I have been a fan of Gavin’s cartoons for awhile now and I reached out to him to describe his creation process as well as a design challenge for students.
- AZ: Why did you create Zen Pencils?
- GAT: I was working in the boring corporate graphic design industry for 8 years before finally quitting at the end of 2011 to pursue my passion for illustration and cartooning. At my old job, when my boss wasn’t looking, I would waste time reading Wikipedia pages, mainly biographies about people whose lives where a lot more interesting than mine. Their stories and quotes eventually inspired me to leave my job to focus on what I really wanted to do. The idea of taking these inspiring quotes, combining them with my love of drawing and sharing them with others led to the creation of Zen Pencils.
- AZ: What type of quotes do you adapt?
- GAT: Anything and everything. Poets to Presidents, comedians to colonels – anyone who inspires me, challenges my way of thinking, wakes me up or just makes me laugh.
- AZ: How do you move from a quote to a cartoon? What does your creative process look like?
- GAT: First I find a quote that I really like and then basically I just daydream until a small idea pops into my head. I also usually print out the quote onto a piece of paper and then doodle rough sketches onto the paper. I’ll make a connection with some words or a sentence from the quote and just scribble whatever comes to mind. I just keep scribbling away until something happens. If nothing happens (which is normal) I walk away and do something else, then come back to the problem later.
- AZ: What is the quote to cartoon challenge?
- GAT: Here’s a quote students can try: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
- AZ: Would love to see what the students come up with. Maybe I can publish the best 5 on my website?
UPDATE! OUR FIRST SUBMISSION
Wow, that was fast! Nasrin Lin was so inspired, she created this in 24 hours. Keep the submissions coming!