Jake Parker: Mr. Jake Parker


Jake Parker is an incredibly talented and prolific artist. His art empire stretches across numerous projects and social media. In 2009 Parker started Inktober, a popular annual celebration of ink drawing during the month of October that spawns hundreds of thousands of images each year. His YouTube channel and online art lessons are also very popular. His newest book is called Little Bot and Sparrow (above). Last year he launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new project called Skyheart (below). Parker was profiled previously on The Krakens for his Fan Art. He lives and works in Utah.


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You are involved in so many different projects, what does a typical day look like? This is something that I’ve worked on for years and years and years, and I’ve gone through periods of time where I’ve wasted a lot of time and I’ve been really ineffective with my hours in the day. That’s frustrated me to no end. I feel like it’s kind of…I don’t want to say a sin, but it’s a transgression to the time that you’re given to waste it and to not be productive with it. I’ve been trying really hard to not waste time and to spend every hour of my day on something productive. Something that’s going to get me closer to accomplishing my goals.

In order to make my days more effective here’s what I do. I usually start my day around 9:00 a.m. That’s my workday, I actually get up about 6:00 every day. For three hours I make breakfast, and help the kids, and clean the house, and just kind of get that part of my life squared away and help my wife get her day set up. I’ll spend the first 15-20 minutes either reading my scriptures or reading a book about my craft, whether it’s a book on illustration or a book on being creative or something like that. Those two things combined really get my mindset in a place where I’m trying to put my work towards something. Trying to put my work towards, really a higher elevation of ability and creativity, and trying to chip away at these goals that I’ve set for myself.

Once I’ve done that, I’ll sit down and make a To-Do list for the day. Spend about five minutes just prioritizing and figuring out what actually needs to happen and get done this day. That’s been good for me, to just keep track of what my day is actually spent doing. I can look at the end of the day and see that list that’s checked off and realize “Okay, I actually did accomplish something.” That To-Do list is key. Once that’s done then I get started. I usually spend my morning hours doing creative stuff and then my afternoon will be spent doing more administrative stuff. It’s really because I feel more creative in the mornings, in the afternoons I can get interruptions and things like that. When I’m being interrupted it’s easier to just be answering emails, and handling making PDFs of stuff to send to clients, and doing phone calls, and things like that. That’s typically how my day is divided up. I’ll try to devote, in a week I’ll say “Monday is to this project. Tuesday is for this project. Wednesday is back on my first project. Thursday, half day I’ll spend doing this, the last half of the day I’ll spend doing that.” I try to give a big chunk of time to whatever project I’m working on.

You are the most savvy, social media artist I know. What do you like or dislike about the new communication channels? I enjoy Instagram a lot because it’s very much based on visual communication. You can say a lot with pictures and I like that it’s contained in the phone and there’s not very much linking going on to other websites or to other things. It’s very pure, and it’s very…I guess I don’t want to say it’s very pure, it’s more pure than other because it’s all about creativity and “Look at this thing that I’ve seen, or this thing that I’m doing, or this thing that I’ve created.” It’s about sharing that instead of sharing links to other websites “Look at this and here’s what they’re talking about.” That’s what I oftentimes find is a problem with Facebook. I like Facebook in the fact that it’s great in having conversations with people. Twitter is really good for that as well, although I don’t have time to do as much conversation stuff on Twitter. Lately, probably my social media outlet of choice is YouTube. Just because I’m able to share so much of myself and my thoughts, and the community on there is very open minded and thoughtful. There’s lots of back and forth in the comments and stuff, and so I enjoy that. The thing I dislike is, again with Instagram, there’s a lot of people on there with short attention spans. That’s probably something that’s across the board with all of these things is the short attention spans. It’s really hard to grab people’s attention and to share stuff.

For two months straight I was talking about SkyHeart, which was my Kickstarter. For one month, all through Inktober, I did a drawing every day “Here’s this book I’m working on. This is my graphic novel. SkyHeart, SkyHeart, SkyHeart.” Every day. I was like “Man, I’m probably annoying these people always talking about SkyHeart, and then my little Kickstarter.” It was all “Go back to my Kickstarter. Go check out SkyHeart. Go check it out.” At the end of it, one of the last days of the Kickstarter, someone posted and said “Oh, what is this? You should make a book of this.” It made me realize, people aren’t on social media all the time, and when they are on it they’re whizzing through, looking at it, and you can’t expect that everything you do is going to be seen by everybody. I realized that to break through people’s short attention spans you really have to be…You either have to be super unique with what you’re doing, have some kind of imagery that just stops people in their tracks, or just count on your stuff not being seen by everybody all the time.

