George Gant is the super talented creator of the comic “On the Grind”, a comic about life in retail (specifically coffee shops). Through personal experience George has brought the humor of working for the public to the comic pages with beautifully illustrated panels and classic story lines. George has been creating comics for many years and now the fruit of his labor is published in his new book “The Worse Day Ever”. So let’s find out how everything started and how humor can be found behind the counter of a coffee house!
David: Hello George, thank you so much for sharing your comic “On the Grind” here at Don’t Pick the Flowers. When did you become interested in becoming a cartoonist and who are some of your greatest influences?
George: Anytime, David. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. Being a cartoonist has actually been a dream of mine since I was a child. I remember coming across Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County when I was around 8 or 9, which is also around the same time I learned I could draw myself. I would doodle in class a lot, and it’s gotten me in a lot of trouble, but I kept it up, and eventually I found myself doing cartoons in my High School paper. I ended up winning four awards for my comics actually. I stopped drawing in college, but picked it up again with the rise of gaming webcomics, particularly Penny Arcade. In fact, Penny Arcade inspired me to create my first webcomic, The Reset Button. I’ve also been heavily influenced by the comics Jump Start by Robb Armstrong, Curtis by Ray Billingsley, and later on, The Boondocks by Aaron McGruder.
David: What are your preferred tools when creating your comic?
George: Well, I switch it up a bit, and I try to experiment a lot. For the longest time, I used Pitt Artists pens on Bristol, and then coloring in GIMP and Photoshop. Now my comics are done digitally, in Sketchbook Pro, Corel Photo-Paint, and Adobe Photoshop.
David: What is your routine like when creating comics, from ideas to finished product?
George: It depends on the time of day. I try to draw in the early-mid morning, but I’m also a stay-at-home dad to an eleven month old son, so nothing gets done until he’s sitting still or sleeping. Otherwise I tend to start later in the evening. I’m always I’ll usually brew a cup of coffee, while doing my pencil and ink work in Sketchbook Pro. Then I turn my comic into a bitmap in Photo-Paint, and do everything else in Photoshop. I usually post my comics to my Facebook page, and my comic’s Facebook page the night before, and everywhere else the next day.
David: You have a new book “Worst Day Ever”, what are the details of your new book?
George: The book is a treasury of my webcomic On the Grind, which I created back in 2008. A lot of the stuff in the comics are actually based on my real-life experiences working in several coffee shops over several years. “The Worst Day Ever”, takes its name from a storyline in the comic where the main character is called into work on his off day/birthday, and Murphy’s Law sets in the moment he walks in the door. The book is being published by Hound Comics, which also currently hosts On the Grind on its website.
David: If you could describe your comic to someone who has never heard of it, what would you say?
George: I’d actually respond with another question. I’d ask, “Have you ever worked in retail before? Have you worked in the service industry?” That’s what the comic is about. It’s about what goes on behind the counter at a corporate coffee shop. It’s about dealing with crazy customers and co-workers, the coffee shop industry, and the retail industry as a whole. I think that anyone who’s ever had one of those jobs can relate, and anyone who’s ever been a customer at a coffee shop can appreciate, or at least find humor, in some of the quirky things that they tend to do subconsciously.
David: I can definitely relate as most people can George. I love how you have taken your personal experience and turned it into humor, a true sign of a cartoonist! I want to thank you again for sharing On the Grind and look forward to what you have in store for us in the future. I wish you the best as you move onward with your talent and creativity!
And for all the old and new fans of George Gant, here are quick links to On the Grind:
George Gant Portfolio site: geogant.com
On the Grind at Hound Comics: houndcomics.com/webcomic_on_the_grind.php
On the Grind at GoComics: gocomics.com/on-the-grind