Meet 19-year-old Joshua Masterson and ‘The Catholic Cartoon’

Cartoonist Joshua Masterson at work

Something new came to my attention recently – it’s a comic strip called The Catholic Cartoon, featuring Father Otto, and what’s amazing about it is that the cartoonist who creates the strip is 19-year-old Joshua Masterson, from Volo, IL. His art is amazing. His writing is very funny.

I had the opportunity to interview Joshua recently. Here are my 10 With Tom questions answered by Joshua.

Cartoonist Joshua Masterson

TOM: Amazing cartoon style, did you study art in school or did it come naturally? Or both?

JOSHUA: My art has always come naturally. When I was three years old, I drew a giraffe and my mom knew that I had a natural gift with art. I’ve always been “drawn” towards the more cartoon style in art. When I was a kid, I used to make up all sorts of characters and make comics about them! I’m pretty much all self taught with smaller workshops here and there.

TOM: Do you work digitally or with pen and ink? If digitally, what programs and hardware do you use?

JOSHUA: I work with both digital and pen and ink. As for the comics, I tend to do them solely digitally. The program I use to draw them on is a software called Procreate. I use it on my iPad. Even though it’s digital, I “ink” I can still capture that hand drawn look that I love so much!

TOM: How often is The Catholic Cartoon published?

JOSHUA: The Catholic Cartoon is published four times a week on Instagram and on my website. It’s published on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. I like to do the weekday comics black and white and make the Sunday comic in color, just like how they do it in the newspapers! Not only is the art style nostalgic but the way in which it’s formatted and published is as well!

TOM: Yes, I noticed the Sunday strips especially have the classic comic strip format. Were you an alter boy? You seem to have a grasp on that aspect.

JOSHUA: I am in fact an altar boy! I‘ve been serving as long as I’ve been drawing… more or less. It is very important to me and something I would never “altar” in my life.

From serving, I get a deeper understanding of the liturgy and a closer insight into what the priest is doing, potentially opening doors to a vocation. It also lets me in on some humorous events that happen back in the sacristy.

Fr. Otto from The Catholic Cartoon

TOM: Are your cartoons published in many church bulletins?

JOSHUA: At the moment, my comic is not published in many church bulletins. It’s something I’ve only recently started exploring. So far three churches are publishing it.

TOM: What song would be the theme of your comic strip?

JOSHUA: The theme for my comic strip would probably be “All creatures of Our God and King.”

This is a classic church song. It’s the one where everyone mumbles the verses but belts out the chorus! I believe the nature and theme of the song fits quite well with my comic strip! Although, if I had more time to think about it, there is a “chants” I could come up with a different song!

TOM: Cartoon or cartoonist influences?

JOSHUA: There are several cartoons and cartoonists that really inspire me. As for art style, I’m very fond of the work that Chic Young did for Blondie. I’ve never read much Blondie in my life but I’ve always loved the art style for it. Now, for humor that has inspired me, Foxtrot is the biggest. I’ve always really loved Bill Amend’s build up to his punchlines and I try and do it similarly in mine.

The Catholic Cartoon by Joshua Masterson

TOM: I can see a lot of Chic Young/Blondie influence in the work. Your drawing style is beautiful, there is lots of fine detail as well as great character design. How long does it take you to complete one strip?

JOSHUA: I’m very appreciative of your compliment.

There is actually a decent amount of work that I put into each strip. Typically, a daily takes me up to six hours to complete. There’s a lot of brainstorming and rough sketches that happen before I start on the actual comic to be published. The Sunday comic takes triple the amount of time as does a daily… no, literally. It does. The daily comic is always four panels long but a Sunday comic can go up to seven panels long. This means more dialogue and further developing the joke. I also color everything to top it all off.

TOM: If you could crawl into any comic strip current or past, and spend the day, which would it be and why?

JOSHUA: If I could crawl into any comic strip for the day, it would be Peanuts, hands down!
I’ve always been obsessed with Snoopy and Woodstock and imagining myself hanging out with them for an entire day would be a dream come true! You’d have to be a blockhead to disagree!

TOM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

JOSHUA: I don’t know… in a mirror maybe?
Only kidding! That’s a great question! I hope to see The Catholic Cartoon still running but even better and more well known than before. I also hope that one day The Catholic Cartoon will be syndicated far and wide.

I hope most of all that people will still be enjoying my comic and that it will bring them a chuckle and a smile, as they can see their own church in the strip.
God gave me a wonderful gift that I hope to share.

TOM: Thanks, Joshua!!

Joshua’s The Catholic Cartoon may be found here:

Instagram: @the_catholic_cartoonist
Twitter: @CatholicToons
Website: www.the-catholic-cartoon.com

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