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Interview with WaldFlieger

Posted by TheInterviewer - April 8th, 2012


Interview No. 93

Interview By: @The-Great-One


Today's guest is a cartoonist. His series Guinea Something Good has achieved a small bit of fame and touches on real world topics through the ideas of adorable guinea pigs. From works such as Car Games, The Daily Grind, Lost and Found, and Shades of Fear. He is Jeff Mumm he is known on Newgrounds as @WaldFlieger.

Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: I found Newgrounds when I was in high school, back when the original "Star Wars Gangsta Rap" was first popular. We used to watch Flash videos in any class we had that revolved around computers, and that's how I learned about Newgrounds. A few years later I joined in the hope of gaining some exposure for my comic I was creating at the time.

Q: When did you get an interest in drawing?

A: I was interested in drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. When I was five I drew a children's book style story called "Starman." When I was nine I started drawing comics about my pet guinea pig, Joe. I drew a 160 page comic book about him, actually. And I've been drawing comics ever since.

Q: What is Obscured By Species?

A: "Obscured by Species" was one of my first real attempts to create a comic series NOT based on Joe. I had been drawing Joe comics all through middle school and high school and posting them online. At the end of high school, I felt like I was really being held back by this commitment to a character I created as a little kid. For some reason I refused to completely redesign him, so he always had this little kid's stick figure look. Actually, you can see a drawing of what Joe originally looked like in this comic I made recently: http://joegp.com/assignment/ . Sort of an inside joke for anyone who read my comics when I was a kid. (Obviously an extremely limited audience.)

Anyway, I wound up doing "Obscured by Species" first as a graphic novel style comic, and then as a comic strip. I updated it for about two and a half years and then lost interest in the premise. The "Obscured by Species" 'games' on Newgrounds were just my attempt to show my comics to the Newgrounds audience. I don't think there was an Art Portal back then.

Q: Your art submissions are a comic series hosted on your site. It is entitled "Guinea Something Good". Could you tell us what this series is and how you came up with the idea?

A: After I lost steam with "Obscured by Species," I went to the Center for Cartoon Studies, a school for comics, and developed my comic series, "featuring Talking Guinea Pigs." (http://www.ftgpigs.com) The idea for that comic was just to combine things that I felt were unique to my interests - namely, sci-fi, guinea pigs, and Dostoevsky. To be honest, I haven't owned a guinea pig in years, but I've always thought they were nature's cartoon characters. They're just fun to draw.

One of my ideas behind fTGP was to make a storyline so involved that I'd be forced to stick with it longer than my previous failed comic series. But the pattern took hold again. After about two and a half years, I burned myself out. I had been pushing myself too hard, trying to update this graphic novel style comic three times a week, and I was getting like four hours of sleep most nights of the week.

"Guinea Something Good" just started as a joke to myself. If you read the first comics, you'll see that they're intentionally stilted, the backgrounds look horrible, and the copy-paste nature of it is ridiculously transparent. I threw in random things like Mario backgrounds and things that just didn't really make any sense. It's called "Guinea Something Good" because that was the stupidest name I could think of. I was so burned out on taking fTGP so seriously that GSG was really just a way for me to let off steam and have fun with comics in as pure and simple a way as possible. Take it back to when I was a kid, when I just did them for fun. That's why they're about Joe again. It was sort of my way of looking back and saying, "remember why you used to make comics?" I also thought it would be fun to see how a realistic version of Joe would look in a comic series.

Q: Your first art submission to Newgrounds would be Invention Invention. Although it is the first one you brought to Newgrounds the first guinea comic appears to be Signs. Why not start from the beginning when coming to Newgrounds?

A: By the time I had started putting more of my attention on Guinea Something Good, and developing it as my primary comic series instead of a side-joke-project, I hadn't used Newgrounds as a comic mirror in years. I had uploaded a few animations to Newgrounds, but I was done with trying to make interactive comics. One day, though, I realized that Newgrounds had the Art Portal. I'm not sure when they added that, or if I just never noticed it before, but that's when I decided to start uploading my comics to Newgrounds again. By that time I had easily more than a hundred comics in my archive, and I just didn't feel like uploading them all to Newgrounds, especially since the beginning ones have such a different feel than what I'm going for now. So I just uploaded that day's comic and have been updating it along with my main site on a daily basis.

Q: These guinea pig characters have very funny personalities to them and you seem to draw their situations from real life events. Which comics have been events that have happened to you?

A: Thanks! I honestly try not to write about things that have actually happened to me, but there are definitely recurring themes in my life that I draw from. Just scanning some of the recent comics, there are two that stick out that are more directly based on my experiences.

