5 Questions: Cartoonist Rich Sparks

Creature Mumbley-Peg | © Rich Sparks

My process isn’t really a process. I just try to draw whenever I can find the time, so it happens pretty much around the clock, and often in front of a TV. A couple years ago I made a strange discovery that has freed me up–I’ve given up my drawing board. Now I just sit with a pad and pen and use my lap, even for finish work. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve always been the type to find a reason not to drag myself over to the drawing board, but now I have no excuse, since it’s with me everywhere I go.”

1. What’s been keeping you up at night?
My first book is coming out in a few months and there are still decisions to be made in terms of selections (it’s a collection of my cartoons) and design issues. And then there’s promotional stuff that I’m not exactly used to. And of course, every single choice I make I’m haunted that I’ve made the wrong one. It’s called “Love and Other Weird Things” and Yoe Books is publishing it. Craig and Clizia at Yoe are great designers and have great ideas and you’d think that would allow me to sleep. But nah. 


Sonata for Strainer | © Rich Sparks

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?
Season 2 of “Fleabag” is so great I have to go watch it again. Hang on. (Three-hour pause.) And I know I’m way late to the game, but I can’t stop listening to Little Steven’s Underground Garage. It’s just packed with the music I love.



3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
Besides the book, I’m also in a band called The Last Afternoons, and we’re currently recording our second album. We got lucky and had a song from our first album on Little Steven, so with any luck maybe something like that will happen again. Folks can find us on Bandcamp and Spotify and all the other platforms.


Kiniitin’ Some | © Rich Sparks

Barking Man | © Rich Sparks

Sysyphus GoPro | © Rich Sparks

4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?
David Bowie. I think we’d hit it off. And I think he could help me dress better.


Spuerdivorced | © Rich Sparks

National Riffle Association | © Rich Sparks

5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?
“The Goonies 2”


BYOG | © Rich Sparks

Rich Sparks


Rich Sparks began his career doing illustrations for the Chicago Tribune’s lifestyle section. That led to similar work for Chicago-based magazines and trade journals. Not long after he moved into advertising art and then came the long years when he abandoned art for music. Around 2015 he decided to give art another go and started selling cartoons to the New Yorker. Since then he’s had cartoons appear in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, McKellar, Narrative Magazine, American Bystander, Weekly Humorist, SpongeBob Comics, and many other publications.