Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Carl Yonder
I recently discovered local comic artist Carl Yonder, and learned he has a current comic-book series and plans to sign issues at Baltimore Comic-Con this weekend.
Let the Q-and-A begin.
Washington City Paper: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Carl Yonder: I’ve done a variety of comic work; a four issue mini-series, some short stories in an anthology, and some one-shot series. I am currently working on Pirate Eye for Action Lab Comics, which is a one-shot series. Our third issue, Pirate Eye: Murder at Ten Knots, is scheduled to be in local comic stores Sept. 25. I am also working on a few other comic projects which will also be in a one-shot series format; they’re in various stages of development.
WCP: How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
CY: The type of story often dictates the medium I use. About 95 percent of the first issue of Pirate Eye was drawn and colored digitally. After seeing it in print I wanted to bring a bit more grittiness to the art so now I am drawing the book with traditional pen and ink, adding digital colors. But it all comes down to the type of story I’m working on and what styles and techniques are most appropriate. A new sci-fi project I am working on is going to be completely digital, which I feel really adds to a slick and sleek look to the story.
WCP: When and where were you born?
CY: I was born in 1982 in Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburgh, but since my dad was in the military, we moved around a lot.
WCP: Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?
CY: I currently live outside of D.C. in Germantown, Md. My family moved here in the late '90s and I ended up staying in the area because of the job market.
WCP: What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
CY: I have always had an interest in creating comics, even as a kid I was always reading and creating comics. When I was in high school, all of my art teachers encouraged me to study fine art and artists. I took their advice and ended up walked away from creating comics for a few years while in college getting a degree in education, focusing on more traditional painting and drawing. In my last year of college I got back into cartooning and have been working on various projects ever since.
WCP: Who are your influences?
CY: I know it is cliché to say that every art is an influence, but it’s true ... If I had to pick my Top 5 artists [though], I would have to go with John Cassaday (incredible line art and realism to his work), Tommy Lee Edwards (his brush work and approaches to sequential art are hard to beat), Greg Capullo (each page is full of exciting energy and camera work), Jordi Bernet (his work on Torpedo is a huge influence on Pirate Eye), and Edgar Degas (one of history’s greatest draftsman; I admire his comfort with all mediums he touched).
WCP: If you could, what in your career would you do over or change?
CY: Absolutely nothing. I like to think that everything, both good and bad, helped get me to where I am with my life.
WCP: What work are you best known for?
CY: I would say at the moment I’m probably best known for my art work in Pirate Eye, but there might be some who know me from my anthology work with FUBAR and Comix Tribe.
WCP: What work are you most proud of?
CY: Pirate Eye is what I am the most proud of, as it was my first ever full comic with which I was involved. Josiah Grahn (the writer) and I have been working on the concept for Pirate Eye since 2006. It’s so rewarding to know that a project that you have been working with for so long has actually seen the light of day. The very first issue of Pirate Eye, Mark of the Black Widow, which was published by Action Lab Comics, is probably my favorite issue. If only one comic issue could be published, I was proud to know that it would be the one.
WCP: What would you like to do or work on in the future?
CY: I’d like to eventually get more involved with cover work. I started to work on a series of mixed medium illustrations for Pirate Eye and I think it would be a blast to explore this technique into several other projects. Additionally, I am trying to focus my efforts on more single issue stores or shorter series runs.
WCP: What do you think will be the future of your field?
CY: I am not sure what the future of comics will look like; I think that with so many books becoming available in electronic formats there might be more potential to incorporate sounds and/or background noise while you read a book or a comic. But in all fairness I have not really thought about the future of the field. I really try to focus on my current and upcoming projects.
WCP: What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?
CY: The Baltimore Comic Con will be my first local comic con I have attended. I look forward to getting more involved with the other local conventions that the D.C. metro area has to offer.
Action Lab Comics, the publisher for Pirate Eye is having a booth at the Baltimore Comic Con. I will be at the table most of the weekend, but I am scheduled to do signings from noon to 1 p.m. both days, with a free numbered and signed poster for the first 25 people who buy a book. I will be doing free five-minute head sketches for anyone who buys both books between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
WCP: What's your favorite thing about D.C.?
CY: Definitely the best thing about D.C. is the free museums. Whenever I need inspiration or reference I can just pop into the city and spend all day touring the museums.
WCP: Least favorite?
CY: The traffic.
WCP: What monument or museums do like to take visitors to?
CY:I enjoy taking people to the Freer-Sackler Galleries which are the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art and not usually found on the typical tourist’s to-do list.
WCP: How about a favorite local restaurant?
CY:My favorite restaurant is Caspian Café in Gaitherburg, Md., which is a frequent hotspot of mine.
WCP: Do you have a website or blog?