This week marked the publication of DAD CONFIDENTIAL, a novel I started in January, with copious illustrations by Robert Wallman, whom I met in high school in 1979. I asked Robert some basic questions so people could get a little insight into him and his process.
I drew well early on, and the encouragement of family and friends made it seem natural to pursue as a career. By college graduation I realized very few people really earn a living this way. So I also began doing pre-press print production, from paste-up and mechanicals transitioning to computer graphics, in order to stay afloat.
Where were some of your earliest creative outlets?
Throughout high school and college, I contributed cartoons to student publications and designed posters for shows. I studied character animation at the California Institute of the Arts, then switched to graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. While the animation study was brief, it greatly influenced my illustration skills.
Post-college, while doing print production for industries such as advertising, corporate communications, and textbook publishing, my illustration skills were known to co-workers, who would request personalized greeting cards and caricatures. Those occasionally led to job-related art projects. It was at one of those companies where I worked with Jeff, whom I'd originally met in our high school's health class.
What was your DAD CONFIDENTIAL work process?
Having once contributed to Jeff's popular wrestling fanzine (and previously unfamiliar with that "world"), I was glad to join forces again on his ebook project. He would send me excerpts of chapters in progress, with suggestions for a few illustrations per each. At first, I'd scan rough sketches for refinement in Photoshop, until it became easier to draw everything onscreen, duping images, flipping things around, etc. Unlike more critical collaborators, Jeff OK'd most of my first drafts, in some instances even revising the text to reflect a particular art detail.
Do you have any other illustration projects in the works?
I don't want to be too specific before anything's finalized, but I'm creating graphics for a documentary, an online comedy show, a law firm's website, even a health(!) organization. And someday it might be fun to try creating a more fully illustrated graphic novel based on either an existing manuscript or one of my own composition.