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The GoComics "Meet Your Creator" series brings you firsthand insight into the lives and careers of your favorite cartoonists. Each week, we hand over the keys to one of our talented creators, who share their inspirations, achievements, creative processes, studios and more! Read on to hear from this week's featured cartoonist: Corey Pandolph of Barkeater Lake, The Elderberries and TOBY.

Toby by Corey Pandolph
                                                    Toby by Corey Pandolph

How did you begin your career as a cartoonist? When did you start cartooning?

All I cared about as a kid was cartoons. I read comic books, watched cartoons on TV and read the Sunday funnies cover to cover. As I grew up, my career aspirations swayed some, but always came back to drawing comics and cartoons.

As an adult, I would bartend and wait tables at night so I could concentrate on comic ideas during the day. I spent years sending away submissions to the major syndicates and even tried to break into comic books at one point. In 2000, I hooked a development deal with United Media and have been full time at cartooning and illustration in one form or another since.

What inspires you?

The New Yorker

People watching, mostly. And the jumbled architecture of New York City. There's so much going on at one point or another here that an hour of drawing people and buildings in the park can inspire a file cabinet of ideas. The brick, concrete, water towers, twisted wires peppered with trees and people going to work, riding bikes, falling down, being gross, being mean, being nice -- it's a giant reference photo. After overloading on the sights and (ugh) smells, I bring it all back to my desk and try and twist my brain into a fresh perspective. That's where the jokes come from -- making the things most people take for granted into an original (hopefully funny) thought. And the voices. Lots of jokes come from the voices. But we'll pretend I didn't say that.

The Elderberries by Corey Pandolph
The Elderberries by Corey Pandolph, Phil Frank and Joe Troise

Another great inspiration tool is working in unfamiliar styles or media just for fun. I like to use watercolor, oils and sometimes spray paint to see what I can accomplish. I also play a decent blues guitar, which keeps me creative, but separates me enough from my actual job, to be helpful.

What are some of your biggest achievements or accomplishments?

Cul de Sac
                                                     Cul de Sac

 

Besides being syndicated in newspapers with The Elderberries, I'd say my two greatest achievements are getting to write and draw Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac for a week and being a regular in The New Yorker magazine. Oh, and MAD. I got to draw their take on what the final Cathy strips would be. That was fun. And hard. I also once built shelves for the actor Michael O'Keefe. In Brooklyn.

My life is weird.

What were your favorite childhood comics? What comics do you read today?

I read all the Peanuts I could. Read Garfield when I was young. Held onto Calvin and Hobbes books like they were the bible and got into Krazy Kat and the art of Peter Arno later on. I'm into a lot of comic books and superhero stuff these days. I still feel like I'm learning how to draw, so I take the occasional life drawing course when I can.

Do you have any upcoming projects or appearances?

Corey Pandolph

I'm currently trying to write my first crime novel and diving into some graphic novel ideas. It's a mess at the moment, but it's a beautiful mess. I like to write and always feel like I don't do enough of it. I do some appearances that are part of being a New Yorker cartoonist, but I tend to steer clear of a lot public appearances that don't occur with my friends at a pub.

Tell us about your studio or workspace.

Corey Pandolph Studio

We live in a studio apartment in Manhattan, so I really just have a desk in the corner. It's cozy and my commute is 10 feet, so life could be worse.

• Find TOBY here.

• Read Barkeater Lake here.

• Check out The Elderberries here.

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