to write a script. I’ve just never been confident in my writing. I don’t think I’d ever make a comic by myself in the future, I like working with Frank on things. Here’s my question: I know that we’ve discussed how important it has been to our careers to post things online. Has seeing art online influenced your own art? Do you think your art would have been different if you did not have the internet to discover new and old artists? Phil: I do love digging for cool art online. I mostly hunt for really old stuff, stuff that I wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise, or seeking stuff I haven’t seen from old cartoonists that I already love. I think what I do has definitely been influenced by finding illustrations and cartoons from decades ago. A lot of people say my work reminds them of Ronald Searle's drawings. Searle is one of my favorite illustrators, but I only saw his stuff for the first time when I was 21 or 22. One of my professors in college was looking at my work and told me I should look up Searle's work because what I was doing was similar in a lot of ways. I looked him up and was immediately like “holy moly, this is how I WISH I could draw!” And I consciously let that influence seep into my work for a few years. But after being exposed to Searle, I started spending hours on the internet, searching for more old stuff. The French cartoonist, Sempé, is another artist that I spend a lot of time looking at online. I think I first saw his work on the cover of a New Yorker magazine. It was so incredible, I spent hours pouring through his stuff online. André François is another artist that has had a big influence on me. I can’t remember how I first found his stuff, I think it might have just been while clicking around online. Flickr is really good for finding stuff by old cartoonists. There are a bunch of people on there that’ll scan art from old books and magazines and put huge galleries of that stuff up on flickr. I honestly go and look at all the stuff that I’ve favorited on flickr a couple times a week. Just a couple months ago while clicking around on flickr I stumbled on to a huge gallery of old illustrations by a Dutch illustrator named Jan Sanders. I’d never heard of him or seen his work before but it’s incredible work. I immediately scoured the internet for any books he may have had and could only find one used copy of one book, published in German. A used book store in San Francisco has it. I ordered it right away! I’ve been looking at his stuff a lot the last couple months, hoping to absorb some aspects of his work. So yeah, I think being able to seek out awesome stuff online has influenced my work!I don’t spend as much time digging for new stuff online. You get exposed to so much already, just clicking on things that friends and peers are posting on twitter or tumblr, seeing things that get re-blogged or re-tweeted. Seeing awesome new stuff is great too, but I don’t know that seeing new stuff influences what I do very much, or maybe I’m just less aware of when new stuff influences me. I guess being able to see comics and art online was huge for me when I was a teenager, but I think for me it was more about being a part of a community and showing off my art and making friends than it was about seeking out work and being influenced by it. The making friends and community part was really big though. I don’t think I’d be doing what I do today if I hadn’t connected with other aspiring cartoonists and illustrators in high school and in college. Some of my best friends on the planet are cartoonists that I first encountered online. And this is getting back to how important posting things online was and still is.I want to bounce the same question back to you: Has seeing art online influenced your own art? Do you think your art would have been different if you did not have the internet to discover new and old artists? But also: Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, and I think this connects a little to what we’re talking about here about stuff we see on the internet, is how our influences have shaped our work and if embracing or avoiding current trends has changed our work at all.When I look at The New York Times and The New Yorker, two huge clients for illustrators, I definitely see some stylistic trends amongst the illustrators they tend to hire. I see the same thing in comics. Every few years, there’ll be a wave of stuff that isn’t necessarily bad work, but that all looks very similar. Adventure Time is influencing a lot of young cartoonists right now. Kate Beaton's comics are influencing a lot of young cartoonists. I remember seeing a lot of stuff that had been really heavily influenced by James Kochalka or Craig Thompson when I was in college, my own comics at the time being no exception.I always immediately know your work when I see one pop up on my tumblr dashboard, partially because your work is so strong and so distinctive, but also because I don’t really know anyone else who is producing work quite like yours right now. I guess the question is… what or who are your biggest influences that you think show through in your work? Were there any artists or shows or comics that you were heavily influenced by when you were younger, influences that you’ve tried to shake or that are maybe less obvious? Have you ever tried to push your work in a certain direction stylistically, hoping that it would bring in specific clients or certain kinds of jobs?Becky: Similarly to your story about being introduced to an old artist in college. A friend of mine introduced me to Mary Blair's work which is still a very big influence of mine today. I've discovered so many new and old artists because of the internet. I used to spend a lot of time on Flickr looking at scans of old artists. I found Daphne Padden that way and also a ton of old illustrators who’s names I never found out or have forgotten. I made sure to print out my favorite ones. 
