Artist, Kyle Carrozza (@TVsKyle) originated from Catskill in upstate New York, home to other greats such as Rip Van Winkle and Mike Tyson. He’s a down-to-earth artist with a passion for animation and tokusatsu.
In addition to his weekly Friday webcomic, Frog Raccoon Strawberry at Dumm Comics, Kyle has worked on the upcoming SpongeBob Squarepants movie. His artwork has also been featured in Q POP Shop’s Tokusatsu art shows.
How did you discover your passion for art?
I loved cartoons from a very young age. I loved to watch cartoons ranging from Looney Tunes to Saturday Supercade even when I was really little. If you look at my baby book, when I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a radio DJ. By 1st grade, I wanted to be a cartoonist.
When and how did you discover tokusatsu?
I watched Mighty Morphin Power Rangers like most people… who were slightly younger than me. I was also vaguely aware of Ultraman since some version of that was airing on Sunday mornings. I knew it was based on Japanese material but didn’t really look into it.
Later, after I moved to Los Angeles as an adult, I became aware of Super Sentai from the bootleg DVDs of movies they’d sell in Chinatown. I downloaded some Magiranger and enjoyed it, but my level of internet access didn’t really allow me to make a habit of it.
Later, prompted by my amusement of Kogoro, a parody of Gavan that appeared in Sgt. Frog, I did some research. While in Kinokuniya [the Japanese bookstore] in Little Tokyo [in Los Angeles], I picked up a copy of Hyper Hobby and saw some Gavan inside, so I bought it. I also saw lots of pictures of Gokaiger and Kamen Rider Fourze which were the current shows at the time. I started watching them with [my girlfriend] Lindsay, and we’ve been hooked on the genre ever since!
Since you mentioned Sgt. Frog, are there any other anime you’re into?
I’ve been an anime fan since I discovered Ranma 1/2 and Project A-Ko back in high school. I like quirky stuff like FLCL, Excel Saga, and Golden Boy. I’m currently loving Kill La Kill. I think Hiroyuki Imaishi is a genius. I love classic stuff like Osamu Tezuka’s work as well.
Where you find your inspiration?
All over. I can get inspired by seeing a cool show, meeting an interesting person, or finding some old drawings I did as a kid. Sometimes I’ll get an epiphany in mid-conversation and have to write down an idea for later in my phone!
What’s your favorite art medium to work with?
I know it’s really unromantic to say so, but I love drawing on my Cintiq.
That said, I love goofing around with various Japanese brush pens. There’s a double-ended one that Pilot makes that is my absolute favorite. It’s got one thick brush and a thin brush on the other side.
Can you walk us through the process when creating a piece?
It varies depending on what I’m doing— Most of the time, I’m creating art for work on animated projects or for my web comic, Frog Raccoon Strawberry. Both of those things are collaborative, so it involves sending work back and forth. I like to rough things out in Sketchbook Pro and clean things up in Photoshop when working digitally. For gallery pieces like the stuff of mine you see at Q-Pop, I usually do a rough in Sketchbook Pro, print it out, and then ink over it on marker paper using a light table. Other times, if I don’t wanna go through all that, I’ll rough lightly in mechanical pencil and ink over that. I then use some combination of colored pencils and prismacolor markers. I highlight with a small white paint pen sometimes too.
If you could be a tokusatsu hero, who would you be?
Kamen Rider Fourze. I love the switches and his insane driver. It’s the only Rider belt I own so far. Seriously, the all-switches sequence in the Fourze movie is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Pure Sakamoto magic. Plus, if I’m Gentaro, I can be buds with everyone! Guess I’d better fish his driver out of that mid-room lava pit.
Or what about, if you could rock one tokusatsu suit, which would it be?
I’m a large, fuzzy man. I’ll be Ramirez [Kyoryu Cyan, from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger].
And finally, do you have any projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?
Having finished my time on the new Spongebob movie, I’m working on a seeeeecret project of my own at Cartoon Network. I’m also still doing my webcomic, Frog Raccoon Strawberry at dummcomics.com every Friday. There have been a lot of toku references in it lately. The secondary hero, Lemonade, has recently gained an upgrade that has her fighting with a giant piece of fruit on her head. Yup.