Author Spotlight: Bob Lipski
Friday, March 30, 2012

Bob Lipski is a rare talent. His work is unique, original, and funny. Seriously, in his installment for Volume I of Cifiscape Bob Lipski poked fun at the future, and simultaneously shed light on our obsession with technology. When he told us he had something for for Volume II we were genuinely thrilled and excited to see what he had prepared for us.
I hope you enjoy getting to know Bob Lipski a little bit with this weeks Author Spotlight

What's your background in art?
Do you think that affected you positively? Or negatively?
Bob: I've been drawing as long as I can remember. I've always liked drawing. I liked other things that kids my age liked, but when I wasn't watching Transformers, I drew stories about them. When I wasn't playing Nintendo, I was drawing Super Mario comic books.
I took every art class I could in high school and then in college. I spent some time at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and I liked the time I spent there. I did a lot of life drawing classes, which were very important to cartooning. I read an interview with Charles Schulz (Peanuts) who said in order to cartoon well, you had to be able to draw realistically. So the life drawing classes became very important to my cartooning.

Where did the inspiration for Uptown Girl come from?
Bob: I was reading a lot of alternative comics about 15 years ago and started doing an autobiographical comic strip called 'Fake Farm Landscape' that was similar to a lot of what I was reading, like James Kochalka or Jeffrey Brown. After a few years of that, I wanted to try a comic book and tell longer stories. I thought I would do a more fictionalized comic than my real life comic and tell weirder, or at least different stories than what I was doing in 'Fake Farm Landscape.' But I didn't want it to be similar to my autobiographic comic, so instead of using a guy as the title character, I used a girl.
I also wanted to reach a different audience than 'Fake Farm Landscape.' Whereas the comic strip was filled with swearing and sex, I wanted to make something a little more accessible and less offensive. So I decided to leave out the swearing and make it an all ages comic. Uptown Girl found her audience and I've been having a lot of fun with it.

Could you tell me a little bit about your upcoming book Little Adventures?
Bob: Little Adventures is a collection of short stories that I did off and on over the last few years, mostly while I was working on the first Uptown Girl graphic novel "Big City Secrets". Most of the stories are funny, but there are a few quieter, reflective bits in there.

Did you always draw like you draw now, or was there a time when you did more "traditional" drawings?
Bob: I've always been a cartoonist, though for years I called myself an illustrator because I wanted to draw children's books. Eventually I moved away from those for a while and got into drawing comics. That label seemed too highbrow for what I was doing, so I embraced the title.

What was the inspiration behind The Fall of the World's Own Optimist?
(from Cifiscape Volume II: The Twin Cities)
Bob: Like most things I write, it started with something that happened to me. I watched someone buy a lottery ticket and then after it was printer, the guy left without paying for it or taking it with him. The clerk was annoyed and feeling spontaneous, so I purchased it. I checked the numbers the following night and I lost, of course. I wasn't expecting to win, but I was still hoping I would. But the reality of my life sunk in and I realized I have it pretty good. And of course, what the clerk says to Uptown Girl at the end of the story is an inner voice of mine that tells me how corny I really am.

Besides Little Adventures, what else are you currently working on?
Any more stand-alone comics?
Bob: I am about a fourth of the way through the next Uptown Girl graphic novel. It's called "Long Forgotten Fairytale." It'll end up being the longest thing I've written mostly on my own. The first graphic novel was written by Brian Bastian, and he's helped me with some stuck plot points on the book I am working on now, but for the most part it's all me. I hope it turns out okay. It should be out in 2014. I am also putting together a collection of early Uptown Girl comics for the 10th anniversary of the character. It's called "Greatest Hits" right now, but there's a good chance that will change. That will be out next spring. And hopefully once Little Adventures comes out, I can put some more time into my kid's book and try to find a publisher for that.

Do you listen to music when you're drawing, and if so what do you listen to?
Is it based on mood?
Bob: That's a good question. I need to have background noise when I draw or I get kind of bored. I used to listen to podcasts, but ended up being too distracted by them and I would sit and listen to them as opposed to drawing. What I find is good to listen to are commentaries on movies or tv shows, as well as documentaries. Baseball is good, too. I also listen to music, and the type of music I listen to is usually decided by what I am drawing. If I am writing and laying out a page, I listen to music that is a little quitter, like Paul Simon, Neil Young, Bob Dylan. If I am inking then I tend to listen to louder or faster music.

Thank you for visiting for another edition of Author Spotlight.
Cifiscape Vol. II: The Twin Cities is out now in paperback. It'll be out for Kindle, Nook, and iPad/iPhone next week.