One of the best online resources for me and has really affected my work is Youtube. In college I spent a lot of time looking at soviet animation, some of my favorites are the Mole cartoon series and “A Kitten Named Woof.” And recently I got super into 80s children’s anime intros and I’ve started incorporating a lot of that into my style now. I love “Creamy Mami,” “Maple Town" and "Good Morning Spank." Aside from internet influences I love collecting books, especially ones from France and Japan. Some of my favorite illustrators from books that I have are Tony Wolf, Enrique Fernandez and Mizuki Shigeru. Also getting dollar dvds, most of it is trash and that’s a whole other story. But sometimes it’s old Russian, Japanese or American animation. I actually discovered Yasuji Mori from a dollar DVD, I think the art on the cover was totally generic looking and not drawn by him. I had no idea who he was and it wasn’t until later that I saw his work again online and found out about all of the other things that he had worked on. I also like a few non- cartoonists (weird) such as Herbert Haseltine. I first saw his work in an art museum in Virginia and got his book there called “Champion Animals”. He did sculptures of animals in the 1920s, and does really cool patterns and stylizations on them. I really like  Charles Freger's photography, he has a book on European festival monsters and European military uniforms. I really want to do some art that is different from my typical stuff. I don’t want to do it to try to get different kinds of work, more just to push myself. I really want to make a book of European monsters. I love drawing monsters, but almost never get a chance to. Do you ever want to make anything different from your current style? And do you have influences that aren’t cartoonists? 
Phil: Oh yeah, I have a lot of significant non-cartoonist influences. It’s so important to allow yourself to draw influence from things that aren’t comics and cartoons! Jim Henson is a big one for me. I’ve been looking at things he created my entire life. The tv shows and movies and characters he created played a huge part in shaping my brain. I think Jim Henson was probably the first “artist” I was ever truly aware of in a way where I saw the things he made and thought “I want to know who made this stuff and how he did it.” Certain film directors have influenced my work too. Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson, Hal Ashby, Terry Gilliam… I’m probably forgetting some big ones. Oh, and of course Monty Python was very important to me. The tone of the humor and the weird animations that Terry Gilliam made. And there’s an animated short that I saw on TV when I was a kid that had an enormous influence on me. It’s called The Big Snit. It’s one of the Canadian National Film Board shorts, an animator named Richard Condie made it. In the 90’s Cartoon Network had a show where they just aired amazing Canadian shorts. I saw The Big Snit on that show, but never knew what it was called or who made it until I was in my mid twenties when I somehow found it again on youtube. Peewee’s Playhouse was and still is really important to me too.I remember seeing some of Degas’ sculptures once when I was a kid, I can’t even remember where, I think it was on a school field trip somewhere. But those had a huge impact on me, there was something really raw about them that jumped out at me. They were originally sculpted with wax and then later cast in bronze, but they still looked really rough, you could see exactly how they were sculpted…. the lines from his tools and blobs of wax that had been slapped on. I loved that you could see so much of the process in the final product. That’s so much more interesting to me than all of the super perfect Greek figures sculpted in marble or whatever. I think seeing those sculptures as a kid influenced the way I think about art quite a bit.Ahh! I want to see you draw some monsters! Please do make a book of European monsters!I do want to create some art that’s unlike my usual stuff. I’d like to work on some projects where I can get even looser than usual and really go crazy with ink. I just finished drawing a book that goes with a record by my brother’s band, Perfect Pussy, where I didn’t pencil anything out, I just drew the entire thing directly in ink. I’d done that with a couple of mini comics in the past, but rarely with a project that someone else was paying me to draw. I want to do some more books like that and really try to push myself to have more fun with it. I used to go figure drawing all the time and I’d like to get back into the habit of doing that regularly. The results are always fun and a little different from my typical style, also because I always prefer to draw directly in ink when drawing a model from life. I really want to start doing stuff that goes beyond just drawing… I talked a little before about wanting to make a show or a movie with puppets or stop-motion animation. That’s something I think about a lot. And I might actually get to work on a little stop-motion project soon with a friend, but it’s sort of up in the air right now, so we’ll see. I hope it happens. And I’m planning to do a little project where I collaborate with some photographers on a series of really silly, slightly sexy animated GIFs, just for fun. I’ve sort of got the wheels in motion on that already. I’ve also been getting really into writing over the last few years and it’s something I hope to do a lot more of. A few of the projects I was working on when I lived in California forced me to become more comfortable with writing than I had previously been. It’s still not something that comes all that easy to me, but I enjoy it almost as much as drawing. I write a lot of really short stories, things that are just a page, or sometimes even just a paragraph long. I want to do more of those and then do one really small, simple illustration for each of them and maybe try to make a book out of that. And I have an idea for a children’s chapter book too, which would be mostly text, but with some spot illustrations sprinkled in, sort of like the books that Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake did together. I want to do some books like that. And I’m trying to write something right now, a comic, that I don’t plan on illustrating at all! I’m gonna try to convince someone else to illustrate it. I’ve never really written for someone else before. It’s not quite like any story I’ve written in the past, it’s more of an adventure mystery thing.I want to ask you about living in Los Angeles! And New Zealand! Has living in those places had any impact on your work, either creatively or in terms of work opportunities? We both know so many awesome, creative people in LA, and it seems like more people are moving there all the time now, mostly for animation jobs. Our friend mutual Zach Marcus keeps trying to convince me to move there. Do you think you’ll stay in LA forever? If you were to move somewhere else, where would you want to go?

