Gary Clark

I grew up in a family of five. One Brother, one Sister, Mum and Dad.
Dad inspired me to Draw at a very young age…

He would sit me in his lap and sketch pictures for me.
I drew almost every day after that.
During High school I xstarted to draw cartoons to amuse classmates…

 

Role model and influences: Red Skelton was a TV and movie comedian whose comedy I enjoyed very much.
Also Dick Van Dyke was another TV comedy actor I Really appreciated.
Illustrators: I was a huge fan of British war comics like Air Ace and other titles by Fleetway Publishing London.
I have not seen better realistic action comic art anywhere.

I still have a collection of my favourite issues including the tattered but readable first issue I bought at age 11. At this age I had no comic strip favourites. My local Brisbane newspaper only carried very old fashioned comic features like Blondie and a few other old style comic strips.
Although I did discover the brilliant cartoon work of Ronald Searle. The cartoonist who did the title cartoons of the movie “The Magnificent Men in their flying Machines”.
Swap the word studying for practicing comics.
I drew a lot during the evenings while watching tv with the family. Exploring all sorts of subjects and art styles from battle scenes to copying pictures or even even portraits of famous paintings.

Around 13 years old I started to draw cartoons of family incidents to amuse the family or cartoons to amuse school class mates.
It wasn’t until finishing High school and I started full time Art college that I was completely inspired to pursue cartooning seriously as a profession when I saw the Wizard of ID cartoon strip for the first time.
From then on I began studying cartoons of many cartoonists from different countries.
Including Sempe ( France) Ffolks ( England) and magazine gag cartoonists who contributed to Punch magazine and Mad Magazine. Don Martin being a favourite.
I created my own gag cartoons and would then critique my work and write notes on the cartoons to highlight mistakes. I would then redraw the cartoon and improve it. Sometimes I would do this several times until I was happy with the work.


Re My own current work: Swamp cartoon strip.
Before drawing my first published Swamp cartoons I was commissioned By the publisher of a National Trucking Magazine to produced 115 Trucking cartoons. This collection of Trucktoons was published and proved a hit. Producing these cartoons taught me to work in a disciplined way and I established an orderly business like routine that I have maintained for over 40 years of full time professional cartooning.
Those first 115 trucktoons also taught me how to creating gags ideas on demand.
Re the cartoon style:
It took about 20 – 30 trucktoons before I began to develop a cartoon style that I liked and could call my own.

Developing the cartoon style for Swamp took many years to develop.
Trucks and truck drivers were big and distinct and required drawing them as fully rounded 3-d characters with lots of detail.
Swamp cartoon drawings were 2-d (eg flat) with very stylised Character designs that were.more like a logo design than a drawing. Learning what basic shapes were the basis of each Swamp character helped me to draw each character
The same each day.

The current cartoon industry on most print media fronts has been decimated by digital disruption that has forced the closure of many newspapers and magazines. This decline is still happening.
The print market had been a stable market that enabled cartoonists to earn a good stable income.
The Digital cartooning market place is very diverse
and hasn’t yet matched the clear entry path and income stability that print once did.
On the upside, Digital has allowed many cartoonists to get published and develop there skills and build unique loyal audiences and in some cases earn a good income.
I’m sure Digital has opened many new potentially profitable publishing possibilities. The current challenges are to find out platforms are out there, how to use them, how to let your potential paying audience know you exist.