Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meet a Local Cartoonist: Garth Graham

 Garth Graham was at last fall's Intervention con and answered my usual questions.

Mike Rhode: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

Garth Graham: I'm a webcomic artist. Right now I'm working on an urban fantasy, before that a slice-of-life comedy strip, next up who knows! Something in space maybe.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I used to pencil and ink by hand, but these days I do everything digitally. I use a Wacom Cintiq, do my line art in Corel Painter and all of my color work in Photoshop.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in '83. I'll leave you to guess which century.

Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?

Actually I live in Virginia, down in Stafford. I came here when my parents moved here and haven't found a particularly compelling reason to move away yet. The greater DC area is very centrally located to a lot of the conventions I go too, and there's quite the wealth of comic artists in the area.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I don't have any formal training in cartooning. I went to Virginia Tech to get my degree in Industrial Design, which overlaps a surprising amount with what I do. But the art and the story telling and all the comic-specific skills are things I've worked at and built up on my own over time.

Who are your influences?

Probably too many to list, but chiefly among them reside Mark Silvestri, Phil Foglio, J Scott Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Douglas Adams, Robert A. Heinlein, Peter F. Hamilton and many many others.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

That's a hard question. I don't really know if I'd change anything. Hindsight says I might have been better off if I had timed some things differently (launching new titles right as the housing market crumbles for instance), but there isn't really a moment that I wish I could go back to and re-do.

What work are you best-known for?

I am probably best known for my series of twisted faerie tale art prints.

What work are you most proud of?

Whatever is most recent. Every new page, every new print. Each piece I feel is better than the last, and that's what I'm most proud of.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

In the future I'm hoping to work on some more sci-fi kinds of stuff. Science fiction is what I grew up on, and while a lot of people consider me a steampunk artist, sci-fi is still my go to source for awesome and wonder.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I go do something else. Anything else. I boot up the xbox, I go for a jog, or go to the gym to do some rockclimbing. Something that works a different part of my brain, or no part at all. I let my subconscious churn it over for a bit and it always comes back to me with a solution.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

I think, given time, all comics will be webcomics. They'll be in print too, absolutely, but the first point of distribution will be digital, will be on the web. I think this will allow for a real surge of independent (i.e. not Marvel or DC) comics into the public eye. The Marvel and DC universes won't be the entirety of what make up American comics in the minds of the general populace. It's going to be a wild trip.

What local cons do you attend ? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Local to DC, I attend Intervention and Katsucon regularly. AnimeUSA is another local con I've been to in the past. I'm hoping to get into SPX next year.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

Let's be honest, there's a LOT of cool stuff going on in DC. Not just history and politics and the center of power of what is arguably still the most powerful nation on the planet, but there's enough social life going on that no matter what your interest or inclination you can find it happening somewhere and join in the party.

Least favorite?

The traffic.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

I've a long standing love of the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, both the one in DC and the big one out by Dulles.

How about a favorite local restaurant?
While not technically in DC proper, I'm a big fan of Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring. Great atmosphere, great food, wenches, sea shanties, fire shows, and belly dancing. What more could you want?

Do you have a website or blog?

Several, in fact! My most actively updated website is, of course, my current comic Finder's Keepers which can be found at . My former site is

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