Friday, May 26, 2006

Friends of the Fiend 25: Mark Anderson

I didn't much like Mark Anderson's cartoons when I first saw them. My wife did, but I didn't, until I saw one in colour and it was only then that the penny dropped. In colour, I could see, and appreciate the all important element in his drawings, his use of space. The cartoon that opened my eyes was one he drew years ago for King Feature's New Breed, it featured two trick or treaters talking about the fact that they were encouraged to talk to strangers at that time of year, and it made quite an impression on me.
These days I find myself popping over to his website every so often, just to laugh out loud at those 'Andertoons', and whilst I still really enjoy his colour work, I appreciate his black and white cartoons even more.

CF. Hello, Mark.

MA. Hey! What's shakin', bacon?

CF. Okay, what are your current projects, anything exciting in the pipeline - that you can tell us about?

MA. always doing my gag work, but lately I've been doing a lot of custom cartoons for advertising, and a fair amount of greeting card work. Also I'm working on my own race of atomic supermen.

CF. Did you always want to be a cartoonist, and set out to become one, or was it a gradual process?

MA. My range of career goals were/are as follows:

Age 4 - Running the cash register at the meat market
Age 6 - Fireman
Age 9 - Luke Skywalker
Age 12 - Luke Skywalker
Age 15 - Princess Leia (It was a confusing time for me.)
Age 17 - Cartoonist
Age 18 - Music teacher
Age 19 - Tombonist
Age 20 - Jazz trombonist
Age 24 - Screw salesman by Day, jazz trombonist by night, cartoonist on my lunch hour.
Age 26 - Anything but selling metal coil
Age 29 - Anything, please God, ANYTHING! (After some downsizing.)
Age 30 to current - Cartoonist

CF. The work you do at the moment, can you tell us something about the process?

MA. I Read a lot of newspapers and magazine looking for little germs of stuff to make fun of. I daydream, write down some jokes, let them stew in a box on the shelf for a while, and then draw up the ones I like sometime later. From there I send them out and wait to see if anyone thinks I'm funny.

CF. I know you've been asked this a million times, but what tools do you use, and what format do you work to?

MA. American Natural pencils, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist brush pens, Pigma Microns pens, & cool grey Prismacolor markers on Borden & Riley bleedproof paper. From there it's into one of my Macs, touched up in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet and into the mailbox. I don't keep to any standard dimensions, but I work really small.

CF. Is the cartoonist a proper artist? I mean, does cartooning have the same cultural impact as some other artforms, in your opinion?

MA. Yes, yes and yes! (I put in an extra "yes" for emphasis.) I could rant on this for a good 10 pages, but I'll spare you.

CF. Is there any other area of cartooning you'd like to work in, if you can find the time?

MA. Animation. I bought Flash some time ago and I'm still trying to find the time to teach myself to use the damn thing.

CF. Who were your major artistic influences?

MA. Peter Arno, George Carlin & Spiderman.

CF. Who was/is your favourite cartoonist/writer, of all time?

MA. Oh goodness... Probably Bill Watterson. Honestly, every panel is genius through and through.

CF. There's a lot of talk about a new 'paper-less future' and 'new digital reading habits', do you think this will affect cartooning,at some point.

MA. Traditional media's going to be forced to redefine itself in any number of ways online sooner or later. It's just a fact. The delivery method is always morphing, but the good news is cartoons fit pretty much anywhere.

See lots more 'Andertoons' on Mark's website.

CF. If you had the time, and you were helicoptered in to work on anything you chose, any publication, strip, panel, character,book, show, what would you like to work on?

MA. Right now, probably The Daily Show. That's some consistently smart/ funny stuff!

CF. Is there anything you'd rather be?

MA. Good God, no! Drawing pictures in my polar bear jammies for a living is pretty much the pinnacle for me.

CF. Thank you for visiting with us.

MA. Tune in next week! Same Mark time, same Mark channel!


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