He is best known as the creator of the web comic, Troy, but you might know him as the voice of Flippy in the animated series "Clay Kids." He illustrates, he writes, he animates, and he's one hell of a voice actor. It appears there is no limit to Michael Derry's creative expression. The witty and entertaining "shy guy-funny man" reluctantly allowed me to probe him for your pleasure in this month's Q&A. I hope you enjoy him as much as I did...
MICHAEL DERRY: An Insight
Favorite Guilty Pleasure:
"Cheesecake and Wine"
Which living person do you most admire?
If you could have dinner with 3 dead people, who would they be?
"Jesus, Oscar Wilde, and Maurice Sendak. I'm sure it would be a very lively conversation and we'd all get along swimmingly!"
Do you have any other talents outside of art?
"Acting, Writing, and mixing up some fabulous margaritas"
If you had to replace your artistic talent with another one, what would it be?
"If I absolutely HAD to pick one (and I don't), I have to say gymnastics. There's something so cool about the way they throw themselves through the air and do all those flips and turns that's almost like flying. And the strength and control they have over their bodies...Being able to do that would be absolutely amazing to me."
How old were you when you lost your virginity?
Did you lose it to a girl or guy?
"With an older guy. He was 19!
Luckily, no one ever found out!"
MICHAEL DERRY: The Artist
What part of drawing comes easiest to you?
"The line work after I've got the rough drawings done. That's the sort of technical part where my critical side finally shuts up and I just get into the flow."
What is your process when you start a piece?
"I start with sketches. Then I'll do a few reference photos (to get the perspective and proportions right!). Then I'll do a bunch of loose sketches that I tighten up a few times. Then I'll import the tight-ish rough sketch into Illustrator and do the line work. Then I'll export that to Photoshop and do the flat color, then I'll do a few shadow and highlight layers."
What part of drawing is the most frustrating?
Who were/are some of the biggest influences on your artistic style?
"Burk Breathed, Bill Watterson, Hanna Barbera cartoons, Jim Lee, and Tim Burton."
What was the inspiration behind your comic, Troy?
"My life and the friends I've made over the years living in West Hollywood."
You're also quite the voice actor as well. How did you get into that?
"I started mimicing voices I heard in cartoons as a kid and I also started doing theater at the age of 8, so they sort of go hand in hand. I've done tons of theater and improv, but when I came to LA, it was very frustrating because I wanted to do comedy but kept getting sent on young, sort of romantic roles. And I had an agent who told me to get a girlfriend. So, I said 'Fuck it' and channeled all that into Troy which started out being about a young, struggling actor in LA.
I haven't done any on-camera or theater work in years, but I never stopped wanting to do goofy roles. So I signed up for a seminar in voice overs run by MJ Lallo. She has a studio where she produces voice over for animation, radio, games, etc. She thought I was really good so she signed me and started sending me out on auditions. I booked the role of Flippy on 'Clay Kids' which has been great! He's the most fun to play because I get to do the most outrageous, bizarre, odd-ball stuff and no one cares what I look like. So no one will ever tell me I don't look right for that role because what you see is a clay model of a delinquent 12-year-old!"
What projects are you currently working on?
"Pimpin' my animated short 'Troy: Naked Boys Behing Bars, Sing!' and putting together my last 'Troy' comics collection."
MICHAEL DERRY: Sex
Top or Bottom?
"Oh my! My my my...(Blushing)...Uh...Ummmm...
I'll just leave that to your imagination!"
Do you have a "type?"
"Cute and athletic to hunky. I like 'em kind of pretty and kind of beefy!"?
Who are 2 celebrities you'd jump into a 3sum with?
"Chris Hemsworth and Mechad Brooks"
Spit or Swallow?
"Gotta say spit. Swallow and it feels like you got flem in your throat for a whole day."
How often do you beat off?
"Are there any questions that are too personal for you??? LOL!"
Most embarrassing sexual experience:
"A friend of mine showed up to a party about 2 hours AFTER it had ended and ALMOST everyone had left by then and well...Let's just say I forgot to lock the door and my friend walked right in without knocking and got an eyefull.
SO embarrassing! He STILL won't let me forget that!"
How big is "Too Big?"
"I have no idea. After all these years, I have yet to find one that was too big.
Lucky me, I guess!"
MICHAEL DERRY, Everybody!
Thank you, Michael!
And NO, There are no questions that are too personal for me! :D
Folks, you can catch up on 14 years worth of Michael's gay toon drama, Troy, here.
Keep an eye out for his animated short of the comic, Troy: Naked Boys Behind Bars, Sing! It will eventually make it's way to a film festival near you. You can also see more of Michael's work on his website.
Be sure to swing by Michael's booth at this year's Bent-Con!
Until next time - Enjoy the rest of your week!