Keith Brown: And the wages of Cartooning

Keith Brown is the humorous creator of the comic “The Wages of Sin” “Potluck” and “It’s Grisworld”.  I had the privilege of speaking with Keith and he is one of the most down to earth and funniest people I’ve ever spoken with. Keith has some fantastic goals planned for the future and I’m thrilled to peek into his cartooning world and share it with you here at “Don’t Pick the Flowers”.

David: Hello Keith, tell me about your comic “It’s Grisworld” and how the idea for it came about.

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Keith: I’m a huge fan of the Bob and Tom Show. “It’s Grisworld” is my take on a day in the life of host Tom Griswold. The idea came about when I was trying to think of a way to do a strip without having to rely on trying to get a newspaper syndication deal. As you know the competition is fierce and the opportunities for a coveted position seem to be fewer and fewer. As I listened to the show everyday, I found myself imagining things Tom might say or do. Hence, its Grisworld was born.

I have only done six concepts strips so far and the casual listener or non listener probably won’t get the gags. Daily listeners will get the gags but whether or not they think they are funny is a totally different kettle of fish. I would love to hear their thoughts and I’m a mission to see how many likes and or comments I can get on my facebook page.

www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Its-Grisworld/396191803730953

David: You have been cartooning for a while, can you tell me a little of your other comics and history with comics?

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Keith: I’ve only been cartooning seriously for about two years. Twenty years ago I messed around with cartooning a little bit, but two years ago inadvertently got back into it. I live in a very small town in the middle of Missouri. Population approx. 13,000. There were some local political shenanigans going on about how our Mayor ended up with the City Administration job. I sketched up an idea and sent it to our local paper. The editor loved it but he wouldn’t run it. Small town stuff, you know? He was not about to rock the boat with any advertisers. I had forgotten how much fun that was and quickly drew up about six more single panel gags of various topics. I sent them to an editor of the paper 30 miles south in Sedalia, Mo. Population about 30,000. Next thing I knew he offered me the position for doing their Sunday editorial cartoon on local topics. I jumped at the chance. I did that for just over a year. It was a great experience in dealing with a wonderful editor (Bob Satnan) and dealing with dead lines. I have since given that up as my well went dry dealing with local topics only.

David: Who are some of your cartooning heroes and what are the things that inspire you?

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Keith: My hero’s are the same as most other cartoonists, Schulz, Watterson etc. My inspiration is that no matter what is going on in the world, good or bad, we need to laugh like we need to breathe. I think newspapers should be ashamed of themselves the way they are minimalizing what cartoonists have to offer. If they would actually get off of their collective asses and ask their readers opinions, they would find that cartoons are one of the few things that readers actually look forward to.

In reality my cartooning hero’s are the very cartoonist appearing right here in your blog profiles. Seeing and enjoying what they do is what inspires me to do what I do. I hope that one day they will respect my work as much as I respect theirs and that they will indeed consider me not only a cartoonist, but a friend, a colleague and yes…competition. Should that happen then I could truly consider myself a successful cartoonist. Unless of course I we’re to make an obscene of amount of money then that would trump all of that sugary crap I just said.  Let’s stick with the sugary crap I just said just in case I ever need to ask one of them for a ride from the airport. I’m kidding, of course. We’re cartoonists. It’s what we do. The money would still be pretty cool though.

David: What’s your cartooning schedule like and what are the tools you use?

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Keith: Right now I work in the engineering dept of a local manufacturing company as a mechanical designer. We make everything ….but a profit. Like most of you I hope to have a full time gig someday. When something strikes my funny bone I draw it up. I prefer to do most of by sketching and line work very early in the morning when I have fresh eyes. Sometimes after a full day at the computer the last thing I want to do is come home and stare at a drawing board or monitor but it all depends on what I have going on. As far as my tools, like everything else in my life I probably do things backwards. I ink traditionally on paper. I then scan those. At that point I use Corel trace and turn them into vector drawing. The tracing process ever so slightly alters the actual line work which in turn has a profound effect on whatever “style” I may have created. It seems as if I spend half of my time trying to create a style and the other half of my time hating the style I have created. Is that just me? I then color in Corel using flat tones. I occasionally will use shading or highlights. It depends on how lazy I feel at a given moment.

David: What can we expect to see in the future for you and “It’s Grisworld”, what’s on the horizon?

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Keith: “It’s Grisworld” is totally up in the air. I have spoken with Tom and he has expressed some interest although he has made no commitments. That’s why I’m hoping everyone will visit the page and give some comments, give me some likes and share the page with others. If I can get some good internet buzz going it might help Tom to move forward with the concept. Anyone reading this who helps with that I can only say thank you.

If I can’t get Grisworld to fly, I will probably go back and refine and revise “The Wages of Sin” comic strip. This is a strip about daily life in hell where the Devil see’s himself as Lord and Master of the Underworld. The problem is that no one else there really see’s it that way at all. That strip made it through nine rounds of last years Cartoonist Studio contest so maybe there is something there after all and I’ll try to build on that. I currently have an entry in this years contest called “Potluck” which is exactly that, potluck. I wasn’t going to enter this year but at the last minute I put in some single panel stuff that I thought folks might like. I hope they will check it out. www.thecartooniststudio.com/contest.aspx

David: Thank you so much Keith, I truly wish you the best of luck with everything. All three of your comics are a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see your name in syndication. Check out Keith and his comics at the links above or you can even friend him via Facebook: www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1291334075

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About David Hurley

as the creator of Don't Pick The Flowers...
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