with Shawn Atkins
Name: Shawn Atkins
Comics: Love & Monsters, Explorers of the Unknown, Gello Apocalypse, & Thundergirl
QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a cartoonist?
Shawn – If I had to pin point an age I’m going to say 26, mind you I have been drawing my own comics since I was a kid, but before that age I was trying to get into the animation industry. I really liked the idea of working on animated films, but gravitated more to comics once I started to get into the community.
QRD – What are a few highlights of your cartooning career?
Shawn – Drawing posters for The Toonseum’s summer exhibit, doing the Sequential Underground Podcast, setting up at my favorite comics store for Free Comic Book Day. Also I met my childhood hero Ernie Hudson!
QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?
Shawn – I guess I always knew I wanted to be a father, not to cop out, but yeah that’s my answer.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?
Shawn – Negative: Time… or the lack of it. Trying to fit all the things you need to work on in the span of a nap.
Positive: Not much right now to be honest (not that I only have bad things to say), she is only two now so it’s a little hard to involve Millie in any art projects, but eventually I would like her to draw with me or to bounce ideas of stories to draw or other sorts of fun stuff.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?
Shawn – Negative: Just time away from my family really, like going to some conventions just sucks cause I love hanging with my family
Positives: Putting my family in the background of my comic stories.
QRD – Has your daughter effected the comics you make &/or read?
Shawn – Not really (now), but they’re some movies I can’t watch due to having my daughter. Example: Trainspotting, great movie but there is a scene that really messed me up as a dad that I know 25 year old me would be shocked, but not messed up by. Still haunts me… blargh.
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from an artistic career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?
Shawn – Yes! My glob yes, so I decided to get a 9 to 5er in a field that still represents some interests I have like printing, this isn’t my final destination but it pays the right bills & has the right insurance my family needs. I’m still active as a cartoonist & I’m still a cartoonist at heart, but the truth is I’m a lousy freelancer.
QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on going on the convention circuit, would you have showed more earlier in life if you’d known?
Shawn – Yeah, but hindsight is 20/20. I would like to take Amelia with us to conventions to show how much fun comics can be when she’s a couple more years older
QRD – Do you think being a father or a cartoonist has a greater impact on your community?
Shawn – I’m not sure on both fronts. Yeah, I honestly don’t know, never thought to notice.
QRD – Would you rather see your daughter eventually become a cartoonist or a parent?
Shawn – I think she could be both if she chooses.
QRD – Both family & comics seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in. How do you end up dividing your time?
Shawn – Early on I decided to do most of my cartooning in the early morning (like 5 am) & during Amelia’s nap, on a side note this is still a work in progress & will probably change depending on how she grows.
QRD – What does your daughter think of your comics?
Shawn – Well, she’s 2 & hasn’t read my comics, but somehow she thinks comics is my job, maybe cause she’s been to a couple of conventions.
QRD – Do you think you could ever do a comic project with your daughter?
Shawn – I think I could do a project with my daughter.
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?
Shawn – Never stop doing art, even when you become a father & life gets complicated & it will, eventually you can show your kids this awesome world of awesomeness that is comics & other arts.... Oh & always have extra wipes for diapers.