Brian J. Orlowski: The JamieSanford.com Interview

by Jamie Sanford on June 3, 2012

My third interview for the blog, and the only one left that is ready for primetime. I will have to send out more questions soon to new subjects. Brian J. Orlowski and I worked together in cubicle land for a few years before I moved on to greener pastures in the land of consumer retail. Our time working together included subtle wars with lobbed rubber bands and a dry-erase board covered in random miscellany that came up in conversation. I wish I knew where the photo of that board was now, because it was amazing. I learned that it is quite fun to share time with someone who has wonderful artistic ability.

Not such a good picture of the “Web Task Force” logo designed by Brian.

I had already been exposed to Brian’s cartooning on Drawn of the Dead, but I was really pleasantly surprised when I found out that Brian’s cartoon, Strange Guts, was being published as a collection in book form. Naturally I bought a copy of Strange Guts: American Septic. Which is available on Amazon for $14.99, and well worth every penny.

Since I haven’t had any friends write a book before, Brian was a natural for the interview series. I actually sent his questions first! Here we go.

When did you first start drawing/figuring out you had some talent in this arena?

I was pretty much born drawing. I’ve been fortunate enough that it was something that I never had to work very hard at. I was considered an artistic prodigy at a very early age. And I said “artistic”, not “autistic.” And I’ve spent most of my life attempting to disprove the whole prodigy thing. I won art awards pretty much since kindergarten, so there really wasn’t much discussion as to what I would be doing when I grew up. I’m still waiting for that “growing up” to happen.

How quickly did your drawings take a turn toward the twisted side?

Again, that was pretty early on. I was always funny and warped. My father introduced me to horror movies when I was really young, probably about 8. And by introduced, I mean he pretty much forced me to sit and watch these movies that scared the crap out of me. The first movies I remember watching with him were The Blob (with Steve McQueen), Attack of the Crab Monsters, The Green Slime, and of course all the classic Universal movies, Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. He wouldn’t let me hide my eyes when the scary scenes came up. “C’mon, don’t be a baby,” he would say, half-kidding.

What’s your day job?

I am a graphic artist and web content developer by day, mutant samurai-zombie cartoonist by night. The day job is good; it pays the bills and keeps me interacting with humans, which I guess is good. It can be very stressful though but what day job isn’t?

Here's Brian making nice with my boy Tiny Edward.

Do you do work (other than that for yourself) outside of your day job?

I do a great deal of freelance cartooning for a variety of publications and sites. I also get to do some really cool movie posters, DVD art, CD art and other things. I’m available for anything as long as it pays.

Tweet challenge! Describe your book, Strange Guts, in 140 characters or less.

The Far Side meets The Evil Dead. Ha! 32 characters. I rule. Here’s the 140 character version: Strange Guts: American Septic is the mutant offspring of Walt Disney & Stephen King – Gory, funny, and goofy cartoons for the whole family.

How did you get a book deal?

The publisher found about 10 of my Strange Guts cartoons posted online and fell in love with them. He contacted me and asked if I could create enough for a book. Of course I said yes. I had about 50 done at the time, created throughout an entire decade. So I created another 52 to finish the book.

What’s your favorite website?

For horror news you can’t beat Dread Central or Bloody Disgusting. Those guys are the best. They have some really great reviews/reviewers and up-to-date news. I also dig the JoBlo network of sites like ArrowInTheHead, Geekologie, The Chive, all good stuff. Any other site I consider I have in my favorites can’t be discussed in this family-friendly environment.

What celebrities did you have crushes on in high school?

When I was a kid it was all about Mae West and the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. No, just kidding. I’m not that old. I was a product of the 80’s. Who didn’t have a crush on Leah Thompson in Back to the Future? Or Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science (nothing was hotter than her!). Catherine Mary Stewart. Janet Jones. Fantastic chippies from back in the day.

What’s next for you? More books?

Yup, a few actually. I have a novel coming out in a few months. NOT horror, big surprise. It’s sort of a parody of The Da Vinci Code. It’s a frenetic, wacky, historical adventure about secret societies, ancient paintings, symbolism, the number 12, and Scientology. In the book I prove there is a connection between aliens and the Bible and the recipe for KFC. It holds no punches in its humor. It spoofs Tom Cruise and John Travolta and paints them as killers for hire.

After that I have a children’s book, entitled Odd Bird. I didn’t write it but did the illustrations for it. It was a fun break from my normal dark work.

And then I have another novel later this year. Can’t reveal much though. But I can say it’s a tween book. And like every other series that has come out, I’m saying it’s the next Harry Potter. Consider that a quote.

How can everyone connect with you online?

My main website is www.DrawnoftheDead.com. You can see some of my artwork there. Or email me at brianevil@gmail.com. Twitter is @drawnofthedead. Facebook is http://facebook.com/brian.j.orlowski or http://facebook.com/strangeguts. Or hand me food when you pass me in the Hoboken Path station where I panhandle to make a living.

Thanks Brian! Let’s go for drinks soon.

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