Meet Comic illustrator Dylan, the creator of the popular webcomic 'The Daily Dunc' who imagined a real-life scenario where intimate objects had a will of their own. The artist decided it would be a fun idea to illustrate what it would be like if inanimate objects came to life and had the ability to voice out their thoughts.
Bored Panda reached out to the artist.
“One of my main goals and hopes is to just put a smile on someone’s face and help them to forget any stress or anxiety that they may be going through. Even if it’s a really bad pun or dad joke, I hope that along with any eye roll comes a smirk or a giggle. That’s all I can hope for. And it’s really fun to also incorporate some personal stories, events, and my own fears and anxieties into the content; People have left comments or written to me saying that they really can relate to certain things, which is always such a great feeling. And it’s been amazing creating some cool connections with other artists and even my followers!”
First, we asked the artist if he had any major influences in his life that might've helped him to develop and refine his style.
"Growing up I was a huge Disney fan. I used to pause animated movies on the VCR just so I could sit there and draw characters like Aladdin or Simba from the TV. I was also a very big follower of Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes comics and would often mimic their styles in my own cartooning. If I look back at some of my old drawings (I still have them all from when I was a kid), I can see a lot of influence of Garfield and Odie,…mostly the oval-shaped eyes and the little curl that Jim Davis would draw at the armpits, or neckline. Today, I notice a lot of Calvin & Hobbes influence in my comics and have even been told that they can see a resemblance in the style. Another big influence of mine was online comic artist Natalie Dee. I discovered her when I was in my early 20’s and it’s safe to say she inspired me to start my own daily comic. She cracked me up!"
Art, in any kind of form, takes a lot of time not only to practice but also to produce, therefore we asked Dylan how long it takes him to fully finish his comics.
"It can vary for sure but I’d say somewhere in the ballpark of 3-4 hours, depending on if it's a single or multi-panel comic. Sometimes the image can almost repeat or there isn’t a lot of change in the character movement so those can go a little faster than if there are a lot of different scene changes or variations in the character movements/expressions. Additionally, coming up with the concept itself can take some time, and sometimes even a rework of the last panel and punchline is necessary if it doesn’t quite turn out how I had envisioned it."
As we mentioned before, sometimes creative work can cause quite a burnout, therefore we asked the artist how he dealt with that as well.
"Absolutely. I somehow did a brand new comic every day in 2018! That took a lot of energy. Lately, I find myself reposting old content but I have a running list of concepts that I need to revisit and get some new stuff out there! But yes, getting burnt out can happen for sure. I work a full-time job as well as other life responsibilities (as we all do) so it can sometimes be tough to find the time and motivation. A break here and there, however, can really help reset the creative engine and get things going again!"
We also asked Dylan about how people reacted to his work.
"My work seems to really resonate with people which is both amazing and humbling to me. I get comments and messages all the time from people who relate to some of my concepts -whether it’s the agony of facing a Monday after a nice weekend or having to deal with adult responsibilities like ironing or doing the dishes, it’s awesome to connect with others that feel the same way. And I have this thing where I post photos on my story of everyday objects that look like faces and my followers have adopted the same observances in their own lives and share their discoveries with me. So I post their photos and give them credit! I have gotten submissions from all over the world and that is just so cool to me. And to connect with people from everywhere and all walks of life and have them tell me that one of my comics or face posts made their day? Man…it’s just such a priceless feeling."
Being an artist is not easy, one can easily encounter a lack of inspiration, burnout, etc, so we wanted to ask Dylan about his ideas for the comics.
"Ideas for The Daily Dunc come to me from all angles. In the early days of creating them, I’d most often do a one-panel illustration of childhood memory - a cartoon of me in soaking wet strips of cloth used to wrap me up for my mummy costume on Halloween on a very rainy night (This actually happened) or a drawing of my sister and I saw what we both claimed was a caveman walking out of our bedroom closet. (This also really happened…well, at least we thought it did!) The comic then evolved to more illustrated interpretations of anxieties that I would have or frustrations of mine in a given life situation. I tend to always draw inspiration from what really is going on around me and in my life.
Whether it’s poking fun at the fact that I’m deathly scared of raw chicken juice or irritated that someone left an empty toilet paper roll on the spindle, I always strive to transform negative thoughts into something funny and relatable. I also just love a bad pun or dad joke! A lot of the time I create silly punchlines or one-liners using inanimate objects as the characters and players in the scene. It’s just fun to slap a pair of eyes, a stupid grin, and flailing arms onto two pieces of grocery items, for example, and have them yell at each other for no reason. It’s even more fun to have them be flipping each other off! I like characters with a little bit of attitude."
