Interview with Cartoonist & ToonSeum Instructor, George Broderick, Jr.

This June 12th through June 16th, The ToonSeum is sponsoring a Summer Camp at The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh in the South Hills.  Learn Cartooning! with The Toonseum will be taught by the talented and accomplished cartoonist and instructor, George Broderick Jr.  

Artsmiths Education Coordinator, Tiffany DeCosmo, had the opportunity to interview George about his passion for cartooning and comic characters. Read the full interview below.

Who had the biggest influence in your career and artistic development?  I really can't cite any one person. I get my inspiration from many places... newspaper comics, TV cartoons, my parents, the world around me. I guess if I had to pick someone it would be Walt Disney. Always pick Walt Disney.

What do you do to recharge if you have a creative block, where do you find inspiration?  I take long walks and/or listen to music... Oldies and Jimmy Buffett.

When did you create your first piece of artwork? Was it sold or is it a piece that you decided to hold onto?  I created several cartoon character drawings on bond paper at age five and sold them to the neighborhood Moms for a nickel a sketch. I try to sell my artwork but also keep some of it. I still have entire unpublished comic books I drew in high school. I look at them from time to time to remind me how far my skills have progressed. They keep me humble.

Are there other Pittsburgh artists that you have collaborated with or that have mentored you?  I've worked with Ron Frenz and Pat Olliffe on occasion, mostly spot blacks and background inking on Spider-Man, Hercules. They are two Marvel/DC go-to guys.

Who is your favorite cartoon/superhero character and why?  Popeye The Sailor. I have loved him since I was a wee tot. In fact, I was in the peanut gallery on Pittsburgh's "Captain Jim's Popeye Club" on WIIC (before it changed to WPXI) back in the day. I told a joke and sang the Popeye song on air! Popeye is the underdog in all of us that overcomes all the adversities that the world can throw at him! Like Popeye, "I yam what I yam an' tha's all what I yam!"

What tools/materials do enjoy working with when creating your characters?  My non-photo blue technical pencil, a good sketch pad and the classic Sanford Sharpie.

When did you first decide to create comics as a career, and were there certain influences in your life that lead you to that path?  Probably around 4th or 5th grade (1966-1967) when I discovered comic books through watching the Batman TV show starring Adam West!

George has written comics for DC Comics and Marvel Comics,  scripted and edited for InnovationPublishing, and edited for Bubblehead Publishing.  His has produced artwork for Innovation, Now Comics, TV Comics, Airwave Comics, Comic Library International, Cool Yule Comics, Moonstone Books, Bongo Entertainment, and Premium Pop Comics. 

In this Summer Camp, George will introduce kids ages 10-14 to the art of cartooning and comic character design.  Students will design original characters, learn about comic layout including the classic 3-panel cartoon, composition, lettering, inking, coloring, light sources and shadows.

Registration for this camp closes on Sunday, June 11th at 4pm. Register here.  Contact us on or after June 12th, for last minute enrollment.

Your child can have a rewarding experience with high quality instruction and projects with some of the best arts organizations and instructors Pittsburgh has to offer right here in the South Hills.  Register for a Summer Camp at The Artsmiths today!