benignkingdom:

Part four of the Becky & Phil talk. Also did you know BOOM! Studios just announced they’ll be publishing Becky and Frank’s series Capture Creatures? I think that is pretty cool personally.

Becky: Having Jen as an agent has been so great! It’s just so nice knowing that someone is looking at contracts for you and making sure that companies aren’t giving you a bad deal. And like you had said before we don’t have to include her in everything that we do, which is great if you are just doing little illustration jobs. And it’s great to have someone to shield you, which has mostly been Frank’s job and it’s nice that he doesn’t have to worry about that stuff as much. 

Collaborating with Frank, it varies from project to project. Like with the back up stories that we do for BOOM! Frank comes up with the idea and writes the whole thing and then I draw it. With our own comics like Tiny Kitten Teeth we came up with the concept and characters together but he still writes all of the stories and comes up with the scenarios. For Tigerbuttah one panels and Capture Creatures I’d come up with the illustrations and then get Frank to write something about the creatures or a caption for Tigerbuttah. 

Before I met Frank I had made some comics in college and in high school. I made a few by myself, but mostly I’d get a friend to write a script. I’ve just never been confident in my writing. I don’t think I’d ever make a comic by myself in the future, I like working with Frank on things. 

Here’s my question: I know that we’ve discussed how important it has been to our careers to post things online. Has seeing art online influenced your own art? Do you think your art would have been different if you did not have the internet to discover new and old artists? 

Phil: I do love digging for cool art online. I mostly hunt for really old stuff, stuff that I wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise, or seeking stuff I haven’t seen from old cartoonists that I already love. I think what I do has definitely been influenced by finding illustrations and cartoons from decades ago. A lot of people say my work reminds them of Ronald Searle's drawings. Searle is one of my favorite illustrators, but I only saw his stuff for the first time when I was 21 or 22. One of my professors in college was looking at my work and told me I should look up Searle's work because what I was doing was similar in a lot of ways. I looked him up and was immediately like “holy moly, this is how I WISH I could draw!” And I consciously let that influence seep into my work for a few years. But after being exposed to Searle, I started spending hours on the internet, searching for more old stuff. The French cartoonist, Sempé, is another artist that I spend a lot of time looking at online. I think I first saw his work on the cover of a New Yorker magazine. It was so incredible, I spent hours pouring through his stuff online. André François is another artist that has had a big influence on me. I can’t remember how I first found his stuff, I think it might have just been while clicking around online. Flickr is really good for finding stuff by old cartoonists. There are a bunch of people on there that’ll scan art from old books and magazines and put huge galleries of that stuff up on flickr. I honestly go and look at all the stuff that I’ve favorited on flickr a couple times a week. Just a couple months ago while clicking around on flickr I stumbled on to a huge gallery of old illustrations by a Dutch illustrator named Jan Sanders. I’d never heard of him or seen his work before but it’s incredible work. I immediately scoured the internet for any books he may have had and could only find one used copy of one book, published in German. A used book store in San Francisco has it. I ordered it right away! I’ve been looking at his stuff a lot the last couple months, hoping to absorb some aspects of his work. So yeah, I think being able to seek out awesome stuff online has influenced my work!

I don’t spend as much time digging for new stuff online. You get exposed to so much already, just clicking on things that friends and peers are posting on twitter or tumblr, seeing things that get re-blogged or re-tweeted. Seeing awesome new stuff is great too, but I don’t know that seeing new stuff influences what I do very much, or maybe I’m just less aware of when new stuff influences me. I guess being able to see comics and art online was huge for me when I was a teenager, but I think for me it was more about being a part of a community and showing off my art and making friends than it was about seeking out work and being influenced by it. The making friends and community part was really big though. I don’t think I’d be doing what I do today if I hadn’t connected with other aspiring cartoonists and illustrators in high school and in college. Some of my best friends on the planet are cartoonists that I first encountered online. And this is getting back to how important posting things online was and still is.

I want to bounce the same question back to you: Has seeing art online influenced your own art? Do you think your art would have been different if you did not have the internet to discover new and old artists? 

But also: Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, and I think this connects a little to what we’re talking about here about stuff we see on the internet, is how our influences have shaped our work and if embracing or avoiding current trends has changed our work at all.

When I look at The New York Times and The New Yorker, two huge clients for illustrators, I definitely see some stylistic trends amongst the illustrators they tend to hire. I see the same thing in comics. Every few years, there’ll be a wave of stuff that isn’t necessarily bad work, but that all looks very similar. Adventure Time is influencing a lot of young cartoonists right now. Kate Beaton's comics are influencing a lot of young cartoonists. I remember seeing a lot of stuff that had been really heavily influenced by James Kochalka or Craig Thompson when I was in college, my own comics at the time being no exception.

I always immediately know your work when I see one pop up on my tumblr dashboard, partially because your work is so strong and so distinctive, but also because I don’t really know anyone else who is producing work quite like yours right now. I guess the question is… what or who are your biggest influences that you think show through in your work? Were there any artists or shows or comics that you were heavily influenced by when you were younger, influences that you’ve tried to shake or that are maybe less obvious? Have you ever tried to push your work in a certain direction stylistically, hoping that it would bring in specific clients or certain kinds of jobs?

Becky: Similarly to your story about being introduced to an old artist in college. A friend of mine introduced me to Mary Blair's work which is still a very big influence of mine today. I've discovered so many new and old artists because of the internet. I used to spend a lot of time on Flickr looking at scans of old artists. I found Daphne Padden that way and also a ton of old illustrators who’s names I never found out or have forgotten. I made sure to print out my favorite ones. 

One of the best online resources for me and has really affected my work is Youtube. In college I spent a lot of time looking at soviet animation, some of my favorites are the Mole cartoon series and “A Kitten Named Woof.” And recently I got super into 80s children’s anime intros and I’ve started incorporating a lot of that into my style now. I love “Creamy Mami,” “Maple Town" and "Good Morning Spank." 

Aside from internet influences I love collecting books, especially ones from France and Japan. Some of my favorite illustrators from books that I have are Tony Wolf, Enrique Fernandez and Mizuki Shigeru. Also getting dollar dvds, most of it is trash and that’s a whole other story. But sometimes it’s old Russian, Japanese or American animation. I actually discovered Yasuji Mori from a dollar DVD, I think the art on the cover was totally generic looking and not drawn by him. I had no idea who he was and it wasn’t until later that I saw his work again online and found out about all of the other things that he had worked on. 

I also like a few non- cartoonists (weird) such as Herbert Haseltine. I first saw his work in an art museum in Virginia and got his book there called “Champion Animals”. He did sculptures of animals in the 1920s, and does really cool patterns and stylizations on them. I really like Charles Freger's photography, he has a book on European festival monsters and European military uniforms. 

I really want to do some art that is different from my typical stuff. I don’t want to do it to try to get different kinds of work, more just to push myself. I really want to make a book of European monsters. I love drawing monsters, but almost never get a chance to. 

