Q. When you've got to spend long cartooning, do you use anything like the t.v., music, etc. to keep you at your drawing table?
A. I cherry-picked this question today because I spent the whole weekend bolted to my chair trying to catch up on Zits. I'd fallen behind because I was sick for most of a week last month and then took my daughter on a college visit to Minnesota last weekend. Even a couple of missed days can set me way back. One of the very few tough aspects of life as a cartoonist is the relentlessness of the deadlines. (Violins, please.)
I'm in awe of guys like Tom Batiuk (Funky Winkerbean) and Russ Myers (Broomhilda) who are said to work years in advance. Zits is usually within a week of our schedule (six weeks ahead on dailies, ten weeks on Sundays), but in ten years I don't think we've ever managed to get a full week ahead of the schedule. Falling behind is ridiculously easy, and catching up is like clawing through quicksand.
So anyway, in a 12-hour marathon on Saturday I:
-listened to Weekend Edition on NPR
-listened to Car Talk
-kinda listened to whatever that money show is after Car Talk
-listened to my daughter's essay for the Common App
-listened to Weekend America until I realized I wasn't listening anymore
-listened to Springsteen's Magic, which is fabulous, if I haven't told you so before
-sorta watched the University of Guys in Blue play Orange College for awhile on the little TV beside my drawing board
-probably watched two other teams in variously colored uniforms (my choice of games has a lot to do with the mellifluousness of the announcers' voices, since I seldom look up at the screen)
-found a cable channel that seemed to carry only commercials for ED (the one with the four-hour erection warning always makes me laugh)
-flipped to CNN and then back because they were talking about the saliva shortage in East Timor
-watched The U.S. vs. John Lennon on DVD on my computer
-called the pizza guy (my wife's away)
-listened to A Prairie Home Companion until Garrison Keillor's homespunness got on my nerves
-watched a National Geographic special on katydids. Did you know that a certain variety of Amazonian katydids eat monkeys? Or maybe I was hallucinating at that point.
-watched the local news. Turns out while I quietly drew all day, other people were crashing their cars, setting their houses on fire and suffering from four-hour erections. Glad I stayed indoors.