Andrew James Christensen (also known to his fellow classmates as Andy and is not pictured above) graduated in spring earlier this year making him of the CCS 2011 varietal. His love of hard work and kind demeanor make him one dangerous cartoonist.
What have you been doing since you graduated from CCS?
Andy Christensen: A lot has been going on! Just before moving away from the Upper Valley, I finished illustrating a set of books for Nomad Press which were just released in September (Colonial Farms, Families, Towns, Traditions). I just received my copies, and they look great! We settled on a much stronger style than the first 4 I did last year, and I’m much happier with these new ones.
Right after moving back to Wisconsin, I had a few interviews with Fantasy Flight Games which resulted in me getting hired as an Associate Art Director (triggering another move over to Minneapolis, MN). Most of my days are filled with communicating with the many artists worldwide that produce artwork for us. My main daily tasks involve assigning artwork and guiding the illustration process (providing composition feedback, checking IP details, ensuring illustration meets the descriptions, etc.) It’s really exciting to be a part of this process as the link between the game designers/producers and the incredible artists who are a constant inspiration to me.
How is Minnesota treating you? Do you have a favorite place to draw? Do you have a favorite place to draw other than your desk? Meet up with other cartoonists?
AJC: I’m so happy to be back in Minnesota. Surprisingly, I’m really looking forward to that good ol’ Minnesotan winter! Most of all, it’s good to be near family again (though I sure miss the CCS family back there). Also, we adopted a fantastic cat from some friends. His name is Randolph.
So far, I’ve only been drawing at my desk! I’ve met up with Max Mose (CCS ’11) for dinner once, and we’ve talked about meeting again for coffee and drawing. I’d better make that happen soon!
There’s a coffee shop somewhat nearby called “Diamonds” which seems to be a popular cartoonist hangout. Just above the coffee shop is “Big Time Attic” (the studio of Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon), where the host the monthly “Nordeast Comics Summit” (which JP Coovert told me about). I’ve gone once and plan on going again.
I’ve also made friends with a cool cartoonist, Ursula Murray Husted, who with her husband (a coworker of mine) hosts game nights. She’s one of the curators of MIX, plus teaches comics and illustration at the University of Minnesota.
What are you working on in your own time? Plan on going to Minneapolis Indie Expo (aka MIX)?
AJC: In what little of ‘my own time’ that I have, I’m still working on Part 3 of The Stag. It’s been a struggle to keep up stream, but I’m very excited to finish it off and eventually put out a single book of the complete story. Secret Acres has been carrying Part 1 and 2 on their store, so that’s cool!
A preview of The Stag #3
I’ll be at MIX with BETH HETLAND! I’m really looking forward to that. We’ll be right next to the CCS table, so it will be great to hang out with everyone again. I’m speaking on a panel about “Rural Life in Comics” with Mark Elton, Anders Nilsen, and Peter Hodapp. I’m very excited for that! If you’re there, you should come see it (hopefully I won’t embarrass myself next to these other cool cartoonists).
How has CCS played a role in what you do today?
AJC: CCS has played a major role in my life and where I’m at today. I believe my interest and education in comics played a big part in getting hired at Fantasy Flight Games (specifically- narrative arts, storytelling, world-building, character-building, etc… basically, art that tells a story). CCS also encouraged me and pushed me to do work that I may not have otherwise created, and which people seem to like? More than anything, I’ve gained so much confidence in what I do, and I believe that makes the greatest impact on succcess. Perhaps that IS success… Just being able to be proud of and the content with the work you’re doing.
Librarian, The Center for Cartoon Studies