Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thrifter Profile: Comic Book Artist and Haiku Writer Birdie

My friend Birdie is a haiku-writing, comic-drawing, crafting, thrifting machine! He's my go-to drawing and thrifting partner in crime. He keeps two comics updated and just  released his first book of comics, Manly Bubble Baths! Today I talk with him about how he stays productive and share photos of his thrifted collections!

Tell the readers a little bit about yourself, Birdie!

I'm a poet/cartoonist.  I try to relate everything I do in life to those two things, making something funny, or making something beautiful.

Goodies from our Craft Night group!

Who influenced you in your life of thrift?

I learned about thrifting through my mom.  She was a single mother and had to stretch a dollar for two growing boys.  I was comfortable with getting hand-me-downs but getting stuff from a thrift store or garage sale was amazing for me as a young kid.

I could get as many G.I. Joes as I wanted, I could have new clothes for school and my mother could afford to feed us without a problem.  She's still an avid garage sale visitor and we always talk about what we found and how much we paid for it.

What do you look for when you thrift, any cool collections?
I used to look solely for clothes, now I look to find a variety of things, a few things I collect are children's books. comic collections (like Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot or anything you'd find in the papers), and cartoon jelly jars.

I like drinking wine out of them on occasion, and it always makes me giggle when I am drinking and I can see bulbasaur or Tom and Jerry peeking back at me.

You maintain two comics, The Haiku Life and Frog Vs. Toad, on a consistent schedule while publishing daily doodles and haikus, too! How do you keep on top of it all?

I'm drawing constantly.  Luckily Frog Vs Toad updates only five days a week and I can plan ahead on that comic.  The Haiku Life can only be updated after the day happened (It's my journal after all).  My daily doodles are really just me doing warm up pieces before I really start drawing.  I've noticed that my art looks cleaner if I just goof off for twenty minutes drawing Spiderman or Little Red Riding Hood.

This first appeared in my Epic Thrift Trip post last year.

What's a typical day productive day in the life of Birdie?

I like to be awake before 8:00am.  I'll pour myself a cup of ice cold coffee, or an energy drink and check my emails and Facebook and start scouting for ideas.  I'll sit at the drawing table for about two hours while listening to NPR or various podcasts and then I'll take a shower and have something to eat.

I'll draw again for another hour or two and then I'll lay down and either doodle in my sketchbook or just watch tv so I can bounce a few more ideas.  I keep this up until I'm exhausted or until 5-6pm.  Some days I can crank out up to 10 comics, and then I feel like I accomplished a lot.

What keeps you so motivated?

Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote "ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write?"  he then goes on to say that if you know in your heart that you must that you should build your life accordingly, and if not, don't ever attempt it.  I live by those words, I don't draw comics because I'm trying to be funny, or I'm trying to be rich and famous (I'd be happy for either).

 Birdie drew a thrifting comic just for you!

I draw because deep down inside I am not myself unless I draw something.  The fact that there is an internet now where I can post these pictures only makes it easier for me to share them.  Otherwise I would just be taping funny pictures to people's refrigerators.

You introduced me to some of the best thrift stops in Jacksonville, which ones are your favorites?

I think my favorite store overall is "City Thrift"  Everything there is reasonably priced, they play great oldies music and you're always hearing happy people singing there.  I almost never walk out of there empty handed.  I do however like "The Thrift Store" on beach Blvd for finding books and CDs, and I like the Goodwill near the beach for finding clothes.  Thrifting should always be done in multiple stores though, because there are always great things to find.

 We found this cool nightstand on a curbside together! Yay, curbside finds! 

What is your favorite thrift store find?

About seven years ago I was invited to go to this Goodwill in Ocala Florida because they sell Vinyl records by the pound.  As I was leaving I found this ugly green chair that looks like Archie Bunker's chair.  It was $3 and there were no holes, no stains and it wasn't worn out that much.  I took that baby home and that is the chair I will keep until I die.... Then I'll be buried in it.

 Holds his toys perfectly!

Where and how can we buy your latest book?

My book is available on my site you can preorder it now so I can pay for the printing costs and get a free sketch and haiku in the book.  Personalized for your choosing.

Any parting advice for would-be artists and creatives?

Draw every day!  And read as much as possible.  I like to read other comic strips just to be inspired to do my own.  Or I'll read short stories, poems or other things just so I can keep my brain churning out more ideas.  You are you supposed to write what you know, try to know everything!

A thrifting comic by Birdie from my Murder City Thrift Adventure post.
You can check out Birdie on the web on The Haiku Life, Frog vs. Toad! By the way, I was so jealous taking photos of Birdie's apartment. So much space for the price he pays! If he moves, I've got dibs. You can't have it!
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