Welcome, David. We are so happy you'll be teaching again this year.
Tell us a little about yourself...
I've been a published cartoonist since 1989, when I collaborated with
Patton Oswalt on a college newspaper strip. My first successful comic
book was a tiny mini-comics version of Ulysses (the novel by James
Joyce). I received hundreds and, in time, thousands of orders for it,
which I took as a sign to continue making comics.
I have made a lot of
short comics over the years, and never had a continuing character or
series, which has been horrible for my career, but helped to preserve my
sanity as an artist.
My first twenty years of making comics seemed
like a prelude to making Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song, in collaboration with Frank M. Young. It was my first graphic novel
(not counting an Oregon Trail graphic novel for kids), and won the
Eisner Award in 2013 for best reality-based work.
I grew up in Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I have lived in Seattle since 1992, and really like the weather here.
Can you describe your creative process?
Sometimes I work with collaborators (who usually do the writing).
Sometimes I make the whole comic myself. I choose ideas that appeal to
me and make short comics about them.
With the subject of the Carter
Family, I was fascinated enough with their music and their story that I
knew I would be willing to draw nearly 200 pages of comics about them.
Still, Frank and I divided their story into short chapters, to give us a
sense of accomplishment every time we completed a small chunk of the
What’s your favorite comic to movie adaption?
American Splendor. The filmmakers perfectly conveyed the spirit of
Pekar's comics and ingeniously put Harvey Pekar in the movie as
himself. As great as Paul Giamatti's performance was, Pekar himself is
the highlight of the film. Which is only fitting, for a pioneer of
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
Probably an English professor who writes on the side. There are
definitely days when I think maybe this would be the better career
option. It takes so long to draw a story in comics form. I envy
writers who can very quickly, in a single sentence, express what it
might take me all day to draw.
Still, there are things that can only be
told and expressed with drawings. I think I'm going to be doing comics
for life. I've tried to quit, tried to shake it off, but I keep going
back to comics.
Thank you for visiting. We are sharpening our pencils in anticipation of the 25th.