Karl Dixon p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to find a few interesting reading tips. Karl Dixon is a professional cartoonist who creates the gag comic NoodlePates, which he describes as a vehicle for whatever makes him laugh. He also wrote The Night of the Village Idiots, a Sleepy Hamlet novel. There is another novel in the works, and graphic novels, plus some of his lively cartoony watercolor paintings and prose stories. He created comics for the Dandy, the classic UK kids’ comic, including Beryl the Peril and Ollie Fliptrik. His blog features a lot of interesting articles, including an excellent piece on how he draws comic strips.

READERSVOICE.COM: I like the happy tone to your writing in your blog and stories and comics. I was wondering what sort of books you liked to read and whether you could mention a few favorites of all time.

KARL DIXON: I’m glad you enjoy the tone of my humour, it comes mainly from a very warped sense of reality. I read a great deal, and in many genres. But for humour you just cannot beat PG Wodehouse. His comic timing and plotting is impeccable. His finest work, to my mind, would be the Blandings Castle tales.

[The Blandings Castle Saga, as P. G. Wodehouse described it, consists of 11 novels and nine short stories set in the fictional Blandings Castle. Titles include Leave it to Psmith and Sunset at Blandings. The main character is Lord Emsworth, a charming absent-minded old man. The tv show Frasier is influenced by Wodehouse.]

RV: Do you read a lot of nonfiction books on cartooning and humor, or biographies of cartoonists, and can you mention any of these books you’ve really liked over the years?

KD: There aren’t a great deal of cartoonist’s biographies out there, sadly. But I have read, read and re read Good Grief , the biography of Charles Schulz [by Rheta Grimsley Johnson]. But that said there are a lot of mini biographies on the net which I enjoy greatly. The only other non-fiction cartoon book I can recommend from the roof tops is Preston Blair’s How to draw cartoon animation; it’s what taught me all the basics I, or anyone new to the cartooning game, will ever need to know.

RV: Do you read a lot of comics and keep up with the latest in kids’ comics and other comics, and what do you like?

KD: I don’t read many comics—certainly not since I was a child—and that was always the super hero stuff—but what I do read, and love, are the European comic collections of Asterix, Lucky Luke, Iznogoud and many more. Their art is just beautiful and stories so whimsically plotted.

RV: How do you get ideas for your comic NoodlePates?

KD: Where do I get the ideas? Ah, it’s that age old question isn’t it? I cannot say how I get them all, but a main ingredient is to take a theme and watch scenes of silliness unfold in front of my eyes. If nothing comes along, I pick another theme and repeat the process until the NoodlePates start acting up in front of me and doing or saying oddball things. Basically, NoodlePates is just silliness personified.

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– copyright Simon Sandall