Josh Latta, (@JoshLatta) is a cartoonist & illustrator based in Baltimore, MD. This discussion covers how he got started in art, his daily workflow and routine, and making a name for himself on the Internet. We also dissect the difference between a cartoonist and an illustrator, and question the use of hand-drawn vs. typeset lettering in comics.

Avatard of Prescott, according to Josh Latta

Avatard of Prescott, according to Josh Latta

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Show Notes & Links

  • The Brimstones, Josh’s new comic series
  • Ads, commissions, apparel — some of his other work
  • Not so much with logo design or commercial work
  • Avatards, an ongoing caricature project for the Internet
  • Josh still draws by hand
  • Informal education — dropping out of high school and take an apprenticeship
  • Took a while to develop a creative rhythm — “it’s just so un-punk rock”
  • Josh is naturally skinny, but his fiancée wakes up early to work out.
  • Head-nod to the day-job warriors. Josh works at a coffee shop in addition to drawing.
  • The Oatmeal, a successful web comic
  • The Brads, a very funny web comic
  • XKCD, a widely-known web comic
  • Harvest and FreshBooks, online invoicing tools to stay organised
  • Josh loves hand-lettered text in comics, hates computer fonts
  • Drawing tip: put the hands and feet in first, for better energy and dynamic pose
  • The Busy Creator mascot, tentatively called “Buzz”, but we’ll see what the lawyers say
  • In art, “90% of the time, you can use your mistakes.”

“You might think it’s crap, but that crap can become fertilizer.”

—Josh Latta

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Tools

Techniques

  • Use tracing paper, copy paper, cheap bit pens
  • First an idea, then a few sketches/doodles
  • Scan to Photoshop, print out enlarged. Trace the printout and add inks. Scan again.
  • Use two pencil tones for logo design
  • Avoid debt to avoid having a day job
  • Promote yourself online, even if it feels awkward
  • Use calendar reminds for online/social media promotion
  • Use a whiteboard to keep a list of “what’s next”
  • PayPal keeps track of incoming payments
  • Draw the construction of a cartoon, action lines

Habits

  • Find a formula that works, even if it takes years
  • Wake up early if you better work in the morning (night time is for TV-watching)
  • Do something in the morning
  • Illustrators should try their own typeface or lettering

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About the author: Prescott Perez-Fox

Prescott Perez-Fox is a graphic designer, brand developer, and educator with 18+ years experience in branding, packaging, graphic design, and web design. He runs The Busy Creator.

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