One of the most asked questions cartoonists receive during interviews is a fairly obvious one.
“Who are your influences?”
Any creative person you talk to has more than a few artists who they look to for guidance and inspiration. When you’re stuck in a rut artistically/creatively, it certainly helps to go back to old favorites and look at some of your favorites with fresh eyes. I always find new techniques and approaches I may have not caught in previous readings.
I have many cartooning heroes, but a few I always go back to are Daniel Clowes, Gilbert Hernandez and Chester Brown.
Not only does their artwork speak to me, but each of their narrative voices are so clear, distinctive, personal and specific. I discovered David Boring and Louis Riel around the same time, around 2000-2001. I was just beginning art school and the medium of comics was opening up a whole new world for me. I’m still trying to make work worthy of the impression those books left on me.
I’ve sat down and studied their work so often, you’d think I was trying to absorb their cartooning powers through osmosis.
When working on books, there have even been times where I would have to hide their books from myself for fear of swiping something unconsciously, or ‘aping’ their style too much.
I think a lot of illustrators go through something similar with their influences.
Of course I’d be kidding myself I said the Kuberts weren’t an influence on me as well, having gone through their school and seen them create firsthand. Adam, Andy and Joe always amazed my classmates and I with their work ethic and command of the craft.
It’s pretty amazing how much you can retain and recall from studying others’ work. It all goes into a huge melting pot, through your own brain, and onto the page.
To find out more about my new graphic novel PRIDE OF THE DECENT MAN, go here.