Do you ever want to make anything different from your current style? And do you have influences that aren’t cartoonists?

Phil: Oh yeah, I have a lot of significant non-cartoonist influences. It’s so important to allow yourself to draw influence from things that aren’t comics and cartoons! Jim Henson is a big one for me. I’ve been looking at things he created my entire life. The tv shows and movies and characters he created played a huge part in shaping my brain. I think Jim Henson was probably the first “artist” I was ever truly aware of in a way where I saw the things he made and thought “I want to know who made this stuff and how he did it.” Certain film directors have influenced my work too. Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson, Hal Ashby, Terry Gilliam… I’m probably forgetting some big ones. Oh, and of course Monty Python was very important to me. The tone of the humor and the weird animations that Terry Gilliam made. And there’s an animated short that I saw on TV when I was a kid that had an enormous influence on me. It’s called The Big Snit. It’s one of the Canadian National Film Board shorts, an animator named Richard Condie made it. In the 90’s Cartoon Network had a show where they just aired amazing Canadian shorts. I saw The Big Snit on that show, but never knew what it was called or who made it until I was in my mid twenties when I somehow found it again on youtube. Peewee’s Playhouse was and still is really important to me too.

I remember seeing some of Degas’ sculptures once when I was a kid, I can’t even remember where, I think it was on a school field trip somewhere. But those had a huge impact on me, there was something really raw about them that jumped out at me. They were originally sculpted with wax and then later cast in bronze, but they still looked really rough, you could see exactly how they were sculpted…. the lines from his tools and blobs of wax that had been slapped on. I loved that you could see so much of the process in the final product. That’s so much more interesting to me than all of the super perfect Greek figures sculpted in marble or whatever. I think seeing those sculptures as a kid influenced the way I think about art quite a bit.

Ahh! I want to see you draw some monsters! Please do make a book of European monsters!

I do want to create some art that’s unlike my usual stuff. I’d like to work on some projects where I can get even looser than usual and really go crazy with ink. I just finished drawing a book that goes with a record by my brother’s band, Perfect Pussy, where I didn’t pencil anything out, I just drew the entire thing directly in ink. I’d done that with a couple of mini comics in the past, but rarely with a project that someone else was paying me to draw. I want to do some more books like that and really try to push myself to have more fun with it. I used to go figure drawing all the time and I’d like to get back into the habit of doing that regularly. The results are always fun and a little different from my typical style, also because I always prefer to draw directly in ink when drawing a model from life. 

I really want to start doing stuff that goes beyond just drawing… I talked a little before about wanting to make a show or a movie with puppets or stop-motion animation. That’s something I think about a lot. And I might actually get to work on a little stop-motion project soon with a friend, but it’s sort of up in the air right now, so we’ll see. I hope it happens. And I’m planning to do a little project where I collaborate with some photographers on a series of really silly, slightly sexy animated GIFs, just for fun. I’ve sort of got the wheels in motion on that already. I’ve also been getting really into writing over the last few years and it’s something I hope to do a lot more of. A few of the projects I was working on when I lived in California forced me to become more comfortable with writing than I had previously been. It’s still not something that comes all that easy to me, but I enjoy it almost as much as drawing. I write a lot of really short stories, things that are just a page, or sometimes even just a paragraph long. I want to do more of those and then do one really small, simple illustration for each of them and maybe try to make a book out of that. And I have an idea for a children’s chapter book too, which would be mostly text, but with some spot illustrations sprinkled in, sort of like the books that Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake did together. I want to do some books like that. And I’m trying to write something right now, a comic, that I don’t plan on illustrating at all! I’m gonna try to convince someone else to illustrate it. I’ve never really written for someone else before. It’s not quite like any story I’ve written in the past, it’s more of an adventure mystery thing.

I want to ask you about living in Los Angeles! And New Zealand! Has living in those places had any impact on your work, either creatively or in terms of work opportunities? We both know so many awesome, creative people in LA, and it seems like more people are moving there all the time now, mostly for animation jobs. Our friend mutual Zach Marcus keeps trying to convince me to move there. Do you think you’ll stay in LA forever? If you were to move somewhere else, where would you want to go?

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We’re incredibly excited and proud to announce our first monthly comic series, Capture Creatures, with our buddies at Boom Studios! Feels good to be making comics again! More on the story at Comics Alliance, with amazing variant covers by Joy Ang, Amanda Visell and Missy Pena!
The hardcover book collecting the portraits of the 151 creatures featured in this series is available now from B9 & TopatoCo!

We’re incredibly excited and proud to announce our first monthly comic series, Capture Creatures, with our buddies at Boom Studios! Feels good to be making comics again! More on the story at Comics Alliance, with amazing variant covers by Joy Ang, Amanda Visell and Missy Pena!

The hardcover book collecting the portraits of the 151 creatures featured in this series is available now from B9 & TopatoCo!

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A brand new 5x7 print release! Meet William Shibespeare, joining Lumbercat, in our Animals With Jobs series! Grab it at our store now!

A brand new 5x7 print release! Meet William Shibespeare, joining Lumbercat, in our Animals With Jobs series! Grab it at our store now!

Photoset

benignkingdom:

Becky’s working on inks for the screenprint poster project; here’s what she has to say about that:

I’m inking the image to size (18 X 24 inches). After I finished the pencils I light-boxed it onto watercolor paper. I like to ink on watercolor paper for a little texture, I use really thin watercolor paper when I’m inking, it lightboxes easier. I’m inking it with a Winsor and Newton series 7 brush and Kuretake Black Ink 60. I’m working on it at Helio Cafe in LA and I have a tiny gallery show there that you can see in the photo.

