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The Dot Com Cartoonist: A Few Words With Wardell Brown

EM's Brent Sprecher spotlights up-and-coming talent Wardell Brown in this exclusive interview from the floor of the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con.
Wardell's cool, groovy, cartoon-infused style instantly relieved my fatigue and reignited my creative juices. Wardell was busy, but agreed to give me and Earth's Mightiest an impromptu interview.

BRENT SPRECHER: I'm here at Comic-Con with Wardell Brown, cartoonist. Is that how you describe yourself?

WARDELL BROWN: Yeah, cartoonist, illustrator… I mostly do a lot of freelance work, a lot of character design work.

BS: What are you working on right now?

WB: Right now I'm finishing up a series…I'm illustrating a book with a (collaborator) from Japan, an English as a second language book. Then, I'm gearing up to finish up a series of artist-based pieces that I'm doing. The Jimi Hendrix piece is the first piece (of five). I've also completed a Bob Marley piece, which is available for viewing on my site. I have three more pieces to complete: Robert Johnson, a Blues guitar legend, Chuck Berry and Prince.

BS: Excellent, excellent. How long have you been doing music-themed pieces?

WB: Just recently. I just recently switched over to doing the retro-Vector cartoon-based style. I started doing that in April of this year and it's been going really, really well. I've been very, very busy. It's taken off. The retro-Vector is like new and old and it just works together.

BS: Are you a full-time working artist now or are you still in the 9-to-5 world?

WB: No, no, I gave up the 9-to-5 job a year ago and everything's been going gangbuster ever since, so I couldn't be happier.

BS: Was there any trepidation in making that decision?

WB: Yeah, a little bit. Last year I had to supplement my income a little bit by doing a lot of web work, but by the end of the year the recession kind of hit everybody and my web work kinda dried up, which was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to really focus in on my illustration work and once I did that everything really started to take off.

BS: You have a book coming out pretty soon, correct?

WB: Yes, I just finished my Art of War: Volume 2. This time it's all my color work. It's 100 pages of full-color work.

BS: Your artwork is really cool. Normally I can pick out an artist's influences. Oh, this guy likes this artist, or that artist, but with you I can't really tell. Is there a little bit of Coop in there?

WB: I'm definitely a fan of Coop. I think we probably have some of the same influences, but my main influence is Bruce Timm, animator. That very angular style, that very graphic style, I like a lot. (I'm also influenced by) a lot of Disney animation and Warner Bros. animation, so I guess there's a marriage of those two with some anime thrown in over the top. Mix it all up and that's what you've got.

BS: Are you interested in working in comics and/or animation?

WB: Yes, I definitely want to do more comics and animation work.

BS: Your stuff looks great! I can't wait to see more of it! Thanks for your time and good luck, Wardell.
WB: Thanks a lot, Brent.

Click HERE to go to the personal site of Wardell Brown!


Wardell began cartooning as a child. Greatly influenced by animators Tex Avery and Chuck Jones Wardell spent most of his formative years cartooning and creating various comic strips and comic books. By the time he was 12 he had created hundreds of cartoon characters, mostly funny cartoon animals. While attending Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia Wardell became heavily involved in art history, which added a new dimension to his art. Also during that time Wardell also studied with cartoonist Bebe Williams of Bobby Ruckers.

After earning a Carl T. Rowan Scholarship, Wardell attended the Rochester Institute of Technology. During this time Wardell was a founding member of the RIT Sequential Art Guild. The Sequential Art Guild was a group of RIT students who produced a comic book called, Tiger Tales. Upon graduating in 1998 with a BFA in Illustration Wardell moved to San Diego California and began a career in freelancing illustration. In 2001 Wardell studied with character designer Charles Zembillas of the Animation Academy of Los Angeles.

Check out all of Brent Sprecher’s exclusive interviews with today’s hottest comic book professionals!

Click HERE for an exclusive interview with UK sensation Liam Sharp!

Click HERE for an exclusive interview with Secret Invasion artist Leinil Yu!

Click HERE for an exclusive interview with Wolverine artist Marcelo Frusin!

Click HERE for an exclusive interview with Hero By Night creator DJ Coffman!

Click HERE for an exclusive interview about Bluewater Productions’ latest comic adventure, Spaced Out!

Click HERE to watch an exclusive interview with award-winning writer Grant Morrison!

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Brent Sprecher
Earth's Mightiest

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