For all beginning artists
Renowned comics creator Jimmy Gownley shares his adventures as he grows from an eager-to-please boy into a teenage comic book artist. This is the real-life story of how the DUMBEST idea ever became the BEST thing that ever happened to him.
As I read this book I actually got so overwhelmed that I had to keep putting the book down to calm myself.
After reading Jimmy Gownley’s life story, ‘Amelia Rules’ makes a lot more sense. It’s kind of like he poured his whole self into the characters. Or maybe not like that. The way his stories and drawings are, they are just too amazing to explain in mere words.
As part of Jimmy Gownley’s job, he goes around the country speaking at schools and libraries and conventions. I know if I had seen one of his speeches as a kid I would have been inspired. A relative of mine asked me to speak at his schools’ career day and I talked to three classes about my comics, doing animations, and owning a service dog. After the second talk, I found out that I was one of the most popular speakers there. I thought it was because of my service dog, Dude, but then I learned there was also a policeman with a police dog speaking too, and apparently, we were more popular than them. I didn’t really understand that since Dude just sat there the whole time while I spoke. I think I gave the kids hope that, ‘Yes. You can make a living drawing cartoons.’ A couple of kids actually showed me some of their drawing that they had drawn on the spot, they were all pretty good. About a week later, I got a ton of thank you letters from the students and they were all filled with drawings. Most of the drawings were of me and my dog.
As a cartoonist myself, this story really got to me and reading Jimmy Gownley’s origin story made me think on my origin story. I always loved to draw as a little kid (mostly stick figures) but I really started to take off when I discovered Calvin and Hobbes. It was in 5thgrade that I decided I wanted to be a cartoonist. I started out by drawing my own spoof of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ which I called ‘Halle and Carrie’, Halle being a human girl and Carrie being a kangaroo (I have no idea why a kangaroo). I had to start somewhere. And my origin story is still in progress. I’ve just finished writing my own children’s book featuring my own characters. It was a long stressful journey but I did it. I’m getting back from the publisher a week from today. Here’s what the front and back cover is going to look like.
I’ve already started drawing a sequel which will probably be published next year if I’m lucky.
I love the idea of making a graphic novel based on your life experiences. I wish I could do that but I don’t remember enough details to make it interesting enough. Although the story of how I got hit by a golf cart is pretty interesting. I’m hoping to put that story in one of my comics someday.
And for any artists out there, who are reading this, keep drawing. Even if you just start off drawing stick figures, that’s a good start, you can only get better.
This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Comics
Artist Charles M. Schulz created nearly 18,000 “Peanuts” comic strips.