Comics Strip Team Interviews - PunkClown

Interview by Dee-Marie


We are excited to present a new series of interviews featuring members of the Renderosity Cartoonist Team. Each week these outstanding artists put the "giggles" in our funny bones, and the "thrills and chills" in our adventurous spirits.

This week our featured cartoonist is Cameron Stephen , better known on Renderosity as PunkClown. Cameron is a modern Renisansse clown, whoops I mean man! He lives in the land-down-under; works long and crazy hours in the Emergency Room of his local hospital; he is a devoted family man to his beautiful wife and lovely children; he is a master photographer; loves gazing at the stars; is an outstanding computer graphic [as well as traditional] artist; and a former Renderosity 2D Forum Moderator.

His funky under-ground cartoon strip The Amazing Adventures of Drum-Girl first appeared on Renderosity’s online magazine [The RIM], and now can be seen weekly on the Renderosity Comics Strip. PC has always been an inspiration to the Renderosity community members, both encouraging and guiding new artists to never give up on their dreams. Most importantly, PC is a great friend, with a big heart and a funny red nose!


PC, before we get started, I have to ask you, where did you come up with your nickname PunkClown?

I knew you were going to ask that! PunkClown was one of the cartoon characters that evolved when I corresponded with my friends and family interstate and overseas. I quickly grew bored of writing the usual "I'm fine, how are you?" letters, and started drawing on the pages instead. Eventually whole comic strip panels would appear on the page with various silly characters enacting events from my life, as well as fictitious flights of surreality and fantasy to keep things "unreal" so to speak!

PC evolved as my alter-ego in these "comic-letters" usually acting as my stand-in in the illustrated stories that actually involved me in the "real" life, when I grew a beard, he did when I got a new job so did he etc. Soon some of my friends were referring to me as PunkClown and so it seemed a natural handle to adopt when I first joined Renderosity.


Punk and Bubby © PunkClown [Cameron Stephen]


Please give our readers a history of your comic strip The Amazing Adventures of Drum-Girl!

It originally begun at the request of one of my good friends at Renderosity. The strip started out as an amalgamation of a few different ideas and drawings I had done in the past to amuse myself and my friends. Drum Girl was a character originally based on some dialogue from a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention LP (one of those funny 12" vinyl discs), called "Lumpy Gravy" where these weird and wonderful characters talk about living in a drum.

The character of PC was already in existence so he was always going to be a cast member. Rumor has it that PC and DrumGirl might have had a "thing going on" at one stage but with the pressures of high profile cartoon-celebrity life they eventually drifted apart but stayed friends. Therefore, the stage was set where DrumGirl needed some help in solving the mystery of what she thinks may be the impending explosion of the universe, or failing that, throwing a really great party to see it all out.

As in any good story the main characters should encounter some obstacles in their journeys to give a bit of tension to the plot - this is the part where PC is held up in his quest to join DrumGirl by some mysteriously replicating boulders. DrumGirl (who has been a bit reticent so far) will also encounter some plot complications, but these developments are still literally on the drawing board.


The Amazing Adventures of Drum-Girl! © PunkClown [Cameron Stephen]


As one of the founding members of Renderosity’s cartoonist team [with your strip currently being published weekly on the Renderosity Front Page News’ Comics Strip section], how do you come up with new amazing adventures for your strip each week, and how difficult is it to come up with fresh ideas? On average, how much time goes into creating a single strip?

To be honest, it's hard sometimes, especially if I've had a busy week at work or the children have been sick or things like that for example. I usually find inspiration eventually. However, having children is a wonderful boon when it comes to staying young psychologically and creatively. Also, the world is a strange place and truth usually being stranger than fiction, if you keep your eyes and ears open one can get inspiration from just about anywhere! It can take anywhere between two to five hours to complete a finished strip each week, but usually the time spent falls somewhere in between.

Is your strip created on the computer [do you use a paint program or illustration program such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator], or do you use traditional pen and ink and scan the finished image into the computer?

Both! Most of the time I will begin with hand-drawn sketches and outlines, which are then scanned into my computer for refinement, and further illustration in Photoshop and Painter using my Wacom Tablet as an interface. I really enjoy Painter (I have version 8.0) for it's incredibly versatile set of natural media. Sometimes I will draw directly onto the graphic program of choice, and I occasionally use my own photographs as a basis for the artwork in any given strip.


