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John Martz from drawn.ca talks books

Readersvoice.com aims to collect a few good reading tips. Drawn.ca aims to give illustrators and cartoonists inspiration. It constantly links to the sites of different artists around the world. I emailed some questions to the creator of drawn.ca, cartoonist and illustrator John Martz.

You might want to check out drawn.ca before reading this interview.

READERSVOICE.COM: I was wondering if you could give me a list of about five books you’ve really enjoyed in the past few years.

JOHN MARTZ: 1. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex remains one of my favourite books of the past few years. It’s a kids’ book, yes, but a brilliant one filled with clever rhyming verse about classic movie baddies like Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and Frankenstein’s monster. It’s a perfect marriage of pictures and words; it’s smart, funny, and I’m going to go read it again when I’ve done this interview.

2. The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker. We seem to be living in the golden era of complete collections — DVD sets of television shows, projects like the Complete Peanuts books from Fantagraphics, and massive DVD archives of publications like MAD Magazine, Rolling Stone and the New Yorker. The New Yorker’s massive cartoon collection all together in one source? And searchable by artist, date, or keyword? It’s an unbelievable resource, and it belongs in every cartoonist’s library.

3. Hunter and Painter by Tom Gauld. Gauld’s cartooning is sublime, and I love just about anything he touches.

His deceptively simple artwork and dialogue show a kind of restraint tha t I aspire to.

4. nEuROTIC by John Cuneo. I reviewed this collection of filthy fun here: http://drawn.ca/2007/03/05/john-cuneos-neurotic/ .

5. Theories of Everything by Roz Chast. Chast is one of my favourite cartoonists, and every time I open this massive collection of nearly 30 years worth of her output, I am floored, humbled, and inspired.

RV: Can you give a bit of an idea of a typical day for you in Toronto, doing your comics and illustrating, loading up Drawn.ca, and other activities, places you frequent?

JM: I work out of my apartment, and my living room is my de facto studio space, and a pretty enjoyable place to work. My typical day is pretty simple — I get up, pour myself a coffee, and first thing I do is check e-mail, web stats, Google Reader, and other Internetty things. Depending on my deadlines and daily schedule, I try to set aside an hour or so each day to blog on Drawn!. Sometimes I wish I could blog more sporadically or organically — as I come across things — but in trying to manage my time, it’s far more efficient for me to let the links pile up and I can pick and choose the best ones and then sit down and write a bunch of posts all in one go. The rest of my day is spent work ing on illustration and comics jobs.

On slow days I try to busy myself with personal projects, and general creative growth through doodling and playing. My apartment is, for better or for worse, filled with distractions. I have a healthy collection of books and DVDs, so creative inspiration is never far away.

RV: Can you talk about The Beguiling and what importance this has for you and other comics artists in Toronto?

JM: Apart from being one hell of a comics and book shop, carrying just about anything you can think of, both Peter Birkemoe and Chris Butcher of the store do an admirable job of hosting and sponsoring events and signings, as well as fostering the local comics artist community and scene.

RV: How did you meet the other contributors to Drawn.ca?

JM: I met both Jay Stephens and Patricia Storms through the National Cartoonists Society, of which we are members, and at the time of launching the site, they were the only members I had met in person. The remaining contributors I had simply met online in some fashion whether it be through my website or theirs. I’m happy to say that I’ve since met them all in person except for Jared Chapman who lives in Texas, and Adam Koford who lives in Florida.

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