|Fagan's career as a comic was inspired by reading "Peanuts."
Cartoonist Kevin Fagan may have grown up reading the famous Peanuts comic strips and MAD, but he has become a household name in his own right.
The creator, 53, of Drabble is a Mission Viejo resident who has been delivering the popular comic strip for 31 years, one that runs 365 days a year in 200 newspapers around the country.
“I don’t have any special training,” he says. “I took my first drawing class 2 years after my work was syndicated.”
In fact, Fagan attended Saddleback College, and later transferred to California State University, Sacramento as a history major. While there, he submitted his work to the student newspaper, the State Hornet. He was later discovered by The Sacramento Union, and offered a syndication contract by United Media. He left CSUS in 1978, just 3 units short of his degree, to take up cartooning full-time. Drabble debuted nationally in
Now, he draws almost every day in his home studio with the same drawing board that he has had from day one.
“I use pencils and India ink on a high quality paper. Everything is done by hand,” he says. “Only the shading and Sunday colors are done by computer. This is the old- fashioned way, since many strips today are drawn and lettered with a computer.”
Born in Los Angeles, Fagan says he has always admired Charles M. Schultz who created Peanuts and credits him with being the greatest cartoonist ever and a “very nice man.”
However, if Fagan had the chance, he says that he would like to meet Walt Disney because it is fascinating to think of all the things Disney accomplished and contributed to society.
As for his own work, Fagan says that he loves being a successful cartoonist and that it has allowed him to earn a nice living, be home for his kids, and enjoy the creative process every day.
But in the end, it’s all about the readers he says since they are the ones that keep the comic strip alive.
“The best part might be the testimonials from fans that come by way of letters and e-mails,” he says. “The most challenging part is trying to be entertaining each day. A cartoonist has to do something different each day doing the same thing.”
He also says one of the biggest misperceptions about comics is that some people think that they are for “the less sophisticated readers of the paper.”
“The exact opposite is true,” says the father of three.
When asked where his inspiration comes from, that too, is an interesting response.
“About 10 or 12 years ago, they redesigned Angel Stadium in Anaheim. I used to have season seats to all of the games before my kids came along,” he recalls. “Any way, they replaced all of the seats in the stadium so; my wife bought a couple of the old seats and put them in my studio. Every morning, I sit on one of those seats with my notepad and let my mind wander for a while, and see if I can come up with anything good to draw. If nothing comes to mind, I sit in the other seat. Other ideas come from observing my family. My wife, Christi, and kids have inspired many gags over the years. I have never used a gag writer. Every strip in Drabble was written by me.”
In his spare time away from the drawing board, Fagan has volunteered in the community including coaching Little League and soccer, written a play for a youth group, and speaks at schools and community groups, as well as participated in many Boy Scouts projects.
He also likes to watch sports, walk, and play golf.
“My kids can now all beat me at ping pong, which is sad,” he laughs.
In the future, Fagan would like to see Drabble – which incidentally is not named after anyone in particular, it was just something he liked – find its way into other areas like animation and the stage.
Surprisingly, Fagan has never won any awards for his work maybe because he is so humble.
“I'm not really into awards. Possibly, because I've never won one,” he says. “Actually, I never send in submissions for cartooning awards because I'd feel silly doing it.”