Visit Jake Parker’s website.

Follow Jake Parker on Instagram.


Jake Parker: Fan Art


Jake Parker is an incredibly talented and prolific artist with a particular interest in pop culture and fan art. His newest book, Drawings III, was recently released in both digital and print. His art empire stretches across numerous projects and social media outlets. In 2009 Parker started Inktober, a popular annual celebration of ink drawing during the month of October that spawns hundreds of thousands of images each year. His YouTube channel and online art lessons are also very popular. Last year he launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new project called Skyheart. He lives with his family in Utah.


You grew up reading comics at a comic book store in Mesa while your mom bought sewing supplies next door. Explain what appeals to you about these characters and stories. I grew up reading Superman and Batman. I collected Batman for a couple of years. That was fun. I love Batman because, for the reasons everybody loves Batman, he’s a vigilante, he’s taken law into his own hands, he’s got the cool gadgets, and the crazy villains that he’s up against. I switched to collecting X-Men. I really got into X-Men because I was fascinated with their mutant powers and the whole, just the interesting world that Marvel was building. It just felt like it was way more connected, interconnected, than the DC Universe, at least during that time when I was collecting in the early ’90’s. Then things transitioned to Image comics when all the Marvel artists left to make their own comics.

There was a comic that came out that really stood out to me, and I remember I saw it in the comic shop, it was Hellboy #1. I looked at it, you know it stopped me in my tracks and I was like “No this is different. This is something really special.” From that day on I was a huge Mike Mignola fan and a Hellboy fan. I collected all those. The thing that I love about Hellboy is his world is our world. The things that happen in his world have consequences, just like the things in our world. When anything happens … You know I feel like there’s a status quo for Batman. Right? There’s always going to be crime so that there can always be a Batman. As soon as crime is stalled there’s no more Batman. The thing with Marvel is, is everything, as soon as all their problems are solved new problems start and New York is destroyed all over again. Then they fix it and build it up, and then another thing destroys New York. With Hellboy that world is permanent, and the things that happen in there stay happened. If a character dies, they’re dead. They never come back.

But what’s cool, and you know the thing that kind of, I think, worries creators and writers for Marvel or DC, is that if you kill Captain America now you can’t sell Captain America books anymore. What Mike Mignola has done, and the other people who are collaborating with him is, let’s say you kill Hellboy, which they did. Well now we can follow his adventures in Hell, where he was sent, and we get to see him in this new world where there’s completely different stakes, and there’s different consequences, and there’s a different reality and so there’s weird and strange things happening. On one level it’s like we still get to follow Hellboy, but it is a completely different Hellboy now.

The other thing is, if you want to go back, if you want a more traditional Hellboy story where he’s fighting a ghost in some small village in Ireland, you can do a story about Hellboy that took place in the ’70’s and say “Oh we never told this story, but here’s what happened to Hellboy in 1973.” Hellboy has a very strict timeline in that certain things happen on certain dates, and you can’t change those dates, and it isn’t some fake 1970’s or 1990’s. It’s the actual 1990’s and 1970’s. In a way I think Hellboy is a lot like Indiana Jones, in fact it really is. Things have consequences, he interacts with our world, there are things in our world that interact with the Hellboy world. That’s really what I love about it. When I tell stories, and when I create my own worlds, it’s very much inspired by what Mike Mignola and his collaborators have done with the Hellboy world.

I love the Asterix series but few have heard of it. What characters that you grew up with do you wish people appreciated more? I guess in that same vein I really did love the Smurfs growing up, but it wasn’t a comic, it was just a cartoon. That franchise really has been ruined lately with what Sony’s done for it. I think there’s a really cool world there, and some neat stuff with the Smurf’s, I just wish it was being shepherded by a different creative team. You know, the people at Sony are very creative, but I think that the problem there is the actual studio executives not knowing, not having a vision, or having a weird dumb vision. Also, Thundercats are good, yeah they’re really good. It was frustrating because they did the new Thundercats version. They did a sort of revival, or a reboot of the Thundercats, which I thought was really cool but it never really took hold. So I wish there was more Thundercats. Actually SkyHeart is somewhat influenced by Thundercats too, so I guess it’s me taking matters into my own hands and doing it the way I want to do it.

Visit Jake Parker’s website.

Follow Jake Parker on Instagram.

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