"If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of shit."
These little babies are from a larger print I have been working on that involves some of my favorite animals. Today happened to be the day to finish the giraffes. Imagine my surprise when I took a break to read science news and came across this bombshell about the Copenhagen Zoo. Totally despicable.
Wh-what’s the big idea, Sylvester?! Gi-get offa me!
Just a little companion drawing to the Scaredy Cat print I did for Mondo and WB.
Scaredy Cat illustrated for Mondo with art direction by Rob Jones. Licensed from Warner Bros. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. Released by Mondo on January 30, 2014.
18x24” screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 200.
This is the first in a series of interviews with artists who represent fat bodies either in art or are fat themselves. This is Fat Art’s sister blog, Fat Artists and the debut of the site.
Interview with JJ Harrison, Illustrator Extraordinaire
By Karen Mills of The Fat Art Project
First, I am so excited to have the opportunity to speak with you! I love what you put out, especially the .gifs of Tina. They are so fun. I also really loved your cover of Adventure Time featuring LSP. I read your tumblr bio and think your pups names are fantastic. Fat Art is a project I’ve been working on for a few years as a hobby, but recently I’ve wanted to talk a bit more with artists I admire to have them maybe share a little bit of their knowledge and skills for people who are either just starting out sketching or want to know more about the artists behind it. These questions may seem a little strange for you, they may be things you don’t normally think about or are frequently asked. Answer as honestly as you see fit, and thanks again for your time. What an incredible opportunity for our community (about 7,500 at the moment).Hi Karen!Thanks so much for the opportunity and for the very kind words! Fat Art looks like a wonderful showcase and I’m proud to contribute!I see that you have children. How do they influence your subject matter? How do you find a love and passion for the characters even after you’ve seen every episode 5+ times?My kids totally enable me to be into the same stuff they are into without feeling bad about not being more grown up. I had kids very young and I suppose they’ve kept me young. In most cases, their love for something has only strengthened my love for it. Adventure Time, for instance, came around at just the right time for my little boy. The both of us were completely bowled over by it. I think if you can share your fandom for anything with somebody else, especially somebody you love, it will only intensify your love for that thing.I also love to collaborate with my kids on projects. I know parents are meant to gush about their kids’ creations and talents and all that, but when my son sits down to make comics, he kills it. He is so good at coming up with ideas and compositions that it scares me. In the time it takes me to sketch out one page he can bust out 20 pages in full color. And they’re good! Believe me, it’s not because I’ve actively taught him anything. Sadly, I’ve never had time to sit down next to him and go “here, diversify your character sizes, change composition, etc.” He’s just picked it up by himself or it comes to him naturally. The kids are also wonderful at bouncing around ideas and keeping me in check. My daughter especially. “Daddy, LSP would not say that.” She has a great editorial eye. Actually, she just turned 13 and she’s already written a children’s book for a major publisher! That comes out later this year, I believe. So you can see, I’ve gotta work hard to keep up with these kids!How did you learn to draw realistic fat bodies? Was it difficult? I feel like your illustrations of Hugo from Lost are spot on.Thanks! I’ve always thought curvy bodies are more interesting and fun to draw. Honestly, I have more trouble not putting meat on figures! I always have to take multiple passes at Finn’s scrawny arms and legs. PB’s too. When I was asked to draw pages for the Flame Princess graphic novel I was so happy since she’s one of the more curvy princesses.Do you feel like you have more or less creative freedom drawing fat characters?There’s definitely more freedom in drawing fat characters. A number of times, I’ve been asked by Cartoon Network’s licensing team to make Finn less fat (I always try to make him a little chubby), but with other characters they don’t seem to notice variation in weight as much. I’ve never really thought about it, but with my own characters I tend to draw them thick. I just finished a children’s book for Random House and all of my adult characters have a lot of weight to them. I reckon that given the creative freedom I will naturally lean that way.Do you feel like fat people have enough representation in comics?Not in mainstream comics, no. In indie comix we certainly see a medley of body shapes and sizes, but in mainstream comics the big publishers are still relying on the old body builder template. It’s silly really. I mean, if you look at real photos of people with strength, like in strongman competitions and whatnot, those people usually look fat AND musclebound at the same time. It’s awesome. The superhero characters most artists draw today just look like body builders, which we all know do not possess as much actual strength as actual strong people. Every once in a while an artist will come around who gets away with drawing a character with fat on them as they might appear in real life. Take Frank Quitely’s wonderful Superman, for example. The dude is thick and I love him!This is about it as far as questions go from us. A reader had a particularly wonderful question I don’t know if you would feel qualified to answer, but if you wanted to muse on it, here goes:“Jake the dog and lumpy space princess are more than unapologetic about their chub, they celebrate it. Or was this a happy accident since the world of adventure time seems to be pretty accepting and Finn and jake try to make it safe for others. Whats your reaction to the people cosplaying your characters, especially the fat cosplayers who celebrate your characters in costume?”Haha! While, as you know, they’re not my characters, I do love to see people of all shapes able to cosplay Adventure Time. They always have such fun and they get the best reactions from kids.JJ Harrison is an illustrator who has worked on entertainment projects with Mondo, Cartoon Network, Marvel, BOOM! Studios, NBC and IBM. Find out more about him and his work at his website, .http://jjwharrison.com
Hey! I answered some interesting questions for the Fat Art Project. I don’t usually get asked these sorts of things, so it was a fun one. Thanks, Karen!
A viking family vacation! I drew this for PWINTS, a new site focused on art prints just for kids (of all ages). Yay!
Adventure Time Comics Issue 22 Limited Collector’s Edition Variant by JJ Harrison for BOOM! Studios
Oh hey, Melissa, I’m like, so lumpin excited about this cover! Making LSP her very own logo was my favorite part. My wish is that someday LSP gets her own spin-off and we can use this logo and I can draw some of those comics. These will be be available at Virginia Comicon this month and then in select comic shops.
Previous covers in the series: