1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Kevin Cross and I’m a San Francisco Bay Area native currently living in Portland, Oregon with my rad wife and our super awesome one year old daughter. I’ve been working as an illustrator for…GASP…13 years. There are two styles I’m working in these days. One is a naive style that emphasizes a minimal approach through shape and color. The other style emphasizes brush and ink line work influenced by my favorite cartoonists from the Silver and Bronze Ages of comics. You can see what I’m talking about over at my website. I’ve been a podcaster for a few years now and have been a co-host on shows like Big Illustration Party Time, a show about the ins and outs of freelance illustration, Art & Story, a show about the craft of making comics, and I’m currently a co-host on Traveling Through The Bronze Age, a show that dissects comics from 1970-1985. Additionally, I’ve made and self published my own comic books, mini-comics, and zines. Right now, when client work is slow, I’m working on a children’s book that I’ve written, as well as turning one of my old mini-comics into a larger comic series that I hope will come out before I’m a senior citizen. Finally, I’ve been a skateboarder and guitar player for many punk bands since 1985. Some of my old bands include Big Rig (Lookout Records), The Nerve Agents (Revelation Records), and Pitch Black (Lookout and Revelation Records). I’m currently playing guitar in Barbarian Riot Squad and have a solo project, where I play everything, called Plastic Eyes.
2. What’s your hardware setup?
- Some sort of fancy iMac machine
- Yiynova MSP19U tablet monitor
- Epson Perfection V500 PHOTO scanner
- Epson Stylus PHOTO R1900 printer
- iPad that I use solely for writing with the “My Writing” and/or “Evernote” apps… also, for playing Mr. & Ms. PAC-MAN. (Its too bad those kids got a divorce. I thought they had a bright future together.)
- Line 6 UX1 for recording guitar, bass, and vocals for my sweet tunes, man.
- Western Digital My Book External HD with more memory than I’ll need in the foreseeable future.
- JVC 13” VCR/TV combo with a cheap Sony DVD player, one of those retro ATARI 2600s with 60 games inside, and a Retron 3 game console that plays NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis games attached to the TV. If I was a smarter man, these things wouldn’t be in my studio.
- ION USB Turntable because I love listening to records while I work.
- BLUE SnoBall Microphone for podcasting.
3. What’s your workspace look like?
My workspace is kind of small and narrow. It can get pretty messy pretty quickly, but I try to keep it tidy lest I go insane. Here’s a video tour of my workspace.
4. What tools do you use to make your cartoons?
When I’m working in the naive style, predominately for children’s book clients, I have started working completely digital from the initial sketches all the way through to the finished illustration. So I just use my computer, the Yiynova, and Photoshop for that.
For the comic book style, I use cheap computer paper and pencil for roughs, then I scan that into my computer and turn the lines to a non-photo blue, then I print the blue lines out onto Bristol, then go over to my drawing table to ink using Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes with Speedball ink, then its back to the scanner, then I clean up the inked piece and color it using Photoshop and the Yiynova tablet monitor, and then when its all finished, I grab my skateboard and leave the house.
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