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Sat, Jul 16 2011 3:18:42 UTC

Interview with Scott Johnson

Today we have an interview with Scott Johnson, the man behind the popular My Extralife online comic, podcaster, and founder of FrogPants Studios.

Could you briefly describe yourself and how you got started making comics?

I've been drawing since I was a little kid, so it's really been in my blood for my entire life. Growing up I knew I wanted to get my work in front of people any way that I could, but little did I know that the Internet would end up being the tool that we all needed to truly liberate our comic work from the constraints of traditional publishing and newspaper syndication.

Drawing has always been more than just something I did with my time...it pretty much defines much of who I am, and it continues to this day.

You draw, record podcasts, run a studio, how do you find the time for it all?

I am doing it all full time now, so it's much easier to find the time than it used to be. Before I jumped out on my own, I had to figure out how to wedge in the time to draw and record between a full time job, an active family life, and other essentials (eating sleeping etc.) Going full time was the trick I needed to make it happen. My only regret is not doing it sooner.

Out of all the different creative works you do, which do you find most fulfilling?

That's a hard question. I think it is almost the same for all of it. There are those moments when I get completely lost in what I am doing, whether it be a creatively challenging illustration project, or a deep interview on a show...in both cases, they are incredibly satisfying, and I love it all.

When did you start becoming popular online, was it with the MyExtraLife comic?

The comic definitely started things for me in a big way. I was dabbling in other areas online here and there prior to that, but the crap really hit the fan when the comic took off, and I was able to start building an audience.

Can you describe the process behind making one of your comics, from how you come up with the ideas to the actual creation?

Usually the ideas come to me in dreams, or while I'm walking the dog, or talking with friends. I usually immediately write it down on my iPhone, or a pad of paper somewhere so I don't lose it. When I look back at it later, if I still think it was funny / insightful / interesting, then I move to sketching things out on my Wacom tablet. I used to go paper first, but these days, you can go digital right out of the gate for the same work and time. Inking and color and finishing all take about an hour and a half once I get that far, and BOOM! Post it on the site and let people decide if they like it or not.

A lot of your work is very tech or geek oriented, do you think the audience responds differently than a more mainstream type of art?

I do...I think I speak directly to a very niche audience that appreciates the subject matter more than average readers would, and I am glad for that. These are my kind of people, and having their feedback and sense of community is one of the most rewarding things I
get to see from all this work.

Is running FrogPants Studio your full time job now? How long did it take for it to become a money making business?

I was making enough even before the jump to raise my family, pay my bills, and make things work. Frogpants is no money machine by any means, but it's enough for what I need, and that is really all I ever want out of it. if it grows beyond that, so be it. But I am happy
right now, and living debt free, which is really awesome.

Do you have any advice for starting artists on how to become successful?

If you have something to express, just do it! The internet is an amazing way for anyone anywhere to get their work in front of people, no matter how many or few that group of people seems at the time. If you have passion, it will stick, and you will find your place. Everything is within reach.

Anything in the works that you can talk about?

Lots of cool projects coming to fruition before this year is out, so stay tuned!

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