Each of us has had different experiences that have influenced our lives, our likes and dislikes. Many of these started in childhood. For example, because I had Mrs. Southington as my homeroom teacher in 4th grade, I now hate all homeroom teachers, in addition to Mrs. Southington. Not coincidentally, the evil teachers I portray in my cartooning books look eerily similar to her. Actually, if you stripped away her peevishness, impatience and hostility toward boys, she was really a good lady way down deep. We’re talking “way down deep.”
Sometimes, these influences don’t affect your style, per se, but affect your work in other ways. What do I mean by that? Heck if I know, but let me give it a shot:
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Disney. So he got a restraining order. Just kidding. It was really just a warning from the judge. Anyway, I found Disney’s work to be utterly magical, like a euphoric dream. When a Disney movie was released, I would be filled with anxiousness to see it, as if it were the night before Christmas.
And yet, my cartooning style is not “Disney-ish.” So although it did not influence my drawing style, it influenced my enthusiasm for cartooning. I am still excited to get to work each day. I love and admire the art of so many talented manga, cartoon and comics artists. And that excitement translates into my work, as well as it does yours. It’s often been said that if you love what you do, it isn’t work. Boy, is that ever wrong. Yes, it’s work. When you’re stressing under a deadline, it sure feels like work. But the actual “doing” of it, the drawing – that remains fun and, more importantly, engaging.
You never know when something you enjoyed as a child put a useful imprint on you. For example, when I was eight years old, my favorite TV show was undoubtedly “8th Man,” which was an early anime (Japanese animation). I didn’t know back then that someday I would be doing art instruction books about Japanese comics.
The past may be gone, but it can be mined for inspiration. So, my question is, what has influenced you? Was it a cartoon character, a creator, or something completely different? I’m interested to know.
Your Cartooning Sherpa,