Uses This

1279 interviews since 2009

A picture of Jesse Moynihan

Jesse Moynihan

Cartoonist (Forming)

in cartoonist

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jesse Moynihan. I live in Los Angeles and draw a sci-fi webcomic called Forming that gets collected into print volumes by Nobrow in London (and now in NYC!). I've been serializing Forming since early 2009 on my website. Right now I'm in Angouléme, France doing an artist residency to get some headway on the third Forming book. I basically quit my job as a writer and storyboard artist on Adventure Time to finish this book, as well as a set of Tarot cards loosely based on the traditional Marseille deck. I worked on Adventure Time for 5 years. I felt like I died from that job over and over; somehow rising from the grave repeatedly to make more episodes, haha. This process of dying and being reborn helped facilitate some of my best creative work, so I'm thankful for the experience. But I needed a break!

Along with my webcomic project, I'm working on a hush-hush VR game that I can't talk about, and I'm pitching a cartoon idea around to various networks called Smuggle Brothers. If you want to know more about that process you can read my private blog about it, but it's supported by Patreon donations.

What hardware do you use?

I work almost completely analog. I draw with multiple col-erase prismacolor pencils to figure out composition/staging. I color with a Grex XGi airbrush setup, and acryla gouache. I use a tiny Princeton Art & Brush Co 12/0 liner brush to ink the bits that feel appropriate for using black, although I am slowly becoming skeptical of the use of pure black lines in comics. I decided a few years ago to eliminate Photoshop from my process in order to hold a complete work of art in my hands. I don't want part of the image to be on my computer. So the airbrush essentially replaces Photoshop for me. Almost all of the old LA airbrush masters went the opposite direction, migrating into the new technology. I tried to get in touch with a handful of these guys, but they showed no interest in taking me on as an apprentice. Oh well! There's always YouTube tutorials!

My ideas for comics, cartoons and games are kept in separate fancy sketchbooks made by Moleskine or my new favorite Leuchtturm. I used to believe in keeping raggedy sketchbooks, but now I find a high quality sketchbook helps puts me in the right mood to access deep concentration. I don't really have time to doodle. All of my drawings have a purpose now. The only time I doodle is if I'm hanging out at a drink-and-draw with other cartoonists, but I do that like once every 6 months.

I scan my originals on an expensive Epson 11000XL large format scanner, into Photoshop. I bought that scanner as an investment in my comics after leaving Adventure Time. It was close to $2000. Ugh!

And what software?

I use Photoshop to clean up minor smudges, and color match the originals. I make a low res version to post on my website, which is built from WordPress. That's it. I don't use any other software.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would just be more ergonomic than what I have going on in my living room. I'd have the appropriate shelves for everything within arm's reach, and an art table that could go horizontal and vertical very easily. It would look like a wrap-around spaceship console, basically. I could also really use an entire wall made of corkboard, to pin up storyboards and comics thumbnails.

I fantasize sometimes about having a lifestyle setup like Osama Tezuka (check it out at around the 1 minute mark), where he worked in a small studio and no one was allowed inside except for him. Ah! That would be bliss! Then, if I'm feeling stir-crazy, I could walk down to the local coffee shop and draw there, which is what I do at some point everyday in order to remind myself that I'm part of the world.