More interview questions:

10. How do you develop ideas? Which comes first, words or pictures?

I think about where I want the story to go, break it down into small steps, and then write jokes around each step. I work on them in batches of five. Sometimes I have to lie down and take a nap for the ideas to develop — it’s easiest when I’m about to fall asleep or when I just wake up. Taking a walk sometimes helps too. I write out detailed scripts and then edit them down as short as possible. Usually a few days later I draw the whole batch at once.

11. Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

I’m not worried about running out of topics and stories — those are infinite — but I do often have trouble coming up with ways to make them funny. Jokes don’t come easy for me. Sometimes it’s just impossible and I have to take a break and come back another day.

12. What’s Ted Rall really like?

Ted is one of the best people I know, and I’m honored to call him a friend. He has integrity, and has sacrificed personal gain for his principles many times. He doesn’t just care about art or writing for its own sake, but strives to make a difference in the world. He cares about, and constantly finds ways to assist, cartooning as an art form and cartoonists as individuals. He’s a brilliant editor, as everyone he’s worked with in that capacity would attest. He works incredibly hard — I have no idea how he finds time for everything he does. He has an extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge of history and current affairs. And he loves a good argument, which may not be a huge surprise to many who’ve come in contact with him!

13. The web provides instant feedback from readers. Do comments influence the
direction of the strip or the subjects you write about?

Once in a while a reader will send me a great idea that I use. I always give credit when that happens. Some people hate the politics of the strip and send criticism that is not constructive, and I just ignore and delete that. Occasionally someone will make a point that makes sense, and I might think about it and take it into account, but I prefer to receive critical feedback from people I know, when I ask for it. I respond best (as most everyone does) to encouragement. My favorite comments come from people who tell me that they’ve been strengthened by my work. That inspires me to make it sharper.

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14. What are your favorite books, TV shows, songs and films? (Yes, that counts as one question.)

15. What are your tools of the trade?