This is an excerpt from an interview I did with
The Comics Review.
TCR: Josh, thanks for taking
time to answer some questions for The Comics Review. For the people out
there that might not be familiar with you and your work tell us a bit about
Joshua Smeaton: I was born & mostly raised in the Tampa, Florida area. I went to a vocational high school where I took the commercial art program. I didn't have any interest in commercial art but it taught me some pretty valuable things.
There was a couple of years where I attempted to break into the syndicated newspaper comics scene but that didn't work out. But I'm fine with that. It's extremely demanding with a lot of constraints. In 2000 I moved out to Long Beach, California with Dennis Culver, a friend from commercial art. We got a place with my older brother Adam, who had moved out there a few years earlier. I ended up taking a screenwriting class. That did wonders for my confidence as a writer.
In 2002 at the San Diego Comic con Dennis picked up James Kochalka's Sketch book diaries. I thought they were a brilliant Idea and have been doing my own ever since. Last year I moved back to Florida to be closer to family and to give me the extra free time I needed to focus on writing but I ended up focusing on comics instead.
TCR: Who are some of your influences in writing and art?
JS: I may look at influences slightly different than I want to mimic so & so's writing or drawing style. There's a quote along the lines of steal from one or two people and you're a hack. Steal from everybody and you're an artist. I like that. Where you've pulled from a ton of different things so you've created something entirely new.
When writing the autobio stuff, I feel it's more focusing on and transcribing the funny part or particular viewpoint I want to get across. But when I write fiction stuff I think along the lines of what kind of story I want to tell. I'd like to do a Harry Potter type thing or Back to the Future or Weird Science or Amelie.
Those are all from writers I admire, J.K. Rowling, Bob Gale, John Hughes & Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I like Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky. Gary Ross, Pleasantville, Seabiscuit. James Cameron, The Terminator, The Abyss. Eoin Colfer, the Artemis Fowl books. James Robinson, Starman, Leave it to Chance.
For artists: Mike Mignola, Hellboy. Sergio Aragones, Groo. Craig Thompson, Blankets. Most Disney stuff. Bill Waterson, Calvin & Hobbes. Gary Larson, The Farside. Jordan Crane, The Clouds Above. David Weisner, Tuesday (a children's book artist.) Paul Smith, Leave it to Chance.
TCR: What bands do you dig?
JS: I like a lot of Pop Rock type music. The Cardigans, Rooney, BT, Oingo Boingo, Acceptance, Jack's Mannequin/Something Corporate, Ben Folds, All American Rejects, Hot Hot Heat, John Mayer, Chris Isaak, No Doubt, Butterfly Boucher, Fiona Apple, Blink 182, Depeche Mode. For more mellow music I like stuff like Hem, Nickle Creek or Jack Johnson . I buy a lot of soundtracks too. John Barry, Danny Elfman. Thomas Newman is my favorite. (check out the links section.)
TCR: What sort of things piss you off?
JS: Stuff that pisses me off...Unfortunately that's a big list but I'll try to limit it.
People that think they're the exception to the rule. Smokers. Especially when they throw the cigarette butt out of their car window. My crap computer. Junk emails, viruses. I hate poorly designed anything. For example my water cooler has a very small opening where you put the water bottle on. So every time no matter how I do it water spills everywhere. I don't understand how a company who's business is water coolers doesn't understand the concept of making a larger hole. I hate all the usual too, traffic, telemarketers, politicians & Carrot Top. I'll end it there. When something starts to piss me off I try to think "Will this matter in 10 minutes, an hour, a day, whatever." It sometimes works.
TCR: Any advice for aspiring comics creators?
JS: Keep at it. Look outside of comics for ideas and influence. Bring something new to the scene. Make your own way. Build a website and do webcomics. Self publish. If you're good people will want to work with you. Look back at your old work and see how much you've improved. Draw or write constantly. Even if it's just to doodle or get some ideas down, do something each day.
TCR: Tequilla, Whiskey, Vodka, beer or what??
JS: I don't drink. So it'll be apple juice with Dean Martin.