I have long wanted to do a Q&A session called Tiffinbox 20/20 with artists from or working in South Asia.
A couple of weeks back I ran into (virtually, that is) Krishna M. Sadashivam, the creator of PC Weenies, techno-centric comic strip and asked if he would be interested in participating in my little project. I sent him some 21 questions and here are his answers.
Feel free to post your comments below.
Seshu: Tell us how you got your start in cartooning?
Krishna: I've always been drawing cartoons in some form or fashion since I was a small child. My earliest sequential comic strip work began when I was in the 6th grade and I've carried it forward ever since.
Seshu: Who are your early influences? Whose work do you follow now?
Krishna: My early influences would have to be the Warner Bros. cartoons, specifically the Road Runner ones by Chuck Jones. I must have seen those cartoons a million times as a child. As I got older, I began to broaden my horizons towards super-hero comics, which has a lasting influence to this day. These days, thanks to the Internet, I follow several artists. Among my favorites are Mike Krahulik (Penny Arcade), Stephen Silver, Ben Caldwell, Bruce Timm and Kevin Dart.
Seshu: What tools do you use to create your art?
Krishna: I use a Pentel 0.5mm mechanical pencil and 50lb sketch paper for all my concept work. It's still the fastest way for me to visualize my ideas. I take these sketches into a Power Mac G5 and use a combination of Corel Painter and Photoshop to ink, color, and caption each cartoon.
Seshu: Do you consider your word “Art,” with a capital A?
Krishna: Art is art is art. Whether it's a Picasso or a doodle on the side of a notebook, to me it's the process of visually projecting one's ideas across – and that's all that counts.
Seshu: Take us through your process in creating your work.
Krishna: The hardest part of cartooning, for me, is coming up with new ideas. I spend a good deal of time doing research, using the web, magazines, and popular culture as my references. Once I have a general theme for a cartoon, I begin sketching. People are often surprised to learn that I usually come up with the sketch before I finalize a caption. After creating a rough sketch, I scan the line art into the computer, and digitally ink the drawing using Corel Painter. I save the file out and proceed to color and caption the cartoon in Adobe Photoshop. I try to work ahead – I generally have a week's worth of comics as a buffer, to be on the safe side.
Seshu: How did PC Weenies get it start?
Krishna: I'd like to think that the idea was carefully constructed after several years of field study as an engineer, but truth be told, the idea came to me while I was taking a shower one fine October in 1998. (The shower is the place where I get most of my ideas, even to this day.) Webcomics, as such, were few and far between. I was eager to share my work online, and so I procured hosting and placed my first cartoon on the web, not thinking too much about it. I received a piece of fan e-mail shortly after placing the first two toons online, and suddenly I realized I had an actual audience, even though at the time it was only one other person.
Seshu: Are your cartoons a reflection of something that you overheard or experienced first hand? How do you deliver your content in a consistent manner?
Krishna: Usually, my cartoons are an extension of what I have experienced first-hand. Occasionally, people will send their ideas along for me to encapsulate into a toon. More often than not, however, most of my ideas come from my own warped sense of humor. If I find it funny, I make a toon about it, and hope that others will find it amusing as well. For many years, I only delivered two toons a week – however, within the last few years I have gotten more comfortable with producing 3 strips each week. The key to consistency for me is having a constant flow of ideas to work from. And that's why I'm on the Internet all the time.