How is it you became a cartoonist?
I took an exceedingly roundabout way to becoming a professional cartoonist. I've been a stockbroker, then went into Special Warfare in the military and served in places like Iraq, then finally got around to pursuing my true passion - art and humor.
Did you go to art school?
No, but every now and again I entertain the idea of going to one. I love to learn.
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming a cartoonist?
I would have to say the single biggest influence was Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. He personified what a cartoonist is and should be, to me anyway. I had a stack of those little Peanuts paperback books when I was a kid.
What inspires you now?
So many things. For humor, I love to read anything by H.L. Mencken as well as Mark Twain. His 'Innocents Abroad' is hilarious. For art, I love the work of many of my fellow cartoonists, and he work of illustrators like Brian Despain, Chris Buzelli and too many to name - fantastic artists.
Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work for instance what types of medium do you like to work in?
I wish there was some great artistic secret I could share, but honestly I just pick up an old Rotring mechanical pencil sketch out my drawing then ink it in with an old Pelikan fountain pen. After that, I scan it into Photoshop and add the color work and lettering. I've recently been doing some black and white cartoons for business magazines on an iPad using the Artstudio app - I really like that.
What types of markets do you do art for?
My black and white cartoons have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review, my "Spectickles" characters have been in Reader's Digest and lots of other print publications. Mostly though, they're used in licensing for such things as calendars, cocktail napkins, greeting cards, coffee mugs - even figurines.
Are there links to your images you would like to share?
Sure. My humorous art blog, where I try to share my experiences in cartooning and illustration mainly to assist fellow artists, is http://billabbottcartoons.com/. I have a sorry excuse for a portfolio site (a new one is being developed) at http://billabbott.weebly.com/. For those with an interest in buying stuff with my cartoons on them you can check out http://www.zazzle.com/billscartoons.
Are there other creative interests you pursue like writing or music?
I do. When I was younger I actually played lead guitar in a hard rock band (many, many years ago). Now I enjoy teaching myself classical guitar. I've also done some humor writing and had a few pieces published which was exciting. One day I hope to publish a book on the aspects of Queen Anne's Navy - how nerdy is that?
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? Book gift or home products?
Currently, my work is licensed by a number of companies such as Hallmark UK, Mead Westvaco, Paperproducts Design, and a bunch of others in the U.S. and overseas. There are some exciting developments that I'm waiting to have the details finalized for, then there'll be a good deal more on the licensing front.
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
To be able to sit in the back of a boat and think up goofy situations to draw, and make a respectable income from it. It's a gift beyond measure. I honestly can't imagine a better, happier way to go to work.