Friday, October 11, 2013

Maria Scrivan Interview

Years ago, a cartoonist I admire told me that he saw my cartoons everywhere. Wow! What a nice thing to say!

Maria Scrivan's one of those cartoonists too! I see her work everywhere. She's in MAD Magazine, Parade Magazine, Prospect Magazine (UK), on, NobleWorks Cards, American Greetings, CheckAdvantage, Neato-Shop, Funny Times, and she now has a daily panel titled "Half Full" on

Here's my interview with Maria, touching on her work habits, the tools she uses, balancing the sedentary and physical life, as well as her advice to up-and-coming cartoonists. We conducted the interview via email this week.

Mike Lynch: Did you always draw? Did your parents encourage your art? 

Maria Scrivan: Yes, I have always drawn cartoons since a very young age. I remember being in second grade and having this alligator character I would draw everywhere. I used to send letters to friends in high school and college that were written entirely as multi-panel cartoons with a character speaking on my behalf. Whenever there was an opportunity in school to write a "creative" essay, I would write it as a cartoon.

I have wonderful parents. They have always been supportive and encouraging of my art and are thrilled to see that I'm doing what I love to do.

ML: What were your favorite comics when you were growing up? What are your favorite comics/cartoons now?

MS: My biggest inspirations were Garfield and Sandra Boynton. Growing up, my favorite cartoons were Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Doonesbury, BC, For Better or For Worse and Bloom County. I also was (and am) a tremendous Bugs Bunny Fan and have always loved MAD Magazine.

Current additions to my long list of favorites include Bizarro, Rhymes with Orange and Speed Bump.

ML: Your new panel, "Half Full," just started with GoComics on September 16, 2013. Earlier in the spring, you did a week's worth of  the "Rhymes With Orange" comic strip while cartoonist Hilary Price was on vacation. Has all this national attention this year changed the way you work?

MS: My workload has increased this year and I find that the more work I do, the more the ideas flow freely and easily. As a result of these experiences I've had a lot of press including a front page story in the Greenwich Times, a television interview by News 12 and an upcoming article in Greenwich Magazine due out in November.

ML: You are a two-time Ironman triathlon finisher, as well as an accomplished cyclist and runner. Do you believe the physicality of your workout regimen balance out with your sedentary drawing-times? Does it make you a better cartoonist?

MS: Absolutely. I need both in my life. I spend many hours sitting at the drawing table and the computer. Running and cycling help me balance the sedentary time as well as help me generate ideas. It's amazing how many creative problems I've solved while out for a run or a ride.

ML: What drawing tools/paper do you use?

MS: I sketch with a mechanical pencil and then use a dip pen and India ink on Bristol board. I love white block erasers. I then scan my work into the computer and do any necessary cleanup as well as apply digital color using the Cintiq in Photoshop. If I color by hand I use watercolor or gouache.

ML: What advice would you give to a cartoonist starting out?

MS: The things I remind myself of constantly are: Be persistent. Draw every day. Don't leave home without your sketchbook! Stay positive. Set big goals. Draw for yourself, not for the market. Read and reread "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. This book was tremendous at helping me get out of my own way.

ML: What's next? Are you thinking about maybe doing other forms of cartoons like a graphic novel or animation?

MS: Yes! I've been thinking about both graphic novels and animation. There are so many interesting things happening in graphic novels right now, I'm excited to dive in and explore the possibilities. I'm also putting more energy into marketing my children's book, Dogi the Yogi. It's a fun book about a dog who loves yoga and helps children learn how to do a variety of fun and challenging yoga poses. (

Maria Scrivan's website is and her Facebook page is


John Platt said...

Great interview -- and fantastic cartooning!

David said...

Excellent interview Mike! I really love Maria's work...I think I first saw her cartoons in Funny Times...great stuff!