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My alt cover for an upcoming issue of Steven Universe! Painted in gouache on watercolor paper. The piece is already sold, but it is currently featured as part of the Steven Universe gallery show at Gallery Nucleus, if you want to check it out in person!

My alt cover for an upcoming issue of Steven Universe! Painted in gouache on watercolor paper. The piece is already sold, but it is currently featured as part of the Steven Universe gallery show at Gallery Nucleus, if you want to check it out in person!

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benignkingdom:

This is part two of the Phil & Becky talk. The rest of them will be sorted by tag here.
Becky: Besides designing a real Pokémon my other crazy dream would be having a cartoon show. I don’t have a huge amount of experience with that stuff but it would be so cool to have your stories reach a much larger audience and to see your characters come alive. And I still really want to make graphic novels. It would be great if I had all of the time in the world and didn’t have to worry about bills to work full time on comics. We are going to make more comics, but finding the time to fit in a project that will span years is really tough.And my other dream project that has nothing to do with art would be opening a cat café. I’d want the cat cafe to only be black cats and you could adopt them. Black cats have the the hardest time getting adopted.I’m going to ask you the same question. If you could do whatever project you wanted what would it be?
Phil: There are a lot of wild dream projects I’d like to do! I want to make a movie. Something with stop-motion animation or with puppets. Or even just live action! When I was a teenager and I was trying to decide what to do with my life, I was split, 50/50, between wanting to be an illustrator or cartoonist and wanting to direct movies. I loved making movies with my friends in high school, running around the neighborhood with a camera, filming stuff in the woods or the old abandoned quarry. I did a lot of that and I took it really seriously. I loved having to solve problems like “how do we film this crazy scene we want to do?” with no real resources or budget at our disposal. But I eventually figured that out of two impossible careers, illustration was probably a little easier to make work since it’s mostly just you, drawing by yourself and not having to rely on hundreds of people all working together to create something, like with movies. But I’m still really interested in making a movie someday. Or even just a TV show that isn’t strictly 100% animated - something like Pee-wee’s Playhouse, where you’ve got cartoons and puppets and someone as awesome as Paul Reubens, all at once. I want some adventurous television executive to take a chance and put something really wacky and different on the air and I want to be the guy that creates that wacky thing. That would be amazing, to be able to create a show like that. But I wouldn’t want to be the Pee-wee of the show, I’d want to be the Wayne White.
I’ve got all kinds of little dream projects I’d like to do though, and some are probably actually things I could make happen if I really pursued them. I want to go on tour with a band for a few weeks and draw the entire time and make a book out of it or publish the drawings in a magazine or something. I want to spend a month living in a cabin in the woods, climbing mountains and eating berries and catching fish and stuff, and drawing the whole time. Not necessarily drawing to document the experience or anything, but just seeing what sort of stuff I come up with while living alone in the woods for a month. I’d really like to create and edit a monthly magazine with big art spreads and comics and short stories and photos of baby animals or naked people or outer space or whatever, just publish all kinds of cool stuff in each issue.The real dream, and this is getting back to what we talked about earlier with balancing freelance and personal work, would be to have the time and freedom to be able to follow whatever creative whim I have each day. I love making comics with the goal of publishing them and making money and I love the challenge or freelance illustration work, but my favorite thing is just drawing whatever I feel like drawing, without any goals beyond having fun and scratching a creative itch. If I could do that every day and make a living just collecting dumb drawings into books every so often, I’d do that.My next question for you is: You went to art school, you came out of SCAD's cartooning program if I'm remembering correctly. Was it worth it? Are you glad you did it? Would you recommend art school to young artists who want to be illustrators or cartoonists? Also, is teaching something you could ever see yourself doing in the future?Becky: Yes, I did graduate from SCAD’s sequential program. I enjoyed my time there and met a lot of incredibly talented artists that helped me to push my work. I think for me I needed to go to art school, it helped to discipline myself and to find my style. Before I had attended art school I was into gothy anime and thought that the only way to tell if someone was a good artist was if they drew really detailed. So I’d do these terribly cross hatched to hell dark moody pictures. And school helped to teach me how to tell stories that had a point and that you didn’t have to make serious work to be taken seriously.Now recommending art school or SCAD is tricky to me. Some people need it, I know many people who never went and have careers as cartoonist. But I also know people who have gone to art school and never made a living doing art and are in debt. Art schools are not good at teaching you how to get a job or how to get your art seen. I really wish that my school had said that you need to go to conventions and you need to post your work online. That is how I have gotten all of my jobs and how I’ve made a living. And the artists that aren’t making a living seem to not do either of those things.SCAD in particular I would not recommend. At this point a lot of the professors I had there have have left or moved to other departments. I don’t know any students there, when I went I knew a lot of talented artists, but that can change each year. It’s very very expensive too. If you want to do animation it would be much better to go to CalArts. Just being closer to LA they actually get professors who are still working full time at real animation jobs. And for a comic school that is more affordable the Center for Cartoon Studies is really good. I think the most important things are to draw everyday, A LOT and to find friends and a community that will help your art grow.We’ve been asked by a few colleges to do talks and most of them never come through. We have done a few talks for Emily Carr in Vancouver. I’d like to do more talks but I’m not sure if I’d want to be a full time teacher, I know some people who just teach one class a semester and I think that could be fun. Maybe at some point in the future when I know more about art then I’d become a teacher.I’m gonna keep just asking you the same questions you’re asking me. Cause they are really good. But I’ll also throw in there, are you interested in making toys or any products? I know that you made a shower curtain recently.
Phil: I also went to school for art but I didn’t really go to Art School. I went to Daemen College, which is a dinky little liberal arts school in Buffalo, NY that just happens to have an art department that offers a BFA in illustration. Most of the kids at Daemen were physical therapy majors or education majors or something. Even within the very small art department, I was very much an odd duck as an illustration major. Almost all of my classmates were graphic design majors. I wasn’t particularly close with anyone. I very much felt like a lone wolf. I was the only illustration major in the entire class of 2007. I was accepted into a lot of bigger art schools like SVA and Pratt and a couple others, but I decided to go with Daemen because it was cheaper and they offered me a better scholarship than my top choice, which was SVA, who also offered me some scholarship money. At the time I kind of reluctantly went with Daemen, but now I’m really glad I went there instead of SVA because I’m only like $1000 away from paying off my student loans. I’d be in debt for half a century if I’d gone to SVA, even with a scholarship.
My feelings about going to school for art are pretty much identical to yours. I think it was really good for me… It challenged me in a way that I needed to be challenged, I learned a lot, I became a much better artist, I learned how to pull all-nighters and meet deadlines. I’m not entirely certain that I’d be where I am right now without that experience. But at the same time, I know a lot of professional artists who didn’t have that experience who are doing just fine. I think it’s definitely not worth it for a lot of people, to go to art school and be in debt for the rest of your life. It was good for me, but I don’t think it’s the right choice for everyone. And Honestly, more so than most things in life, what you get out of art school really depends on how much you’re willing to put into it. I don’t know if I would recommend Daemen’s art program to other people. I have mixed feelings about it. Similarly, some of the professors I had have moved on and I don’t really know what it’s like there now. Even back when I was there, I don’t think it would have been a good fit for a lot of people. They definitely didn’t teach me how to promote my work or how important the internet is, that stuff I figured out on my own luckily. But I did get a lot out of it still, so I don’t know.I think I’d definitely like to teach someday. I’ve done a tiny bit already… I taught drawing to little kids for a few months after college, which was challenging but very rewarding, and more recently I’ve given a couple talks to professional designers and artists. A friend of mine teaches high school art and he had me come in and talk to his cartooning class last year about being a professional cartoonist. I loved that. I think I’d really enjoy teaching illustration to college students and getting to really help them figure their stuff out and start their careers. The thought of doing something like that is really exciting to me. There’s a pretty good illustration program at the university here in Syracuse where I live… I keep thinking I should somehow try to wiggle my way into that scene.Toys! I’ve never really given much thought to making toys. I guess I’d do it, given the chance, because why the heck not. But it’s not something I imagine I’ll ever actively pursue. I don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in the world of toys. I would like to draw stuff for various products though… You mentioned shower curtains… I’ve been kind of weirdly obsessed with the thought of designing shower curtains for a couple years and when I saw that Society 6 had added that as one of the many print on demand options on their site I immediately got in on that. I’d really like to design beer or wine labels. An old friend of mine recently told me she was planning to start her own brewery and I begged her to let me design the beer labels and she agreed and I really hope that actually pans out at some point. I’d really like to see my drawings on bowls and plates and mugs and stuff like that.Actually I take it back, I would like to make toys. The more I think about it, I want to create something like Monster In My Pocket or those little pink M.U.S.C.L.E. guys. Or Z-Bots. Something where you have like 100 different little plastic guys and kids can collect them all. I’d love to design whole series of little monster guys or fighting guys or something. I guess you could 3D print something like that now? I’d want them to come with illustrated trading cards too, with tons of goofy stats on the back. I’m really into trading cards with goofy stats on the back for each guy. I’m working on a proposal for a project right now that is going to be full of goofy stats.So we’ve talked a bit about big dream projects and things we’d really like to work on… are there any big projects that have fallen through for you? Any huge career disappointments? I know I’ve had a bunch of projects and opportunities that were pretty exciting but that never quite panned out for one reason or another. I think that’s something that everyone in our line of work has to deal with from time to time.
more soon xoxo

