Sunday, January 02, 2011

Questions 22: Barry Deutsch

Barry Deutsch grew up in New York and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City for a year, where he took Will Eisner’s cartooning class.   He moved to Portland and attended PSU and did political cartoons for the student paper, for which he won national Charles Schulz Award for outstanding college cartoonist.   His first graphic novel Hereville follows the lead character Mirka as she faces a witch, a mean pig, and a troll in an effort to win a sword and begin her life’s mission of slaying dragons.  It is a classic fantasy epic.  He is still a political cartoonist his work appear i n Dollars and Sense Magazine  and are collected on the website

Check out his blog Alas, a Blog

And for beginning cartoonist, you may like his Guide to Making Comics.
Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
I'm writing and drawing the second Hereville book.
DD: What is your artistic Process?
For the writing, I do as much research as I can stand, and then I sort of feel my way into the story. I make some stuff up and it's going wonderfully, and then i make more stuff up and it's kind of difficult, and then I make more stuff up except now it's like sucking molasses through a straw.

Eventually, I wind up with a complete story -- although it's not unusual for the final story to be wildly different from what I had originally thought the story was about. Then comes the editing, first to try and make sure the story works, and then to refine the details. Refining is the fun part of writing, for me; I listen to the voices in my head, making my characters play through one scenario or another until the scenes in my head begin to feel engaging and rich.

Then comes writing the dialog and laying out the pages, which for me is the same step. This is the most painful and difficult step, except for all the other steps. Trying to make the layouts playful and interesting and at the same time seamless and serving the story is, when it works well, incredibly gratifying. But sometimes I feel like I'm just trying to force inspiration to come when it doesn't want to.

After that, comes the drawing, which I do on computer. (Actually, I do everything on computer -- my stuff is never on paper until the publisher prints it). I just scribble, erase, scribble, erase: there's a video of my drawing process on Youtube which illustrates this pretty well.

After I ink the comic, Jake Richmond, my studio-mate, colors it.
DD:  What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
It would depend on the person. But Blankets might be a good one.

DD:  Have you worked with another artist on book?  How does that change your processes?
On Hereville, I collaborate with Jake Richmond, who does the colors. It's a lot of fun, because sometimes he makes choices that I never would have thought of, but which work wonderfully.

DD:  What skill would you like to learn?
I'd love to be a good illustrator. I feel I'm a good cartoonist, but I really get intimidated when asked to illustrate something.

DD:  What's the most important thing you've learned?
Well, as far as cartooning goes, the most important thing I've learned is to just get the work done. Nothing else will happen unless you're working hard and making pages.

DD:  Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I have a comic book collection -- all trade books, no floppies -- but I don't know that I'm really proud of any of it. I have an original Walt Kelly drawing on my wall, that gives me a lot of pleasure.

DD:  What is your favorite genre of Comics?
What do you call that genre that's distinguished by not being any of the genres? You know, just comics about ordinary people. I guess that's my favorite. But I enjoy good work in almost every genre.

DD:  Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.
No ipad!

DD:  What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
I love this Canadian show, Slings and Arrows. And I'm a total fanboy for Buffy.

DD:  How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work
I'm definitely influenced by some of my cartoonist friends, but other than that, no way I can think of.

DD:  What was your first comic convention?
Probably Chicago? That was a long time ago.

DD:  What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Meeting neat people and talking to them about comics!

DD:  If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
i think i'd be a writer.

DD:  Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
JC Noodle on SE Foster. It looks completely unpromising from the outside, but they have the best rice noodles in town. You have to get there early, though, because they usual sell out by early evening. But if you show up at 5am they'll be happy to serve you dinner!

DD:  How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I've been in Portland about 17 years; I moved here as part of a group of friends coming from Massachusetts. We had a friend who lived here, and I don't drive, so the good pubic transit system was a big appeal.

DD:  What is your favorite part of Portland?
Probably Powell's City of Books.

DD:  Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
Um... a nice Chinese restaurant?

DD:  Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media?   Or write a character from another media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond?  What would you explore?
In the Buffy universe, there's one fat girl who's a slayer, who shows up for about a second in the final episode. I'd love to do a comic about that character someday.

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