Do we really know what influences success?

image"Peanuts was my gateway drug." That got my attention in the blog pages my son’s cartoon website where he writes about school days influences that shaped his career as cartoonist. Trevor Wood (pictured) makes a point about how influences shape what we become as he credits others before him for his own successes.

His post brings out to me how we all actually create our purpose based on the influences from others. Curiously too influencers may never know the contribution the make to others’ lives with divergent and maturing successes coming later in life and often too as a cocktail of many leads.

This understanding of what makes us tick also seems to dovetail with a philosophy of Steve Jobs shared in one his speeches; where Jobs talks about creating threads then having the faith they will join up at some later stage in life.

Trevor’s original story at http://sawbonesonline.com is also copied here below the fold: >>>>

Trev Says:

It’s been a while since I talked about my influences and I thought I’d update them a little. It’s occurred to me there are some pretty glaring omissions in my original influence map. The new map in part reflects more of my life story.

Like most kids my introduction to comics wasn’t in the form of a comic book available at a comic store. In fact I don’t think I knew where any comic stores were until I was a teenager. Instead I started with newspaper strips.

Peanuts was my gateway drug. When, in primary school, we had to write to our favourite authors I chose Charles M. “Sparky” Shultz. I wrote him what I’m sure was a very poorly written letter and amazingly he wrote back, it was a two line response with some photocopied pictures but to actually get any reply blew my mind and I was set on course for life.

As I got older I began looking for longer comics. It was in the school library I discovered Tintin and Asterix. Both books featured travelling across the globe, adventure as well as a liberal dose of humour. I think Tintin affected me more though. The richly drawn backgrounds with cartoony main characters Is something I’ve always loved. McCloud talks about it in his Understanding Comics, the background is to see, the simplistic characters allow you to BE. Looking at other influences such as Jeff Smith’s Bone it’s easy to see the influence arc.

As I hungered for more material I finally discovered comic shops. Spider-man 2099 was the book I picked up. Rick Leonardi’s art was graceful and full of energy. It’s a style that is similar to phenomenal local artist Colin Wilson. From there I got turned onto some seminal artists like Bruce Timm, Frank Miller (before he took a running jump off the deep end), Mike Mignola and Darwyn Cooke. Looking at those guys you might not see much similar but all are interested in less is more. Iconist images. Timm and Cooke because that’s what animation demands but Miller and Mignola use bold shapes to define characters in the way Tintin and Asterix uses line.

Lastly Danielle Corsetto is the most recent of my influences. As well as being a successful webcartoonist (who wouldn’t want to make a living doing this stuff) her line work is simple and yet fluid in the same way Shultz’s lines captivated me as a child. Additionally Danielle’s voice as a female in comics is something that i’m really enjoying. It’s something that I take for granted working with Jen but female creators bring really rich and interesting views to storytelling.

Anyway that’s an update. I’m sure the minute I hit publish on this I’ll be cursing i’ve left off people. I should do honorable mentions at some point for the almost-made-it people but in the meantime I’d love to read what you think.

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