Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with the GPO’s Nick Crawford
Yesterday we spoke with Jim Cameron, the writer of Squeaks Discovers Type!, which the U.S. Government Printing Office is calling its first comic book. While that's not quite true, the book looks interesting, and the creators involved are local. After the jump, illustrator Nick Crawford answers our standard questions.
Washington City Paper: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Nick Crawford: I have done mostly talking animals or more of a funny book style of character for the few comics I have done, but I draw illustrations almost every day for different jobs, and have a wide variety of drawing and design styles depending on the need of the piece.
WCP: When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
NC: Nov. 17th, 1973. Silver Spring, MD
WCP: Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?
NC: I was born in the DC suburban area. I currently live in Olney, MD.
WCP: Where did you come up with the ideas for Squeak Discovers Type!?
NC: Jim Cameron came up with the idea for the comic book, but I came up with the character Squeaks from my love of old pulp comics. Frank Frazetta’s “John Carter of Mars”, and Al Williamson’s “Flash Gordon” were two big influences on the swashbuckling space pirate Squeaks.
WCP: How did the process of getting GPO to publish it go?
NC: It was great. The entire book was created in-house. It was created, written, illustrated, designed, printed and bound here at the GPO.
WCP: Are more being planned?
NC: I am ready for much more. There aren’t any plans for anything else in the immediate future, but with the way Squeaks is taking off I am sure more are on the way. If it is the GPO or any other Government agency that would like something along these line, we are more than ready to fill those needs.
WCP: The government actually has a long tradition of educational comics that GPO has published for other agencies. Were you aware of these?
NC: No I wasn’t.
WCP: What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
NC: I graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art with a bachelors in fine arts. I was a drawing/illustration major.
WCP: Who are your influences?
NC: I have been reading comics since I was in elementary school, but my major influences were Frank Frazetta, Jack Kirby, Carl Barks, and early Disney. I am really following Mike Mignola’s Hellboy right now.
WCP: If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
NC: I wouldn’t change anything so far, but every day I push myself to draw more.
WCP: What work are you best-known for?
NC: You would never know it, but the thing I am most (not) famous for is the illustration inside the new US Passports. When most US citizens travel, they are carrying around my artwork. I illustrated the eagle and background on the information page with your photo.
WCP: What work are you most proud of?
NC: Everything I do I am proud of, but my greatest work to date is my four month old son Jaxson.
WCP: What would you like to do or work on in the future?
NC: I have a few ideas bouncing around for some personal work I am doing, but I am ready for anything and everything. Bring it on.
WCP: What do you do when you’re in a rut or have writer’s block?
NC: I sketch. Just nonsense stuff to clear my mind. Sometimes listening to music or looking at other art helps get the juices flowing.
WCP: What do you think will be the future of your field?
NC: I think that there is huge potential in interactive comics in digital form, but there is still nothing like a great book to flip through.
WCP: What’s your favorite thing about DC? Least favorite?
NC: My favorite thing about DC is it’s history. My least favorite is it’s traffic.
WCP: What monument or museum do you take most out-of-town guests to?
NC: Smithsonian all the way, but the National Zoo is my favorite.
WCP: Do you have a web site or blog?
NC: No blog or web site. Pretty unbelievable, I know.