Cartoonists Stephan Pastis, left, Keith Knight, center, and Richard Thompson, seated. (Michael Cavna/The Washington Post)
NOTE: San Diego Comic-Con the Behemoth Event has trampled out of our town, but our notebook remains mammoth. Here's another jaunty dispatch...
Once this Riffster was able to shake all the Hollywood 3D creatures that were nibbling at my ankles and swat all the vampires from my jugular (thank goodness for this garlic press pass), I headed off in search of true Print Cartoonists. Fortunately, I ducked in and found sanctuary at the lectern of Stephan Pastis ("Pearls Before Swine"), Keith Knight ("Knight Life" and "K Chronicles") and Richard Thompson ("Cul de Sac").
The three cartoonists spoke partly about the pros and cons of syndication in today's market, but here are my favorite needle-drop quotes from them:
PASTIS, on the necessity of getting honest feedback:
"My breakthrough moment came when I was showing my cartoons to all the lawyers at my work. ... [My advice:] Show them to people who don't love you. ... Do any [style or approach] you want -- just make sure they're funny. That little voice in your head that tells you you're funny. That goes away real fast" when you show someone your cartoons.
(Michael Cavna/The Washington Post)
THOMPSON, on whether he started out copping other cartoonists' styles:
"Yeah, all the time. Most cartoonists draw when they're kids. Most cartoonists steal when they're kids."
KNIGHT (same question): "Everything, I've gotten from somebody else. ... Even people I see today. ... If I need to draw something complex, I look to see: How did [another artist] draw it in a simple way?"