When did you start drawing?
Most kids scrawl on everything they can as a toddler. I never stopped. Growing up, I'd spend a lot of time at my mom's office during the summer, doodling on copier paper all day long. I got into comics through the Uncanny X-Men in the summer before 7th grade, and it snowballed from there.
As for newspaper comics, I can't even remember when I started reading Calvin and Hobbes. That kind of art has always been a huge inspiration to me, yet it hasn't been until recently that my inspiration and ability in that area was good enough for me to feel satisfied.
Are there any artists, DIY or not, that you feel inspired by?
Oh boy. As far as comic books, go, I love the work of Madureira, Pacheco, Quitely, McNiven and more.
For newspaper comics, I have an unhealthy obsession with Bill Waterson's work. The man is a genius. I don't believe there will ever be an artist in that field capable of besting him. What's sad is that no one seems to even be trying. He reminded us that newspaper comics can be a work of art the way Watchmen reminded the world that comics don't have to be kids' stuff. Calvin and Hobbes was insightful yet goofy, childish yet mature, hilarious yet thought-provoking, and always in a way that wasn't cheesy or preachy or soap opra-esque. The art is still mind blowing 13 years later, both in layout and execution. Today, everyone seems to be obsessed with being quirky and simple. I believe that comics can speak to the nature of existence AND make booger jokes simultaneously. You can be serious and funny, and challenge yourself to do both amazingly well.
I also draw inspiration from Darby Conley, Gary Trudeau, Bill Amend and many, many more.
What is your project?
I am always working on some form of comic book art, however my current, and favorite, project, is tentatively titled The Treehouse. It's a newspaper comic about a boy, his sister, a butterfly, a penguin, a squirrel/dog hybrid and the girls that live next door. I use the traditional newspaper dimensions, both daily and Sunday strips.
Why are you choosing to do it in this format?
As I said before, the newspaper comic format has been a love and obsession of mine since I was in grade school. I love the possibilities it presents and lament the fact that many of those avenues of expression are not explored by today's comic artists (whether they be pun-ridden strips written by middle-age lawyers whose friends tell them they're hilarious or hackwork slapped up on the internet by kids with too much time and not enough direction). The newspaper comic is one of the few art forms left that is this unexplored, yet it remains stagnant, most likely due to the innovators sticking to the web and self-publishing, leaving print to older imitators of the likes of Cathy or, God help us, Frank and Ernest. Sadly, the glut of webcomics prevents the true innovators from being found and recognized. Could you imagine if newspapers were filled with comics of the quality of Penny Arcade, Multiplex, XCRD, Nothing Nice To Say, Yirmumah or any of the Digital Pimp stuff?
If given the offer, would you do more traditional work for a newspaper?
In a second. I will most likely begin self-publishing, but I am also pursuing syndication possibilities. This is not for money. Heaven knows you stand a higher likelihood of hitting a niche and making decent cash selling merch online with a webcomic than succeeding with newspaper syndication. But as much as I love reading comics created with the vast freedom of self-publishing online, I relish in the restrictions of the newspaper genre. I feel it focuses my creativity and challenges me to write beyond vulgar puns, forcing me to write economically. You know what they say about brevity.
Why did you choose to go the DIY route?
I haven't really. I will go whatever route allows me to write and draw as much as possible. I want my comics to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. But, more importantly, the more opportunity I have to draw and write, the better I will get.