POTM Interview: Scott Lincoln creator of Ralf the Destroyer

For the month of September we have had the great pleasure to showcase Ralf the Destroyer by Scott Lincoln.  Scott brought Ralf to our world back in 2009 and since then has created a wonderfully family friend webcomic and a truly unforgettable character.  Now that we’ve had the treat of having Ralf the Destroyer as our POTM for September let’s take sometime and find out a little more about Scott as we ask him our 10 Questions.

We hope this is a way to connect you as readers a bit closer to the creators.  So without any more delay I present to you a closer look at the creator of Ralf the Destroyer Scott Lincoln.

What was the first comic you read as a child?

Scott: The first comic I remember reading was Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts”. Although I’m pretty sure I read whatever was in the paper, I remember carrying around his collections everywhere I went as a kid.

Who would you consider to be your greatest influence as an artist and creator?

Scott: I have made it a point to try and draw from as many different sources as possible. When I first put pencil to paper for the purpose of drawing cartoon characters, Jim Davis was my inspiration. He was also the inspiration for my attempts to make a living at it. I recall him saying in one of his books, that “being a cartoonist was a really good job”. I started reading a bunch of Preston Blair (and other animation books) to better understand construction techniques so I could stay on model. Carl Barks took simple Disney Ducks and used silhouettes and points of view to bring drama and tension to those stories. Dik Browne’s work on the early Hi and Lois was beautifully rendered with the way he used textures and spotted blacks. Berke Breathed changed my understanding about writing comics and set the standard in stomping the gag. Bill Watterson and Pat Brady both had such energy and bounce, every object they drew wanted to jump off the page.

When I was 15, I had a weekly strip in the local paper and I went to see a lawyer to find out about copyrights and such. On the wall of his office was an original Pogo (by Walt Kelly) and I was just amazed at its lush textures and brushstrokes. I knew then that cartoon strips were as fine an art as anything else and I longed to create that kind of beauty. I didn’t have the slightest clue how to do that, but many years later I met someone who did. That person would be the greatest influence on my work. His name is Guy Gilchrist. Guy’s excellence with a brush was so acute that he was asked by the Walt Kelly family to be the artist on a relaunch of Pogo. But I was always most impressed with his work on a self syndicated strip he did called, “Mudpie”.

What, to you, is required drawing equipment or a writing necessity when you sit down to create?

Scott: Drawing equipment that I would not be with out would be Winsor & Newton Series 7 size 3 brushes, Col-Erase light blue pencils and Canson Fanboy blue lined comic strip board. I also use Speedball dip pens for borders and lettering and a crow quill style nib for back ground work. But I’ll sketch on just about anything.

Where did you go to school and what was your major?

Scott: I was mostly self taught and later started taking a few classes at the University of Hartford Art School, but was unable to continue. So I transferred my credits to the School of Hard Knocks ( the tuition was lower… but pay you did). The real cartoon education came in becoming an apprentice for syndicated cartoonist, Guy Gilchrist. When we met, he was the artist on Nancy and had a Sunday Feature called Night Lights and Pillow Fights which had poems, games and his strip, Mudpie. I started working on Night Lights puzzles and inking borders for Nancy. Eventually, I was doing the backgrounds (pencil and ink) for Nancy, coloring the Sundays, teaching at the Cartoon Academy he started, and working on various other projects that came into the studio. It was in this environment that I learned to use the brush, which enhanced my work profoundly.

If you could choose three adjectives to describe yourself, that have nothing to do with comics, what would they be?

Scott: Curious, friendly, autonomous…

Is there an environment you prefer to create in?  Such as somewhere quiet, or do you prefer music?  Does the sound of a TV show or movie in the background help get your creative juices flowing?

Scott: That would depend on what stage of the work I’m at. When I’m writing, I need as little distraction and as much quiet as I can get. When I pencil and ink, I usually have some movie scores, instrumental, surf or ukulele music playing. But if I’m coloring, I need loud music or a movie playing or I’ll go out of my mind.

OK, just to get a more personal feel of who you are, is there an embarrassing or exciting story from your childhood you’d like to share with us? 

Scott: I’m going with exciting because I’m a pretty low key kinda guy. That, and it wouldn’t be fair to anyone to see what I was wearing in the eighties. My most exciting childhood memory would be when I went to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome where I went on my first airplane ride. That was exciting by itself… then the pilot took that old biplane (built in the 1930’s) and did a “hammerhead stall” over the Hudson Valley. I can assure you that my heart never beat like that again… well, until I met my wife and then again when my kids were born.

If and when they make a movie of your life who would you choose to play you?

Scott: Oddly enough, people have been volunteering that opinion to me for a while now. I get the “Hey, you know who you look like…?” from total strangers. Of course, the reference can be unsettling. It’s never “Hey, you look like that guy from Fargo…” or “… the guy from The Island”, no, it’s “Hey, doesn’t he look like the guy from “Con Air”?”. Sadly they don’t mean John Cusack, they mean the guy with the leather mask, strapped to a hand cart, that Ving Rhames is afraid to touch. I don’t feel too bad about it because they always seem so excited when they remember the actor’s name, Steve Buscemi. That’s the one I get most, followed by Brendan Fraser (I must look like his older, shorter, less athletic brother) and once when I was wearing sunglasses (trying to grow a goatee) someone thought I looked like Tony Stark (a la Robert Downey Jr.). Score!

Is there any upcoming news or other stuff you’d like to share with us?  Books? Kickstarters?

Scott: Ralf the Destroyer is updated three times a week at ralfthedestroyer.com and Comics Sherpa atGoComics.com. It is now being published in a free weekly paper called “Funnies Extra!” in a few territories (and growing) around the country. The first year on the web softcover collection ( Am I There Yet?) has been out since last year. I have a second compilation due out  called ” Friend of Faux?” which has a forward by the highly enthusiastic and very funny, Chris Yambar. Both books are available from my site via Kablam printing and also when I attend comic conventions.

To wrap up this interview we’ll ask an easy question.  What’s the Meaning of Life?  Trust me, there’s more than  just a few of us that want to know the answer to that…especially on Mondays. 🙂

Scott: I think that every writer is looking to answer at least a part of that question as they pour themselves into their project of passion. So, I guess you’ll have to read the whole story to find out.

 

I want to thank Scott for taking the time out to answer a few questions from us and to allow us to get to know him a little more.   I would also encourage all of you to go and check out Ralf the Destroyer.

You can also check out the Pick of the Month write up of Ralf the Destroyer here: POTM: Ralf the Destroyer

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