Forum Interview with Greg Evans, Creator of Luann: Greg Evans Was Named 2003 Cartoonist of the Year by the National Cartoonists Society. Luann Deals with the Daily Life and Tribulations of 16-Year-Old Luann, Her Parents, Her Big Brother Brad, and Her Various Friends

Article excerpt

Forum: Tell our readers a little about your background. Were you interested in comics and drawing more than the average kid, and did you have some idea early on that you might want to be a cartoonist?

Evans: I was born with CD, Cartoonist Disease. All I ever did as a kid was sit in my room and draw cartoons. I grew up in Burbank, near Disney Studios, and I wanted to be an animator. In my teens, I discovered MAD magazine and wanted to work there. Then I fell into comic-strip reading and realized that a comic strip was exactly what I wanted to do. I submitted my first (lame) strip at age twenty-two.

Forum: Do you have any formal training in art or drawing or design?

Evans: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in art and a minor in English.

Forum: Who or what inspired you to get into this field?

Evans: Ask comic strip artists who inspired them, and 99 percent will say Charles Schulz. No different with me. Schulz made it look so easy. We all admire his deceptively simple, expressive art, his deeply defined characters, and the humanity of his writing.

Forum: At what point did you seriously begin to entertain the notion of making this your livelihood? How long did it take you to get into the field?

Evans: I was serious at age twenty-two, but I wasn't ready. I didn't have the life experiences to season my writing and give it reality. So my first dozen or so submissions were lousy rip-offs and shallow, contrived "hook" strips. I didn't come up with Luann until age thirty-five.

Forum: How did you originally come up with the idea for Luann? Was it the first/only strip that you attempted?

Evans: Luann was around strip number twelve. Yet another one of my lame, contrived, rip-off strips had been rejected, and I was feeling pretty down. I decided to give it one last try, then move on with a "real" life. I was watching my nine-year-old daughter parade around in her mom's high heels and lipstick, and I thought, "Hmmm. Maybe a strip about a saucy little girl...." But as I began work, I realized that nine was too limiting an age, so I graduated my character to thirteen, and Luann was born. The strip was the first that came from my heart, my life, my experiences.

Forum: How has the strip evolved over the years? …