Who doesn’t know about Ugly Sweater?! I’m pretty sure, that like me you guys have followed this page for quite some time now.
The man behind these hilarious comic strips, Brice Richard was kind enough to answer a few questions, when I reached out to him.
As you mentioned in your FAQ, you lived in India for quite some time, so is India really the stereotyped country most foreigners think it to be? What do you think?
Ahahah – now that’s a dangerous question. I think that all countries are stereotypical to a certain extent. Go to Paris, and you will see people smoking while drinking coffee on cute little terraces 🙂 During my stay in India, I did experience a lot of things that I expected I would, of course, from stunning sari-clad crowds of women working the field to cricket games played in the street. But beyond these stereotypes, I was mostly drawn by what I WASN’T expecting to find. And to this day, India keeps on surprising me and challenging my original impression every…single…day. Doing UglySweater made me notably realize the sheer amount of young Indian people who are doing amazing, daring, creative things, such as starting NGOs or running their own design studios. And I’m not talking about kids in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru either – kids from Nagaland, Bihar, Assam. That is really, really great to see.
Your comics generally revolve around you and your wife. Does she help you out with ideas?Does she share the same sense of humor?
My wife doesn’t really share my sense of humor. She is a much more reserved and serious person than I am 🙂 Actually very often she looks at what I do and she says: “That’s not funny”. Which is great to a large extent because it pushes me to improve. When I manage to make her smile, or even laugh, I know the cartoon will go viral. It’s a great barometer 🙂
How do you juggle between a corporate job, a family with two kids, maintaining this comic web series and having a social life?
Well, the short answer is: I don’t. Doing a webcomic has been incredibly challenging, and has consumed most of my time outside of work and family. As I’ve become more effective, I gained back a little bit of time for other things, but it still remain very clear that doing a webcomic on the side of family and career is a commitment. This is actually the reason why I post less often than I wish. I’ve been trying to maintain a once-a-week schedule but I may be skipping a week here or there when something unexpected happens at work or at home (and I hope my readers understand). Many people tell me I should draw more quickly and pay less attention to details, but derive a lot of pride and pleasure from delivering to my readers well designed, thought out cartoons. Quality over quantity! Hopefully some appreciate that.
You’ve a proliferating fan base. Would you like to do some tutorials online to help some of the cartoonists among them, provide tips and ideas?
By definition, I love helping whomever wants to embrace his or her own creativity, and that includes sharing thoughts with budding cartoonists. Right now, I am pressed for time as mentioned above, and I’m working mostly on pushing cartoons out as often as I can. But I think overtime I would love to share more of what I learn along the way, and provide a platform for cartoonists to seek advice and resources. It’ll happen eventually, but I’m not sure when.
You’ve experienced and observed French and Indian culture both, very closely. Would you elaborate on the differences and similarities, if any?
Wow – that is such an interesting and complex question. I think France and India share the same love for art and culture. Every single one of my Indian friends either loves reading, or is an expert dancer, or knows everything about Ghazals, or draws, etc…etc…Young French people are a bit like that – drawn by ideas and creativity in all their forms. Of course, France and India are very much different on matters of love and relationship. France is a country that is incredibly relaxed about love, dating and marriage, while India is more codified. I think both approaches have their pros and cons, though I culturally tend to believe that a bit of prior experience does help when it comes to choosing a partner for life.
You seem to be a huge geek at heart. I’ve seen Iron Man and Darth Vader feature in your comics. So which is your favourite sci-fi franchise? Also, DC or Marvel? Pick one.
I wouldn’t say I’m a huge geek. I barely play videogames, nor read comic books 🙂 But like everybody I really enjoy some of the good SciFi and Fantasy that is out there. My favorite fantasy franchises are Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and anything written by Terry Pratchett. I’m less of a SciFi buff but I’ve really enjoyed reading Dune, and I am a HUGE fan of dystopian future literature: Stephen King’s The Stand is one of the greatest SF books I’ve ever read, along with The Road, Children of Men and World War Z. At the risk of annoying my fans, I am not a huge fan of DC and Marvel, but if I were to pick one, I’d definitely go for Marvel, if only because their recent movies were so much better.
Since I mentioned Star Wars, are you open to have a young Padawan (apprentice) soon?
Ahahah – well I’m not quite sure I’m Yoda material yet. I barely started scratching the surface of what it means to be a comic artist, and I don’t think I would have much to teach. But as I mentioned above, I would love to build a broader community of young Indian comic Jedis willing to embrace the Silly Side of the Force. Not sure how that would look like, but there’s enough talent out there to fill 100,000 planets.
The images have been used with the permission of the artist and The Noob Knows holds no copyright over it.