I became a cartoonist by accident, in a way. As a kid, I always wanted to be a cartoonist. I drew comics all the time. I read the local library's entire collection of Peanuts, and then moved on to Garfield, Far Side and Bloom County. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, "Cartoonist!"
But somewhere along the way, I lost track of my childhood dream and ended up working in a boring office job instead. Many years passed. I stopped drawing. I started getting migraines. The story could have ended there, but in the fall of 2004 - after a bad migraine and a bad day at the office - I grabbed a stack of yellow sticky notes and drew two chickens. That's how Savage Chickens began, and it changed my life completely.
Ten years later, I have a successful webcomic, a book, more than 2,400 comics and my work now appears on GoComics.com alongside some of the comics that I read when I was a little kid dreaming about being a cartoonist. If I think about it too much, I start giggling and dancing around.
Over the years, I've learned a lot about drawing, but my process has stayed pretty much the same. I still draw every comic on sticky notes. It just feels right, and it feels true to the original spirit of rebelling against office culture. I can't pencil my drawings first because it can ruin the sticky note, so I draw each comic in ink right from the start. When I make a mistake, I have to draw the whole thing over again, sometimes many times. I use a light box so I can loosely trace elements from earlier drafts.
I don't work far in advance. I leave the drawing until just before I post my daily cartoon. Some days, I don't know what I'm going to draw until that point. This keeps things fresh and mildly terrifying.
What have the chickens taught me? If you're a creative person, you need a creative outlet only slightly less than you need food and water. Spend time doing something you love, every day, even if you can only spare a few minutes. You never know where it will lead!
A few other tidbits for the road:
Where am I? I live and work in Vancouver, British Columbia , the umbrella capital of Canada.
Where was I? I was raised in Ontario by a pack of wild piano teachers.