Keith Knight speaks

Cartoonist Keith Knight, who now lives in Los Angeles, returned to his hometown of Malden, Massachusetts, (“even my little league baseball coach is here”) to speak at the public library on June 3.

“I started out drawing cartoons all the time. I drew in class. I drew in my notebooks all the time. … I would go crazy, but what I found when I drew on my homework and my tests and stuff is I would actually get higher grades, so I would continue to do that.”

“The reason I created the ‘K Chronicles,’ in the media, especially at the time it was created, there was this representation that if you’re into hip-hop, you’re a thug.”

On “Vet Mentoring” strip (above): “The strip that got the most letters and e-mails. … People wrote in and said this is the first time I read a comic strip and it changed my thoughts on an issue. People always say strips have to be funny. But that’s not true.”

“I draw in cafes. I don’t draw at home. I’m a very social person. I get my ideas looking at people.”

“I do have a twin sister. … I’m nine minutes older than my sister. Usually when we’re together and she doesn’t get something, I say you’ll get it in nine minutes. Then the fists come.”

“I don’t necessarily think the Web is the entire future of cartooning. Newspapers are going through what the record industry is still going through. It’s like what radio when through when TV started. … I think it’s going to have a smaller market share, and I think there will always be boutique newspapers.”

Advice to beginning artists: “Put together a website. A website works for you 24-seven. The second thing is perseverance. You will hear from lots of people who tell you you can’t do it. Surround yourself with people who say you can. … There’s no one way to do it. … Follow the people who inspire you.”

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