Interview with Joni Righthand, Manager of the Punctuation Association

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403-547-2520 | [email protected]

  1. What inspired you to become a cartoonist?

I was inspired by reading about how Jim Davis, who draws Garfield, did it. I was in grade eight when I came up with my strip during a punctuation project in English class.

  1. Which is your favourite character, and have you ever thought about creating more?

That is easy! Question is number one because he is based on me, and I am always in character of being him in my daily life, especially when I am out of food. I do have other characters; however, they are not in the strip due to the fact I don’t know what personalities to give them that would not take away from Question or Excla.

I have Semi-colon, Period, and Comma.

  1. What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not creating comics?

I love to go to the library and daydream or to the park and walk or go for a coffee and relax. Truthfully though, when you’re the boss you never fully get time off because my mind is always on the business even on my days off.

  1. What made you choose the name ‘The Punctuation Association”?

I chose the name because it just sounded catchy and just seem to fit when I came up with it. However, it does sometimes confuse people who think it’s an actual organization.

  1. Were you born in Calgary, or did you move here? What is your favourite thing about the city?

I was born in Calgary and adopted as an infant, raised in Bowness. My favorite thing about the city is just the fact that there is so many places to go like library’s, coffee shops, malls, and parks. There is just such great support here for being disabled and sometimes when I hear sad stories, even about Canada, it just makes me glad that I live where I do and have the great community support that I have.

  1. Do you have any advice for people who are interested in becoming a cartoonist?

Just go do it! You don’t have to have money or professionalism.

All you need is a piece of paper or sketch book (around $10), pencil crayons (about $3 to $5 dollars), a pencil, and a folder to keep all your drawings in (about 88 cents for one folder); you can buy everything for real cheap at back-to-school time.

But you got to just do it and you have to be dedicated to getting better and grow what you’re doing by setting goals and following through on those goals. Because if this is something you want to do, no one is going to do it for you. You have to do the work and make it happen.

  1. How do you do it? What is your artistic process?

For coming up with ideas I just go through my day and certain things will cause me to say, “aha that would make a good comic idea”. As for when I sit at the computer, I just kind of let the character take control, and do what they want to do on the screen.

I do the strip on the computer. I don’t even need to do any like sketches beforehand. I just have the layout in my head, however, it’s just amazing when the finished comic comes out different and way better than the initial idea.

  1. Did you always know you wanted to create cartoons?

No, not until grade eight when I discovered how Jim Davis had done it. Before that I wanted to be a paleontologist, cause of course I loved dinosaurs. I mean typical kid career right. But God showed me my purpose when I asked him to, and I know this is where God wants me, and this is his calling on my life and I would not change it for the world.

  1. What is your favourite joke?

I find it is very much true what Jim Davis said. That it is hard to pick a favorite because you created them all and you just love them all individually like your children.

I also find that each comic has its own personality and voice, and it’s real hard to pick just a few.