benignkingdom:

This is part two of the Phil & Becky talk. The rest of them will be sorted by tag here.

Becky: Besides designing a real Pokémon my other crazy dream would be having a cartoon show. I don’t have a huge amount of experience with that stuff but it would be so cool to have your stories reach a much larger audience and to see your characters come alive. And I still really want to make graphic novels. It would be great if I had all of the time in the world and didn’t have to worry about bills to work full time on comics. We are going to make more comics, but finding the time to fit in a project that will span years is really tough.

And my other dream project that has nothing to do with art would be opening a cat café. I’d want the cat cafe to only be black cats and you could adopt them. Black cats have the the hardest time getting adopted.

I’m going to ask you the same question. If you could do whatever project you wanted what would it be?

Phil: There are a lot of wild dream projects I’d like to do! I want to make a movie. Something with stop-motion animation or with puppets. Or even just live action! When I was a teenager and I was trying to decide what to do with my life, I was split, 50/50, between wanting to be an illustrator or cartoonist and wanting to direct movies. I loved making movies with my friends in high school, running around the neighborhood with a camera, filming stuff in the woods or the old abandoned quarry. I did a lot of that and I took it really seriously. I loved having to solve problems like “how do we film this crazy scene we want to do?” with no real resources or budget at our disposal. But I eventually figured that out of two impossible careers, illustration was probably a little easier to make work since it’s mostly just you, drawing by yourself and not having to rely on hundreds of people all working together to create something, like with movies. But I’m still really interested in making a movie someday. Or even just a TV show that isn’t strictly 100% animated - something like Pee-wee’s Playhouse, where you’ve got cartoons and puppets and someone as awesome as Paul Reubens, all at once. I want some adventurous television executive to take a chance and put something really wacky and different on the air and I want to be the guy that creates that wacky thing. That would be amazing, to be able to create a show like that. But I wouldn’t want to be the Pee-wee of the show, I’d want to be the Wayne White.

