We caught up Robert “Bob” McKeone, his art is not only has it’s own unique style but also has an amazing sense of humor. We’re always fans of an artist’s ability to bring two different universes together and make it work. You can check out Bob in person at SDCC at booth AA-13. You can also check out all his art on his website…
Your style is very recognizable; using humor in many of your pieces… what’s your process to find the perfect mix of art and humor?
I grew up listening to “Weird Al” Yankovic, and enjoying smart comedies like ‘Airplane!’ and ‘The Naked Gun’. I’m no stranger to parody. I like to laugh, and I like to include that in my work. Where many conventions are saturated with fan-art and mash-ups, how does one stand out? Stick to what you know! I know parody. So that’s usually my starting point. What can I parody, and what will give me a chuckle. I have a sounding board of a few close friends, and if an idea is not quite working in my head, I’ll run it by them. Sometimes they suggest something that just gives it that little extra nudge it needs to elevate it.
Since you are from San Diego, is there anything you recommend all tourists check out?
While downtown, I got three good eateries within walking distance of the convention center. If you want Mexican, hit up Lolita’s just on the other side of Petco Park. The California Burrito is delicious! You want a slice of pizza, definitely hit up Ciro’s Pizzeria near Market and 6th. 2 slices, and a drink for $10 (a little more if you want that drink to be a beer!). And if you want a little bit of everything, Lucky’s Lunch Counter on 7th, just slightly north of Petco Park. The Bases-Loaded Breakfast burrito is one of the best breakfast burritos in San Diego!
Do you have any advice for young artists just starting out?
It’s cliché as all get out, and I’m guilty of not doing it as much as I should… but… PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! If you’re watching tv, be doodling in a sketchbook as you watch. Bring a lil pocket size sketchbook with you when you go out with friends. If you’re out to eat, be doodling while you wait for your meal to arrive. Draw, draw and draw! Just keep drawing! Some will tell you to draw from life, and there are advantages, but honestly, just draw! The 2nd thing is most artists are introverted by nature. Put yourself out there! They say no, put yourself out there again, eventually somebody will say yes. And then it just builds and grows from there.
What exclusives are you bringing to SDCC 2018?
I don’t have any planned exclusives for this year. My newest print is a bit more work than originally anticipated, and will likely take up all my prep time. But I do have a few exclusives from previous years that are almost gone! Get them while you still can!
What sets SDCC apart from other cons?
It’s the big one! Yes, some other conventions claim to have more foot traffic. But, San Diego is an event! It’s where announcements are made. It’s where most of the heavy hitters in comics, television and movies come to promote. It’s a beast! Deals are made, dreams come true, and moments and connections are constantly happening. You can be buying an exclusive collectible from some booth, turn around and literally run into a celebrity you’ve admired on television or from movies.
What’s one thing you wish attendees understood about artists that have to work a booth?
Yes, we are there to make money. Yes, we’d LOVE for you to buy a print, or request a commission. Yes, I might try to “sell you” on something… But honestly, what I want MOST is I just want you to STOP and LOOK! There’s a sort of fear I’ve noticed with some people who walk Artists’ Alley, that they’re afraid to touch. We’re all there because we want to be SEEN! I have my portfolios, dead center on the table, open to a page I think will catch your eye, because… I want you to stop. I want you to flip through, I want you to maybe connect with something in there. Just take a look!
What’s the strangest commission request you’ve ever had? and are you taking commission requests this year?
A NON-sexualized Scottish school girl, mermaid, looking scared in a tide-pool. “How do I convey she’s Scottish? I mean, red hair…?” I asked. “Well that, and she’s wearing a kilt, of course” was the answer from the commissioner. Of course, I should have known! Yeah, that was a weird one. I’m always willing to take a commission. I don’t go in with a set limit for the day, like some artists. I kind of gauge my ability to complete based on the commissions as they come. And I’ll always hear the person out. I try my best to work with them in the time given. I try to avoid saying no, if at all possible.
What’s a typical day like for you at SDCC? Is there a typical?
There isn’t a “typical” SDCC day. There are trends. The only typical thing I do, is I try to get there early, I really enjoy getting in about an hour or so before the doors open to the public. I intentionally enter around Hall B, so I have to walk almost the entire length of the exhibit hall, on the way to my table all the way down by Hall G. Being able to walk by the big booths without swarms of people is amazing. I don’t get much time to wander around when it’s open, so it’s really my only opportunity to “see” anything. I then drop off my stuff at my table, then hit up the Starbucks by Hall E for the shortest line it will be all day. Then I go back to my table, coffee in hand, and set up, and just wait to see what the day brings. What people I’ll meet, what strange commissions they’ll present. And then just draw most of the day, and hopefully sell some art.
What’s one thing you are looking forward to at SDCC 2018?
This is my fourth year exhibiting at SDCC. The last 2 years I was in the same spot. This year I’m in a new spot in Artists’ Alley, which means new artist neighbors. It’s always great interacting with other artists, especially if you haven’t before. Yeah, sometimes you don’t connect, and it can get awkward cuz you’re spending almost a week next to them. But, even just watching how another artist approaches a commission or just seeing what artistic tools they use, or how they use them is exciting to me.
What’s next for you after SDCC 2018?
I don’t have any planned convention appearances for the remainder of the year. That doesn’t mean I won’t do any others, though. There’s just none on my slate, right now. I do have a few projects that have been on the back burner for way too long, and I really would like to get them up and running for the 2019 con circuit. Prints and commissions are great, but I really would like to get some actual original content and intellectual property out into the world. Like a comic book. I think it’s time to get that out there.