The Kubert School Spotlight recognizes a chosen Kubert School instructor or alumni, showcasing their work and journey as a comic book professional.

    Talent from The Kubert School


    Carli Ihde

    Illustrator, Animator

    Illustrator, animator, singer/songwriter, Class of 2011 graduate Carli Ihde is a very talented young woman.

    Interview by Michael Kraiger

    The Kubert School: Do you remember when you first noticed comics orcomic books? 

    Carli Ihde:Every kid remembers opening the Sunday newspaper and reading their favorite weekly funnies. Nothing spectacular about that. I was honestly a late bloomer. I didn't start reading comics until I was in the 8th grade. In high school I started picking up books like V for Vendetta and Fables. It sounds ridiculous, but I actually wanted to be a mechanic by the end of high school. It seemed like a really useful job that I would almost be guaranteed a spot in the workforce, but I had an extra credit that let me take any class during my senior year. For fun I decided to take a cartooning/comics class and, well, the rest is history.

    TKS: Do you remember when you started drawing or perhapsdrawing better (or more) than the other kids?

    Carli Ihde: Well, I don't remember starting to draw because I think I came out of the womb drawing thanks to my mom who is an art teacher. I won my first art contest at the age of 3. So I think that's when we had kind of an inkling that this is something I wanted to do. But in my family art was strongly nurtured in every child all throughout our lives. 

    TKS: What were some of your earliest artistic influences?

    Carli Ihde: My earliest memories of being inspired by art was, funny enough, with a children's bible we had as a kid. It was called the Read with Me Bible and the amazing Dennis Jones illustrated it. I remember his art so vividly as being one of my earliest art inspirations. And of coursefilms like Hercules, My Neighbor Totoro and Price of Egyptall had a clear impact on my art as a child. 

    TKS: Is there an artist whose work at some point yourealized you recognized and that it was a single person drawing it?

    Carli Ihde: That would have to be Luis Royo. I mean, there were always the classic paintings that my mom taught me of growing up. I've always had books about art history and the different art eras, but this was something different. His art was something new, something dark and beautiful. I remember when I first found out his name I went crazy and read everything I could about him, and bought a bunch of books by him just so that I could claim him as "my artist". He's probably the reason I have such an interest in drawing powerful women.

    TKS: Who were some of your earliest artistic influences?

    Carli Ihde: Like I said, Dennis Jones who inspired my love for drawing animals and extreme emotion; Luis Royo who guided me into drawing the female figure; Norman Rockwell, who taught me that you can have just as much emotion in realism as you have in cartoons; also the art of The Prince of Egypt (the same creative team as the Road to El Dorado) taught me how to show a sort of intense movement and intent to move. There was also a show called Fooly Cooly (Furi Kuri) that I caught by chance on Adult Swim one night that absolutely blew me away. It's that sort of animation that stops you in your tracks and mesmerizes you up until the last drop. I ended up being really inspired by the placement of the characters, the simplicity of the sets, the extreme urgency they put on everything as well as how they drew hands. 

    TKS: At what point did you realize that being an artist was a career choice you were moving towards?

    Carli Ihde: As a kid I always said I wanted to be an artist. At first I wanted to do Sunday comics, then I wanted to be an animator, then a motion picture cartoonist, then a graphic designer, then a storyboard artist, and then a comic book artist. All these career choices were sort of woven in between all of the "realistic" choices like being a mechanic or teacher, but ultimately I was never a very realistic person. 

    TKS: How did you learn about The Kubert School?

    Carli Ihde: I was curious one day online. I was searching for "comic book art school" and there it was, bright as day. I didn't feel like I had an option to choose any other school. I didn't even apply to any other or visit any other campus. It was pretty clear what school was best.  

    TKS: Was there any particular class or lesson that stands out from your three years at the school?

    Carli Ihde: I loved a lot of my classes at The Kubert School. I loved class with Todd Doneybecause he was the master of all mediums and could answer all your questions. I loved humor with Brian Buniak because it was fun and informative. I loved class with Kim DeMulder because he taught me how to ink (something I love to do now). I loved anything Fernando Ruiz taught because he showed no mercy and you worked your BUTT off in that class. And of course the class I had with Joe Kubert was like walking into a different reality. There are no words that can describe being taught by an actual legend.


    TKS: Did you ever doubt you'd made the right choice coming to the school?

    Carli Ihde: Not at all. If you want to be an artist, a REAL artist, this is the school you want to be at… even if you don't know if you exactly want to draw comics. You become a machine in this school, a machine that is constantly creating new art. By the time my 3 years had ended I was absolutely in awe of how much I had improved and the stacks of assignments to prove it. If you want to do art, it's important to work at it. And this is exactly what the school does for you. No other college will provide that guarantee. No essays, no mid-terms, no
    textbooks and no non-art related nonsense. All art, all the time. And that's exactly what I wanted. 

    What's the best trick or most valuable bit of advice you received while at the school?

