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Jeff Scarterfield Interview : Page 2 of 2

Cartoon Artist & Drawing Instructor Jeff Scarterfield

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Q: Tell us a little bit about your new drawing book. What can readers expect from this creative offering, and when will it be released upon an unsuspecting world?

Draw Cartoon CharactersA: The new drawing project — the one that's mentioned on the site right now, is something I've been planning and working on for some time. It focuses on teaching people how to create their very own unique cartoon characters. The step-by-step lessons are easy to follow and very detailed.

The beauty of this project is that, unlike the lessons on my site, which show you how to draw a simple cartoon in one simple pose, I'll be taking things MANY steps further. Beginning with a realistic likeness of the subject, the artist will be able to fully appreciate and understand the various steps involved in developing a unique character — one that maintains attributes from the original likeness.

For example, one character I'd like to focus on is an alligator. Using a photo of this creature, I'm going to show the artist how to gradually make the transition from a realistic alligator to a unique cartoon character. Different looks, sizes, positions, and emotions, will all be taken into account.

It's been a lot of fun working on this project and I just know people are going to enjoy it! I'm planning on releasing this project in the form of a book by the end of the summer. It will be available as part of a brand new website called

Stay tuned!

Q: Who are your influences and inspirations outside the cartooning world? Do you look to other media for inspiration, such as film, fine art, music and literature?

A: Outside the world of cartooning, and into our own — other influences and inspirations are definitely there. I love drawing animals, and whenever I see one, I can immediately envision how it may look as a cartoon character. It's just so much fun.

But really, anything goes. Cars, houses, trees... PEOPLE! I really like creating simplified versions of things we see in real life. I'm inspired by anything and everything that can be seen all around us.

Something else I should mention though — and this time with respect to some of the more 'unworldly' creations I've come up with over the years — are movies. One good example is Star Wars. Ever since Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi first set foot in the Cantina in Episode IV: A New Hope — I was blown away by the many different creatures they encountered. Movies like this really helped me to tap into and explore a more creative side with respect to drawing.

Q: Do you listen to music while you are drawing? What's your ideal soundtrack for a day in the studio?

A: I mostly listen to classic rock and/or ambient 'chill out' music in the studio, like Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, The Doors, and Pink Floyd. Sometimes, though, a long ambient track sets the perfect mood. Chicane is a great example — check out the song 'Offshore' if you get a chance. No words — but really gets you 'in the zone' to draw.

Q: What inspired you to create web-based drawing lessons? Which one is your favorite? Which lesson is the most popular with your fans?

A: I've always enjoyed showing people how to draw. Working with people one-on-one, I've found I have a knack for mapping out the drawing process in a way that's easy to understand. Putting my teachings online always seemed like an excellent idea, as I could be helping thousands of people, one-on-one, every single day. Helping more people learn how to draw and improve on such a grand scale is truly amazing.

Favorite lessons? I'd have to say the Red Dragon. It took super long to create, but was just so much fun to do so. I received lots of great feedback about it. Visitors to the site really love the animals and dragons. The original cartoon characters such as SpongeBob and Sonic the Hedgehog are also quite popular.

Q: What's next? Any exciting new projects you'd like to discuss? Where would you like to be in five years?

A: Aside from my new website and book, — I have other projects either on deck, or already on the go. And while I don't want to ruin the surprise, I'm happy to say that a love for drawing is kept in mind! Five years is quite a ways away. Let's just say I'll still be doing what I love the most... drawing — and sharing this love with others. :-)

Q: Any final words of inspiration or advice for our readers?

A: To everyone reading this, if drawing is your passion (and I know it is!), than stick with it NO MATTER WHAT. Practice, repeat — and continuously seek out more opportunities to learn and improve.

Always remember — as Randy Pausch once put it — "the walls are there to show us just how badly we want things."

You're learning and improving at something you truly love. Climb those walls and let nothing hold you back. •

Connect with Jeff Scarterfield

Jeff ScarterfieldFor more information about Jeff Scarterfield's books, online drawing lessons, and upcoming projects and events, please visit his Web site:

Get further insight on ways martial arts relate to drawing in Jeff's article Kung Fu Drawing: Art & Martial Art Parallels.

© 2009 Molly J. Anderson-Childers

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »