Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dan Moynihan

The art of Dan Moynihan, a cartoonist and illustrator (and friend of mine), often features magically transforming characters and visual puns in which, say, Princess Leia’s hair buns somehow become space stations under attack by Tie-Fighters. It speaks of unseen possibilities in the world – and unseen possibilities in drawing. “I would say that’s a big theme for me,” Moynihan tells me, “believing that there’s more possibilities than seem obvious or that you would usually think of.” I recently interviewed the Brookline, Massachusetts, artist about his paintings and drawings which were on view at Somerville’s Sherman Café in September. Here are some excerpts:
  • “I carry around a little sketchpad that I can just stick in my pocket. And I’ll just sit and doodle somewhere on my lunch break. From work [as a graphic designer at Candlewick Press in Somerville], I’ll go sit somewhere and doodle and sometimes just start drawing a line, not knowing what it’s going to be. And it turns into something. That’s mostly where I get the ideas from. There were a few in that show that actually were inspired by this website called IllustrationFriday. They post a topic each week, just one word, and a bunch of people will illustrate that topic. So I’ll look at that each week and if the word sparks an idea for me I’ll do that. It’s kind of nice to have an assignment.”

  • “Sometimes I get stuck in a rut for a while, I don’t have new ideas. The last couple years, I feel I’ve gotten better at generating ideas and just drawing a lot. I think part of it is not being critical with my doodles. Just drawing whatever comes out. Not caring if it’s good or not. Then finding ideas from that.”

  • “Skateboarding is still a big part of my mind. That was my big obsession when I was a teenager. Most of the characters – like the cowgirl – that just comes from me doodling. And there are recurring characters that keep happening. There are certain animals that I tend to draw, like giraffes, cats, of course, ducks. I guess it just comes from a lifetime of influences that I can’t quite put my finger on one single thing. It’s just what I see and think about and then it comes back out of my hand when I start drawing.”

  • “I’ll do some pencil sketches. Then I’ll just lightly draw it in pencil on the watercolor paper. Usually I’ll trace one of my sketches. Then I’ll ink it with a dip pen. Then I do the watercolors. I definitely want it to be spontaneous and lively. And somewhat happy, I guess. It makes me happy to draw when that feeling comes out.”

  • “My big thing is I’ve been working on a graphic novel for kids, it’s called ‘The Lint Fairy.’ I’ve been working on that for a few years. I drew a whole draft of it that was 176 pages. I just finished redrawing the entire thing. It’s all in pencil. I wasn’t happy with the drawings and I wanted to work on the compositions more, work on the story a little more. So I drew a second draft which I just finished. It’s a big project.”

  • “It’s about the Lint Fairy and she comes into your pocket and she collects the lint and she leaves a coin for you. Sort of like the tooth fairy. It’s about a couple kids who meet the Lint Fairy and go to her magical world.”

  • Is it very linty there? “Yes.”

  • Is it full of allergies? “No, magically there’s no allergies there.”


Blogger Brad said...

very cool interview. dan's one of my fav's. love his loose, happy, fun style!

October 9, 2009 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Gavin Goo said...

Wow, I love Dan's illustrations. Always make me smile reading his comics. Wonderful artist. Keep up the great work! :)

October 15, 2009 at 6:50 PM  

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