Famous cartoonists and comic (book) illustrators on Workspiration

Michiel Nagtegaal

Freelance Graphic Designer and comic illustrator from the Netherlands

About comic illustration career

As a young kid I grew up reading comic books so I aspired to be a comic book illustrator once. Until I found out that it was very difficult to become a reasonably payed comic book illustrator in the Netherlands. Therefor I switched my ambitions to graphic design.

At some point I started to design flyers for the house parties we organised in our home town. Those flyers and my comic book illustrations led to a design job at a small advertising agency. From there I ended up at online agencies and eventualy started my own online agency.

Interview with Michiel Nagtegaal

Jack Teagle

painter, comic artist and comic book illustrator

How to become a cartoonist

My background is in illustration, and since I started my career, I have slowly been branching out into publishing comic work, and exhibiting my paintings. I've worked on a wide variety of jobs, recently I've been focused on publishing my comic work, but I've been gradually returning to more freelancing and painting.

I think it all started on my foundation degree and being shown that there was a wider range of comics out there. At the time I was convinced that illustration was just illustrating children's books, and comics were just mainstream superhero stories.

Lastly, I was discovered by Front Magazine, where I did a lot of cartoon work for them.

Interview with Jack Teagle

Dave Shelton

comic illustrator, writing and drawing comic strip

I became an illustrator because I loved drawing from a very young age. I drew comics because I love the medium. I became an author kind of by accident, but as with the comics work, behind it all is, I suppose, some kind of basic urge to tell stories.

Most usually (especially for comics work) I use Photoshop to tidy up my artwork and to colour, and Illustrator to letter.

Interview with Dave Shelton

Sarah McIntyre

British comic book illustrator & writer of children's books

About her favourite and famous cartoonists from USA

Comics artists work incredibly hard, and making a comic requires so many different kinds of design skills. Some of my favourite comics artists are Jamie Smart, my studio mate Gary Northfield, Viviane Schwarz, Isabel Greenberg and James Turner.

I’m also influenced by American comic-book artists, such as Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and Maurice Sendak (In the Night Kitchen, which is itself a tribute to Windsor McCay’s Little Nemo strips).

Interview with Sarah McIntyre

Viviane Schwarz

Comic artist & illustrator of interactive children's books & games

I make other things by myself and in collaboration: games, comics, craft books, toys.

Then I am collaborating on a book about boardgames, and I am drawing an autobiographical comic series about anxiety disorder.

I like to be in a lively cafe when drawing harrowing comics because it’s better than being alone.

Interview with Viviane Schwarz

Joe Leech

User Experience Director @ cxpartners, Bristol

Creating comic books really helps explain the thinking behind a design. It shows user context and importantly gives a feel for how the design will be used.

Interview with Joe Leech

Greg Matusic

Illustrator, cartoon artist and designer from Upstate, New York

What inspired to become an comic illustrator

Comics and cartoons, followed by computers. My rabid interest in comics and cartoons helped me develop a real love and a solid foundation for illustration and cartooning while computers opened up a whole other world of possibilities.

Interview with Greg Matusic

Alistair Hamish MacDonald

Writer and comic illustrator

About cartoon illustration

In the last couple of years, my work has veered almost completely over into cartooning – which was my first love. We seem to be going through a comix renaissance now [...] For a long time, writing felt like a more serious and legitimate thing to do, but in recent years my interests have turned back to cartooning.

After a long hiatus away from comix and cartooning, I’m now finding lots of people whose work I love for one particular quality or another. It’s great that cartoonists are completely free now to bounce between their own life stories and the fantastical.

About greatest comic illustrators

  • Boulet. His webcomics are just the best, and his use of animated GIFs is breathtaking.

  • James Kochalka. I didn’t get American Elf at first glance, but I’m happy I went back to it, because that really taught me how real, personal, and powerful comics can be as an art form. His Cute Manifesto is a touchstone for me, too.

  • Dustin Harbin. He doesn't update his blog much, but I love his diary comics, and his lettering is my very favourite.

  • Zac Gorman. His diary comics are charmingly honest, and his GIFs are ace, but his greatest strength has always been his connection to, and self-expression about, his subject. I keep trying to remember that that’s what it’s about, what works best about comics, rather than technical ability (cf: James Kolchalka’s “Craft is the Enemy”).

Interview with Alistair Hamish MacDonald

Tyler Sticka

designer and cartoonist from Portland, Oregon

My love of cartooning accelerated when an illustrator named Ray Nelson, Jr. visited my second grade class. [...] But those interests didn't really converge until I read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics (breaking down the mechanics of visual storytelling) and Reinventing Comics (hypothesizing how those mechanics might be applied to new technology).

I was a geeky kid who loved comics and computers!

I find comics and video games inspiring partly out of nostalgia, but mostly because they are deceptively complex, visual mass media that require involvement of the reader or player to progress.

Portland has a wealth of great comic shops, my favorites being Floating World and Excalibur (both are great stores to visit if you're just getting into comics).

Interview with Tyler Sticka