INTERVIEW BY BRIONY WRIGHT
Vice: Your style is quite distinctive, how would you describe it?
Rowan Tedge: Well I have a really busy style. The reason for this has largely to do with the fact that I do most of my drawing while travelling on the train, which ends up affecting the style. It means I have to work in really small sections and do it in lots of fragments. Generally, I’ll do it one block at a time and then over the course of a week I’ll end up with a complete page. I used to be really precise but that’s not easy on the train and I actually like how it turns out now. Everyday I feel like I have to draw something little. Sometimes I’ll just start with a scribble and add some arms and eyes to it and see what happens from there.
You do some work for Mad magazine too?
Yeah, they get me to do a few drawings here and there. I actually mainly just focus on an annual zine though—a collection of my drawings which I sell or give away to friends.
Really? So you don’t draw for a living?
No, unfortunately not. I work for the government right now. I was working for Disney at one stage though, in the studio that did the ‘straight to DVD’ sequels, like Bambi 2 or whatever. My role there was what was known as an In-Betweener, so if a character had to look left and then right, it was my job to draw the middle position. It was a great job—I just got to draw all day and we’d have life drawing once a week.
You had to draw nude people as part of your job for Disney?
Yeah, the Disney philosophy is that if an artist can draw really well realistically then it’s easier for them to break the rules from there. We used to have all these different people come in and pose for us, which was all part of the training. One day we’d have to concentrate on the face, another time on the arms or the expressions.
Did you like doing animation?
It’s such a full on process. There are 24 frames that have to be drawn per second—that is 24 individual drawings for 1 second of entertainment. It’s crazy. I think we were averaging around five seconds per day. If I was given a scene which was one minute long involving more than one character, I knew I was in for a tough week. I’d love to do more animation in the future though.
Are there any other illustrators that you’re into?
Well, I really like Vaughn Bodes’ Cheech Wizard stuff from the 60s and Martin Hanford who did Where’s Wally was great also. I also really like Richard Scarry who drew a lot of the pictures for the Little Golden Books series in the 50s. He did lots of animals and had quite a busy thing going on also.
What mediums do you like to work in?
I use a black fountain pen with this really thick black ink. I used to use felt tip pens but they didn’t come out dark enough and I’d have to go over the whole piece again which was really time consuming. For my colour pictures I either use texta or colour them using Photoshop.
You’ve done both illustrations and comics for us before. Do you consider yourself a comic artist or an illustrator?
I guess I’d call myself an illustrator because it’s more of a broad term and it feels like it’s a bit more versatile. I like doing both though but you know, in terms of comics, there are people out there who do that and only that so I’ll leave the title to them.
We also asked Rowan if he'd draw our Employees of the Month for this issue, but we think he kind of missed the point. Check out the Employees of the month in this issue see what he gave us.
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