TCC: How did you get into art/why did you want to become an artist?
David DeGrand: I always enjoyed drawing ever since I was a little kid, but I never considered it seriously until I was assigned to draw a comic strip in my fifth grade art class. The strip I did made my teacher laugh and I discovered how much fun cartooning was, so from that moment on I was hooked. After that I began filling up sketchbooks with drawings and comic strips, was the cartoonist for my high school and college newspapers and eventually weaseled my way into MAD Magazine and SpongeBob Comics which were my first big breaks.
TCC: What artists inspire you?
David: Some of the artists that really inspire me and have informed my style are Sergio Aragonés, Al Jaffee, Tom Bunk, Don Martin, Basil Wolverton, Gary Panter, Kaz, Johnny Ryan, Bob Camp (and pretty much everyone who worked on The Ren & Stimpy Show), Dave Cooper, and Gary Baseman.
TCC: Tell us your greatest fanboy moment
David: The time I geeked out the hardest was when I met one of my favorite artists and biggest influences ever, “Weird Al” Yankovic. I saw that he would be performing close to where I live and I immediately bought tickets. I had heard about how nice and accommodating he is to his fans, and he had just been a guest editor for MAD Magazine. So I got up the courage to send him a message on Twitter asking what the chances were that me and my friend (and fellow MAD contributor Kit Lively) could meet him briefly backstage. I was absolutely floored when he wrote back and said he was setting aside some backstage passes for us. I honestly barely remember the actual meeting as it was so surreal and I have never been that starstruck, but from what I do remember he was very nice and appreciative to us for being such big fans. It was amazing.
TCC: Who is your favorite comic book character/movie/tv character (any fandom)?
David: This is pretty dorky and childish but I don’t care, my favorite pop culture character of all time is Godzilla. I’ve been obsessed with him since I was a kid watching the old Japanese movies on a local UHF station. Something about his casual disregard for the human race combined with the respect for nature that is always an underlying theme in the movies just resonates with me. Plus watching dudes in rubber suits demolish buildings and punch each other is just fun.
TCC: Favorite fandom?
David: My favorite fandom would probably be cult/exploitation/horror movies. I know that’s pretty broad but to me there’s nothing better than discovering some weird obscure movie and being blown away by it. I also love to see how innovative low budget filmmakers can get when they have no money and have to really get creative.
TCC: What characters do you like drawing the most?
David: The most fun I have drawing is when I have no plan and I just start mindlessly doodling in my sketchbook to see who or what comes out of my pencil. The weirder and grosser the better!
TCC: When you’re drawing, what do you use for background noise? Some artists use music, some use a tv show that they just can listen to. What do you use?
David: When I’m working on a comic page and have to really focus on composition and design I can’t listen to anything with words or dialogue as it’s too distracting. So I listen to a lot of instrumental music, my favorites being ambient Brian Eno albums and Boards of Canada. When I’m inking and coloring I don’t have to use my brain as much so I listen to a lot of podcasts (my favorites are Genrevision, Reply All, and Never Not Funny) or I’ll put on some mindless reality television like Forged in Fire or Kitchen Nightmares.
TCC: What projects have you recently finished? What projects are coming up that you can talk about?
David: My most recently released projects are two that I am so excited about. I designed the animated series Death Hacks for Augenblick Studios. It’s a horror/comedy cartoon that was made exclusively for Snapchat, and it’s really sick and twisted and hilarious. I also illustrated the kid’s book Twisted Tongues that was written by Kit Lively and David Lewman. It’s full of funny and gross tongue twisters, weird facts and comics featuring two talking boogers. So needless to say, it was a total blast to illustrate!
I’m currently working on a graphic novel for First Second Books with writer Rob Kutner called Snot Goblins and Other Tasteless Tales. It’s a funny horror anthology book for kids, think Tales From the Crypt meets Goosebumps with a dash of MAD Magazine. We’re still in the early stages of it but it should hit shelves in 2023.
I’m also currently working with fellow cartoonist Vincent Scala on my first vinyl toy project called Nasty Noggins. It’s a series of vinyl heads inspired by Garbage Pail Kids and Madballs with our twist on it. It’s turning out super cool so far and I think people into retro 80’s type toys will really dig them!
TCC: With the lack of conventions a lot of artists are doing commissions and sending them out to people, are you as well? Where can people see an example of your art, and your rates?
David: Yes I am, thanks for asking! During Covid I’ve been doing all digital commissions so there’s zero contact between people. My rate is $30 per character for full color final art.
Thanks David for your time!
We at The Convention Collective want to showcase the very best in creative talent. Are you a creator who would like to be featured in our weekly Sandbox Spotlight? Leave a comment here, or reach out to us at admin@TheConventionCollective.com