1. Why did you start doing comics?
I've been reading comics for as long as I can remember. They were - and still are, when I'm somewhere with a newspaper and/or Internet access - part of my morning ritual, and when I was six or seven, my parents enrolled me in the first of several Cartooning classes I took through the Rec&Ed program in Ann Arbor. I tried to imitate the styles of Garfield and The Far Side and of course Calvin and Hobbes... but my humor skills weren't that developed yet.
In... 3rd or 4th grade I invented my first significant character, doodling on the cover of my math workbook. His name was Equation Man, and he was armed with the powers of applying mathematics to every day life. (His powers of addition and subtraction essentially gave him godlike control, but I never thought of turning him into a munchkin back then...) I did a few comics books - I still have them somewhere - involving him and an entire team of good guys and directly-opposed bad guys (Grammar Man being EQ's nemesis - my simple mind perceived English as the "opposite" of math) and the entire thing culminated in my 6th-grade Halloween costume, as Equation Man, and getting laughed at by a good portion of my (thankfully small) middle school.
Um. I started doodling humor strips again, for the middle school newspaper, and doodled all the way through high school. Really, at that point it was just a way of keeping myself amused. In 10th grade I started playing around with the anime style, and my first conception of doing a "real" comic began, with an idea I called "Evil Master of the Universe Cat". The title says it all. However, there were only two or three jokes to be had. I moved on to a quasi-sci-fi comic with characters based off myself, Stefan, and my techie cousin Jamie, tentatively called "Geeked", and that storyline started with our accidental discovery of a psychic AI in a desktop computer. I still may go back to that idea sometime - I've got about 14 scripts written for that storyline.
"Geeked" held the seeds that would become Scatterplot. I soon had character designs for Charles, Steve, and Bill (my cousin's character, who never made it into Scatterplot (yet))... That spring (11th grade), I discovered the webcomics community. I really got into it on the Avalon forums, and started working on a guest strip for the comic, which I finally got sent to Josh and posted sometime in 12th grade. I knew at that point that I wanted to do a webcomic. As far as the webcomic goes, I wanted to improve my art skills further, I wanted to get my art out somewhere where people other than my immediate group of friends and family could see it, and from my earlier comic attempts (and the short stories I'd written) I knew that I wanted to see a long-term story develop from it. (Interestingly enough, the long-term storyline in Scatterplot, while being seeded the entire time, has only begun to truly develop now.) But when I really started doing comics, all those years ago, I was just having fun with my drawings...
2. How long have you been drawing?
I've been drawing in one form or another basically since I could hold a crayon. One of my earliest works that I remember - we still have it framed somewhere - is an ice-cream float I drew, with ten straws in it so a bunch of people could share. I dunno why my mom found that so cute. When I was five or so, my sister and I, with our Au Pair, took a big 5'x5' piece of paper and drew an entire town, and called it Sesame Street Town. We had houses for all the characters, and all sorts of roads and shops and things like that. It was awesome - we still have that, too, rolled up in the basement. And then as soon as I could read, I started reading the comics, and drawing those...
3. Who would you say your biggest influences are?
Well... Bill Watterson and Jim Davis and Gary Larson got me started drawing comics. Bill Amend (of Fox Trot) is responsible for what I really wanted my comic to be, for a long time. I still picture Charles as sort of a grown-up Jason sometimes - little less of a mischievous streak, little more experience, but the geekery is still there.
As far as webcomic influences go, my style is a simplification of basic manga styles, with the proportions pulled to a more realistic level (and combined with my earlier style). I owe Josh Phillips an awful lot, in terms of inspiring me to get into webcomics. Kevin Pease's Absurd Notions has been a great influence, as have been Real Life and (to a lesser degree) PVP.
My outside influences are drawn mostly from SF books - largely Asimov and Niven, and of course Douglas Adams. Recently, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, as well as Neal Stephenson, have contributed to the way I see writing and storytelling.
4. If you had a choice between eating a kiwi, which looks sorta like a hairy testicle, and a plum, which sort of looks like a monkey testicle, which would you eat?
Kiwis. I really liked kiwis when I was a little kid. Haven't had them in a while, but still, mm. Only peeled, though. Never had a taste for plums.
Understand, however, that I have an extremely well-developed mental image suppressor. Such things rarely bother me.
Hee hee. Monkey testicles.
...how the hell did you come up with "plums look like monkey testicles" anyway? I think maybe you've been spending too much time with the monkey porn. *cough*
5. Have you ever, y'know, when no one else was at home and you were all by yourself, have you ever just screamed like a monkey for no reason?
Actually, no. Nobody being home is a great excuse for things like Naked Time and singing along to loud, strange music, but I'm not very in-touch with my inner monkey.
<walky>Wait a minute... that sounds DIRTY!</walky>
Inner monkey... hee hee hee hee.
So, for those of you that don't know the drill: Post a request for interview questions here. I write the questions and respond to you. You answer the questions in your own journal, put out the offer for interview-writing, and the circle of life continues. Whee! It's like a ferris wheel, but people only get one go-round each, and in a ferris wheel reaching the bottom doesn't (necessarily) mean you die.