READERSVOICE.COM: I really like the neatness of your comics, even with the hand drawn frames, and hand lettering. I know you like Japanese art but what other influences went into your visual style?
GRANT SNIDER: Thank you! I try to achieve a neat but natural effect. I think the combination of digital and non-digital media helps achieve this. My cartoonist and illustrator influences are Roz Chast, Tom Gauld, J.J. Sempe, Saul Steinberg, Jules Feiffer, Otto Soglow, Christoph Niemann, Dr. Seuss and on and on. My cartooning style is influenced by whatever cartoonist or illustrator I am reading at the moment. Japanese woodblock prints are definitely an influence. I sometimes reference art and design history in my comics – Kasimir Malevich, Rene Magritte, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Ellsworth Kelly have all been good material.
RV: How did you learn about color, with use of spot color in How to Leave a Party Early; and combining colors like in Poetic Justice; achieving a feeling or tone with midtones of color, which you mention in your comment on creating your comic Good Morning?
GS: Mainly by making comics! I prefer a limited palette with a dominant hue of orange or red, a secondary color of blue or green, and background shades in gray or brown. However, I change my color approach from comic to comic. I’m always open to new combinations (which I sometimes steal from classic picture books or other reference material) – I think coloring is one of the most exciting parts of my cartooning process!
RV: Did you study composition and art in general, or do you just have a natural feel for composition in your frames and when looking at the overall comic?
GS: No, aside from modeling my panels after the work of other cartoonists. I do not have a natural feel for composition, but one tends to develop just by trying to solve the design problem a comic page presents. Images must be organized in a logical, legible fashion that fits with the text. Like the quote that inspired one of my favorite podcasts, “Good design is 99% invisible.”
RV: What are some of your plans?
GS: I plan to spread the word about my new book until people get tired of hearing about it! But seriously, I hope to keep creating thoughtful and funny weekly comics. I also want to find the time and inspiration to begin writing and illustrating picture books. It’s a much different medium than webcomics, but one I feel equally passionate about. As always, I plan to keep chasing my next idea.
– See incidentalcomics.tumblr.com for some of Grant Snider’s comics. His new book is The Shape of Ideas, An illustrated exploration of creativity.
– copyright Simon Sandall.