Self-portrait with cartoon dog

Back in the halcyon days of yore I used to “interact” with my characters a lot more than I do these day. While I really enjoy writing about characters other than myself, my recent sidebar feature in Lawrence Magazine gave me the perfect chance to do that once more. Even though it took me a lot longer to finish my self-portrait than it did for Jason Dailey to work his photographic magic for that issue, it was still good inking practice for me, since I use a brush so seldom these days…

Honestly, I actually like the photo a lot better; it has a nice Out of the Inkwell vibe going on…

The article’s author, Julie Tollefson, asked a nice batch of questions, and I thought it’d be fun to share the full interview here, too:

Are you a writer, illustrator, or both?
I’ve come to embrace the term “cartoonist”; I both write and draw, tending to be a wordy writer with the drawings there to move the story along rather than being the main focus of attention.

Tell me a little bit about Watusi the Talking Dog.
Watusi is a talking dog surrounded by a human cast (vs. a “funny animal” comic where all the characters are animals, such as Carl Barks‘ Donald Duck); he’s featured in my ongoing adventure strip of the same name. The Watusi comics started out as an experiment in quick jam comic storytelling, paired with a desire to produce an all-ages comic. But as I’ve worked more with the character, I’ve found his stories have unexpectedly become a way for me to also involve characters from my past comic projects.

In a few words, how would you describe your work?
Handcrafted comics– I’m interested in combining words and pictures in a direct fashion that doesn’t hide the hand-drawn aspect of my cartooning.

Are you working on any other projects?
The Watusi strip is taking up most of my creative time at the moment, although I’m also working to complete a couple of new print comics, something I’ve done very little of over the past two years.

What past projects are you particularly proud of?
Actually, I’m pretty proud of the Watusi body of work. Other highlights are One Long Day (my first 24-hour comic, from 1996) and the five issues of Invasion of the Space Amazons from the Purple Planet, a science fiction comic I drew with writer Wendy Griswold (1997-1999).

Why are you interested in creating comics? How did you become involved in comic book creation?
My interest in the medium grew out of a love of reading comics. As I read more and understood how the format worked, I wanted to make my own comics. I’ve been creating comics for most of my life, virtually all of the work focused on my original characters. I find comics– mixing words and images– to be a more fulfilling medium than either writing or creating “fine art” alone. As “Lil’ Abner” creator Al Capp said, “no artist who can write should avoid words; no author who can draw should avoid drawing.” [Theroux, A. (1999). The enigma of Al Capp. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books. p. 34].

Do you have any other websites or a Facebook page where fans can find you?
www.watusithetalkingdog.com is the best place to find my new work; www.facebook.com/Watusithetalkingdog is my Facebook page (though I really only use it for new strip announcements at this point).

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