Parker Jacobs is our featured artist. He's known for his creation or involvement in the bands GoGo13, The Sandfleas, and The Aquabats, to name a few. He was instrumental in the creation of the hit TV shows Yo Gabba Gabba and The Aquabats! Super Show! Parker is also the creator of the incredibly fun Goon Holler universe. And in-between all that he's helped countless other companies, organizations, brands with their image. Meet Parker Jacobs...
You are an all around creative guy with skills in music, art, acting, design, writing, etc. Do you have a favorite or do you enjoy them all equally?
Expressing myself is important to me. Sometimes I can’t articulate what’s inside me with mere verbal communication, so I must create! Creating things is part of my nature. I have to do it. Acting, music, design, drawing, etc. are all forms of expression and they feed into each other. I think I draw the most because it’s the most accessible. For example, I can’t (and shouldn’t play) music in most situations. I can just about always draw. Alone, in public, at mealtimes, in boring meetings, just about anytime I like to draw…Except for driving…Don’t draw and drive.
Was there one thing you wanted to be when you "grew up"? Or did you not think about that because you were already working and hustling as a kid?
As a former child actor, I was supporting my family since I was about 6. There were times I aspired to be a Jim Henson/Walt Disney type… In high school, I wanted to be an Andy Warhol but for the forces of good instead of the forces of New York. But ultimately, I just wanted to grow up and be a good Dad.
You come from a creative family, was there friendly competition to be the best or did you help each other level up your skills?
I’m sure there’s a little competition. Sometimes it’s fun upping my game to see how my siblings would then have to up theirs. But as the middle child, I have the least to prove. I don’t care who wins, because for me we all do. For the most part, we inspire it each other, build off each others ideas. It’s good.
I met your dad once standing in line for an Aquabats concert, he was the oldest guy I've ever met wearing a pair of Yo Gabba Gabba Vans. As we talked, it finally dawned on me that he was your dad which he sheepishly confirmed. Did you have a lot of support growing up to pursue a career in the arts?
Absolutely. My parents have been so supportive of everything. I inherited my doodling tic from my dad.
What's the latest with GOGO13?
We’ve got almost an album’s worth of new material. We’d love to pound it out this summer. A few other projects have taken precedence though, the band got together and recorded the audio for my Goon Holler books. That was fun. Since Johnny moved it’s been harder to get together than it was, but it’s still a thing.
Is there any chance of the Sandfleas getting together one more time? Are there any plans for getting them on iTunes?
It could happen. We just need the right push. I just came across some old recordings I’d love to share. We would need to make the costumes though. We first stopped playing live because people kept stealing our eyes.
What was your involvement with Yo Gabba Gabba?
I was there from the beginning… You know that some of the characters were derived from Aquabats villains I helped create or portray. When we decided the cute-ify some of them for the sake of a t-shirt, we knew we had something marketable. As art director, I was the over-all stylist. I oversaw character design, set design, prop design, animation, I wrote and directed animation segments, I did a few voices, contributed music, I was even a guest and played a few costumed characters. When we weren’t in production, I oversaw the branding of the style guide and merchandise. I even designed the show logo! This week I’m up for my fifth Emmy Nomination.
Tell us about Goon Holler, it's so awesome, you must have big plans for that.
Goon Holler was something I was on working prior to Yo Gabba Gabba. It came from stories I'd make up with my daughter. When we started doing Yo Gabba Gabba, I was approached about using the Goon Holler characters in an animated segment. I had different aspirations for them so I was able to carve out the rights to be able to do my own show later. Since then I’ve written, illustrated and published (with the help of Christian) 3 Goon Holler books that we still plan to make into a show.
What is your involvement with The Aquabats! Super Show!? My family wore out our TV watching episodes thousands of times. Can you leak any supersecretinformation™ on the future of the show?
I helped develop the Aquabats TV show since the late 90’s. When the Super Show finally got picked up, I was too caught up in my role at Yo Gabba Gabba to join the ‘Bats full time. Yes we filmed both shows at the same time. It was rough. My role was minimized to creative consulting, some design and my Professor character was reduced to a small animated cameo in the second season. The Aquabats SuperShow is currently looking for a new home since the Hub went out of business.
How do you spend your time nowadays?
We’re aggressively trying to get more properties (including Goon Holler) to get picked up. I’ve also been working with the National Wildlife Federation to help them rebrand Ranger Rick.
How long have you been doing your daily drawings? Did it start naturally or did you make a decision one day to do it?
I am a chronic doodler. I first posted a “This is your Daily Doodle” in April of 2010 I just scanned something laying around on my desk for the sake of updating my blog. 6 years later, I’m still posting them everyday but now on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I was going to stop uploading them this month, but then I forgot. Oh well! Maybe I’ll stop in April of next year...
What illustration tools do you use for books, posters, etc.?
Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes Photoshop. When not using my wacom Cintiq, I use a Uniball Vision Pen, Prismacolor markers and colored pencils, a Sharpie, and a pencil.
Do you have any up and coming projects you can talk about? What's the future look like for you?