It is always interesting when a cartoonist interviews another cartoonist. So Arizona Daily Star editorial cartoonist David Fitzsimmons interviewing Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau is a treat.
The Fitz introduction:
Next Saturday begins the glorious weekend of the 2021 Tucson Virtual Festival of Books. The lineup of authors is amazing. Imagine enjoying every moment of TFOB with your feet up. I had the pleasure to interview one of my heroes, a Tucson Festival of Books Crowd Cast Guest, cartoonist Garry Trudeau, digitally on the rounds promoting “Dbury@50: The Complete Digital Doonesbury”. I was cool. I didn’t gush. I should have asked him about his middle name, Beekman, but instead we talked about cartooning. Here’s our conversation…
With 24 fully formed complex fictional humans in your head, and then some, do you ever worry about your sanity?
My characters are only in my head when it’s time to work, when summoned. Otherwise, I never think about them. That probably sounds too compartmentalized to be credible, but writing is hard; I never do it by accident.
I am delighted we are running you again. Thinking of sitcom writing friends ( a very poor comparison) who are completely fried after a year—how do you keep your fire stoked and lit?
Deadlines help, a lot. I work best when I run out of other options. Even writing for TV, where the stakes are much higher, I was sometimes only a few scenes ahead of the actors. As for staying engaged generally, I have one rule. Only write about what I’m interested in. I’m still very curious about the world, and when I discover something new, I want to share it. If I’m bored, it’s guaranteed to show. That’s why there are so few repeating set pieces in Doonesbury.
Read the full interview (Fitz column) here.