I’ve got all kinds of little dream projects I’d like to do though, and some are probably actually things I could make happen if I really pursued them. I want to go on tour with a band for a few weeks and draw the entire time and make a book out of it or publish the drawings in a magazine or something. I want to spend a month living in a cabin in the woods, climbing mountains and eating berries and catching fish and stuff, and drawing the whole time. Not necessarily drawing to document the experience or anything, but just seeing what sort of stuff I come up with while living alone in the woods for a month. I’d really like to create and edit a monthly magazine with big art spreads and comics and short stories and photos of baby animals or naked people or outer space or whatever, just publish all kinds of cool stuff in each issue.

The real dream, and this is getting back to what we talked about earlier with balancing freelance and personal work, would be to have the time and freedom to be able to follow whatever creative whim I have each day. I love making comics with the goal of publishing them and making money and I love the challenge or freelance illustration work, but my favorite thing is just drawing whatever I feel like drawing, without any goals beyond having fun and scratching a creative itch. If I could do that every day and make a living just collecting dumb drawings into books every so often, I’d do that.

My next question for you is: You went to art school, you came out of SCAD's cartooning program if I'm remembering correctly. Was it worth it? Are you glad you did it? Would you recommend art school to young artists who want to be illustrators or cartoonists? Also, is teaching something you could ever see yourself doing in the future?

Becky: Yes, I did graduate from SCAD’s sequential program. I enjoyed my time there and met a lot of incredibly talented artists that helped me to push my work. I think for me I needed to go to art school, it helped to discipline myself and to find my style. Before I had attended art school I was into gothy anime and thought that the only way to tell if someone was a good artist was if they drew really detailed. So I’d do these terribly cross hatched to hell dark moody pictures. And school helped to teach me how to tell stories that had a point and that you didn’t have to make serious work to be taken seriously.

Now recommending art school or SCAD is tricky to me. Some people need it, I know many people who never went and have careers as cartoonist. But I also know people who have gone to art school and never made a living doing art and are in debt. Art schools are not good at teaching you how to get a job or how to get your art seen. I really wish that my school had said that you need to go to conventions and you need to post your work online. That is how I have gotten all of my jobs and how I’ve made a living. And the artists that aren’t making a living seem to not do either of those things.

SCAD in particular I would not recommend. At this point a lot of the professors I had there have have left or moved to other departments. I don’t know any students there, when I went I knew a lot of talented artists, but that can change each year. It’s very very expensive too. If you want to do animation it would be much better to go to CalArts. Just being closer to LA they actually get professors who are still working full time at real animation jobs. And for a comic school that is more affordable the Center for Cartoon Studies is really good. I think the most important things are to draw everyday, A LOT and to find friends and a community that will help your art grow.

We’ve been asked by a few colleges to do talks and most of them never come through. We have done a few talks for Emily Carr in Vancouver. I’d like to do more talks but I’m not sure if I’d want to be a full time teacher, I know some people who just teach one class a semester and I think that could be fun. Maybe at some point in the future when I know more about art then I’d become a teacher.

I’m gonna keep just asking you the same questions you’re asking me. Cause they are really good. But I’ll also throw in there, are you interested in making toys or any products? I know that you made a shower curtain recently.

Phil: I also went to school for art but I didn’t really go to Art School. I went to Daemen College, which is a dinky little liberal arts school in Buffalo, NY that just happens to have an art department that offers a BFA in illustration. Most of the kids at Daemen were physical therapy majors or education majors or something. Even within the very small art department, I was very much an odd duck as an illustration major. Almost all of my classmates were graphic design majors. I wasn’t particularly close with anyone. I very much felt like a lone wolf. I was the only illustration major in the entire class of 2007. I was accepted into a lot of bigger art schools like SVA and Pratt and a couple others, but I decided to go with Daemen because it was cheaper and they offered me a better scholarship than my top choice, which was SVA, who also offered me some scholarship money. At the time I kind of reluctantly went with Daemen, but now I’m really glad I went there instead of SVA because I’m only like $1000 away from paying off my student loans. I’d be in debt for half a century if I’d gone to SVA, even with a scholarship.

My feelings about going to school for art are pretty much identical to yours. I think it was really good for me… It challenged me in a way that I needed to be challenged, I learned a lot, I became a much better artist, I learned how to pull all-nighters and meet deadlines. I’m not entirely certain that I’d be where I am right now without that experience. But at the same time, I know a lot of professional artists who didn’t have that experience who are doing just fine. I think it’s definitely not worth it for a lot of people, to go to art school and be in debt for the rest of your life. It was good for me, but I don’t think it’s the right choice for everyone. And Honestly, more so than most things in life, what you get out of art school really depends on how much you’re willing to put into it. I don’t know if I would recommend Daemen’s art program to other people. I have mixed feelings about it. Similarly, some of the professors I had have moved on and I don’t really know what it’s like there now. Even back when I was there, I don’t think it would have been a good fit for a lot of people. They definitely didn’t teach me how to promote my work or how important the internet is, that stuff I figured out on my own luckily. But I did get a lot out of it still, so I don’t know.

