Robert Tritthardt is the author of the famous webcomics Writhe and Shine and Overcast With A Chance of DOOM, has really impressive dreads, can survive in a forest, and, I kid you not, knows Kung Fu. And if that isn’t enough to swoon, along the way he worked as a DJ and picked up a degree in illustration. His website is http://www.roberttritthardt.com/
Naturally, we wanted to know more about him, and he was kind enough to take time off his busy schedule to talk to us:
Your bio says you grew up near Chicago and were into comic books and DnD growing up. What was the first comic that caught your eye, or the first you ever bought?
I can’t remember if it was The Savage Sword of Conan or MAD Magazine. I probably bought both of them at a 7-11 right before a Boy Scout camping trip.
When did you start developing your artistic skills?
The moment I decided to actually work on getting better at drawing was well into my college days in the mid 90’s. Before that, I drew some random things here and there, but I never even thought of it as a career path. I wasn’t encouraged very much by anyone until Community College. I had a Painting Professor there that told me that I had a lot of potential and I believed him because he was unbiased. After that, I decided to go to a 4-year University to learn more. I constantly have to remind myself that I need to keep getting better and will keep doing that until I die.
Was there a definite moment where you knew- This is what I want to do with my life, or was it more of a gradual realization?
It was a gradual realization because I’m slow at doing everything. I suppose you can say that I made the choice to make this my career when I lost my job in 2012. I went on Unemployment Insurance and took a Digital Art course that helped me learn Adobe Creative Suite. That certainly helped give me some confidence in my abilities to take the leap.
Your comic, Writhe and Shine, about the life of a goth DJ in New Orleans, is probably the longest running goth comic out there, and your cat, Mao is an integral part of it. Are the other characters equally based on real people, or is Mao the only one with that honor?
I started that strip in 1998 and based the main character, Writhe, on myself. Boo and Shine were based on two of my friends at the time, but all of the characters have developed their own personalities over the years. Demona was a mixture of a few girls I knew. I recently based the characters Jacques and Jeanette on two people I met on one of my latest trips to New Orleans.
You also have another project, together with Carrie Potter named Overcast With A Chance of DOOM! Could you tell the readers a bit more about it?
The main character, Doomie, is a creepy girl on the run from the demons of her past and lives in a haunted house with four weird roommates. When some gamers accidentally open a dimensional portal with a Ouija board, it makes it harder for Doomie to escape her past. She could get some help from the ghost that haunts her room if she can only find a way to communicate with him. I started the project in 2011 and hired Carrie Potter as the writer in 2015. She has helped tremendously in getting the story back on track and progressing quicker than I had it going. She has also made it a lot funnier and given it a woman’s touch, which helps because most of the main characters are female. My goal for 2016 is to double the production schedule because Carrie is such a fast writer. I gotta catch up!
I still have the Writhe and Shine comic I bought years ago placed neatly on my shelf. Will Book 1 be back in print anytime soon?
I’ve been asked that question a lot lately and have tossed it over and over in my head. I would love to print the book again just so that fans can have a copy. On the other hand, the book is over 15 years old and I feel like I’ve printed it so much over the years that I should be making something new instead of continually re-releasing the same thing so much. I have talked about doing a Writhe and Shine Omnibus, which would include everything I have ever done for that series, but I’m still making new strips every week, so I would eventually have to do another print run with updated material. I would feel like I was ripping off my fan base if I just kept making books with only a little bit of new material. Plus, books cost money to make, and that’s something I don’t have a lot of these days. Maybe I’ll make a pdf version and be done with it until I can get the omnibus going.
Where can fans show their support aside from the Web-stores of Writhe and Shine and Overcast With A Chance of DOOM?
There is one web store at www.writheandshine.storenvy.com as well as my Patreon page at www.patreon.com/tritthardt for financial support, but one thing that would really help is good old fashioned Word of Mouth. Sharing my comics on any Social Media would work wonders on getting more traffic to my sites and bring more fans to the world I’ve created.
Is there anything more you would like to share with our readers?
I’m actually sharing everything with them already with both comics and my personal posts on Facebook. But one thing that I must keep telling them in Thank You. Thank you for reading, enjoying, sharing, and talking about both of my comics. It is much appreciated!