My friend Angela and I heard about an event that we couldn’t miss — Talkin’ ‘Bout Toons. A panel discussion with the super talented: Matt Wuerker POLITICO’s editorial cartoonist and the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, Kevin Rechin editorial cartoonist for USA Today, National Geographic and others, Steve Conley award-winning cartoonist, designer and co-creator of Comicon.com and comic works like ‘BLOOP’ and ‘Adventure Time’, and Marty Bauman an artist at Pixar Animation Studios and illustrator for Disney on ‘Toy Story 3’ and ‘Cars 2’.
The gallery was jam-packed with students and art enthusiasts. I had the best time – like a kid on Christmas morning!!! Works in various stages by each cartoonist were hanging across all four walls of the room. The lively panelists shared great insight on their careers and the industry. At the end of the discussion there was a raffle of autographed works generously donated by each of the artists. I was very lucky and excited to win a ‘BLOOP’ poster! The cartoonists were all very cool and personable – staying past the discussion time to pose for photos, talk with attendees and sign items.
Here are some highlights from the discussion…
- Matt – Considers social media an interesting source for what resonates with people – the videos people watch are a testament that our brains are very visual. When it comes to deadlines “…have faith in your ability, don’t stress on the deadline because it can be debilitating. Do the work and move on. “ “There are waves of style in cartooning. (ex. airbrush, crosshatch, etc.) Be aware of where the herd is going and don’t go there. Be true to your own vision and strengths – don’t mimic others.”
- Kevin – Grew up in an artistic environment (his father Bill drew the comic strip ‘Crock’). Kevin loves following artists behind-the-scenes. He believes that images should come out of you organically, not from an art director. He used to study physical comedians because expressions and humor are big elements of cartooning. “Have fun with your drawing and never stop. Don’t get hung up on what tools you have or use – the drawing aspect is more important.”
- Steve – Came from a humble background and drawing supplies were cheap, so he found himself sketching a lot. When you’re starting your career … “think local, start small. Do design work for local businesses, deliver on it and build your portfolio and reputation.” All his jobs come from word of mouth because of the positive reputation he worked hard to build.
- Marty – Used to play guitar at rhythm and blues clubs at night and draw in the day. The music he listens to is old and influences his retro style of drawing. “I keep finding new discoveries in the past.” As a teen he mailed pieces of his works to Jim Steranko, a cartoonist he greatly admired. Jim replied and sent him back critiques, which meant a great deal to Marty. “Resilience is the number one quality you need (in the industry).” “My favorite works are my children’s books I’ve illustrated that haven’t seen the light of day. They’re my favorite because they’re my most personal stuff.”