I think I’d definitely like to teach someday. I’ve done a tiny bit already… I taught drawing to little kids for a few months after college, which was challenging but very rewarding, and more recently I’ve given a couple talks to professional designers and artists. A friend of mine teaches high school art and he had me come in and talk to his cartooning class last year about being a professional cartoonist. I loved that. I think I’d really enjoy teaching illustration to college students and getting to really help them figure their stuff out and start their careers. The thought of doing something like that is really exciting to me. There’s a pretty good illustration program at the university here in Syracuse where I live… I keep thinking I should somehow try to wiggle my way into that scene.

Toys! I’ve never really given much thought to making toys. I guess I’d do it, given the chance, because why the heck not. But it’s not something I imagine I’ll ever actively pursue. I don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in the world of toys. I would like to draw stuff for various products though… You mentioned shower curtains… I’ve been kind of weirdly obsessed with the thought of designing shower curtains for a couple years and when I saw that Society 6 had added that as one of the many print on demand options on their site I immediately got in on that. I’d really like to design beer or wine labels. An old friend of mine recently told me she was planning to start her own brewery and I begged her to let me design the beer labels and she agreed and I really hope that actually pans out at some point. I’d really like to see my drawings on bowls and plates and mugs and stuff like that.

Actually I take it back, I would like to make toys. The more I think about it, I want to create something like Monster In My Pocket or those little pink M.U.S.C.L.E. guys. Or Z-Bots. Something where you have like 100 different little plastic guys and kids can collect them all. I’d love to design whole series of little monster guys or fighting guys or something. I guess you could 3D print something like that now? I’d want them to come with illustrated trading cards too, with tons of goofy stats on the back. I’m really into trading cards with goofy stats on the back for each guy. I’m working on a proposal for a project right now that is going to be full of goofy stats.

So we’ve talked a bit about big dream projects and things we’d really like to work on… are there any big projects that have fallen through for you? Any huge career disappointments? I know I’ve had a bunch of projects and opportunities that were pretty exciting but that never quite panned out for one reason or another. I think that’s something that everyone in our line of work has to deal with from time to time.

more soon xoxo

Photo
The Steven Universe gallery show is this weekend at Gallery Nucleus! We’ll be there early on so come say hey!

The Steven Universe gallery show is this weekend at Gallery Nucleus! We’ll be there early on so come say hey!

Photoset

A pair of pals, commissioned and painted live at San Diego Comic Con 2014! Thanks so much to everyone who came and saw us. Our next convention dates are SPX (Washington DC), MondoCon (Austin TX) and Thought Bubble (Leeds UK).

Photo
We are at San Diego Comic Con! This is a brand new collaborative print from the Bee & Puppycat crew! Just something fun we wanted to do for San Diego!
Natasha (Creator), Efrain (Art Director), Maddy (Writer) and Becky (Character Designer). Originally painted in gouache, this is an 8x10 print that is available at the Nucleus / Bolt City table (2743)!
Come see us at the Bee & Puppycat panel on Thursday 5:30pm-6:30pm in Room 6A!

We are at San Diego Comic Con! This is a brand new collaborative print from the Bee & Puppycat crew! Just something fun we wanted to do for San Diego!

Natasha (Creator), Efrain (Art Director), Maddy (Writer) and Becky (Character Designer). Originally painted in gouache, this is an 8x10 print that is available at the Nucleus / Bolt City table (2743)!

Come see us at the Bee & Puppycat panel on Thursday 5:30pm-6:30pm in Room 6A!

Photo
San Diego Comic Con 2014!
We are boothing with our friends Scott C and Mike Mitchell at the Nucleus / Bolt City Booth at #2743!
We will have our usual stuff as well as Capture Creatures hardcovers, two brand new prints and a super secret collab print!!
Other than boothing, which we will be doing all week from Wednesday through Sunday, we have some other appearances around the convention!

THURSDAY
5:30pm-6:30pm Room 6A
Cartoon Hangover: Bee & Puppycat and Friends
Both Becky and I (Frank) will be on this panel alongside Natasha Allegri (Creator), Madeleine Flores (Co-Writer), Allyn Rachel (Voice of Bee), Kent Osborne (Voice of Deckard).

SATURDAY
12:30pm-1:30pm Room 24ABC
We are Boom!
I’ll be on this panel with our friends who run Boom Studios and fellow creators Paul Jenkins, Noelle Stevenson!

SUNDAY
10:30-11:30am Sunday @ Boom! Studios (Booth #2229)
I’ll be signing for the new book I write, The Amazing World of Gumball, with artist Tyson Hesse!

The publisher we co-own, B9 Kingdom, will be selling amazing art books by a number of incredibly talented people at Booth #1235!

San Diego Comic Con 2014!

We are boothing with our friends Scott C and Mike Mitchell at the Nucleus / Bolt City Booth at #2743!

We will have our usual stuff as well as Capture Creatures hardcovers, two brand new prints and a super secret collab print!!

Other than boothing, which we will be doing all week from Wednesday through Sunday, we have some other appearances around the convention!

THURSDAY

5:30pm-6:30pm Room 6A

Cartoon Hangover: Bee & Puppycat and Friends

Both Becky and I (Frank) will be on this panel alongside Natasha Allegri (Creator), Madeleine Flores (Co-Writer), Allyn Rachel (Voice of Bee), Kent Osborne (Voice of Deckard).

SATURDAY

12:30pm-1:30pm Room 24ABC

We are Boom!

I’ll be on this panel with our friends who run Boom Studios and fellow creators Paul Jenkins, Noelle Stevenson!

SUNDAY

10:30-11:30am Sunday @ Boom! Studios (Booth #2229)

I’ll be signing for the new book I write, The Amazing World of Gumball, with artist Tyson Hesse!

The publisher we co-own, B9 Kingdom, will be selling amazing art books by a number of incredibly talented people at Booth #1235!