finish lines: Wayno

Cartoonist and Mt. Lebanon resident Wayno in his Washington Road office.

Wayno is the daily cartoonist for Bizarro, which is syndicated internationally in more than 350 newspapers, and his humorous illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Pittsburgh Magazine. He has also designed many beer labels for East End Brewing Company. He has mounted several one-man exhibits of his “cartoon pop” paintings, and was a visiting artist at the Manchester Craftsmens Guild in 2013. In 2010, Animal Friends selected him as the honorary artist for its Black Tie & Tails gala, which raised more than $400,000 for the pet adoption and resource center. Wayno also performs on harmonica, ukulele, and vocals with The Red Beans & Rice Combo, a trio that includes fellow cartoonist Dave Klug on drums and pianist Tom Roberts. His Lebo neighbors know him as Wayne Honath.

Some comics are well-drawn, but not very funny. Others are funny but not visually appealing. HOW You do both well? Editing. I consider words and pictures together as writing, and try to remove the fat. The cartoons that work best have been significantly revised along the way, contrary to the popular notion that art is the result of “inspiration” arriving from the heavens fully-formed.

What do you do for writer’s block? A couple of things. One is to engage the brain in other ways—do the crossword, listen to music, take a walk. And, when I’m exploring ideas, I just refuse to let myself stop. I’ll keep writing (by hand) topics and phrases, while scribbling images in a sketchbook until I come up with a number of things to pursue. A daily deadline is a very effective motivator.

What would surprise people? People are often surprised to learn that my art isn’t “all done on the computer.” I add the text and colors in Photoshop, but the original black & white art is traditional. It all starts with paper, pencil and ink.

How did you know comics were for you? I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I was copying newspaper comics, or drawing cartoon characters from TV since I was very young. I didn’t know that I’d be drawing a newspaper comic exactly, but I always knew I’d be making art. That desire was wired in at birth.

What’s more fun, making comics or music?  Performing music is physical and immediate, with an element of unpredictability. Doing a comic is more methodical, and is intellectually rewarding in the same way as solving a puzzle might be. It’s adrenaline versus dopamine.

Photography by Martha Rial