Onslaught talks with Ben Pernick creator of “Turbo Sloth”
Many people dream of becoming or creating superheroes and villains seen in comic books or graphic novels. For people with talent, ambition and a passion for the medium, becoming a comic book artist can be a lucrative and rewarding career. If you have artistic talent and enjoy doodling superheroes and villains, a job as a comic book artist may be for you.
Onslaught: Senior year? Quite some time ago then…
Ben: Yes, but I only got interested in drawing comics when I was 19 and in sophomore year of college, when I saw that my friend Roopa had her own comic. I tried hand-drawing a comic, but then my brother Josh challenged that he could make 12 comics in the time it took me to draw one, and that each one would be funnier than my comic. He won the challenge. I took a break from drawing comics, but I jotted down comic ideas in one of my notebooks. When sophomore year was over and I was packing, I accidentally threw the book out and don’t remember most of the ideas.
Onslaught: Your first webcomic was called “Purple Cow Creations” right?
Ben: Thats righ, i finally decided to give another attempt to drawing comics when I was 21 and halfway through my senior year, and started a joint webcomic with my friend Roopa called Purple Cow Creations on Blogspot.
Ben: Well, i realized I couldn’t hand-draw since I didn’t have a scanner, so I used the one medium I already knew how to use: MS Paint. I figured that I wasn’t good at art anyway, so I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard or spending too much time on the artwork or I’d have no excuse for how it came out.
Onslaught: I understand the Blogspot approach, but it didnt take you long to set up your own website did it?
Ben: We got tired of Blogspot and got my friend Julian to help us start up our own website in September 2009, since he wanted a chance to get some practice in website design. We called it Cheesecake, and it was going well for a while, but I started getting so many ideas for comics that I wanted to be able to post comics more often, and I also felt that our styles of humor were getting farther apart, so I decided to end Cheesecake so I could start my own comic. It was a tough decision to make, since I didn’t want the fact that I wanted to go solo to hurt our friendship. Roopa went on to start a new site called Erratic Beat Comics and I teamed up with Julian and took a brief hiatus to start up the new site, and we each posted the comics that we had drawn on our past projects to the archives of our new respective sites.
Ben: Ha ha ha, yeah yeah!! Turbo Sloth officially started on February 14th, 2010, and I’ve been posting three comics a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) regularly since then.
Onslaught: Like many upcoming artist, you have a full time work right? How do you find the time to work on Turbo Sloth?
Ben: It can be tough to find the time to draw the comics, especially since I work full time, and there have been a few times where I just drew something really fast just so that I could update on time. I have a TON of ideas, that I store on a MS Word file on my computer, enough to keep my comic going for over 10 years as long as I have time to draw the comics (it takes between 1-2 hours per comic). Still, I often worry that I’m going to run out of ideas at some point, and have a bad habit of not drawing my best comic ideas so that I can save them for later, when Turbo Sloth would hopefully have a larger audience.
Ben: Yes it is actually! I like having a comic with no plot or recurring characters so that I can focus solely on the jokes, and it gives me the freedom to make comics about anything, including technology/gaming, sex, religion, current events, or past experiences. A lot of my friends, coworkers and even family read it, but I’m still not really afraid of offending people or making comics about any topic. I’d say the toughest issue though, is trying to figure out how to expand my reader base.
Onslaught: Do you find it difficult to network and get your work noticed?
Ben: I use twitter, facebook and advertise on project wonderful primarily, and sometimes draw and accept guest comics for/from other webcomics (Including Justin from Left-Handed Toons!), and it’s been growing gradually but slowly, so sometimes I get impatient or frustrated that Turbo Sloth hasn’t gone viral. Still, I highly value twitter not just as a networking tool but also as a great way of communicating with readers, friends, and other webcomics. I’m hoping someday the site gets big enough where I can make guest appearences and comic cons, but for now I’ll just keep drawing comics and hope that it makes the people who seem them laugh.