The first is http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/waldflieger/a cquaintance . I'm so bad with talking to acquaintances, especially people who I sort of know but never really talked to in high school or whatever. I always feel like running away from those interactions. Sometimes I actually do, if I'm pretty sure I saw the person and they didn't see me. I'll slip away. But then I feel bad about it. So now I usually try to make a some sort of gesture and just man up to it. It's still a feeling of sinking terror, though, when I recognize a semi-acquaintance just within eyesight.

The second is sort of related: http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/waldflieger/o pen-seating . It's sort of an alternate reality version of how I perceive my interaction with strangers that approach me when I'm working in a coffee shop. Semi-frequently I find that women will approach me when I'm drawing my comic or whatever I'm working on and ask me about the digital tablet I use or my setup. I'm usually so focused on my work, that when I respond, even though I'm trying to be polite, I think I just come off as kind of grumpy or uninterested. Their reaction is always the same: embarrassment and awkward departure. The comic is kind of like the next step of social awkwardness. What would happen if I took my obliviousness to the next logical conclusion? But fortunately I'm not quite as screwed up as Joe. I just put my headphones back in and keep working.

Q: One of my favorites by you has to be The Daily Grind. You're not the first to make fun of Starbucks Coffee here, illwillpress was doing it with Foamy for years. What made you want to mock Starbucks' customers?

A: I'd have to say that it's because I've become such a Starbucks tool myself. Not that I judge other people or care what drinks they order. I don't even have any loyalty to Starbucks, really. I just like their drinks, and I like the fact that no matter where I am I can find one. But that might also be part of what interests me about it. I kind of refuse to assimilate into Starbucks culture, yet I observe it on a near-daily basis. Not to mention that I've assimilated whether I like it or not. So yeah, it's ripe for commentary.

Q: Many artists out there tend to have people who inspire them. Seeing as you are a cartoonist who do you draw your inspirations from?

A: As far as comics go, when I was a kid, I drew my inspiration from Calvin and Hobbes and Dilbert. Sam and Max and the Tick inspired me in high school. I don't really read comics anymore, though. I was a huge fan of Dinosaur Comics when I was doing Obscured by Species, and I think that was a big influence on those original Guinea Something Good comics I made. Outside of comics, though, I'm inspired by a lot of different things. Cartoons, comedies, stand-up comedians, game developers, YouTube video creators, novels. Anyone who's making something interesting, or funny, or new, and especially the people who put it online and are able to make a go of it. I get huge inspiration from them.

Q: Your first movie on Newgrounds would be entitled Morning Coffee fTGP!. You were already a cartoonist with some great comics, why take a jump to animation and will we be seeing more?

A: I've always experimented with animation, even way back when I was in grade school. I used to make nine-frame animation cycles in Mario Paint all the time. I made Morning Coffee after I got burned out doing the fTGP comic (and before GSG) and was exploring new directions. I sort of rediscovered my love of animation, made a career path change and decided to go to school for animation. So I'm actually in the middle of studying 2D animation right now. So yeah, you'll be seeing a lot more animations. It might be a while, though, because every time I start one these days, a month will go by and I'll learn so much new stuff that I'll want to start from scratch and apply everything new I've learned. It's actually made me decide to hold off from doing my own animations for a while until I really feel like I've learned enough that I'm not just spinning my wheels.

Q: What can we expect from WaldFlieger in the future?

A: Well, I actually just released my first Flash game, called "Bounce or Die," based on Guinea Something Good. (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/589790 ) So you can expect more Flash games! That's something I'm really excited about. You can of course still expect new Guinea Something Good comics every weekday. And a few months down the road, you can expect a Guinea Something Good animated series - that's the hope, anyway! That's the ultimate goal.

WaldFlieger is an amazingly funny man. His comics bring a smile to my face and make me laugh, as I'm sure he does for others. As a cartoonist his artwork is great, but the humor he brings is even better. If you haven't checked out his works yet, they tell the tale better than I can.



Congrats on the 100th interview!

Good choice for 100th interview. I really like Wald's series.

Please keep in mind. Even though it says Entry #100 at the top does not mean this is the 100th Interview.

There have been two part interviews in the past that have been numbered as different entries. This is interview #93.

Good job on the 100th interview!

Love his work!

there cute

The first animation in my new series was done sooner than I expected! Check it out here: <a href="http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/593852">http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/593852</a>

Cool! Congrats WaldFlieger, pretty nice animations. I want to be interviewed one day! BOY THAT WOULD DO WONDERS TO MY EGO.

I love those comics :D I hope you keep writing them! It's not because they have a bad score that nobody likes them ^_^