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: Reza Farazmand of Poorly Drawn Lines.
The first comic I drew was a black and white strip for my high school newspaper. I'd been reading Matt Groening's Life in Hell at the time, and something about the irreverence and simple art style just grabbed me and said, "You should try to do this." Of course, my first attempt was extremely rough, with scratchy drawings, illegible handwriting and probably too much teenage snark. But, for some reason, it made people laugh, and I haven't been able to quit comics since.
I started Poorly Drawn Lines my freshman year of college. Around that time, webcomics were coming into their own as a genre, and I was discovering brilliant new strips every day. XKCD, Perry Bible Fellowship, Toothpaste for Dinner, White Ninja and so many others were doing amazing things with this new medium and reaching millions of people in the process. I wanted to get in on that. So, one summer, my friend built me a website, and Poorly Drawn Lines went live on the Internet.
Still, cartooning was just a hobby. Even after I graduated and moved to Los Angeles with vague notions of becoming a writer, comics were never going to be my focus. But while I pretended to write music reviews at coffee shops, I was drawing comics on the side. I started drawing more and more of them. I drew them almost every day. It was apparent that I had a problem. After not too long, what started as a side project was generating enough buzz and income that it became my only project, and I ended up quitting my day job to be a cartoonist.
Since then, Poorly Drawn Lines has become a New York Times best-selling book, been featured on a Comedy Central show, and appeared without attribution on trillions of blogs. I have a book coming out in China soon, and I had one published in France last year. I've also had the opportunity to start a line of merchandise, selling thousands of comic prints and greeting cards to Poorly Drawn Lines readers around the world.
Going forward, I'd like to expand the comic into different mediums. I'm eyeing animation, and have plans to do more books in the future. I also won't rule out a rock opera, or a chain of themed restaurants. The possibilities are endless, and it could be a restaurant that serves only grilled cheese or something like that. I'm just brainstorming here.
Really, though, it's a great time to be a cartoonist. There are so many new ways to reach people, and opportunities to showcase creativity. It's hard not to imagine the places you can take a simple comic strip.