Tell us about your latest ongoing project Yummy Lemons; A Weekly Autobiographical Cartoon.
My wife and I recently had a little boy. His name’s Emmett. I got this rather ambitious idea to document moments of his/my life together in the form of a weekly autobiographical comic. The goal is that on his 21st birthday, I’ll give him a HUGE comic book of his life. The comic is going well, I’ve had some good response to it. I suspect it’ll evolve as time goes on. I’m probably going to change it to a fortnightly comic for a while, mainly because Emmett doesn’t do much at the moment but sleep, eat, pee, poo, puke and look cute. Also, I’ve run out of paper this week.
Who or what influences you?
I grew up obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes. Bill Watterson redefined newspaper comics. He made them magical again. Later on, I fell in love with Australian cartoonist Micheal Leunig’s work. Other than that, not many comics influence me. I read a lot of books by obscure writers like Jeff Strand.
You have done a few projects that involve self-publication or fanzines. What is it about the DIY ethic that appeals to you?
Oh, DIY is the only way you can do comics in South Africa! The only way I could get anyone to read any of my stuff was to photocopy it, make a comic ‘zine and hand them out to drunk people at punk rock shows. There’s really no appeal to DIY comics. Sure it seems underground or whatever, but really it’s about getting your stories read by people other than your mom. There’s much more opportunity nowadays for cartoonists to get read, with the Internet and social networks and unicorns and such. There’s no ethic you need to follow as a cartoonist. If a big capitalist company wants to pay you lots of money to publish your stories on the back of their terminator seed brochure, I say go for it!
Where does the name Skinny Fishpaste come from?
Skinnyfishpaste is the name of my Gmail account. It was the only name available. I’ll have to change it NOW.
How does your creative process work? Do you have one?
Yeah, I usually sit and stare at my notebook for HOURS! Sometimes an idea will pop into my head and I’ll write a little script, then I’ll pencil a comic, then ink, then scan, then colour. It takes forever! With the Yummy Lemons strip I have to wait for Emmett to do something worth writing about.
How does living in Durban and South Africa influence your work?
The whole self-publishing thing is influenced a lot by living in South Africa ’cause it’s almost impossible to get any cartoons published in the mainstream if they aren’t political cartoons. I love living in Durban! I love bunny chows and pineapples with chilli powder and surfing and wearing baggies and slops all year. There’s also a great bunch of cartoonists in Durban.
If your work was transformed into music, what would it sound like?
It would probably sound like MewithoutYou.