Paul Merklein recently tossed a message over our virtual transom about a cartooning class he's conducting in Arlington on April 19th. We took the opportunity to make him answer our usual questions.
What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
I currently draw my cartoon "Dabney and Dad', which you can read here... https://www.facebook.com/dabneyanddad
How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
I still love pen & ink, but I'm planning to start coloring with Photoshop soon.
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
1963 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?
My wife & I moved to Silver Spring MD in June 2009, and we love DC.
What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
I have freelanced cartoons to newspapers, magazines, books, online media - and even church newsletters - since I was in college in the 80's.
Who are your influences?
Peter Arno, Charles Addams, Matt Groening & Charles Schulz. I admit that I still read The Family Circus.
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
I would stop trying to copy the style of greater cartoonists.
What work are you best-known for?
Fame has eluded me so far, but this interview may change that.
What work are you most proud of?
I drew cartoons for several Milwaukee newspapers in the 80's & 90's, and I always enjoyed getting "hate mail".
What would you like to do or work on in the future?
An illustrated novel. Something like "Dabney and Dad go to Las Vegas."
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
I take a walk in my neighborhood.
I use social media to engage my audience, then I market my cartoons & services to them.
What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?
My teenage son & I have attended most of the local comic cons, and The Small Press Expo is my favorite. A few years ago, we were sitting in the audience listening to Jeff Smith (creator of Bone) and I recognized a famous cartoonist from The New Yorker sitting next to me.
What's your favorite thing about DC?
The variety & diversity of people here.
What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?
If the weather is nice, I take visiting relatives & friends for a walk on The National Mall, and lunch on U Street.
How about a favorite local restaurant?
I eat at Ben's Chili Bowl whenever I can. My family loves The Big Greek Cafe in downtown Silver Spring.
Do you have a website or blog?
You can see me drawing & teaching here... https://www.facebook.com/greatbigfaces
Starting April 19, I'm teaching Cartooning at The Walter Reed Community Center in Arlington VA. Here is the link to register for my class, which is 320122 - Cartooning.