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Award-winning Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz Visits HMS

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Lalo Alcaraz is a political cartoonist that has recently been working on a new animated film with Pixar Studios. Lalo recently visited Harvest to talk about being a political cartoonist, and being a consultant for recent animation projects for FOX and Pixar.

The feature animated film called Coco is the story of a boy who idolizes a guitarist and is transported into the world of Dia de los Muertos.

He also worked on Bordertown USA with the creator of Family Guy: Seth Macfarlane.

Mr. Alcaraz did get in a minor bit of trouble based on some of the panels he showed, something he said he was used to. And partway through the interview our camera died (not our fault) so the rest of the interview is in an audiofile. We will have the transcription below.

 

Q: What is your favorite way to communicate and what kind of comic do you think is best?

Natalia Sanchez photo
Political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz addresses Harvest 8th graders about cartooning and animation.

A:My favorite type of political cartoon is the kind where you draw one simple strong image and it has a clear message. That’s communication…  we’re kind of learning in our education… about communication. What I do is communication, but it happens to be that what I’m communicating is, instead of an ad for Gatorade or whatever this is (drinking Sparkling Arrowhead) Sparkling Arrowhead, I am presenting my opinion, and we should all be lucky enough to express our opinion.

 

Q:Did you have any goal when you started drawing cartoons?

A:I just really didn’t uh, want to starve to death. When I started out I was doing cartoons for the L.A. weekly, and it was my first kind of, uh public job, the one before that was the cartoonist for the school paper so nothing really like that. I got paid 75 bucks a week, and I don’t know how I didn’t starve to death, I didn’t know what kind of other job I was doing, I can’t remember, it was so long ago, like 1994. I was right out of Berkeley, and I guess I ate a lot of Top Ramen or something, probably living off my wife, and she was a school teacher, so marry a school teacher, or be one.

 

Q: When would you recommend starting to draw?

A: I had a head start because my family is really artistic, but I say start as early as possible, as a kid I was always drawing, and I had cousins in Mexico who were artists, and we had musicians, and I missed out in a lot of good genes, but when we went to Mexico I saw these beautiful paintings, so yeah, start as soon as you can.

 

Q:Would you say being a cartoonist is a suitable career?

A:Well, it can be, right now to be an editorial cartoonist or a political cartoonist for a newspaper, the career is shrinking. There’s less real estate in the comics page in print, but they are starting to market these webcomics, and I’m in Gocomics, you can get the comic free, or get the premium for like ten bucks a year, and I get like a penny a view, and companies see this and put more funds into that, and there’s also animation, which takes a lot of anatomy, a lot of knowing how bodies work, so yeah.

 

Q: You said you have to train yourself to draw better, do you have any specific ways to do that?

A: Draw, draw, draw, and copy some from others, if you’re a hack, then all you’ll do is copy the others work, if you are really an artist, you’ll find ways to turn it into your’s. If you’ve ever seen the comic book, Love and Rockets, like the uh, Hernandez Brothers, it’s beautiful, just like Michelangelo drew comics, just black and white ink, and I look at that and I think I shouldn’t be a cartoonist, cause this is like the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, so just copy a little and fill in the rest.

 

     *WARNING: VERY POLITICAL*

 

Q: So currently we are studying Anne Frank’s diary and the holocaust, so do you see any parallels between that and what’s happening right now, because everyone is comparing Trump to Hitler.

A: I mean sometimes it’s overblown, I mean, I’ve done it a million times, compare him to Hitler, but one of my friends says that this is how that starts, and that’s why we have to be serious, and stop it, because you wouldn’t be able to draw anymore, for example there’s a political cartoonist in Turkey who was arrested by the government there, and we’re lucky because that doesn’t really happen here, they get you economically here, that’s how they do it, they don’t throw you in a hole, they ruin your career, so we’re lucky here, but we can’t slip into that, we got to stand up and shoot it down.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Award-winning Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz Visits HMS”

  1. Isabella Margolis on May 4th, 2017 2:06 pm

    Nice job.

    [Reply]

  2. sophia naiburg on May 4th, 2017 2:21 pm

    This is a very cool story I also like drawing.

    [Reply]

  3. AllenA on May 4th, 2017 2:39 pm

    i love bordertown

    [Reply]

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Student News Site of Harvest Middle School
Award-winning Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz Visits HMS