…Which just happens to be the best daily comic strip in the history of, you know, daily comic strips. So listen up!
by Suzanne LaBarre
Bill Watterson, the creator of the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, is famously media-averse. He’s given two interviews, total since he retired his strip in 1995. Reporters have staked out his home in Ohio to no avail. The man just prefers not to be a public figure. But in the documentaryStripped (which you can buy or rent on iTunes), Watterson not only gives an interview, he drew the art for the poster–the first Watterson cartoon to be published in nearly 20 years.
Here are four tips about the creative process that Watterson reveals in the film:
1. You Have To Lose Yourself In Your Work
“My comic strip was the way that I explored the world and my own perceptions and thoughts. So to switch off the job I would have had to switch off my head. So, yes, the work was insanely intense, but that was the whole point of doing it.”
2. Create For Yourself
“Quite honestly I tried to forget that there was an audience. I wanted to keep the strip feeling small and intimate as I did it, so my goal was just to make my wife laugh. After that, I’d put it out, and the public can take it or leave it.”
3. Make It Beautiful
“My advice has always been to draw cartoons for the love of it, and concentrate on the quality and be true to yourself. Also try to remember that people have better things to do than read your work. So for heaven’s sake, try to entice them with some beauty and fun.”
4. Every Medium Has Power
“A comic strip takes just a few seconds to read, but over the years, it creates a surprisingly deep connection with readers. I think that incremental aspect, that unpretentious daily aspect, is a source of power.”