The GoComics “Meet Your Creator” series brings you firsthand insight into the lives and careers of your favorite cartoonists. Each week, we hand over the keys to one of our talented creators, who share their inspirations, achievements, creative processes, studios and more! Read on to hear from this week’s featured cartoonist: David Cahill of Pictures in Boxes
How did you begin your career as a cartoonist? When did you start cartooning?
Well. I haven’t always been an artist. It wasn’t until my final year of my undergraduate degree that I picked up a pencil and began drawing. I used it as a form of stress relief while writing my thesis and studying for my exams. I felt it was a better alternative to the routine I had gotten myself into anytime I took a break from studying. Before that, I would just throw myself in front of the television and try to zone out for an hour. It kept my brain active and helped relieve a lot of stress. I turned to comics because I had always had a huge interest in them since childhood, beginning with Calvin and Hobbes and continuing up to the present day. I had actually created several different comics in my various notebooks before Pictures in Boxes that, thankfully, have never seen the light of day. They were all geared toward specific original characters, but I never felt they were strong enough to post anywhere. It wasn’t until I began dipping into pop culture references and broadening my sources that things began to take off. I also take a long time to create a strip and I usually have to spread one over the course of several days in order to get it exactly how I want it. I am quite far behind on a lot of deadlines, so I think in the future, I am definitely going to have to take on less work before I start really annoying a lot of people.
What inspires you?
The main thing that keeps me going is the enjoyment I get from drawing. I mostly do it for myself and the feeling it gives me. It is fantastic that I have received so many nice messages from people telling me they enjoyed my work and that my anxiety comics have helped when they needed it, so there is definitely a lot of reasons that allow me to continue. I also love seeing the incredible reception that my fellow webcomic artists have been receiving in recent times. All their work over the last few months has been absolutely amazing and it has really driven me to improve every aspect of my process in order to produce higher-quality strips.
What were your favorite childhood comics? What comics do you read today?
Oh, there are too many to name. Growing up it was definitely Calvin and Hobbes. I own every single book and still go back and read them all once a year. There is something so incredible and relatable about them that’s difficult to put into words. Nowadays, I read lot of graphic novels during the day and usually webcomics at night when I’m in bed. I recently finished Persepolis by Majane Satrapi. It was absolutely fantastic and completely blew me away. I think I finished the entire book in one sitting. I have also been completely enamored by Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. It was such a beautiful and brilliantly thought-out story and I recently learned that the films rights were acquired by 20th Century Fox Animation. I would truly love to see that story as an animated feature film. In regards to webcomics, if I had to list my favorites, I would be here all day. There are so many that are so incredible and funny that I actually get annoyed with how amazing they are. Heart and Brain by Nick Seluk and Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen are definitely two recently published books that should be mandatory reading for anyone who is interested in webcomics and any aspiring cartoonist out there.
Do you have any upcoming projects or appearances?
Later in the year I am hoping to finally publish a collection of my favorite comics. I have been receiving a lot of emails recently asking me if I had any such plans and I’m beginning to think it’s time to set those wheels in motion. It has always been a dream of mine to have a printed version of my work, so with any luck it may be something I can look forward to over the coming months.
In relation to appearances, I am hoping to attend Boston Comic-Con this summer. I had originally meant to be tabling at the event with some of my fellow webcomic friends, but unfortunately I had to give up my seat after being involved in a minor car accident that forced me to temporarily move home back to Ireland from North America at the beginning of the year. I am hoping to return within the next several months, so hopefully I will at very least be making an appearance if not tabling.
Tell us about your studio or workspace.
Well, over the last year while I was travelling, my studio space has consisted of any bench, floor, couch or coffee shop that will have me. I’ve become an expert in cramming into tight spaces and having my drawing pad and laptop piled on top of me while I try desperately to reach my deadlines. Things have definitely calmed down since I returned back home, so I am currently in the process of setting up my brand-new work station. At the moment, it’s just my laptop on a desk, but hopefully, I’ll be able to add a little color to it over the coming weeks.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had received upon starting Pictures in Boxes that would have helped you as a comic artist?
It sounds like such generic advice, but don’t get too stressed about what people think. Do it all for yourself and, most importantly, just have fun. When you start getting stressed and begin tailoring your comic to what you think other people would enjoy – even though it may be counter to your original vision – then that’s when things begin to go wrong. Do what you enjoy doing, and everything else will fall into place.
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