Tuesday, 11 March 2008

ROK Comics Creators: David Fletcher

David Fletcher was bom in England in 1952. At school, he excelled at drawing cartoons in the margins of his maths book and falling asleep. On leaving school he studied production engineering for five years, then jumped on a aircraft bound for New Zealand where he's lived ever since.

He was employed as an illustrator and cartoonist by New Zealand's largest daily newspaper, The New Zealand Herald for three years. But for the last twenty years he's been pretending to work from home as a comic strip, drawing a daily strip called The Politician and several weekly strips including The TV Kids which appears in the TV Guide. His cartoons are syndicated to Europe, Britain, Africa, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.

David lives in Auckland with his wife and two children. People still keep asking him when is he going to get a proper job...

Questions compiled by David Hailwood

How did you discover Rok Comics?

I was surfing the net one day and came across the ROK comics site, it sounded interesting so I sent in a new strip I happened to be working on. Does this mean I’m the only creator not to be personally invited to join ROK comics by John Freeman? [Probably! - Ed]

How do you feel about Digital comics over Print based comics?

Ninety five percent of my income comes from print but most of the comics I read these days I read on the net, so both forms are pretty important to me.

What's your greatest achievement in the comics field?

My greatest achievement would be winning a Blue Peter badge when I was fourteen in a drawing competition they were running. It gave a spotty kid a heap of confidence, although it’s been all down hill since then. I suppose making a comfortable living out of drawing cartoon strips for the past thirty years is some kind of achievement!

What projects (both Rok Comics and non Rok Comics related) are you working on at the moment? �

I produce a daily syndicated strip, five weekly strips and when I have time some Crumb strips for ROK.

What advice would you offer to new cartoonists?

Produce stuff that appeals to you, not what you think will appeal to other people. Keep pestering editors, they’ll give in eventually.

What's your favourite comics related website?

No one favourite site, I like to find new comics by surfing around.

Where else has your work appeared?

My syndicated strip appears in newspapers in New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Malaysia, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark.

Where and when did you get your first comics break?

I was working on the staff of New Zealand’s biggest newspaper, The Herald, as an illustrator producing maps, graphs and diagrams when I was allowed to write and draw a weekly strip cartoon for the kids page. They liked it and before I knew it I was drawing four different weekly strips for various pages.

What comics are you reading at the moment (both web and print based)?

I like to get a daily dose of Zits (I’ve got a teenage son, so it’s very poignant.)

Whose work do you most admire in the comics field and why?

Anything in the Beano, and the Wizard of Id strip had a big effect on my style so Parker and Hart would be up there... and I love John Maybury’s sexy linework!

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