Thursday, October 24, 2013

An Interview with Jeremy The Artist

Jeremy The Artist is a comic book maker, caricature artist, graphic designer and a prolific doodler.  His web comics can be found over at His output is astounding and he is consistently sharing it with the world. Last year I started to archive Uncle Staples's collection of Staplegator sketches and solicit new ones. I got allot of help form all quarters of the indie comic scene.  I am grateful for everyone's support but Jeremy just blew me away check out four of his submissions here. Jeremy The Artist has his own set of artist interviews that can be read here.  You can follow him on twitter @thetoonman and/or like him on

What formal art training do you have?

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, with a concentration on Graphic Design. I was the Editorial Cartoonist for my college newspaper for the whole of my undergraduate years- that experience in itself has helped a lot with the techniques and styles I use.
I still freelance graphic design stuff, but as you can see from my current portfolio- I've deviated quite a bit from formal design.

You work in a couple of mediums, both analog and digital. What do you see as the biggest advantages and disadvantages of each?

I have been inking by hand since I was about 11 years old (hopefully I’m a bit better now at it), and digitally drawing/inking since about 6 years back, though nothing really solid until about 3 years ago.

I don’t think anything will ever replace creating by hand- no matter what technological advances we may experience.

I received my first (and only) tablet in 2008 as a graduation gift- I had a 3 month trial with it, got frustrated and put it up for 3 years…and now, I think its God’s gift to the Illustrator.

The tablet’s fluidity allows for faster, “cleaner” production- creating multiple layers within a program and identifying one as “pencil” and another as “ink” eliminates a few steps that you always have to take when hand inking your work and physically erasing any left over pencil work.

Tablets are becoming so advanced that they can simulate all types of mediums now including pastels, oils, paints, inks, pencils and charcoals, with only more added to the list every update.

There’s a certain quality that tablet-produced work has, and by far is the most efficient.

With all  that said, when I work by tablet- there’s a certain “connection” I lose with my creation. As I have a Wacom Intuos, I have to draw while keeping my attention on the computer screen while my hand draws on the tablet…it’s a skill you develop as you practice with the tablet, but one that keeps you somewhat detached from your work, or at least for me.

When drawing in your sketchbook or just on paper while sitting at a table somewhere- the connection is instantaneous. No longer do I feel like there’s a barrier between me and my work…we’re as intimate as can be- and this relationship that is created with pen and paper versus computer drawing is something I could not live matter how advanced we become.

Does your diversity of style reflect a diversity in artistic influence? Who would you say influenced your work in what ways?

At the age of 10 more or less, I can distinctly recall telling myself I wanted to become a comic book artist. At that age, that meant the guys who drew up Spider Man, Wolverine and the rest of the X Men.

Now at 27, I do comics, cartoons, web comics, freelance illustration and caricatures.

My influences range from Robert Crumb to Todd McFarlane. I remember picking up my first Spawn at age 12 and loving the style of the book…I had never seen a comic like that produced, that was in the heyday of Image and of the “McFarlane Style”. Spawn made me set my initial goals and I bought a Dynamic Anatomy book done by Burne Hogarth (artist for original Tarzan), who I grew to admire. Jack Kirby is always a favorite of mine, but I really draw from and admire these days Mike Mignola (Hellboy & BPRD are a couple of my FAVORITE comics) and Frank Miller’s work.

A couple years back I had an epiphany I really wanted to become known for my cartoon work and web comics…and discovered Ivan Brunetti, Jaime Hernandez and Art Spiegelman… revolutionaries in the world of “Underground/Indie Comics”… two of the bigger influences from this genre are Charles Burns and the iconic underground artist himself, Robert Crumb.

All these artists have various styles and techniques they use as well as tools…some of my favorite guys here use brush while another couple use micron pens and rapidographs…seeing this difference in style, especially within the same genre of art helps me to understand the variety of the form and helps me to grow as an artist personally. This in turn motivates me to try different approaches as well- learn the pros and cons of each style and tool.

I’m also quite the admirer of fine arts, a huge favorite of mine being German Expressionism, but I do fancy Contemporary as well as Abstract. I’m naturally a minimalist in style and admire works in this style.

Why monsters and why comics?

Monsters Ive been a big fan of since I can remember. Growing up, my dad and I would watch a lot of horror movies together,  including a bunch of older monster movies like the 1950s Wolfman, Frankenstein and Mummy. My dad also was the one to introduce me to Greek Mythology and I do believe Norse Mythology as well…exposing me to mythical monsters like griffins, Cyclops and frost giants.

Watching these movies with my dad and talking mythology with him are precious memories I hold so I think that’s why years later monsters have such a hold on me.

Comics and sequential art in general is such a wonderful way to tell a story. The beauty about that story is it can be any story, including your own, dressed in a different suit, however you may want it.

