Joseph Novak is an illustrator and cartoonist who creates hilarious comics. His work is certainly unique because of his wit and humor. It might make some scratch their heads until they get it, but they will end up bursting in laughter for sure. He got interested in cartoons through the syndicated strips in the local paper while growing up.
” Like a lot of kids who had access to the funnies in the ’90s, quality strips like Gary Larson’s The Far Side and Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes stood out amongst all the others. I appreciated and admired their work from a young age but never saw myself as clever enough to make a career out of creating gags. My first ideas came slowly, and it was in college that I first inked a few concepts. Nothing came of them. It wasn’t until 2011 when I was working a repetitive job that more ideas came. The work didn’t require much thought so my wandering mind was free to explore silly concepts. I kept a small notebook on my work desk that I continuously added to during my shift. Once I had accumulated a couple of hundred ideas I started editing and drawing them,” explained the artist when contacted by Earthwonders.
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The best part about his work is that you will never know what to expect. To create something like this one needs quite some time in their hands and a source of inspiration, which Novak says he gets from both the real world and completely out of the blue. “My mind works in both a sequential and non-sequitur way, meaning the inspiration for my cartoons comes from both interactions within the real world and completely out of the blue. Scenarios that are already kind of silly can be exaggerated to great comedic effect and opposite, topsy-turvy scenarios also get a laugh. I’ve trained my mind now to more or less stop thinking of ideas when I have other priorities (i.e. work, sleep) and start up again when I am ready. I think it’s possible to find humor in almost all situations.”
The artist shared for Earthwonders his working process. In the beginning he used to work with a brush and ink and leave the cartoons in black and white. Then he progressed to scanning his work into the computer and using digital color to bring more life and excitement into his work. Since 2018 the process had been entirely digital, working from the start to finish with his iPad. “It has made the process far smoother, faster and paper free, which I am a fan of. The process as far as the drawing is concerned hasn’t changed since the early days. I do a simple line sketch to work our posture, positioning and proportions and then go right into black line work and color.”
We asked the artist where he gets these bizarre ideas from: “I write down any idea that I think has potential and then when I am sitting at the drawing desk I’ll review them and search for one I feel like drawing in the moment. More than half of the ideas I write down never make it into a final cartoon. Upon further inspection they are either not funny or too similar to something I have seen before. I thought I would run out of ideas a long time ago but I just recently published a book of 1000 and I am still coming out with jokes that seem to me fresh and funny.”
“My upload frequency was at one point daily, but I no longer put pressure on myself to upload something new every day. The simple exercise of coming up and drawing these silly scenarios has been good for keeping my hands and mind occupied. I assume I will keep going until I actually do run out of ideas. Not sure if that will ever happen,” shared the artist who’s positive attitude we love. We also hope he never runs out of ideas, because his humorous comics are definitely something to look forward to.
Earth Wonders granted permission to feature photos by Joseph Nowak.