ZFH Interviews #3: Alex Gleason

6 Sep

For your Friday evening enjoyment, an interview with Alex Gleason, author of “Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples,” a deceptively sweet title.

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ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?
AG: Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples: a Halloween storybook about a trick-or-treater who meets a terrible fate.

ZFH: Why did you create Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples?

AG: To instill fear in the hearts and minds of children.
2 - Photo of Book

ZFH: What is the concept behind Toddler Timothy’s Delicious Candy Apples?

AG: It’s about tainted Halloween candy. After some research, I learned that no kid has ever gotten poisoned candy from a stranger’s house on Halloween. Yet, my mother used to inspect every piece of candy in my basket before letting me eat it. I’m poking fun at people’s irrational fears.

ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?

AG: I wanted to make a book to pass out to trick-or-treaters. Later I was told that my creation was a “zine”, and discovered that there are other people in Houston making their own books too.

ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

AG: I make websites and write code.

ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

AG: Seeing some cool artwork and meeting other people who make books.

ZFH: What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?

AG: H-Town is one of the few places that does this. Represent.

ZFH: Why do you like zines?

AG: They’re pure expression–no profit. Zines make the world a better place.

ZFH: Do you find an intersection between your coding work and your illustration work in terms of content or aesthetic layout? If so, what?

AG: Writing a program is kind of like building a machine, and it can break like one. If you’re smart, you’ll make it out of replaceable parts, so if one piece breaks you can deal with it. I’ve learned to write programs this way.

Adapting this to my digital illustrations gives me a lot of control. I separate my drawings into components, which can be moved, resized, and rotated freely without messing up anything behind them. For example, I’ll draw an entire backdrop, even the parts I know will be covered, so I can freely move my subjects over them. I’ll draw a detailed bald head before layering the hair on. But that’s just the start; I take it to the extreme, down to finger nails sometimes. It really helps to fine tune everything, make changes in the future, and allows me to re-use pieces of my drawings in other drawings.

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So! Look forward to a disturbing cautionary tale sure to scar your children! In the best way possible. Yay! Till next time!

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