Tuesday, November 24, 2009

20 Questions with Lucas Turnbloom

Lucas Turnbloom is the imaginative cartoonist behind the comic strip IMAGINE THIS, currently available online at GoComics and at Lucas' fine website.

Lucas is also an editorial cartoonist for a San Diego newspaper and an avid marshmallow juggler.

Do yourself a favor and read IMAGINE THIS, or we'll be forced to send Clovis after you. (And belive me, you don't want that!)

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

Yes, and yes.

I drew all the time when I was a kid. Early on, my parents gave me those old Charlie Brown ‘cyclopedias and Garfield books for inspiration. I’d study the illustrations in those books for hours and copy them. I’ve filled volumes of sketchbooks with drawings of Snoopy, Garfield and Charlie Brown.

When I was about five, I developed my own panel strip (which was BRILLIANT). However, the syndicates turned it down. Imagine, a syndicate shooting down five-year-old! Yes, ladies and gents, this is the cold, cold business to which I now belong.

2. What was your first paying cartoon job?

Back in the mid ’90s, some guy (a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend) needed an illustration of a Cactus Man character he created. His particular idea for this character was quite asinine (I won’t bore you with the details), but I needed the money. So I drew it.

3. Describe how you developed IMAGINE THIS and got it on the GoComics site.

In 2007, my wife decorated my son’s bedroom with teddy bears -- lots of teddy bears. One bear in particular stood out because it looked a little disgruntled. This bear became the inspiration for Clovis. There were also some goofy stuffed dinosaurs in the mix, which eventually lead to the creation of Dewey. These two stuffed animals, with the addition of a serious lack of sleep, gave birth to the comic Imagine THIS – the story of a grown man who still talks to his childhood stuffed animals. Exciting!

After several months of posting the strip on my site and Comics Sherpa, I submitted it to the syndicates. Universal liked it and after talking about it for a few months, we thought it was right for online syndication with GoComics. It launched in April 2009.

I’m now a multi-millionaire living on a yacht surrounded by many fly honeys. Okay, not really. But I was able to buy a sandwich last week. A damn good sandwich.

My next goal is to get Scott Adams to promote the strip. I have a plan, and it involves buying him a sandwich. A damn good sandwich.

4. You work as an editorial cartoonist for a San Diego paper. What’s the future of editorial cartooning?

It doesn’t look promising, I’m afraid. Will the genre disappear? No. But many of the newspaper staff positions will, which is unfortunate. It’s an important art form.

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

I had one where Clovis dropped the S-bomb, but that was more self-restraint on my part, than rejection.

6. Where do you stand in the print comics vs. webcomics debate?
I’m in the middle. I believe print isn’t totally doomed, and webcomics aren’t irrelevant.

Print cartoonists are going to need the web, and web cartoonists are going to need print (in some form). It’s really that simple. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Like Dax on Star Trek (for all my trekker brethren out there).

7. The web allows more freedom, but would you be interested in doing a newspaper strip?

Absolutely. Let me say that again: ABSOLUTELY.

8. Name five of your favorite cartoonists or comics.

That’s difficult because I have too many. So, I’m going to list 10:

3.) Matt Groening
6.) LIO

9. Who’d win in a cage match, Clovis or Garfield?

Garfield is a little too trustworthy when it comes to teddy bears, which gives Clovis the upper hand. So, I’d say Clovis.

However, I believe Pooky would kick the crap out of Clovis.

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

I usually develop ideas by observing others in public places. Eavesdropping can really help the creative juices flow. Just don’t get caught.

And for me, the words always come first.

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

Long ago, I worried about that. But then I invented the character Robert the Plant. Whenever my brain farts, I just kill him off. You’d be amazed by how murdering a houseplant can help alleviate writer’s block.

12. What’s more important, raw-talent or perseverance?

Both. But I’d also like to mention the uber-importance of a good ass-kissing.

On an unrelated note, John Glynn looks extremely handsome today.

13. Tell us about your book The Clovax.

It’s a collection of just about every strip I’ve drawn during the comic’s first year. The title and cover art are based off of the 300th strip where Darin compares Clovis to the Dr. Seuss character, the Lorax. However, anyone who reads the strip regularly knows that Clovis is the anti-Lorax.

Buy your copy today!
Do it! Do it now!!

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

Okay, off the top of my head:

TV Shows:
Ren and Stimpy
Night Court
Married With Children
Anything Star Trek
Days of Our Lives

Harry Potter 1-7
The Tommyknockers
Catcher in the Rye
Dragon’s Blood
Animal Farm
To Kill a Mockingbird
Everyone Poops

The Dark Knight
Empire Strikes Back
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Return of the Jedi
Pulp Fiction
Star Trek
(new flick)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Songs (that make me stop flipping through the radio stations):
I’ll listen to just about anything. However, I’d consider myself a rock/prog. metal kind of guy. So, anything from Metallica, Dream Theater, Queensryche, Megadeth, Alice in Chains, Rush, etc. Although, I do own an Air Supply CD.


15. What are your tools of the trade?

Mechanical Pencils, Bristol Paper, Micron Pigma Pens, Photoshop, and anger. Lots and lots of anger.

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

Meeting people who “get” my lame sense of humor. It’s awesome. Rare, but awesome.

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

At the Reubens this year, I got to meet several including Stephan Pastis and Mark Tatulli, which was awesome – very cool guys. However, I’d still REALLY like to meet Gary Larson, Bill Watterson, and Jim Davis one day. What cartoonist wouldn’t?

In 2005, Jim Davis was at Hallmark Galleries in La Jolla (near San Diego) signing Garfield art, which is about 15 minutes from my office. I’ll never forgive myself for not ditching work and going down there to meet him.

18. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists?

There is a good possibility your work eclipses mine. So, make it easier for me and quit right now.

19. How important are awards?

I can only imagine having a Pulitzer or a Reuben would help a career. I’ll never know. (Tiny violin playing in the distance)

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

I’ve seen Howard the Duck not once, but twice...Don't judge me!!


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Greg Bulmash said...

I have seen HtD twice too. I'm still in therapy.

Lucas Turnbloom said...

It's good to talk about it, Greg. It helps the healing process.

MJ said...

Ha,ha,ha. Very cool 20 questions. I will take one of those "Damn Good Sandwiches"