Interview with Anton Emdin
- Jul 17, 2012
Today we have the great pleasure to interview one of the top cartoonist from Australia, please welcom Anton Emdin. He told us more about his creative process, lifestyle and perspective on life and career, hope you guys like it.
You can see more of Anton's work at his Official Website.
1) First of all I would like to thank you for doing this interview, it's an honor for us to present more about you to our readers. I would like to start asking you about when your interest for illustration and cartoons?
Thanks to you! The feeling is mutual. I'm happy to be here.
I've always been interested in cartooning. When I was three or four I was copying Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, Woody Woodpecker, all sorts of cartoon characters. My parents have boxes of these drawings, mostly down on that old-school lined printer paper with the tracking holes. I'd read those old Harvey Comics - Richie Rich, Casper, Hot Stuff, as well as Archie and all those kids comics that were popular in the 70's and 80's. I was (and still am) obsessed with MAD magazine, too. My dad collected them, and I used to pore over them at any given chance.
2) Which artists do you use for reference?
I have a reference file, but it consists of random images from different artists and photographers - no one in particular. I have pinups and nudes, colour reference, faces, general inspiration. Basically, anything I like, I keep and stash away.
3) Your style is quite influenced by cartoons and american comics . How did you develop this style and how would you describe it?
I'm definitely most influenced by mid-century American comics and cartoons. I love the craftsmanship of the old comics and newspaper strips. They really knew a thing or two about drawing back then. But I also grew up reading the kids comics I mentioned before, and then later as a teen and adult I watched the Simpsons and Ren & Stimpy, which had a big influence on me at the time. I guess I'm always being inspired, and I like to think my style is continually evolving.
But to answer your question, I think that using brush and ink was the biggest factor in defining my style. It forces you to develop confidence in your linework, as there is no margin for error with a sable brush.
4) Describe us a bit about your creative process while creating a piece.
More and more I sketch extensively before going in to ink. I use a lightbox to keep refining the pencils until they are right. I used to go in too early with ink, and I think the drawing suffered a little for it.
After sketching I ink either digitally (in Photoshop) or with a brush on paper. I rarely do hand colouring. It's something I want to explore more, though.
So after inking, I colour underneath (again, in Photoshop). I like to mask off many areas of the illustration so I can easily select them during the colouring process (eg. forground, middleground, background, certain figures etc). Recently, I coloured up an illustration more organically - as if it were a real painting - and noted how much longer it took than using my selection method.
5) What's the best thing about working with comics and what is the worst?
I'm always grateful to be able to do what I do as a profession. There is no worst - I don't take this lifestyle for granted. I love the magazine and editorial stuff the most, though. Being handed an article and given creative control is what I live for.
6) How do you describe your daily routine?
I get up early. This is not of my own free will, however. I have small children that enjoy jumping on dad's head at 6am. If I'm feeling spritely, I do some exercise, otherwise, it's just breakfast and in the home studio at around 8am.
I draw about five or six illustrations a week, so they are usually at various stages of sketch, ink and colour. I try to juggle them - so while one is off for approval, I'm working on another. I always warm up a little before inking, too. This can include sketching on another project, or just doodling before getting into it.
So I just work away for the day, and knock off after 5pm, spend some time with the kids, and then back to work for a while after they sleep. I try not to work too late, as I just end up working in my dreams, too.
7) Which is your favorite piece so far?
My favourite piece is the one I'm working on right now. Tomorrow this will be different. Some seem to stand the test of time better than others - ones that come to mind are Don's Party and the Rise of China (for the Spectator). I quite like the recent Avengers piece I did for MAD. I'll be posting this to the blog soon.
8) Tell us five lessons you believe are really important for every illustrator.
1) Never miss a deadline. In fact, stay well away from deadlines. Editors and clients like to know they can depend on you. Imagine if you were in their shoes - would you hire you?
2) Don't overwork your drawings. This just wastes time and erodes spontaneity. If I'm early on a deadline and the art is looking good, I'll stop and work on something else for a while, then come back to it later. You'll find it's actually pretty much finished and won't need too much noodling around (as I'm wont to do with too much time on my hands).
3) Observation is your greatest tool. Over time I've learnt to 'see' better, and this translates into better drawing.
4) Learn maths.
9) Tell us some websites that you like to visit
Today's Inspiration (http://todaysinspiration.blogspot.com.au/) is one of my favourite haunts. Ger Apeldoorn's blog is a nice resource for old comics: http://allthingsger.blogspot.com.au/. Drawn is also a good daily peruse: http://blog.drawn.ca/. Other than that, Facebook feeds me a lot of good stuff.
10) Thanks again for your time, please leave a final message for the ones who are starting out on this kind of business.
Don't work for free. Don't work too cheaply, either. Turning down shitty jobs is good for the soul. Seriously - you can use that time to make a strong, personal portfolio piece that will get in fact get you more jobs than the watered-down gig that's paying peanuts.
Thank you so much for having me here! It's been great fun.