Pen Pals Interviews


An interview series featuring notable people whose lives intersect with the world of pens. Along with his work for premier apparel brands like Adidas and Nike, Allister Lee has been cataloging and documenting his black marker collection in his Black is Beautiful project.


Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

Hello, my name is Allister Lee. I'm a Toronto-based graphic artist who specializes in creating work for apparel brands. I produce work for exhibitions and collaborative projects, and concurrently produce print and retail products of my own designs as well. I use a variety of marking tools in my studio practice, with a preference towards black markers and ink. I use these markers from the initial sketching and planning stages, to the development and rendering of the finished product.



Dustin Harbin is a cartoonist and freelance artist from the city of Charlotte, NC. Allegedly "pretty good with kids," he also delivers talks at libraries and teaches classes. Check out more of his work here.

Image courtesy of Dylan Chorneau

How did you become an illustrator?

I am the fourth product of a carpenter/seamstress union, and thus, naturally, a cartoonist. I live and work in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I worked for years in a large comic shop before going full-time as an illustrator in 2010. My work runs the gamut between autobiographical (and occasionally funny) comics, and a large body of commission illustrations known as "Hour Drawings" that have garnered an energetic following on Tumblr.



An interview series featuring notable people whose lives intersect with the world of pens. We got the opportunity to chat with Joel Duggan, the artist and mastermind behind the wonderfully clever webcomic, Starcrossed.

Starcrossed, by Joel Duggan


Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Currently, I work full time from my home studio in Dartmouth as a cartoonist, illustrator and designer.


What inspired you to start drawing comics?

When I was very young, I was inspired by classic Looney Tunes and Disney animation...in fact, I still am. Growing up, I just wanted to draw cartoons of any kind. In my teens, my interests quickly shifted focus to comic strips. Bill Amend (FoxTrot), Frank Cho (Liberty Meadows) Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman (Zits) and the venerable Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) were my canon. My first strip, "Jungle Jazz", was published in my university newspaper for three years.


June 3, 2013 - Posted by David to Pen Pals Interviews

An interview series featuring notable people whose lives intersect with the world of pens. Hailing from the City of Brotherly Love, Greg Pizzoli has won numerous awards for his artwork and shares his wealth of knowledge as a teacher. He just published his first children's book, THE WATERMELON SEED, in May of 2013.

courtesy of Colin Kerrigan

Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

My name is Greg Pizzoli and I live in Philadelphia. These days I think author/illustrator/printmaker is the job description that seems to fit best. I also teach part-time at the college level in both printmaking and illustration. I really enjoy the balance of teaching and working in my studio.

I'm getting married this summer. I'm a cat person.


May 7, 2013 - Posted by David to Pen Pals Interviews

An interview series featuring notable people whose lives intersect with the world of pens. In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, we had the privilege of interviewing Brent Acuff, an educator from Hutto, TX. Along with directing his middle school band, he inspires students to write with his own passion for stories and pens.

Mr. Brent Acuff

Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

My name is Brent Acuff, and I am a middle school band director in Hutto, TX, a small town just outside of Austin. I teach music to students between the ages of 11 and 14, and also assist with the high school marching band. I have been a teacher for more than 13 years and an amateur writer for about five years.

For the last seven years, I have been a serious fan and collector of fountain pens, inks, pencils and journals. Lately, I have started encouraging my own students, and now my own daughter, to take an interest in writing and writing supplies. Over the past three years, I have sponsored a group of students in NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program and have had many students successfully complete the competition.