Monday, September 7, 2009

20 Questions with Brian Crane

Brian Crane is the creator of the syndicated comic strip, PICKLES, which is now in more than 500 newspapers. Read PICKLES in your daily newspapers or online at GoComics.

And pick up the latest PICKLES collection.











1. When you were a kid, did you want to be a cartoonist? Did you draw?

I did draw a lot as a kid and aspired to be a cartoonist when and if I ever grew up. I did become a cartoonist, but I'm not sure if I ever grew up.

2. What was your first paying cartoon job?

I did a few cartoons for my college newspaper, the BYU Daily Universe. I'm pretty sure I got paid for those, but not a whole lot.

3. Describe the process you went through to get PICKLES syndicated.

Pretty simple; Think of premise for strip, draw samples of strip, send them in to syndicates, wait for rejection and discouragement to ensue. It actually wasn't that bad. I got rejected by the first 3 syndicates I submitted to. I gave up on the idea for awhile, but with the encouragement of my wife I sent it in to the Washington Post Writers Group and they decided to give it a chance.

4. The strip is now in more than 500 papers. Did you have any idea it would be so popular?

No, not at all. I thought if I ever got in 100 papers I would be very lucky.

5. What’s your favorite rejected strip or gag?

I guess it would be my very first rejected strip, which had the dog, Roscoe, urinating on the TV set. I didn't realize you couldn't show dogs doing that in comic strips. At least back then. You probably can now.

6. Where do you stand in the print comics vs. web comics debate?

I read my morning paper, including the comics, with my breakfast in the morning. I've done that since I was a kid and I see no reason to stop now.

7. Newspaper comics are considered pretty tame compared to TV and other media. Do you find this limiting or is it a welcome challenge?

No, I've never been one who wants to see how much trouble I can get into, or how controversial I can be. I like comics that make you think and smile, but I have no desire to offend. I still manage to do it sometimes anyway, though.

8. Name five of your favorite comic strips or cartoonists.

PEANUTS, POGO, POPEYE, PIRHANA CLUB, PEARLS BEFORE SWINE. As you can see, I have a thing for comics that start with the letter "P".

9. Who would win in a cage match, Heathcliff or Garfield?

My money would be on Heathcliff. I think he's probably pretty ticked off at all the attention Garfield gets.

10. How do you develop ideas? Which comes first, words or pictures?

The words always come first for me.

11. Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

I have run out of ideas so many times that I would be worried if I stopped running out of ideas.

12. Who do you want to play Earl in the PICKLES live-action movie?

I hope there never is a PICKLES live-action movie, but if there were, maybe Hume Cronyn. He's dead, so it would be a long shot.

13. What kind of editor do you prefer, hands-on or laissez-faire?

I have a great editor, Amy Lago, and she gives me a pretty long leash, which I appreciate.

14. What are your favorite books, TV shows, songs and films? (Yes, that counts as one question.)

I read mostly non-fiction history books, but lately I have been hooked reading the The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. On TV, I like Survivorman, Mythbusters, and The Office. I love old movies, The Thin Man series, High Noon. Also Young Frankenstein.

15. What are your tools of the trade?

I sketch in pencil on Bristol board. Then I ink with a Hunt 22B pen nib and Higgins waterproof India ink. When I have finished three weeks worth of strips, I scan them and send them on to my editor.

16. What’s the best part about being a cartoonist?

Getting up in the morning and knowing that I get to do a job I love. And I can do it in my pajamas if I want to.

17. Have you met any of your cartoonist idols? Under what circumstances?

I met Sparky (Schulz) at my first Reubens, at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. That was probably one of the biggest thrills I've ever had.

18. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists?

Work hard, learn your craft well, but keep your day job in case things don't work out.

19. How important are awards?

They're useful for door stops or covering holes in the plaster.

20. What’s something that nobody knows about you?

I spent my 21st birthday in a South American jail, on suspicion of espionage.

3 comments:

CAFEPATTY@AOL.COM said...

HI BRIAN I LIKED YOUR STRIPABOUT NELSON HAIRCUT BY EARL. I WISHED U WOULD HAVE HAD MORE OF A REACTION FROM OPAL AND NELSON MON. I THOUGH THAT WOULD REALLY BE FUNNY. I HOPE U BRING IT UP SOME AS NELSON HAIR GROWS OUT. LOVE PICKLES

Wayne said...

I am a crochety 79 year old grandpa and really appreciate the Pickles family...not much different than ours. I have had some sweet interaction with grandchildren which might give you an idea about a strip. If you accept such offers for "ideas", please let me know.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I are convinced Brian Crane has somehow placed surveillance cameras and microphones in our home as well as those of our grandkids, plus parks and museums around Northern California.