The Amazing Adventures of Drum-Girl! © PunkClown [Cameron Stephen]


On Renderosity you are also well known for your outstanding work as former Renderosity 2D Graphics Forum Moderator, and your work with 2D graphics. However, you are also an incredible photographer, as well as an outstanding 3D artist. Which is your favorite media to work in; photography, traditional art, computerized 2D art, or 3D art imagery?

Well, thank you for the compliment! I truly miss my time as a Renderosity Moderator and hope to return to a similar position one day, but time will tell. As far as my favorite medium to work in … I would have to say photography, although every now and then I become obsessed with other creative distractions. I have a growing collection of cameras and a few online photography projects, one of which is my "photoblog."

Every now and then I still crank up Bryce on the computer and have a bit of a play with 3D rendering. I am always overawed by the incredible talent I see in the galleries at Renderosity, so usually I stick to what I personally do best.


Metal Bugs Bum © PunkClown [Cameron Stephen]


Going back to photography … do you shot with a digital camera, or do you prefer the traditional method of photography?

I have a Canon G5 5 megapixel camera that I have used extensively in the past, but I find the liberty to take unlimited shots is a mixed blessing ... I mean, I can't count how many digital photographs I have unintentionally "forgotten about" that may lie languishing on my hard drive, or back-up DVDs, never to be viewed again let alone printed!

So I have found myself returning to analog photography, in which pursuit I have collected quite a few "old" film cameras. (You can see most of them listed on my "photoblog")

Besides creating your weekly comic strip for Renderosity, I know that your personal life keeps you very busy, what other adventures are you into when you are not creating amazing images for our enjoyment?

I work in a reasonably busy Emergency Department (as a registered Nurse) in a hospital near where we live. Believe me, it's not all like [the TV show] ER! Every now and then you get to do exciting things like shout "Stand Clear" and zap people with the defibrillation paddles, but like most jobs (I suspect) there is a fair amount of "same old, same old" and "hurry up and wait"!

When we can, I like to go for walks with my wife and children. We live very close to a few national parks and forests, so we are very blessed. In finer weather we go to the beach or one of a few local lakes, kayaking, swimming and generally having fun in the sun.

As already mentioned, my other creative passion is photography, so through all of these other adventures I usually have a camera (or two or three) at hand to capture the moments. Ever since I was a young lad, I also have an ongoing love with the night sky. When I'm not too tired, lazy, or if it's not too freezing cold, I will drag my telescope outside to appreciate the beauty of astronomy.

Thank you so much PC, for spending some time with us, and for your weekly Drum Girl strip. Do you have any parting words of wisdom that you would like to share with budding Renderosity cartoonists?

Draw, draw, draw and then draw some more. If you get a chance in between that … draw. Please don't forget to have FUN (and that's an order!). Not only that, but practice the “art of seeing" what is around you (as opposed to what your brain interprets as visual input).

Once you find yourself gaining confidence with drawing real life people and objects, then you can start to characterize them. Having said that, I'm not that brilliant at life drawing myself, so go with what you have too ... enthusiasm counts for a lot!

There are more than a few resources around relating to these issues, both in books and online. For a good start, visit Drawn! The Illustration Blog, which has a wealth of links to draw (pun intended) inspiration from. Regarding drawing what you see, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards is a well-known and highly regarded text to start with, but there are literally hundreds of others.


The Amazing Adventures of Drum-Girl! © PunkClown [Cameron Stephen]


Finally — love life, love all of those around you and see the world as if through the eyes of a child. Stay happy, healthy and creative and I'll see you all online!


We invite you to visit the following sites:

  • PC's Renderosity Home Page

  • PC's Renderosity Gallery

  • PC's personal web site notreality

  • The "Rosity Comics Strip


    Don't miss a week of PunkClown's strips ... your funnybone will thank you for the giggle! While you are there be sure to say hi to PC and the rest of the Renderosity Cartoonist Team!


    All supporting images are copyright, and cannot be
    copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.



    "Lets Talk" with Dee-Marie
    is a monthly featured column
    by Dee-Marie:
    Senior Staff Writer, and
    Managing Editor of
    Renderosity's Front Page News

    August 29, 2005