What were you reading the first time you realized you wanted to be a cartoonist?
Probably Peanuts, though my parents claim I told them in fourth grade that I wanted to be Garry Trudeau. But I’m not sure why I would have been reading Doonesbury in fourth grade, and I’m not sure if that even pans out chronologically. So Peanuts was probably my first true cartoon love.
Other than your own, what is your favorite monster to draw?
Hmm. I really like just making up monsters the most. But I have been known to draw Godzilla from time to time. Not well, though. Usually sort of goofy, cartoony versions of him.
How did your comic strip work like Big Top inform your work on Monster on the Hill?
I think doing the strip really helped me learn how to tell a story succinctly… how to get some humor in there without getting too wordy or long-winded. It definitely helped me know how to hit deadlines, as well. Doing a daily strip and having daily deadlines has taught me how to get the work done and not overwork it to death.
What formal art training do you have?
I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from DePauw University, and then studied illustration for three years at Ringling School of Art and Design for a few years. I did a lot of figurative drawing and painting at both schools, and I think that really helped me improve.
How have you been involved in the Austin comic scene so far?
I go meet up with a couple of comic creator’s groups from time to time. I met a lot of artists through showing my fine art at the Wally Workman Gallery for years. Aside from that, I’m embarrassed to admit what a hermit I become when working on a project.
How does it feel to have become the headliner for Top Shelf’s Kids’ Club FCBD and gotten great reviews from Jeff Smith and Neil Gaiman?
It feels really surreal! I’m a huge, huge fan of both of those guys and of everything Top Shelf does. So those were three things I could have never imagined. When I saw the blurbs from Smith and Gaiman, I definitely felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.
What are you looking forward to at Staple?
Mostly, I just love the chance to get out of my studio and meet people for a couple of days. It’s like a mini-vacation!