Posted in Illustrators, The Illustrator Says

The illustrator says: Joshua Buchanan

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Website/Social Media:
joshuadraws.com
I also have the handle of joshuadraws on almost every social network. Except for Instagram and Youtube, that’s joshuadrawswithink. (Boo)

 
A little about myself:
I’m a graphic designer by day, and a storyteller by night.
I self published my first book in 2013, called “The Rocket”. Immediately following that, I was asked to illustrate the fun “Scratch9” series by author Rob Worley. That book was published by Hermes Press in 2015.

 
How long have you been drawing?  Like most kids, I was sketching as early as five. (At least that’s what I remember) But as I got older, I realized that we all didn’t keep up with drawing everyday. I just loved making art, and drawing the cartoons I was watching. Even now as an “adult”, I’m still drawing everyday, and thankfully seeing improvement for it.

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How did you get into comics?  I think the first memories I have of loving and reading comics, was tearing through the newspapers to read Peanuts and Garfield.
I read so many other ones, but those two influenced me in massive ways. It wasn’t until our family moved to Germany, that I realized floppy issues of comics even existed.  I couldn’t read the German newspapers very well, and the military newspapers didn’t carry comics regularly. Thankfully the AAFES stores did have bookstores, where a limited supply of comics were carried.  My first ever purchase was an Archie Comics Ninja Turtles book. (I might still have it.) After that, I was hungry for more, which led to me finding superhero books. (A genre that I thought comics were all about until several years ago)

 
Favorite comic that I have worked on?  That’s tough. I loved what I learned from “The Rocket”, and I loved working with Rob on “Scratch9”! I’d hate to give that classic answer of “Whatever I’m working on now”, but I’m super excited for the new book that I’m starting.
(Does that count as an answer?) (Yes!)

 
Why do I think kids should read comics/graphic novels?
(Sorry if I get on a soapbox here, and feel free to edit as you see fit, or if this feels too redundant. Seriously.)
I think EVERYONE should be reading comics and graphic novels.  Old guard librarians tend to think of comics as a jumping off point to “real books”, but they fail to realize that comics read completely different than the traditional novels they push so hard on younger readers. Comics engage both sides of your brain at the same time, it’s a complex skill to build and master. People who struggle with using both sides of their brain tend to write off comics as garbage because they can’t read them, literally.

To be honest, I also struggle with this. I have a hard time engaging in conversation at a table, while I’m drawing, or reading. I’m a single task guy, but I’m also a single sided brain guy. Reading comics is a skill that I work to perfect everyday, because it’s full on brain engagement that taxes me if I do it too much. When I read articles or pages without pictures, or a visual narrative, I force myself to slow down, process what’s happening, understand it, and move on.

There are also TONS of things that comics do so well, that ONLY comics can do! They can create visual flow on a page that drive a story. They can tell us all about a scene without saying a word. They can convey sound effects with uncanny pizzaz. They can universally communicate a single idea across language barriers by using visual cues and icons.

Whew…okay, I think that’s enough for now. (I agree with you and didn’t edit your response at all!)

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What are some all ages comics you suggest?
Ohhhhh I love talking about other artists’ work!
– Tyson Hesse’s Diesel.
– Anything Ben Hatke. Like Zita the Spacegirl, and just read everything.
– Jeff Smith is an obvious choice with Bone. (The book that convinced me to give making comics a try.)
– Walt Kelly’s Pogo. (It’s vintage, but it’s so rich.)
– Christian Slade’s Korgi series. (All in pantomime, with no words. It’s a joy to read.)
– Anything Faith Erin Hicks does. For real. Friends with Boys, Superhero Girl, and – – Anything Can Possibly Go Wrong are GREAT places to start.
– I’m not sure if Usagi Yojimbo is all ages, but from what I’ve read, it is so far.
– Jay Fosgitt’s Bodie Troll is delightful.
– It’d be dishonest of me not to recommend a Japanese manga, so I’d read Yotsuba, by Kiyohiko Azuma. It’s a charming series about all the new experiences in our world, from the perspective of five year old Yotsuba.

That’s everything that comes to mind right now.

 

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