Gary Clark is the humorous creator of the fantastic world of “Swamp” comics. Gary took inspiration for his wonderful community of characters from exploring the endless possibilities of nearby parks, creeks, bushlands near his suburban childhood home in Australia. I’m thrilled to have Gary featured this week as he takes us behind the scenes and shares the day in the life of his cartooning world and what lies ahead for us the fans. So let’s join Gary as he discusses the humorous and creative life of the inhabitants of the Swamp.
David: Hello Gary thank you so much for being featured at Don’t Pick the Flowers. You have a wonderful comic called “Swamp”. What’s it like in the day in the life of Gary Clark? Do you have a set schedule for writing, drawing, coloring and what are the tools you use to create Swamp?
Gary: My average working starts anywhere between 6 – 7 am. Earlier if I have a project with deadlines that I can’t fit into my regular schedule. I work from a studio about a three minute walk from home. So when arriving my routine is to check emails and reply.
Lately I am regularly in contact with my publisher Martin Leeuwis Publications who is based inHolland, so being at work early enables me to discuss things via email.
Once the emails are done I work on the cleaning up and colouring of the previous days cartoons. Normally I only clean up and then forward the files to a cartoonist friend who works as my colourist.
I also use this early morning time ( which I consider free time because I count the working day to official start at 8 am ) to keep informed on what is going on in the cartooning and newspaper business via daily newsletters like “ The Daily Cartoonist”.
Sometime around 8 am my breakfast stomach alarm goes off and I go downstairs from the upstairs studio to the kitchen and cook breakfast and relax for 20 minutes.
At the beginning of the week I print out a customized work sheet which I fill out with the file numbers of all the cartoons required for the week plus a few extras to try and build lead. Currently I’m only three weeks ahead of the nearest newspaper print deadline.
The average day involves writing and drawing daily or Sunday strips required according to my schedule as well as working to progress other projects we are aiming to produce. The recent book Ding Duck ‘’I WANT TO FLY’’ just released has been a big part of my schedule for the past many months.
Other work time is spent managing the distribution via email directly to client newspapers and syndicates, overseeing the management of accounts and replying to emails that require my attention during the day.
I finish around 6 pm.
David: What are the things that inspire you to create and who would be your cartooning hero’s?
Gary: I don’t think about the creative process until I sit down and start writing gags.
I start with a blank page and just start doodling. I try and make this an enjoyable time and look forward to it. I often take a cartoon book of other cartoonist’s work I am enjoying at the moment for the sheer pleasure of enjoying their work. This helps to get into the cartoon mode of thinking. Ideas are worked up from three simple starting points. Location, Character or Situation.
When writing I explore each of these starting points looking while for something new to write about.
The cartoonists that first inspired me way back when I was a 16 year old art student was Brant Parker “Wizard of Id”.
David: For any one wanting to get involved in making comics, what advice would you give them?
Gary: Just have fun. Don’t try and master plan what you are going to do and what kind of personalities your characters are going to have.
Just start simple, write about things you know about and visually explore that topic and see where it leads.
If you produce something that makes your friends and family laugh then get advice from someone who knows about cartoons and ask
For their opinion of the work. A local cartoonist or syndicate may be a starting point.
David: What kind of legacy would you like to leave with your work, how would you like people to remember Ding Duck and the gang?
Gary: Heck, Am I that old?? (David: haha, no your not old 😉 )
That the cartoons brought many people much joy and they earned a fortune for their creator.
David: What can we expect to see in the future with Swamp, what’s on the horizon for us the fans?
Gary: Currently we are looking into the best way to release a series of digital and print Swamp Cartoon albums.
For digital albums I am considering epub albums for Ipad and Kindle Fire tablets and for the print market a series of print on demand albums possibly through Amazon.
My current book Ding Duck ‘’I WANT TO FLY ‘’ which is 160 pages of colour Swamp cartoons focusing on the ups and downs of perpetual flying student character Ding Duck is available in the U.S through the aviation humour website www.chickenwingscomics.com
The Swamp characters lend themselves to a huge range of possibilities for a series of mobile phone games.
So the big goal for next year is to connect with a mobile game developer to excite them to those possibilities and produce a game.
David: Gary that will be an exciting development and something that would be fun for fans of Swamp and a great way to introduce many more people to your characters. I’ll be looking for the announcements!
Gary thank you so much for sharing Swamp with us today. I look forward to all that lies ahead.
Get your dose of Swamp today at:
Swamp website: www.swamp.com.au
Also contact Gary at:
PO Box 51
Everton Park, QLD Australia 4053
Phone: 07 3353 0422
Intnl: +61 7 3353 0422