The creative process is not easy, but there are some enjoyable parts about it.
"I’ve always enjoyed the sketch part of the process the most - getting the idea down on paper (well, in this case, an iPad screen), and feeling it out in gestural form before locking into the final is always a very fun part of it. Recently I have started storyboarding out the entire comic (if it has multiple panels, that is) just to make sure 1. It flows nicely and 2. I can get the entire concept within 10 panels. So I’d say the planning part of it is what I enjoy the most. Of course, getting to the final product is fun too; comparing them both and seeing what changed along the way makes it interesting. My brain is always running a million miles an hour so I’m constantly reinventing the concepts, dialogue, and character positions all the way up until it's complete. Gotta stay water and flow around all obstacles that may get in the way."
As mentioned before Dylan is a comic artist, therefore we wanted to know what was his favorite project thus far.
"So I have a few - I absolutely love the one I did of the contact lens burning the eyeball. That comic has reached so many people and any contact lens wearer out there KNOWS just how easily that can happen if you don’t have a clean lens! It really feels like your eye has caught on fire it hurts so much! I also have a side project called Davey In Space (@daveyinspace) that began as a word prompt series in September of 2019 and continued on with Inktober right after. It fell off for a year or so and then I picked the story back up only to have it stop again just from getting too busy with the regular Daily Dunc comic, my full time job and life in general.
But it’s a really fun project that I want to continue and make into an ongoing series with lots of different adventures. People love the Davey character and all the others that are part of his story. They are currently waiting very patiently for me to continue on with the series and I don't blame them! I keep stopping when it's just about to pick up! haha! But every once in a while I derail myself on the funny content and do something serious. One of my favorites I have done is a 10-panel, black and white pencil sketch memoir honoring the passing of my mom when I was a teenager. In my limited amount of panels allowed on Instagram, I showed the passing of time from when we were kids with her as a healthy mom to ultimately the end of her life. It’s a touching tribute that resonated with a lot of people who lost their own loved ones. For me, it was a nice way to really dive deep back into some very special memories of her and me. And there is a touch of humor in it as well with a couple of the scenarios I illustrated so it’s not ALL sad."
Artists get motivated by a lot of things, so we wanted to find out what motivated Dylan to keep up his work.
"I think what motivates me is my desire to connect with other people. As I’ve mentioned, to be able to illustrate what’s going on in my own head and to see just how much other people can relate is so special and amazing to me. It shows me how alike we all really are. We all have our own insecurities, worries, emotions and sometimes they intersect with everyone else’s and for me to be able to use my comic site as a platform to make these connections is just a really nice feeling. I like helping people to feel like they’re not alone in their anxieties and to put a smile on their faces and help them through whatever they may be going through. I’ve received these kinds of messages and it, truly, is one of the things that keeps me creating. It’s something I never really expected when I started out on this creative journey."
Digital art and art, in general, is not easy and requires a lot of patience, time, resources, and in most cases even money, therefore we wanted to know how the talented comic artist started his own career in digital art.
"I took my very first Digital Illustration class in art school and never looked back. I still draw on paper every once in a while but for the most part, create solely on my iPad Pro in a program called Procreate (I have found that a lot of us digital comic artists use this). My earlier comics were created drawing with a mouse in photoshop. I still have a record of all those older comics on my Facebook page. I would draw those on my lunch break back when I started The Daily Dunc back in 2006 or so. Then I jumped over to a Wacom tablet plugged into the computer so that my lines could be much more controlled (drawing with a mouse is awful!).
The iPad and the Apple Pencil were an absolute game-changer. It’s fun to look back at the evolution of the comics and see when it was that I changed hands in the process. It’s quite obvious to me where those turning points are! Before doing digital illustration and comics, I was always drawing on paper. I have all of my old sketchbooks still and often share them on my Patreon page as one of my reward tiers. It’s fun to go back and see drawings that you don’t have as much freedom to totally remove all process lines like you can with a digital medium. Part of me misses that and I want to get back into drawing that way at some point. There’s beauty in making a mark on the paper and realizing that it’s there to stay if the eraser can’t fully remove it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to hit the edit -undo button that wasn’t actually there on my paper! I also do oil paintings when I can and thoroughly enjoy painting sunsets as there really are no rules to them, which I like since there are already so many in life. It's nice to get away into a different world every once in a while. Creating art and this silly comic of mine both do that for me and I’m glad that it has helped others do it as well"