Interview by Natalye for Silver Sprocket
What have you been doing since we last talked to you?
Hello again, good to be back! Been a busy year since we last spoke I think. I’ve managed to get work animating on no less than FOUR broadcast cartoons this year and got a full 18 months of work lined up on one of them again for this year. I’ve had my first piece of work published on a monthly comic in Dynamite’s Bob’s Burgers. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling back and forth visiting my girlfriend, and I’ve been thoroughly neglecting my own comic output. Some other stuff happened too I’m sure.
You recently celebrated the seventh birthday of Orful Comics. Tell us more.
Orful Comics’ birthday is the day that what I consider to be the first “proper” Orful Comics strip went online. This year was celebrated at the UK’s finest comic convention, Thought Bubble. Unfortunately, I had been too busy with work to organize anything special for it, so it was more of a private celebration for myself. It’s nice to celebrate the birthday at a convention though.
Your latest contribution to As You Were is about a retirement home for old punks. Where did the idea come from?
Aside from the obvious nod to “Mattersville,” it kinda morphed out of an idea for Issue 3 I couldn’t get to work. I’d had this idea for a mockumentary-style comic in my head and have been a little obsessed with the idea of trying that ever since. Trying something in the vein of an infomercial seemed like a more workable idea for a short format comic, so I went with that. I’d also been watching a LOT of Alan Partridge around the time so that’s who Barry Plops is based on.
You’ve been doing mustache portraits lately. Tell us about those. What does your self-portrait look like?
I noticed at comic conventions this year that customers tend to really get behind portraits with a gimmick, and to be honest, I wanted a slice of that pie!
Why do you hate pets so much?
Haha I guess this is about the Crap Pets badges? I don’t REALLY hate pets. It’s just something fun to take the piss out of and people really like them too! They’re all very tongue in cheek but true. I especially like the “Cats Are Shit” ones because I’m quite allergic to them. Cats that is, not the badges. Also my friend’s cat bit me the other weekend, so totally justified.
We like finding out about people’s processes and work spaces, and we didn’t ask you about that last time, so what can you tell us about how you work?
Oooooooo finally! I’ve wanted to answer one of these for AGES!
I like to work traditionally, so [I] hand draw everything in pencil. I then use an animation lightbox (which is my favorite purchase I’ve ever made btw) to ink on a separate sheet of paper. I find not having to rub out pencil lines makes for nicer line quality, and also, I’ve ruined plenty pages trying to ink on the same page as the pencils.
I tend to work with standard printer paper and cheap pens you can get from pretty much any stationery shop. It’s then scanned in and cleaned up in Photoshop, where I also add in tones, effects, lettering, panel borders, whatever else it needs. Workspace is pretty DIY in that it’s a big plank of wood stretched between two A-frames. Amazing light box sits one side and computer etc. the other side. I’ve recently been developing a bit of a nerd corner of bits and bobs that side too.
If you had to choose one artistic piece of output of yours (comic or otherwise) that would be representative of who you are to show someone who is not familiar with your work, what would it be?
I’d say the latest issue of Orful Comics is the best to show people (Volume 5). It has some of my favorite comics of mine in it and the artwork is the best I’ve ever done. There’s a few slightly experimental comics in there too which I really like, particularly the Space Team strip.
Off the top of your head, who are some artists whose work you love that fans of your comics should check out?
Y’all should DEFINITELY be checking out my pal Rachael Smith if you aren’t already. She’s got a great style and some very imaginative writing. Definitely check out her graphic novel The Rabbit and her new web comic, Bess, which has only started recently. There’s also Ask Flimsy, in which a wine-loving blue cat gives terrible advice to real people on Tumblr.
Well, there you have it. To keep tabs on Rob’s future endeavors, give him a follow over on Facebook or Twitter, and check out his contribution to our latest and greatest, As You Were: Living Situations.