    Carli Ihde: I think my favorite advice (out of the millions of pieces of information I got at the school that I can't really remember now) was from Mike Chen. He told our class, "Never do anything for free." and "They are paying for the experience and training you have, not how long it took or how simple the task was" That was important to me. Don't let someone lowball you a price or offer to pay you in royalties when it is published (YEAH, RIGHT). Throughout your life you have spent months and months of it making art, you have spent thousands of dollars on supplies and training,
    and you are doing it as a career, not a "HOBBY". You deserve to be paid for your work, no matter how simple the task may be. 

    TKS:  What was your first professional job after getting out of school? 

    Carli Ihde: My first job out of The Kubert School was working as a finisher on issue #285 Hellblazer with Vertigo comics.

    TKS: How did that come about? 

    Carli Ihde: I got this job after the meeting with DC Comics [that] the school set up with at the end of my 3rd year. The three years at the school kind of go like this – 

    1st year- Understanding the basics and experimenting with new mediums. 

    2nd year- Choose your weapon. What are you best at? What is your style? What is your brand? What is your medium of choice?

    3rd year- Create that professional portfolio filled with relevant art to show potential employers

    I went into that meeting with DC and Vertigo prepared and ready to go. From that I got my first job in the industry 

    TKS: What can you tell me about your current job?

    Carli Ihde: I currently work full-time at an animated advertisement agency called TruScribe . We are a dry erase board animation website where we work with clients on a professional level, and put together storyboards for their commercials and ads then film ourselves drawing them so that the images are animated along with the script. We work with some really big companies and we worked on Weird Al's latest music video called "Mission Statement". We also drew a tribute to him and all of his albums that he has done over the years (Can you guess which albums I drew?) -- his 14 Weird Albums Tribute. We all got to meet him and hang out with him backstage, very cool experience. 

    TKS: How did you get this job?

    Carli Ihde: I found my job at Truscribe via Craigslist. There are 4 other artists here other than me (I am the only female) and they are all extremely skilled and talented. Some of them have been published in the New York Times; [and] done comic books, design work and concept art for video games. I am lucky to have my background in comics and animation because many of my skills come in handy for the work I do here. I applied online for the job. I needed a developed online portfolio. I needed to answer a page of questions on myself regarding my skill set and my efficiency in programs such as Photoshop and the rest of Adobe's Creative Suite. Out of hundreds of artist applicants, mine was chosen and I've been working here for over a year. 

    I also do a lot of work from home in my spare time. (So I don't have a lot of spare time.) I work on the website HitRECord that is run by Joseph Gordon Levett. I recently finished up an animation of him that ended up on his TV show. It's a great site that actually pays you for the work that you do for them. I also am in the middle of 2 oil paintings (one for a gallery show) as well as a poster for a music festival. 

    TKS: What's a typical workday like for you?

    Carli Ihde: I get to work at about 8:30 a.m. and check my messages from clients. We have clear conversations about what direction they want to go with their video. I will draw up my concept images and they write back with some corrections. After we are done with the concepts and layouts (much like the steps it takes to create comic books) we are ready to film. I will number the drawings in the order in which I will draw them and turn the camera on that films my hand. (I'm kind of like a hand model.) When the filming is done, the raw footage is handed off to the editors who get the video synced up with the voice over. And that's that! After work I drive home, take my dogs on a walk, then get back to my art table for some painting and commission work. 

    TKS: What are you working on now? 

    Carli Ihde: Right now I've got 2 oil paintings in the works. One is a self-portrait and the other is for a gallery show. I'm also working on a poster for a music festival.

    TKS: What's next?

    Carli Ihde: Next is to keep painting and writing. I really want to write and draw my own comic, I'm just having some trouble with the tone and direction I want the story to go. 

    TKS: Any bit of advice you'd give to a first year student or someone considering coming to the

    Carli Ihde: Don't get any assignments in late. It becomes a habit and once you get used to getting one assignment in late, it's going to mess everything up (especially in Fernando Ruiz's class). You get one in late
    and your assignments will just keep piling up until you are overwhelmed. Also, surround yourself with good influences. Become friends with people who are driven, responsible, and will inspire you to work harder. From what I noticed
    when I went to the school the peers you chose strongly influences your success at the school. If you are all pushing each other, there is really no other option but to succeed! And most importantly, don't let your art become a job.
    When you sit down to do a project, don't think of it as work. Think of every assignment as a new chance to hone your skills, improve yourself and kick its ass. 

    TKS: Anything you'd like to add about Joe Kubert?

    Carli Ihde: He is a legend. No money can buy what Joe gave all of us. He gave us a chance. A chance to succeed in what we all love to do and I owe everything to him. I remember he was looking through my portfolio one day
    and he said, "You could really make it, Carli." I guess it was really a simple thing, but I don't think anything has ever motivated me more than that moment.

    I think anyone who has gone to the Kubert School can say that they carry a little piece of Joe in their hearts. He has played a small role in all of our destinies and has given us each a priceless gift. It is up to you as the student and artist to figure out what you are going to do with that gift. 

    TKS: Check out Carli's animation here: 



    Vertigo, Truscribe