Hello everybody! Today we're back in the USA with an artist from Illinois. You sure do know his webcomic featuring lovable rabbits living crazy-funny-sad lives. So grab your pet, whatever it is, and start reading his interview, some rabbits may be hidden below!
-Hello everyone, my name is Ryan Pagelow!
-How old are you?
-Where do you live?
-I live in Chicago.
-What's your job?
-I'm a photojournalist as a day job. I also have a comic strip Buni which is syndicated online through Universal Uclick.
-Concerning the photojournalism, are you freelance or do you work for a special client? Also, do you take pictures of anything specific?
-I am a staff photographer for Sun-Times Media which owns a bunch of papers around The Chicago area. I shoot news, sports, features ... Anything and everything that comes up
-Does your job somehow affect your comic strip Buni?
-Not really. But meeting new people every day and being in strange situations helps the creative process. Also photography helps with composition and telling a story without words. I was a cartoonist before I was a photographer
-Tell us more about your webcomic then, what is it about?
-Buni is a we comic about an optimistic, loser bunny with terrible luck. Always positive, Buni doesn't understand that the cute world he lives in is really out to get him, whether at the hands of mafia teddy bears or garden gnomes. However he remains undeterred, even when it comes to the girl he loves who clearly has a boyfriend and is uninterested in Buni. The comic's simple dialogue-free format is designed for an international audience.
-How long have you been running this webcomic?
-I created it in 2009 for the comic strip superstar contest. I started running it online in 2010.
-Why are you working with bunnies? Are you a Roger Rabbit fan?
-I originally created the strip with a Hello Kitty sensibility in mind. Cute, simplistic characters. But I wanted it to be sad funny, not haha funny. Depressing in a funny way. However, I quickly realized that a static character like Hello Kitty which doesn't express emotion or move would be very difficult to use in a comic strip with no dialogue. So I added expression to Buni. I'm not sure why I chose a bunny. I liked Bongo from LIfe in Hell. He's a little bit like Bongo. Buni was originally all white, but I added black arms and legs and ears to stand out when it's printed in black and white in newspapers.
-What are your inspirations?
-I have read comics since before I could read so everybody is my inspiration. However for Buni specifically, I would say Life in Hell and Perry Bible Fellowship. Also early Peanuts strips with Charlie Brown were really dark and depressing. Buni is kind of like an early Charlie Brown.
-How do you work?
-I write comics every morning before work for an hour or so and every night after work for about an hour. At the end of the week I pick the best three or four comics and pencil them with non-photo blue pencil on bristol paper. Then I ink them using a rapidograph pen. I scan the art then in Photoshop I add borders, touch-up any mistakes, and save a black and white version for newspapers and a color version for the web.
-Have you experienced a FML moment yourself?
-I believe everyone has. That's pretty much every day in Buni's life, but he doesn't let it bring him down.
-Last question! Why did you choose this particular FML story?
-I chose this story because it didn't really require dialogue and I felt like I could add to it. A lot of the FML stories are pretty self-contained, beginning, middle, end, so it's hard to expand on them. This story was more of a set-up. Originally I was going to draw a single panel frame with a cop on a motorized scooter chasing down the old man on a motorized scooter who had just run someone over.
-Your comic is awesome. Thanks for taking part!
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATED FML
If you want to be the next published artist, send an email to alice [at] fmylife.com including a link to your website/blog/DA. But DON'T send your illustration right away! You need first to get in touch with me, and I'll tell you what you have to do!