An Interview with Daniel Clowes

‍Daniel Clowes has been an influential figure in the comics and graphic novel industry for over three decades.

From his iconic comic book series, Eightball, to his Academy Award-nominated screenplay for the film adaptation of his graphic novel, Ghost World, Clowes has been a leader in bringing alternative comics to the mainstream.

In this exclusive interview, Clowes shares his thoughts on the evolution of the medium, his inspirations, and his creative process.

From his humble beginnings as a self-taught cartoonist to his current status as an award-winning author, Clowes has consistently pushed the boundaries of what comics can be.

From his thoughts on the current state of the industry to his advice for aspiring artists, this is an opportunity to learn from one of the greats.

Clowes’ Early Career And Rise To Fame

Clowes first published his work in 1982 when he was only 21 years old.

His first major works were two stories published in Weirdo, a small-circulation magazine produced by his high school friend, Art Spiegelman.

Many of his early works were part of several mini-comics anthologies. In 1985, Clowes released his first full-length graphic novel, Solitary Tales.

His first major success came with the release of his comic series, Eightball, in 1989. The series is notable for its experimental aesthetic and controversial subject matter.

Clowes’ work gained widespread attention when Ghost World, an adaptation of his comic series, was released in 2001.

The film was met with critical acclaim and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, making Clowes the first person to win an Oscar for writing a comic.

Clowes’ Thoughts On The Evolution Of The Comics Industry

Clowes has been a major figure in the alternative comics scene since the publication of Eightball.

He has witnessed the rise of the industry since the 1980s, including what he calls the “explosion” of graphic novels in the 1990s and 2000s.

He attributes the increased visibility and production of comics in the 90s and 2000s to the rise of the internet, which allowed artists to share their work and be recognized by publishers more easily.

The internet also provided a more democratic platform for artists to publish their work and reach a wide audience without the need for traditional publishing companies.

With the growth of social media and online platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, comics have become an even more accessible medium than ever before.

Clowes believes that this democratization of the industry has both positive and negative effects.

Clowes’ Creative Process And Inspirations

When asked about his creative process and inspirations, Clowes has mentioned that he never knows what his next project will be.

He says that he doesn’t have a “typical” way of creating his work, but that he usually starts with an idea and then collaborates with other artists and writers to turn that idea into a finished product.

When asked specifically about his inspirations, Clowes said that he is inspired by a wide variety of visual and literary sources.

He mentions that he has always been inspired by comic strips like Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes. In terms of literary influences, Clowes cites authors like Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and F. Scott Fitzgerald as important sources of inspiration.

He has also said that he is inspired by filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch.

Clowes’ Advice For Aspiring Artists

  • In an interview with The Guardian, Clowes was asked what he would say to aspiring artists. His response was to “make comics.”
  • He says that every artist is unique, and that aspiring artists should make art that is true to themselves and reflects their artistic vision.
  • He says that aspiring artists should make as much art as possible and make a habit of creating comics, even if those comics don’t end up being great.
  • He believes that the only way to improve as an artist is to make a lot of art.
  • He says that artists should focus less on finding success and more on being true to what they want to create.

Clowes’ Current Work And Upcoming Projects

While there is no official release date, Clowes has said that he is working on a new graphic novel. He says that the novel will be released as a series of 10 comic books.

He has also recently collaborated with musician Beck on a new comic series, Illustrated Songs. Clowes’ work has been recognized with a number of awards, including the Academy Award for Best Screenplay for Ghost World.


He has also been nominated for a number of Eisner Awards, the highest award given in the American comics industry. Clowes has published more than 15 comic books, including his latest work, Modern Cartoonist.

Clowes’ work has been praised by critics and prominent figures in the comics industry, including Jules Feiffer and Art Spiegelman, whose work has also been featured in The New Yorker.


The comics industry has come a long way since the 1980s. With the rise of social media and the internet, it has become easier than ever to publish and share comics with a wide audience.

While the industry has been democratized, it has also become more competitive.

With this in mind, aspiring cartoonists should be aware of the high level of competition in the industry and should make a habit of creating comics, even if those comics don’t end up being great.

With a portfolio of work, artists can improve as artists and increase their chances of getting published.

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