Frankenstories- Q&A with Adam Rex

A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December.

I was at OfficeMax with my sister, waiting for something to get laminated.  Bored, we started scrounging in the book bin.  And that’s when it caught my eye: a bright cover with hand-lettered type.  Was that Frankenstein… Making A Sandwich?

It was, indeed.

frank_makes_sandwich

Adam Rex, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, 2006

The Frankenstein books are awesome; Rex stitches together the limbs and organs of a story, little vignettes of monsters and their encounters with our world, and brings it all to life with his lightning wit.  His work is peerless.

He graciously agreed to answer a few questions!

Me: What do you get the biggest “high” out of, in your work?

Adam Rex: I think the purest joy I get out of illustration in my work is character design. That day or two (and often it’s really just a day or two, due to time constraints) where I get to draw a dozen pandas in t-shirts or forty stylized little kids or five sketchbook pages of Frankenstein monsters. It’s the step in kid’s book-making that most connects me to the drawing-for-fun experimentation of my youth.

During this step I know I need to take chances and make mistakes. Mistakes are built into the process. If I draw something great right out of the gate I don’t trust it, so I’ll always see how much farther I think I can push it. And nine times out of ten I DON’T come back to that initial design–I find something better by playing in the sandbox a little longer.

Frankenstein_Makes_Sandwich_cookies

Frankenstein Takes the Cake, 2008

What’s your biggest goal for your work?

I want to tell the stories I want to tell, in my own voice and my own manner, and have them connect with a large or at least devoted readership. It’s that third part that’s tricky. I’m happy to say that I HAVE been able to tell stories the way I want to tell them, and I think whenever you manage this the project will end up having a verve and vision that some readers will respond to.

Adam Rex_phantom

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, 2006

If I have to choose, I’d rather have a finished project I love than fans; and I’d rather have one fan than ten casual readers; and I’d rather have even casual readers than money. But what I really want is a project I love and millions of fans and money.

Frankenstein_Cake_Bestman

Frankenstein Takes the Cake, 2008

Adam Rex Zombie

Frankenstein Takes the Cake, 2006

Where do you think you got your sense of humor?

My sense of humor, which has not been evident in this interview, probably comes from my dad. My dad, and Warner Brothers cartoons, and later a lot of Douglas Adams. And ten thousand other things, but mostly that.

Check out more of Adam’s work on his website: http://www.adamrex.com/

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