My interview with artist and all around cool chick Katie Cook!
One of the greatest things I’ve done as a comedian is the celebrity roast of Darth Vader. While we ended up raising money for a good cause, I also ended up becoming friends with some pretty awesome people in the Star Wars community. One of those friends is the great Katie Cook. She’s a staple of the convention circuit and her artwork has been used quite a bit by Lucasfilm.
Here’s what I think is particularly awesome. She’s local! Katie is a CCS graduate and has been out to see me perform. I was self conscious about having somewhat of a potty mouth on stage in front of her because her art is so adorable. Well, it turns out she’s not only heard an adult word or two in her life, but she’s been known to use them! I’m still hoping that she and her husband can get together with me and Christine sometime, because he’s pretty damn cool too!
It’s National Star Wars day, so May the Fourth be with you. I never get tired of that. How did Star Wars first come into your life?
I have an older brother who was a sci-fi geek, so, of course, he was my first star wars influence! From there, he took off with Star Trek and I went with Star Wars. Two children brought up with the same values and morals… and one chooses Star Trek. sad, but true.
If I remember correctly, I thought I heard or read that Star Wars art is something that you got into relatively late. What is it about Star Wars that excites you and your work?
I have always loved star wars… and it’s a franchise that i know disturbingly well. my work is mainly about humor, so it’s great that i can pull from that love of the movies and turn them into cartoons that people love!
I was just visiting www.katiecandraw.com and see that you have a new web comic called Gronk, who I have to say resembles a pre-Weight Watcher me a little. Should I be offended or flattered or should I realize the universe doesn’t revolve around me?
Gronk is everyone’s fat, candy-loving inner child. you can be flattered.
You’re a parent now and while your art has always been adorable and certainly kid friendly, has being a parent changed what you do at all?
I make even MORE poop jokes…. being the parent of a 4 month old, i now find poop immensely funny.
As you know, my wife and I are both big fans of your work. I’m seeing a reoccurring theme of cats. Is that because of a cat at home maybe disrupting the artistic process? I know for me, while I try to stray away from cat jokes, our four guys are always there so it’s sometimes hard not to write about them.
I have 3 cats… so it’s VERY hard to keep them out of any drawing… i even wrote an entire book about what a dick one of my cats is!
I’m assuming maybe this is true for all artists whether it be visual or performance, but do you ever have a hard time not judging yourself compared to others? Chris Rock was jealous that he couldn’t do characters like David Alan Grier and I know my peers have skills I don’t have and it makes me feel awful. If you do deal with that, how do you find clarity?
At the very core of me, is a big, zitty, nerdy fanboy. i LOVE other artists… and it’s so hard to look at some of the amazing pieces that people put out and think “i can’t do that. crap”. i just remind myself that some people can’t do “cute”… and i can. it makes me feel a tiny bit better.
There seems to be a core group of artists who are tapped by Lucasfilm to do special art. I like it that you’ve become one of those artists because your work is so much different than anyone else. How have you been received by the fans?
Most fans dig me because 1) i’m one of them and 2) i make fun of what they love in a positive way. i don’t make fun of star wars nerds… i make fun of admiral ackbar and gonk droids.
From crossing paths at conventions, I know you do super quick pieces for people so they have something special to take home. The one you did of me and Christine is actually sitting in front of me right now. That seems to be a different hook than a lot of the other artists have. How did that come about?
I LOVE to doodle. love it. no matter where i am, i have a sketchbook… and those little watercolor cards are what my sketchbooks look like! i’ve been doing them at cons for years now… and making and instant piece of art for someone is so fun… watching the look on someone’s face when i give them a little piece of their cat is priceless
I guess what you and I do is similar in the fact that it’s not conventional, but it does involve a bit of travel. While your husband has a pretty cool job too, is it ever hard to juggle both a family and all that travel?
It’s only hard right now because my kiddo is so little. i miss her like crazy…. but, luckily, my husband thinks what i do for a living is awesome and he’s very supportive. if i need to ditch him for a weekend to go be nerdy and draw comics, he’s always ready to stay home and hold down the fort.
Is there a dark side to Katie Cook? It’s pretty hard to stay in a bad mood when you look at your work, but after a hard day are there ever times where you just put something sinister on paper?
There’s a dark streak in my sense of humor. i love drawing cute things in terrible situations… like bunnies being decapitated or cat’s pooping…. always with swearing captions. i drop the f-bomb… a LOT.
I know people can find out more about what you’re up to on your website, but is there anything big you’d like to promote?
I’m self publishing the first gronk book in july! i’ve also been drawing and writing for fraggle rock recently… which is a childhood dream come true!