How do you draw Franklin the turtle?

I don’t know, man. There’s something about that turtle.

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AVC: Why do you think your work is so successful?

JL: I don’t know. I think I understand what I’m doing. I think I know how to draw. And it’s not because I have an innate talent that draws well, that I draw well. But people like the characters. [Laughs.] And I like them. I really, really, really like them. And I think they’re entertainingly funny and I think they’re really clever.

AVC: What were you thinking when you were starting out? Did you know you were going to be doing this for a long time?

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DJV: I had no idea, except that I liked the idea of doing what I wanted to do. What do you do when you have the desire to do something and you’ve never done it before? I remember going into art school in the ’70s and I thought I’d be a photographer. Which is what I was, if you’ll pardon that. But when I graduated, I thought, God, it’s probably only going to take five years. How long do I have to do it for? And I was able to work in whatever capacity I could. And I made a living by writing music or playing music on TV. And when I was 18, I did an episode of The Simpsons. If I were an artist, I would have thought I’d have worked on it for five years and been a successful artist, but that was not the case. It was almost in my mind a year-long project, but I really wasn’t, and I had to take a break and sort of live on borrowed time and sort of go to sleep.

AVC: How did you stay motivated to continue doing this? Is it something you do on a constant basis?

DJV: Well, I think I do it in a periodic way. I think it’s something I have in my body. I think it’s like a little heart pumping blood, and you can’t do it at one sitting. You want to do it, you’ll be working up until seven at night, writing, but once you have it down and it’s in that rhythm, you don’t have to keep turning it up from seven in the morning until seven at night. You get used to the rhythm, you get used to doing that. I was really fortunate it all happened