When did you first decide you wanted to be an artist?
In college. I was physics major until I took an art class. I went to UCI and the art department was very conceptual. They taught that art was not about the skill of making but about the thinking involved in making. Once I understood that art was an intellectual pursuit, it changed my life.
Tell us a little bit about Mister Toast and friends.
The World of Mr Toast is the place I am working on creating. It is packed with a ton of characters like Mr Toast, Joe the Egg, Clem lemon, Mope the Onion, Drunken Carrot, and a ton more. I tell the stories of these characters with comics, toys, art, games and anything else you can think of.
Does music play a role in the creative process, and who are listening to?
I listen to music but I watch a lot more TV. Music is about emotion while TV for me is about storytelling. I am trying to work hard on my storytelling right now. So I have been watching all the old Twilight Zones. Every episode, they have to tell a complex human story in 22 minutes. It is a great blueprint to analyze for any writer or artist for that matter. Artists need to tell stories to engage the viewer.
What super secret projects do you have in the works that you can share with us?
For Comic Con we will have a Zombie Bacon doll, He is my own weird take on a zombie but hopefully people will like him. As always I am trying to expand the reach of Mr Toast, hopefully there will be some good news on a fun partnership in that accord. But I am not gonna jinx it by talking about it.
Pets, do you have any? If so, names and types please.
I have a Chihuahua named Dixie Lee – she is the love of my life and a complete monster.
How do you spend your free time? Skydiving? Ice fishing? Moose hunting?
In the last year I have taken some puppetry and improv classes. It has really helped my creative process. At this point in my life I never run out of ideas. Creative block is a thing of the past, now it is all about finding the time to get it all done. I learned a long time ago to just do, create and move on. To sit and obsess is not healthy. If you can get your creative engine running, at a certain point all you will need to do is sit down and the goodness will flow out. Don’t judge, just create.
Do you have a type of medium you prefer to work in, and why?
I like drawing in pencil and ink and adding color with watercolors and colored inks. I like the final product I can get out of painting with acrylics but I don’t get a lot of pleasure out of doing it. I would rather sit and draw with a pencil and ink with a brush.
Some artists that you admire.
Dick Bruna. It was his book Miffy in the Snow which I read as a kid, really became the blueprint for how I have become an artist. I grew up on comics in the 1970’s so all the comic guys like John and Sal Buscema, Jack Kirby, John Byrne just kill me. I could never do work like that but I love the hell out of it. And then there is Dr Seuss……..
What was the biggest risk you have taken, and was it worth it?
14 years ago I quit my job. Smartest thing I ever did. Some how I have made a living without working a “real” job ever since.
The last good movie you saw.
I watch a lot of TCM and we record a ton of stuff. I just went back and watched Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. I had never seen it all the way through. Such a great movie. Of contemporary movies, the last one I saw and really enjoyed was Avengers.
How does a typical day start?
Get up and walk the dog. Eat breakfast and read the newspaper.
If you could go anywhere in the world for a visit where would it be, and why?
I want to visit the Sloth Sanctuary in Central America. It would be cool to see them in their natural environment.
What came first Clem Lemon or Joe the Egg?
Joe the Egg came first, he came before Mr Toast! He was the first of these characters. Initially his story was that he got lost and lived in the sewers with a bunch of rats. My how things have changed.
Sandwich or Burrito?
I eat more sandwiches but Burritos are very close to my heart.
Click Shaky Bacon above to find out more about Dan Goodsell’s art
Interview by Meghan Fontana