A *MiniView of Cartoonist Winston Rowntree
Welcome to Creative-Class Winston, and thanks for sharing your talent. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and over the last few years I've been gradually trying to get to a place where I can make a living doing comics online. I'm not there yet, but my webcomic, Subnormality, has built a pretty great audience and I've got more than enough motivation to keep going and see how far I can take this.
How long have you been drawing to get to such a great style?
I've been drawing since I was a kid, and have wanted to be a comics professional my whole life (though I lost sight of that dream temporarily when I was in school). I've only been taking my art seriously for the last seven years or so, which is why I'm not that great of an artist for someone who's always loved to make comics, but I'm improving all the time and am pretty happy about how far I've come recently. Practice really is everything; one small step after another and eventually you have skills you never could have imagined yourself having (as well as a sense of pride and the confidence that comes with it).
Is this cartoon based on your personal creative process?
This particular comic is most certainly based on my personal creative process, though I seldom take the confidence shortcut and most often end up circling the overthinking cloverleaf endlessly. Mapping it out visually like that really was a big help though, and I'm feeling a lot better about my process recently. Acknowledging your weaknesses is essential to personal growth, and it's one thing I try to do in a lot of my work, not just this comic. There's definitely a lot of catharsis in what I do, though I do try to at least dress it up a little so it's interesting to an audience!
What inspires your cartoons/comix and where do your ideas come from?
Beyond the desire to address personal issues, I'm also hugely motivated to communicate various ideas to others, though in a relatively open-ended way as opposed to just ranting at the world. With some comics I want to convey a certain idea, with some I want to kind of take note of a personal issue, and with some I just want to tell a stupid joke or draw a particular thing and then create a little scene around it. In that context, ideas come from literally anywhere.
"If you keep your motivations relatively simple--a desire to say something about the world around you--then the possibilities are limitless for what you can do." W. Rowntree
My best ideas come not from when I'm deliberately thinking of a concept for a comic, they come from when I'm considering some issue or other that maybe I've read about or something. In the course of that pondering, something interesting emerges that I reflexively realize I can visualize in some way in a comic strip. The key is just to always have that reflex ready--to always be ready to seize on something interesting that might emerge over the course of your mental wanderings. Ideas are everywhere, and if you're always ready to catch them then you're good to go.
Hope you enjoyed getting to know a little about Cartoonist Winston Rowntree, and found your personal creative path while traveling through his Creative Process cartoon. Be forewarned... some of his cartoons contain adult material not suitable for young children.
Find more of Winston Rowntree's cartoons here:
*MiniViews are short artist/artisan interviews