Today’s Geek of the Week column features Brad Guigar, local graphic artist and web comic cartoonist.
Some of you might know this talented local guy from a number of his projects, including Greystone Inn and Evil Inc. Brad was kind enough to chat with me about his background in comic drawing, his inspirations, and how he creates such fabulous pieces of art.
Tell me a little bit about your history with comic drawing. How did you get started?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist. I remember getting How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way when I was about eight years old and carrying it with me everywhere. In college, I subscribed to the Detroit Free Press for one reason and one reason alone: Bloom County.
Without giving too many trade secrets away, what’s your usual process? What traditional or digital tools do you use?
I work in traditional pen-and-ink on a heavy Bristol board. I scan in the illustrations, doing touch-ups in Photoshop, add the lettering in InDesign, and send the master files to Ed Ryzowski, who has been coloring Evil Inc for several years now. He returns two versions, a high-res file for print and a low res file for Web. Typically, I have between two and six weeks of buffer – comics that are completely prepped and ready to be updated on the site.
The high-res files are then forwarded to the newspapers that I self-syndicate the strip to. (The Philadelphia Daily News for one) and reformatted into graphic novels, which I sell on my site.
How long have you been publishing your comics on the web?
I’m a huge proponent of what self-publishing on the Web can do for creative professionals. In 2008, I co-wrote How to Make Webcomics which described the “webcomics business model” of making money by giving away your content for free. The book was extremely successful (it’s currently in its third printing) and it launched Webcomics.com, a site I run to offer advice and tutorials to other webcartoonists.
What are some famous comic writers or artists that you draw your inspiration from?
Berke Breathed (Bloom County) is my all-time hero. Since I started self-publishing on the Web, however, I find that most of the people I look to for inspiration are fellow webcartoonists like Scott Kurtz (PvP), Dave Kellett (Sheldon), and Kris Straub (Starslip) whose work easily eclipses anything found anywhere else, in my opinion. The Web has brought a Renaissance to cartooning, and I’m constantly dazzled by the work I’m finding there.
Do you make a living doing this? What are some notable publications where your artwork has been featured?
It’s about one-half of my living. I also work as a graphic artist at the Philadelphia Daily News, where I also do some cartooning from time to time. For example, I did a special comic as part of the paper’s coverage of John Bolaris having been roofied (twice) by a couple of Latvian lovelies, Every Friday, I do a comic to accompany the sex-advice column, Sexcetera, by Steve and Mia. Phables, which ran from 2006 to 2008, was a full-page comic that ran in the Daily News every Monday, telling stories about life in Philadelphia. It was named the best newspaper column in Philly by the SPJ in 2006, and nominated for the Eisner Award, the highest honor in comics, the following year.
Where do you get your inspiration for these comics? (Writing or artwork)
Having been a dyed-in-the-spandex comics fan for a few decades now, I draw on an awful lot of comics history for inspiration. Since Evil Inc is a corporation run by super-villains (“you can do more evil if you do it legal”), I also take a healthy bit of inspiration from business news.
However, over the past nine years, I’ve found the best muses imaginable: My two sons. I love making them laugh. I love playing imagination games with them. They remind me that the best part of growing up is not having to.
My nine-year-old summed it up pretty well. He was reading “Evil Inc Annual Report Vol. 1,” and asked, “Dad, when did you write this stuff?”
“That would have been around 2005,” I replied.
“Geez,” he marveled, “You used to be funny!”
Thanks for chatting with us, Brad. Readers, be sure to check out Evil, Inc. available on an internet near you.