John Hambrock is the creator of the comic strip “The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee”. John is an amazing artist who never really intended to go in the direction of cartoons. It was while working for Chicago Loop Design Agency drawing the Keebler Elves his life was forever changed. After various attempts at creating a comic strip he found a little character named Edison Lee. In 2001 John began the development of the little character and in 2006 King Features launched “The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee” and the rest, as they say, is history.
David: Hey John, can you give a little history of how you got started in the cartooning world?
John: I started experimenting around with comic strips in 1991. I knew nothing about the business of syndication (web comics were unheard of at the time), and had little experience in drawing a comic strip, but something kept nagging me to give it a try. I sat down with my wife Anne, and together we started a strip we called “Second Nature.” We did the strip for about 3 years, sending monthly mailings to a growing list of subscribers, while at the same time working to get our foot in the door of any syndicate that would have us. Getting “Second Nature” into newspapers was not to be, but we learned quite a bit talking to newspaper editors. Ultimately, “Second Nature” was shelved.
David: Where did the whole idea for Edison Lee come about?
John: Edison grew from a boy named Everett that I had introduced as a minor character in an earlier strip I called “Bill.” It was only after observing the imaginative creations of my two boys that I began to explore building Everett into a major character. At the time I was reading the biography of Thomas Edison, and that’s what inspired me to change his name.
David: What’s your favorite part of being a cartoonist and the most rewarding?
John: I find the writing most fullling. I’ve also made some great, lasting friendships with some really great cartoonists.
David: What do you consider to be the hardest part?
John: The hardest part of comic strip syndication is meeting the weekly deadline. You must deliver, whether you feel like it or not.
David: John you are an extremely talented cartoonist. What advice and words of wisdom do you give to other cartoonist and aspiring cartoonist?
John: Draw from life, write what you know, and be true to your own voice. Some of my biggest comic strip failures were because I was trying to create what I thought an editor or the overall general public would want. It was only after I started writing for myself that I met with success.
David: Really great advice John. I truly appreciate you taking the time to be featured and answer a few questions. It is a true privilege.
And there are two websites everyone should check out. The first is John’s personal website: www.edisonlee.net
and John is also one of the first cartoonist to join The Cartoonist Studio, check the website here: www.thecartooniststudio.com