Creator Profile

Trade Loeffler

I am an artist who grew up in Livermore, California and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, with my wife, four-year-old son, and five-year-old dog. I can be contacted at: trade@zipandbit.com.

I started college at San Jose State, eventually transferring over to Cal State Hayward and getting my degree there in Studio Arts with an emphasis on figure drawing. I have worked as a web designer and illustrator for the past eight years, starting out at New York’s PBS affiliate, Thirteen/WNET, then moving over to Scholastic Books. While at Scholastic, I was fortunate enough to contribute to the Web sites of some great characters such as Harry Potter, Captain Underpants, Abby Hayes, Bone, and Clifford The Big Red Dog.

The Creative Director I worked with at both Thirteen and Scholastic was an immensely talented artist named Mohammed Riza. He had a tremendous influence on me as a designer. Check out his artwork at: http://www.moriza.com.

My artistic influences include almost anyone who worked at Marvel Comics during the ’70s and ’80s. Frank Miller, Ross Andru, Barry Windsor Smith, and John Romita Jr. were some of my favorites. John Byrne was the artist I most wanted to be like as a kid. The books he worked on, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four, and Superman for DC, were the ones I read and re-read the most, and his artwork was what I would try to copy the most.

My other major influences would be a lot of the old daily newspaper cartoonists. Hank Ketcham was incredible. Dennis the Menace is the best! My favorites from the comics page when I was a kid were Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, Milt Caniff’s Steve Canyon, and Prince Valiant by Hal Foster. Occasionally, I would find a newspaper which carried Walt Kelly’s Pogo, and I can remember being completely enthralled by that character.

Bill Watterson is another artist who knocks me out. My old roommate used to think it was hilarious that Calvin and Hobbes sat on my bookshelf next to anthologies of Chekov, or books by Faulkner or Joyce, but it always seemed perfectly natural to me, particularly since the Calvin and Hobbes books got read so much more than the others.

There are two books which I consider essential to writing and drawing comics. Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” is the bible for any comic artist. I would also recommend “The Illusion of Life” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Although written primarily for animators, it covers everything from character development, to staging a scene, to acting with your characters. I am heavily inspired by the old Disney cartoons from the ’30s through the ’60s. The artists who worked there were amazing in their knowledge and dedication to their craft.

My brush with greatness isn’t much, but it’s this. For many years, my grandparents lived in Santa Rosa, California, home of the legendary Charles Schulz. While I was never lucky enough to meet the great man, he did build an ice rink right near my grandparents’ house and as a kid I can remember my grandparents taking us skating there on the first week that it opened. Like I said, it’s not much of a brush with greatness, but still, it was Charles Schulz!

Jian Wu

The Upside-Down Me site was originally assembled by Jian Wu, a tremendous programmer that I worked with at Scholastic. When it comes to putting things together on the internet, he knows it all. Anyone wishing to contact him can reach him at: jianng1@verizon.net.

Tyler Martin

For the launch of the new Sky Kayak story, Lunchbox Funnies buddy Tyler Martin re-developed the Upside-Down Me website, adding new zoom, archive, comment and bookmarking features as well as creating the new Sky Kayak site. Both sites were built from his ComicPress theme.

John Bintz

Following in Tyler’s footsteps, John Bintz centralized and cleaned up the code on all three Zip and Li’l Bit sites, and beefed up the performance. He does a lot of Web programming and comic work, and you can read more about him at his personal site. Be sure to check out his thrice-weekly dictionary comic Dawn’s Dictionary Drama.