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Lilly Fluger Interview : Page 3 of 4

Cartoonist & Artist Lilly Fluger

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Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and why?

A: My favorite super hero, and you might not think this is a true super hero... in the Pixar movie "Finding Nemo"... in the credits at the end, there' as funny little teensy fish, and he's swimming around... and this big ugly giant deep sea vulture fish creature with one of those hangy lures and huge mouth and all teeth comes up to this little fishy. And then.... (drum roll suspense here) the little fishy surprises you by somehow opening his mouth and in one gulp eating the big mean fish up. That little fish is my super hero. Why? It's so powerful and surprising and ... oh no I can't stop it from coming....... efFISHent!

Q: What is your creative process when creating a new cartoon? Can you take us through the entire thing, from the genesis of an idea all the way to the finished product?

A: It's different each time. I carry a pad with me. Ideas come often when I've focused elsewhere. When me and Steve go to the embarcadero and we got these new mini kites and this x-zylo toy thing to throw, while we're sunning on the grass, watching the boats, flying the kites, eating grapes, that's when the idea comes. I spent a week recently just trying to collect and organize all these little endless pads and papers of ideas and jokes. Sometimes a picture triggers an idea. Sometimes I get a play on words and draw it after. I do so much on impulse. I always go on tangents.

If you said, make me a new cartoon right now, ... I'd pick an animal. Let's say an anteater. Let's say he's a confused anteater, because all his ants were uncles. That doesn't make any sense... yet. But maybe the ants could be getting ready to be eaten by a cute anteater, and one ant says "WAIT!! You can't eat that! That's not an ant, that's my uncle!" ... and the anteater makes a silly perplexed face.

Then I would draw them. I usually look at anteater pictures in nature. Web, library, Ranger Rick, Zooo Nooz... etc. I happen to have some zoo videos of anteaters and I get myself focused on anteaters. That is usually really fun, cause nature is so amazing. I look for things to notice in body shape and details to put in the drawing. All the while in my imagination, something is developing just by focusing there. I guess my imagination is handling the layout. So then I just start drawing anteaters. The key always is the expression on the face, in the eyes. I just do a bunch and try to do them so they look silly and ridiculous, so they crack me up.

After I have a few, I usually go and ask Steve what he thinks. (This is the definitive test). I show him the scribbles, and say do you like this anteater, or does this look like an anteater, or which one of these do you like best. Then, if he looks at it, and makes this funny smiley expression face of "what the hell is that??!" and says "Don't you have something to do?"... then I KNOW IT'S GOOD! Then I go back, and using a light tray, I trace the best one into position. (I do the same for the ant drawing process). I take the final back to Steve. By now, I have to sneak up on him, cause he's playing his computer game, and this disrupts his focus. I stick the drawing in front of his screen and say, "Look." And if he says "GET AWAY!" in a special laughing frustrated way as he glances at it, I again, know I'm "IN LIKE FLINT."

So I go back to the drawing. Now it depends on who it's for, and how it'll be used. I can color it in Photoshop after scanning in the black and white, or by hand with colored pencils, acrylics, or some new watercolor crayons... or I can get out my watercolors (my favorite method). I transfer the image onto watercolor paper, tracing it through my light tray. Then I mist my palette to wet all the paints. I like Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, da Vinci for my paints. I have gouache and watercolor but mostly use the transparent watercolors. Usually I let the drawing sit and get excited about the 'painting part'. I come back and paint it. That part is spontaneous too. I just do quick light washes. I love spaces and textures and how the colors float into each other. I go outside lines and like it, but later when I scan it in, I often edit this out if it's for someone else. Then it's all about the computer world of being a pixel editor in Photoshop, cleaning it up, adjusting, optimizing (if it's for the Web) and saving the file in the appropriate jpg, png, etc. Then I go eat dinner, watch TV...

Q: How do you get into the "creative flow state" and maintain it?

A: I have spent my life learning to live in the 'creative flow'. Most of the time, I am already always in the creative flow. I've practiced so much, that when I am not in the creative flow and feeling good, my world stops, and I just have to get myself feeling better before I even agree to live on another moment willingly. Creative flow is about not offering any resistant thoughts, so the flow can flow without being blocked. So any doubt, worry, or concern anywhere in my entire life will mess up my flow if I focus on them. The things that open my flow are anything that involves appreciation, love, wow, neato, fun, cool, beauty, applause, interest, curiosity, adoration, amusement, delight, wonder, approval, oh goody.

If my art room is a horrible giant mess of endless doodles and ideas that I want cleaned up and organized, I take a creative slant and think, gosh, I have so many endless creative ideas, I am SOOO abundant. I appreciate this gargantuan grandness of ever-flowing ideas. That opens up my creative flow — the mess can still be there, but I feel so much better. I didn't take any action except thought so it was easy to feel better and I feel empowered cause I did it on purpose.

I used to take a walk, but I'd be on endless walks, and they were fun, but I never understood that I felt better cause I changed my focus by looking around observing positive stuff and breathing a lot. So when I came back I felt refreshed. I still love walks. But what I love is the understanding of exactly HOW I felt better and being able to do it for myself without needing to change anything external. Without action. That's where all struggles come in.

Q: Who are your creative faery godmothers and Muses? (Support network of artists, writers, and inspiring souls — living, dead, or imaginary!)

A: My inner source pals are a jovial bunch. They are the liveliest dead bunch, completely out of my mind imaginary, emotionally real, and so inspiring and funny! After that, and Steve, I have no other support network. I made it that way to learn to give it to myself. So now it's become sort of a habit. But I receive inspiration from all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. But I pretty much get everything coming to me through my source whenever I ask.

Q: Do you have a ritual for beginning a new creative work, or for finishing a piece?

A: No. And 90% I never do finish.

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