Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Trickster Cartoonist Mike Short
Mike Short is our latest cartoonist from the Trickster anthology to be interviewed. He drew "Giddy Up, Wolfie" for the book. Until the Trickster's publication, Mike had only created self-published minicomics, but a look at his blog shows some interesting comic-book pages about biker bugs.
Washington City Paper: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Mike Short: Minicomics and anthologies. All self-published until Trickster.
WCP: When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
WCP: Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?
MS: My family moved to Alexandria, Va., from Ann Arbor, Mich., when I was in sixth grade. So, I’ve been living in the area for about 25 years. I live in Lorton, Va., now.
WCP: What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
MS: I’m mostly self-taught. I’ve taken a handful of drawing and painting classes at the Art League in Alexandria and in college.
WCP: Who are your influences?
MS: There are a ton of artists that inspire me. John Byrne’s run on the X-Men, Frank Miller’s Daredevil and Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira were what got me really into comics and drawing as a kid. Now I get inspiration from guys like Geoff Darrow, Guy Davis, and Yukito Kishiro.
WCP: If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
MS: Nothing. I love where I am right now and am just trying to build on what I have.
WCP: What work are you best-known for?
MS: I don’t think I’m “known” at all! I probably need a couple more projects under my belt before anyone besides my wife or a few friends can recognize my work.
WCP: What work are you most proud of?
MS: I’m really proud of everything I’ve done, but mostly the coloring in my Trickster story. I worked really hard on that and it came out better then I thought it would.
WCP: What would you like to do or work on in the future?
MS: I love having a project to work on artistically. I love pushing myself and trying new things. I’m really happy when I’m working on comics and I think my drawing has really improved over the last year or two. So for now I’m looking to continue doing comics and improving my drawing.
WCP: What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
MS: This doesn’t happen to me that much. When I am not productive, it’s generally because of distractions not a lack of inspiration—video games, the Internet or movies are my biggest enemies. I had an economics professor in grad school who said, “the hardest thing about economics is getting your ass in the chair!” I think he’s right about that and it applies to pretty much everything worth doing. Putting aside my distractions and sitting down at my desk to draw is the hardest part of the process for me. Once I’m there I’m fine.
WCP: What do you think will be the future of your field?
MS: I really have no clue about the “industry” of comics. But it seems to me that there is a larger variety of comics genres, publishers, media such as web comics, and artistic styles than there were when I was a kid. There seem to be more people than ever interested in reading comics and a lot of brilliant creative people making them. If all of that continues and keeps growing, there should be some really amazing comics in the future.
WCP: What's your favorite thing about D.C.?
MS: I am a pretty big hoops nut and have been going to Wizards games since they moved to Chinatown. My family splits a pair of season tickets. I also love the National Zoo, the Hirshhorn, and the Bonsai at the National Arboretum.
WCP: Least favorite?
MS: Traffic and parking. I try to take the metro when I can.
WCP: What monument or museum do you take most out-of-town guests to?
MS: The last few times we’ve hit Air and Space, the Natural History museum or gone to a Wizards game.
WCP: Do you have a website or blog?
MS: My blog is at wastedspaces.blogspot.com