Super Sunday Artist Spotlight - Paul Schmitt

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It seems like a vast majority of the handmade market is made up of jewelry and clothing artisans of various niches, photographers, and artists who sell prints of their work. From what I've seen, there are few who work with media aside from the occasional zine or journal here and there. That's why it's really neat to have come across this week's feature. Paul is an artist who uses his talents to make comics and graphic novels. He was kind enough to share some insight into his work process and what motivates him.

Paul owns Gargantuan Media and has an Etsy.

What is your specialty and medium of choice?
I make comics and graphic novels. I make complete pages from really rough sketches then flesh them out into full pages of pencils. After that I digitally ink and color them.

It all starts with Ticonderoga #2 pencils and an idea. And coffee. Don’t forget that part.

How would you describe your style?
I like Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 1960's a great deal. The imagination in these characters is extraordinary. I think "cartoon" is a good way to describe the style of my first book Roaches, very well.

How did you get started with your craft/artform? Was it difficult to learn?
In the part of the US I grew up in there was no real art education. The nearest thing I had to a formal education before art school was a compulsive need to draw and forged hall passes. Since college, I've worked as an Artist in many companies including book publishers and academic institutes.

Fine art techniques and traditional illustration are not easy to learn. They both take years of development and usage to reach a level of personal satisfaction for both the artist and audience. Even today, after 10 years of projects, I'm still learning all the time.

Tell me a little about your creative process. What inspires you?
In comics, there's a tendency to over-generalize and throw spandex on everyone. I like specific situations that are outside of the norm minus the spandex and capes. Roaches, told from the point of view of a demented "king" Roach goes into bizarre specifics on a number of subjects. The whole book is told from the twisted point of view of a narcissistic megalomaniac who is 2 inches tall. You won't see that in major books. I'm inspired by weird paradoxes and unusual subject matter.

Approximately how long does it take to finish a new piece?
One year is a good time frame for a graphic novel. Roaches started in Fall of 2010 as a web comic that became popular enough to be published by my own small publishing effort, Gargantuan Media, in Fall of 2011. I started selling these books at that time. In early 2012, I took it to my first comic con - and it started selling pretty well.

Steampunk Wall Tentacle
What is your favorite piece so far? Can you tell me a little about why it is special to you?
My favorite piece is a series of sculptures on Etsy called Wall Tentacles (image on side). They are these giant octopus tentacles reaching out of a porthole from a freighter ship. They are bizarre and extremely detailed. A piece like that changes a room from a boring place into a Jules Verne novel. I love that.

As a self-published graphic novelist, what challenges have you had to overcome to realize your goals?
Printing fees and promotions are my biggest challenges. The first hurdle is always financial - meaning the printing fees themselves. Book publishing is demanding and expensive to make happen. Getting the initial printing fees paid is a major challenge.

The second challenge is promoting this book. Promoting a product means having a good product in the first place. I read that 200,000 books are released each year in America alone. In order to stand out, a book needs original concepts and good execution.

How did you become self-published?
The short answer is that no one wanted this book. It was basically an orphan! I knew that it was a good book - funny and original. I would get really kind rejection notices (and still do).

So, I created a web presence for it (sites, samples, blogs) saved a few bucks and published it myself. I’ve found that this is a very personally rewarding experience and look forward to publishing many more books.

Do you have any advice or tips for fellow artists?
I must repeat the same thing that successful people like David Sim (Cerebus) and Wendy and Richard Pini (Elfquest) have said: If you love something and it loves you back - it's yours. No one can take that from you and no one else can stop you from doing this thing. No one can stop you but you.


Thank you for the great advice as well as the insight into the world of publishing! I look forward to seeing new works from you in the future. Be sure to check him out on ETSY and DEVIANTART! More information about the Roaches graphic novel can be found here.


Would you like to be featured? Send me an e-mail at

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