Comics allow an artist to create entire universes of characters..characters that have their own characters in their lives….all involved in their own bubbles of life, which stem from what the artist created, even daresay birthed from the creative production of the artist, but not necessarily directly created by the artist him/herself.

Comics, as time goes on, are being understood as more of a fine art vs the “low brow” category its unfortunately been classified as since their creation. I find comics to be one of the more formidable fields of art and still has great potential-  I cant wait to see what the future brings for comics.

I know that you’re a big fan of Reservoir Dogs but is there another reason so many of your monsters are in semi-formal wear?

The criminals of Reservoir Dogs and the hitmen of Pulp Fiction definitely influenced the look as those are my two favorite movies by one of my top favorite directors. Another reason, and probably the bigger reason, is the aesthetics of the imagery. Using contradicting elements/subjects: suits, classy attire and wild, horrific creatures- it’s almost a contrast of “light” and “dark” elements- the interaction which then produces a unique image.

Simultaneously, dressing up the monsters, they become “humanified” to some degree. For me, having the monsters dressed in something maybe I would dress in then helps me to empathize/connect with them on a level I wasn’t able to before.

In general as a rule of thumb as well, suits are just plain cool.
Why do you think Monster comics came back into main stream popularity after decades of comics as a one genre medium?

With a resurgence in the interest of monsters like vampires into the mainstream (in both books and shows like True Blood or Twilight) and zombies (the comic Walking Dead and tv show based on comic), monsters are becoming “cool” again.

With Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim movie and Godzilla 2014, we are seeing the comeback of “Big Monster Movies” as well- which will help the comics based on these monsters back into popularity.

In other words, we are heading towards the golden days my friend.

Personally I want to know when we can expect another issue of Security! it is by far my favorite of your comic books so far.

Ah! Security! was a definitely fun comic, but a rushed one based on my experiences based on my day job experiences in the security field. I wanted to add so much more to the book and just ran out of time as I wanted the book done in time for Staple! 2013.

I’m definitely going to do another security-based comic, but for this next one I want it to be a waaay bigger book.  I have a couple other books planned beforehand however, a second print issue of My Talking Head, which is based off my webcomic site, My Talking Head ( ) and a relaunch of my Kickstarter for my graphic novel, Monsters In Ties (looking to do the kickstarter in February)

I regularly update my facebook fan page: and looking to update my blog more as well with current news, which you can find here:

You’re doing your own artist interviews at My Talking Head. What is your favorite part of that?

As an artist interviewing artists, I tailored my interview questionnaire with some fun questions (or at least I hope they are fun) and tried to think what I would like to be asked- thus far, it’s been working!

I post the interviews every other Sunday on My Talking Head, all current interviews can be read here:

This has to be my favorite part- the actual reading of the replies- I also personally pick each interview out, and its always work I really admire and people I respect- so its neat to be able to interact with these people in this way specifically.

What is your connections to Five-Line Graphics?

Five-Line Graphics is managed by one of good friends who also creates comics, Paulo Hernandez.

I met Paulo at Staple! 2012 and since then we have done both fan art for each other’s publications and have collaborated on a couple others.

Through Five-Line Graphics, “The Axeman #1” (created by me) was funded and is considered under the Five-Line Graphics branch of comics.

What has been your most memorable caricature request?

I’ve been caricaturing now for about 5 years, the last 3 here in Austin. Definitely most interesting caricature requests have been here in Austin. I have 2 that stick out in my mind at the moment:

1.) Back when I was zombie-caricaturing down South Congress for First Thursdays, as I was setting up I was asked by a young couple to zombify their dogs.

I ended up drawing the dogs on their back feet, with their front paws stuck out like arms in front of them (similar to a “Frankenstein or Mummy Walk”) and zombifying the now-humanoid looking animals. That, was interesting.

2.) Another gig that I was actually hired to do zombies for, one lady requested not only to be a zombie- but to drawn riding a unicorn, which would also be zombified. Very fun picture, I believe I have a picture of that somewhere on my portfolio site.

-Last note on this question, this doesn’t technically count, but I was caricaturing at The Volstead one night (VERY fun caricaturing at a bar) and, asides all the drunken caricatures, I had 2 girls (maybe under the influence) insist on me getting caricatured by them. AND, one of the girls would pay me. So, I ended up in the other chair while one of the girls drew me- turned out she was an artist too. I prefer to  be paid and drawn, less effort on my part, haha.

What has been your favorite Staple! experience so far?

So far I have to say, having a beer with Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, at the after party. I didn’t know how to introduce myself to him and was working up the courage to just go to talk to him, when one of my friends who came along to support me (and who was already a smidge drunk) shouted out to me, “HEY JEREMY, KEVIN EASTMAN’S HERE! COME OVER!”

She had gone up to him with some other friends and were talking him up before calling me over. Me and Eastman then ended up talking about a buncha art stuff and the business of comics. That whole memory in itself holds a place in my heart.