There are so many creative people who live in Borderstan. This week we spoke to Josh Kramer who gave us an insight on his work, and passion as a cartoonist and journalist living in the city.
Josh will begin contributing to Borderstan.com in the next couple of weeks.
Borderstan: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Kramer: I’m a cartoonist and I’m a journalist. I go out and report on people doing interesting things and then I make that into a comic in what you might think of as a graphic novel style. I publish these stories along with others by similar artists in a mini-comic anthology called The Cartoon Picayune. I live in Kalorama near Adams Morgan and also have a non-art full time day job.
Borderstan: What led you to start drawing. What kind of education do you have?
Kramer: I’ve always been interested in drawing, but I was never the compulsive doodler in class. I only got serious about learning to draw when I was a journalism student at American here in town and realized I wanted to be a cartoonist. After graduating I headed to Vermont for two years and got my M.F.A. in cartooning at The Center for Cartoon Studies.
Borderstan:What inspires you to draw? Fill us in on that!
Kramer: I’m lucky to work in nonfiction and be able to take real people and things out in the world and try to put them right onto the page. Every speech bubble I draw is a direct quote and every character is a real person. I have so many inspirations in the worlds of comics and journalism, including Joe Sacco, Kate Beaton, John McPhee and Ann Friedman. All worth Googling.
Borderstan: Why are comics and illustrations important? How do they convey information?
Kramer: I think comics can make powerful journalism because they can really create a powerfully empathetic experience with the reader. Comics can be fun to read and visually engaging, all while pulling you into a journalistic narrative and maybe telling you something new about the world or yourself.
Borderstan: What have we missed… what would you like to add?
Kramer: The last decade or so has yielded an exciting new world of graphic novels and comic books, both nonfiction and fiction. Please, don’t be intimidated, there’s great stuff everywhere, including your local library and your favorite bookstore. If you want a good recommendation, I’d love to help you find something.