Have you always been interested in drawing and/or what got you into drawing and comics?
As far back as I can remember I was into the illustrative process. My older brother spent most of his free time drawing Donald Duck and Megaman characters on every available blank sheet so most likely mimicking him is what started me doodling. Throughout school my artwork was encouraged by peers and faculty alike and I have a strong memory aiding my grade 5 teacher by demonstrating rendering techniques to the class. Although I’ve tried many times, I’ve never been able to regularly maintain a sketchbook so my drawing phases have come and go quite sporadically in my adult life. These single-panel cartoons, which I started inking about 4 years back, have been a steady exercise for improving my line work.
Tell me a little about your comic process, how do you start and finish a piece?
The idea flow for my cartoons is sporadic and unpredictable. There are times when a specific incident will trigger a corresponding joke (an off-hand remark made in conversation or a curious glance at a misfortune), but more often than not my funnies are a result of non sequiturs: most likely a result of random mind processing. As for the drawing process, I’ve recently made the move to a completely paperless process; replacing graphite, India ink, and paper with layers in Photoshop. I start with very rough and basic shapes to frame the cartoon. The black line work is then done on another layer and color on the next. I finish with some quick shadows and my signature. The average time I spend on a comic is 40 minutes.
What few Nowakdraws comics would you say best sum up your comic voice?
Bugs, aliens, and death seem to be recurring subject matter in my work. Not sure if it’s because those are the thoughts that occupy my mind or just because I find those particular things funny. I may never know.
Does the reception of a previous comic affect how you proceed with the content for your upcoming comics?
If there’s been any affect it’s been minimal. Because I produce and post on my own terms (unlike syndicated cartoonists whose work gets filtered through editors) I have the option of censoring my own work. I want these cartoons to be accessible to as many as possible so I tend to stay clear from jokes containing curse words, sexual content, or religious beliefs. It haven’t felt limiting.
What other comic artists are your favorites and/or have been your biggest influences?
For my semi-daily cartooning work I feel the two artists I draw (pun intended) the most from are Gary Larson and Dan Piraro. The prolificacy of the two is exceedingly impressive. Even though I have an extensive catalogue of undrawn gags – and often come up with new ones daily – I am still unsure if I will ever complete half the amount they have.
Creating comics generally requires a heavy investment of time, money and creativity. What makes it worth it? What advice would you give aspiring comic artists who are starting their own strip?
I’m still not able to live off of the book sales or odd illustrative jobs I get but I’m not far off. The idea that my work is being shared thought the world, on a growing social-media platform is a remarkable feeling and just like comedians I feed off of the laughs (in the form of likes) from each piece. For aspiring cartoonists all I can say is draw, draw, and draw some more. Keep in mind the driving force of your creation should always be making sometime that you yourself would enjoy. After that finding an audience via the internet isn’t too difficult and the more often and routinely you produce, the more your followers will grow.
What is the main message you are trying to get out to the world through your comics?
The ambiguity and absurdity of existence.
Do you have any upcoming projects to stay tuned for?
I have an eight page comic featured in an upcoming issue of Béton (a French-German illustrative publication) and I’ve produced a visual trailer for an upcoming sci-fi novel which I am waiting on the author to release. I also have a street art project on the backburner that I hope to plaster around Berlin very shortly.