The interview you are about to read is part of a series of Artist Interviews tied in with the 3rd Annual Drawing for Life Marathon that will take place on March 6th, 2010 from 10am-10pm inside The Art Center II (111 E. Bay St., Jacksonville, FL 32202: located above the Ivey Bar.) Drawing for Life is a 12-hour draw-a-thon featuring 14 local artists and all the artwork created throughout the day will be sold with 100% of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society as part of their annual Relay for Life fundraiser.
By Logan Zawacki
Let me start with a quick introduction to our first two artists:
*David King is the co-captain of the Drawing for Life Marathon and this will be his third year involved with this event. He is the creator of Oscar & Sid, a daily online comic strip about two best friends who just graduated college and all the antics that taken place in their lives. David noticed that none of the comic strips in the Sunday paper targeted the “SPIKE TV” guys market, so he wanted to produce something different. The first three hundred Oscar & Sid comics strips will be available in book form later this year and you can keep up with the duo daily by going to http://www.oscarandsid.com.
*Rob Jones is a comic book artist originally from Long Island, New York. This will be his third year involved with Drawing for Life, but only his second year doing the full 12-hour marathon. He works full-time for Dick Giordano, a comic book veteran and former executive editor of DC Comics as well as Charlton Comics. When Rob isn’t working with Giordano, he runs his own comic book company by the name of Chalkline Studios. The company was founded by Rob and their anthology series, Unleashed, has featured artwork by fellow DFL participants: David King, Ed Dansart, and Logan Zawacki. Rob is also looking to publish his first trade paperback later this year titled Perfect Storm, in which he writes, draws, inks and colors the entire book. Preview the book at http://www.perfectstormcomic.com.
Now onto the Q&A…
What is it about this event that keeps you coming back?
Rob: It’s a good cause. We’ve all been affected by cancer. Everybody has somebody they know and care about that has been affected. As artists we can only do so much, but we’re gonna do our part to do what we can.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations? I have a couple relatives whose passing really motivated me to get involved with the American Cancer Society, so when you’re drawing and you’re thinking of that person who inspired you to do this, do you have one or two people in particular?
David: Well, I lost my grandmother to leukemia. My cousin’s husband died at 33 yrs old. He just woke up one morning with a pain in his knee and 3 months later he died from cancer. And then just this year my uncle passed away, actually about a month ago, and his death was caused by pancreatic cancer. So it’s affected my family pretty hard.
Rob: My little sister had breast cancer about 7 years ago. That was tough.
So she is a survivor?
Rob: She’s okay, she’s home now. She lives in New York and I went back to visit her (during treatment) and I’m very glad I lived in Florida because I could not take it.
David: (to lighten the mood he turns to Rob and says) How are your boobs doing?
Rob: Mine are terrific!
David: You check them on the 12th? (laughter)
Rob: I’m working with a B-cup, trying to get them down to an A-cup.
All that running will pay off eventually. (David & Rob have been running to prepare themselves for the Donna Deegan 26.2 Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer.)
Is there any particular part about the Drawing for Life Marathon that you look forward to every year?
David: Last year when we had more people and we saw the Power Hours come to fruition, and we saw everybody’s versions of those different characters, that thrilled me to no end! To Brian’s take on Spider-man and he’s a skull Spider-man, to see all that stuff is kind of like when (Logan) and I first started talking (about DFL) how it would be cool to see all these people do this kind of stuff. The Power Hours are fun and make me feel like we’re actually doing something.
And for those of you who don’t know what a Power Hour is just yet, basically we have one entire hour where every 5 minutes we start a new sketch. So at the 5-minute mark you stop whatever you were working on and move onto the next chosen topic. In the past we’ve done characters from Marvel, or video games, or some generic theme. Well this year it will be even more generic in order to support the various artists we have, the different painters and illustrators, so we’re gonna use themes that are far more loose. Instead of saying “draw Spider-man” we’ll say “draw anything you can think of when you hear the word beach.”
David: Are we doing 10-minute sketches, or still keeping it at 5-minutes? I think we were talking about it.
I think we’re gonna do a couple 5-minute hours and then do a couple 10-minute hours, because I believe we’ll have four Power Hours this year. (If you’d like to witness a Power Hour they will be scheduled at 11am, 2pm, 5pm, and 8pm the day of the Marathon.)
Rob, is there a favorite part for you?
Rob: My favorite part is at the end of the last Power Hour when all the sketches that we’ve done were collected and you saw this mound of finished work. It was very cool!
Are you guys surprised by the quality of everybody’s work? In a matter of just 5 minutes, everybody gets focused and just gets down to it and draws. Here’s your limit…draw it! (Are you surprised) by the ability of artists to just throw stuff together like that?
David: You can tell how popular the 5-minute sketches were because the first year (we did Drawing for Life) people ate them up. When you’re loose and not thinking, it brings out your personality, the fun…
Rob: I had a really hard time with the sketches the first year until we got to Napoleon Dynamite. (laughter) And then for some reason I just nailed it and from that point forward I had a blast. But I really struggled up until that one sketch.
David: What’s funny is as he’s talking about Napoleon Dynamite, I can flashback and I remember doing that one. Even though we’ve done God knows how many, I can remember each one of them.
Well, we do 12 an hour and we did five Power Hours the first year, so we did 60 each. Last year I believe we also did five Power Hours, so 60 sketches a person makes 360 5-minute sketches total!
Are you guys excited about going LIVE this year? This is the first year Drawing for Life will not be held inside UNF’s Photo Lab behind locked doors. This will actually be live and open to the public for 12-hours straight.
David: I’ve always thought we needed to do that. There were six of us sitting in a room and the Power Hours were jazzing us up, so can you imagine people watching us?! It’s gonna be a blast! People perform better when they’re “entertaining” so it will bring out a lot of personality and good times.
What do you think about the number of artists involved with year?
David: I think its great to get more people, my only concern is that they’re doing it for the right reasons. I don’t want people doing it just to make a name for themselves. As long as they keep to the meaning of why we’re doing it, then the more the merrier. Last year, everybody knew why they were there and were jazzed to be doing it for the cause. I hope everyone is still excited about doing it for the “cause.”
Is there a particular artist this year that you’re excited to see produce work?
Rob: Well, my favorite artist in the group is standing right in front of me, Mr. Logan. I love when you do your sketches and they always turn out great. They always make everyone else work harder, so every year I look forward to seeing what you do.
Thank you very much, Rob.
David: I’m looking forward to everybody’s work, but I’m really looking forward to the artists like Ed and Tim and Brian, who have a more modern style and when they’re forced to draw something they’re unfamiliar with, the stuff they produce is amazing. When you take them out of their comfort zone of robots and octopuses…(a humorous jab at Ed) the stuff they come up with is brilliant.
For me personally, I was flat-out blown away by Ed’s renditions last year and the style of them. I know our (art style) is so familiar and when we draw comic book characters we draw them like they look, like the way we grew up drawing them. Where Ed and Brian’s style, and even Tim’s sketchy style, are totally different interpretations that I found insanely interesting.
David: That’s what I said…that’s what I meant to say. (laughter)
Rob: When it’s spoken eloquently, that’s what he said.
David: Did it sound like I was insulting (Ed)?
David: I’ll try harder next time. (laughter) Are we gonna do an all octopus Power Hour?
Ed Dansart: Sweet!!!
* If you’d like to hear the rest of the interview please download it here.