Comic illustrator, Jimmy Craig, the “cat friend” in this video recently published They Can Talk, a hardcover compilation of 100 of his clever, colorful and original comics that give an inside look into the inner thoughts of creatures from across the animal kingdom, from misunderstood sharks and trouble-making bears, to the often complicated relationship between pet owners and their pets.
Jimmy says that he’s always loved to draw, especially cartoons. “I’m not sure if that was by default since I’m not very good at realism, but I’ve been a huge fan of cartoons and comic strips for a long time. I remember reading Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side before I was even able to get any of the jokes. I always try to think about what animals might actually be saying. Sometimes I sort of bend reality, but it always starts there.”
“Most of my ideas start with a rough sketch in my notebook. My ‘rough’ sketches are so bad that if anyone found my notebook I wouldn’t have to worry about them stealing any ideas. I create the actual comics that get posted using Photoshop and a Wacom Intuos Pro.”
“Getting a book published has always been a goal of mine. I think the biggest challenge it presented was having to actually draw comics with an impending deadline. I typically draw a comic once a week, so it’s far from stressful, but for the book I created 40 new comics while still keeping my weekly posts going. During that short time, I was quadrupling my normal output. Keeping a schedule and writing down specific weekly goals helped keep me on track.”
“I intentionally set-out to make a comic in a style that wouldn’t take too long to illustrate, but I think that the actual style of the characters evolved on its own. I like having an imperfect feel to the illustration, from the characters to the backgrounds. In Photoshop, I never use the line tool or the pen tool, so everything always retains a hand-drawn look.”
“A lot of people will ask me how many pets I have and I hate to admit that I don’t have any right now. When my wife and I got married we moved into an apartment that didn’t allow pets. The leasing office was right below us, so rather than try to sneak a dog in, we tried presenting a case to our landlord as to why we should be allowed to have a dog. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Now that we’ve moved into a house, we plan to finally get some pets (plural). My wife said getting two cats will be a priority.”