The Month of October has been a wonderful month sharing Odori Park by Chris Watkins as our POTM. Chris started Odori Park back in 2009 and has been bringing us the wonderful life of the Easton’s ever since. For the month of October we have been spotlighting Odori Park and I’d like to take this time to put that spotlight on the creator of this wonderful webcomic, Chris Watkins.
We hope through these 10 Questions you as a reader and fan get to know the creator a bit more.
What was the first comic you read as a child?
Chris: I can’t remember back that far, but it was probably Peanuts. I loved reading the newspaper funnies growing up, and today I have a family member who kindly collects the Sunday comics for me (since I don’t get a newspaper, take that as you will) so that I can share the tradition with my sons. Comic book wise, the first memory I have is of reading an issue of Spider-Man–he was battling the Sandman–on a ferry during a family trip to New England. Spidey is one of my oldest pals.
Who would you consider to be your greatest influence as an artist and creator?
Chris: I could go through a litany of creators (so I will) like Schultz, Waterson and Davis in the strips, Leonardi and Romita Jr. in the floppies, or Kibuishi, Kurtz, and a hojillion others online. But, in all sincerity, the biggest influences on me now are my wife and two boys. They give me inspiration, motivation, and support. And whenever my energy flags, I try to remember all they do for me, and what my legacy could mean to my sons. Not to mention teaching them about perseverance.
What, to you, is required drawing equipment or a writing necessity when you sit down to create?
Chris: So much is about efficiency for me. I have to have paper and a pen at all times, to jot down ideas as they come, and to “pencil” strips, so I keep both in my pocket constantly. I draw most of my comics directly on my computer (just got a new Mac Mini in January) with a Cintiq, or on my tablet PC when I’m on the road. The whole process robs me of having a final artifact I could display or sell, but otherwise, I don’t think I could keep up with my posting schedule. I try not to be precious about the process. It helps keep my work fluid.
Where did you go to school and what was your major?
Chris: Ha! In my day job, I manage a team of user experience designers with Masters degrees and PHDs, so this is my dark secret: I went to a little school on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay called Washington College, where I studied creative writing and literature. I minored in visual art, but the department was too small and underfunded to even have life drawing courses. The writing was useful, but I suffer constantly for the lack of drawing and color fundamentals.
If you could choose three adjectives to describe yourself, that have nothing to do with comics, what would they be?
Chris: Idealist. Recovering-Perfectionist. (Can I hyphenate?) and Tired. Oh, so tired.
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?
Chris: Depends on which step in the process I’m at. I need personal quiet for writing (so, I can be in a noisy Dunkin Donuts, but not if anyone’s talking directly to me). Music is good for penciling. Anything goes for inking, and I like to listen to podcasts, Minecraft Let’s Play videos, and episodes of Doctor Who–but I have to be careful, ‘cuz I’m super prone to distraction! If I’m feeling particularly distraction-prone, I like to force myself into a new environment–a coffee shop or the library–where I’d be embarrassed to be seen goofing off.
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?
Chris: Oh… So many to choose from. Okay, so let’s say that teaching boys that it’s okay to pee on trees frequently backfires once you’re home from the woods, and I had a hard time convincing the principal that it made more sense to make like a dog than to lose recess time to a proper bathroom break.
If and when they make a movie of your life who would you choose to play you?
Chris: Young Brad Pitt. You can totally see it, right? No?
Is there any upcoming news or other stuff you’d like to share with us? Books? Kickstarters?
Chris: Somehow I’ve accumulated over 500 strips online, so please share them with your friends! I’d love to expose Odori Park to new readers. My first book is still on sale at my site. Also, I’m looking to launch a second strip that would take the place of my Friday updates, but I need reader feedback!
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. 🙂
Chris: Curly’s finger.
I would like to take this time to thank Chris Watkins for taking the time to answer these questions for us and allow us to get to know him a little bit more. Also thank you Chris for your continued labor of love with Odori Park.
If you haven’t had the opportunity go check out our POTM write up of Odori Park and make sure you go over and check out Chris’s wonderful webcomic.