This week’s Creator Spotlight shines on Christopher Otto the Creator of A Dog’s Life webcomic that follows the antics of chocolate Labrador and his adopted sister, and if you’re not reading it… You should be!. Now take it away Chris…
My name is Chris Otto and I am the creative force behind the award-winning online comic, “A Dog’s Life”. The strip has been recognized by several sites in the online dog community (people who love dogs, that is; I’m not sure many dogs are online, but you never know!) as one of the top dog sites. This has opened many doors for me, from product reviewing to a couple of shots at national, even international exposure that I will get into in a moment, but first, a little about myself and the strip!
A life-long avid comic strip reader, I decided to start-up my own comic in 2010. I came up with the idea over the summer of that year after struggling to come up with an idea for a comic for a few months. I have two dogs, a Lab and a rescued mutt, whose antics were often comic worthy. I wrote out a few strips and started drawing dogs. Having never really drawn anything other than doodles in my school notebooks, I might have been better off finding an artist to collaborate with, but I was determined to do the strip all by myself. It is always interesting to me to look through my first couple of years of comics and watch my drawing develop into the style it is today.
The strip stars my two dogs, Hunter S. Thompson, a chocolate Labrador, and Gillian, his adopted sister. Most of my early strips are based on actual events, but eventually the stories tended to turn into long character driven tales, often straying from real life events. For example, the second year of the strip was one year-long tale guest written by my friend Ben Taylor (whom I met at the VA Comicon in late 2010, one of the best things for me personally to come from the strip) called “Bark To The Future”, which is a love letter to “Back To The Future”, which is a story full of time travel, Doctor Who, Star Wars and other references, and other things that dogs would normally not do. Like drive dog houses into the past. I do try to keep the dogs themselves acting as dogs would, though; not understanding time, scratching, thinking with their stomachs; dog behavior wrapped up in human like personalities.
I am in the fourth year of the strip, and 2014 is looking to be very exciting for me! I will publish my fourth book, a compilation of the third year of the strip, to add to the first two compilations and a coloring book already published. I will be partnering with Life With Dogs to do a monthly strip chronicling Hunter’s time as a puppy, “Hunter’s Puppy Tales”. Their site will push me into a huge international audience. I am also featured in an interview in Dog Fancy magazine, hitting news stands nationally in March. I already have several convention appearances planned in the VA/DC area, as well as setting up for my second year in the Kids Love Comics area at the Baltimore Comic Con.
What had started out as a little hobby to satisfy my creative impulses has really turned into something wonderful for me, and I have met so many great people because of it. I never expected my little scribbles to turn into what it has, and am very thankful for the many opportunities it has opened for me! Though I am far from the point where I could quit the day job (Radiological Technologist) and draw full-time, I am happy with the growth of the comic. I posted my 500th comic strip in the summer of 2013, a milestone I never really envisioned when I started it up. I look forward to posting many, many more.
Thank you for your time Chris, looks like big things are coming your way and I wish you well moving into 2014 and 2015.