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Featured Artist: Adam Koford!

Adam Koford is a man of many talents. Not only is he an amazing illustrator and cartoonist, his writing is great as well. I also believe he has some under-used marketing promotion skills in there too. I'm a huge fan of his Laugh Out Loud Cats which has all the charm of the comics from the 20's and 30's. When I first read it I thought, "how is it that I've never read such an amazing historic gem - I know all the great comics from the 20's and 30's". I was happy to find out it not only is from our time but that it continues to this day. Much later I was able to get an original to hang prominently on my studio wall. If you haven't seen it already, when you are finished reading this go and check out his page-by-page parody recreation of a Jack Kirby Thor comic book. It's literally the greatest thing I've ever seen. I cried tears of laughter reading it. Don't skip over the comic book ads, that's the best part. Without further ado... meet Adam Koford...
When did you start really getting into art?
My mom says I drew her a butterfly at age 3, and she was certain I'd traced it. I can't remember a time when I didn't draw. In about fifth grade, a friend and I started drawing and creating comics in earnest, and the thing we were most excited by was how good we'd get if we kept at it. I'm still partially motivated by curiosity about how I'll be drawing ten+ years from now.

What did your parents think of your art?
They were and are very supportive. My dad had studied art, so he gave me a huge variety of supplies to try. My mom went back to school when I was a teenager, so I'd tag along to the college library and delve into illustration annuals and comics collections. 

What did your parents do right and what did they do wrong in raising an artist?
I was never told "don't be an artist, there's no future in it." They stood back and let me figure out what I was going to do about it. 


Were there any ideas that you came up with as a kid that you reworked as an adult?
I grew up with thinking there'd be a large, profitable market for newspaper or magazine cartoonists, so I was always coming up with single panel gags or comic strip premises. Lots of that thinking remains in my work today.


Did you go to art school or get any training?
I've taken a variety of classes over the years, but I think my best teacher has been other cartoonists. My home away from home has always been the library, specifically the 740-743 range, if we're talking Dewey decimal system. That's where you'll find graphic arts, art instruction manuals, books about illustration and comics, and me.


What sort of jobs have you had over the years (art and non-art jobs)?
Lots! Door-to-door newspaper salesman, painter (of the latex exterior variety), hotel reservation agent, HMO customer service, junior collections agent, and many more. I freelanced for a while in Florida, and then in '08 I went to work at Disney Interactive as a story artist, starting with the Toy Story 3 game all the way through Disney Infinity 3.0.


How do you pay the bills now?
I'm a senior writer/storyboard artist for WB Games/Avalanche Software in Salt Lake City, Utah.


I know you do a lot of t-shirt designs, what company do you use? What is the process like?
I mainly go through Shirt.Woot.com. The founder reached out to me about ten years ago, and I've kept with them even as the online shirt selling landscape has changed. Typically I'll pitch an idea or two to their art directors, but they also have a derby system where fans and friends can vote for my designs. They treat artists great, and if a design hits it can be very lucrative.


When I first read the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats I couldn’t tell if it was from our era or something from the early days of comics. Was that intentional?
Absolutely. I originally told the story that I'd discovered a trove of my great-grandfather's forgotten comics that just so happened to correspond to our own contemporary memes and vernacular, but the lie eventually wore off. 


How long have you been creating the LOL Cats? How far will you take it?
Ten years as of last June. I'll be at 3000 installments later this year. I'll keep going until I don't, I guess. I've been in "single panel gag comic" thinking mode for 30+ years now, so it's a good outlet, and it's very nice to have a couple of characters in a world that's all mine. Even if it's not terribly lucrative all the time (though it has been), it's mine.

You work in both digital and traditional media, what do you love and hate about each?
I enjoy having something tactile to hold or sell or give away. There's something special about actual ink on paper. I think it's a hindrance for young artists to think they have to have the latest technological device in order to create. It's not true. That said, there's a lot of fun experimenting and learning that can be done digitally. I was taught at a young age to try all media and materials, and drawing/painting digitally allows for that to be done relatively easily. 


Where did the internet name ApeLad com from?
BellSouth gave me that nickname. My phone number when I lived in Orlando was 407-273-5231, which spells out APE-LAD1. I needed a nickname when I signed up for Flickr, and that seemed like a good one. It helps that I'm 6'4" and ape-like in appearance. By the way, don't call that number. I won't answer.

What are your drawing routines? When and where do you work?
I always have a sketchbook with me and try to draw as often as possible. I start to feel it if I haven't drawn in a while. As for freelancing and more formalized projects, I typically work late into the night starting at about 10pm.


Do you have any upcoming or current projects in the works?
Last year I self-published a page-by-page parody recreation of a Jack Kirby Thor comic book I'd drawn for Inktober. I plan on doing that again, but this time with the Fantastic Four. I also plan on getting another collection of the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats out sooner than later. 


If money and time weren’t and issue, what project(s) would you do?
I'd love to publish a collection of  sketchbook pages from the past 10 years or so. 

How can people connect with you and your work?
There are links to all my various comings and goings at adamkoford.com.
You can see my Thor parody here: https://imgur.com/gallery/UqOeG


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