Ian Freshman, creator of Instagram comic strip The Bubble, gets his best inspiration right here in the South Bay.
- Written byStefan Slater
Ian Freshman, 39, is a graphic designer, Manhattan Beach native and cartoonist with a knack for poking fun at some of the more humorous (and ridiculous) aspects of life in the South Bay. Ian posts his South Bay-inspired cartoons to The Bubble, an Instagram account he started late last year that has garnered a little over 2,000 followers. Ian recently took some time to chat with us about the origins of The Bubble, his favorite cartoonists and also his thoughts on the future of comic strips.
How did you come up with the idea for The Bubble?
Ian Freshman: It originated with my friends and me. I sent them some funny cartoons that I drew; one of my friends said that I needed to start posting them. People seem to like . And it’s taken off from there. I’ve always done cartoons. I’ve always liked them, and The Bubble is a fun way for me to do cartoons without going through a publication.
We may have to make you reconsider and run with us. Do you have any favorite cartoon strips?
IF: I grew up reading “Garfield”—that was the gateway cartoon when I was really young, and I graduated from that to “Calvin and Hobbes.” That’s an ultimate favorite, same with “The Far Side.”
What inspires your Bubble cartoons?
IF: There’s a lot of humor and a lot of inspiration for humor from the South Bay. The South Bay has changed so much and so fast since the time I grew up, and it’s gotten to the point of ridiculousness. There’s a lot there for a lot of humorous material. They say, “Write what you know,” and I know about growing up in this culture. I thought that was good material.
How has the South Bay changed since the years you grew up here?
IF: a little more laidback back then. It hadn’t become the tourist destination that it is these days, and the demographic was a lot different.
IF: My parents, the people who were buying homes , they weren’t millionaires like they are now. It’s beyond a lot of people’s price range. I make that point in the cartoon a lot. People that grew up here, it’s tough for people to continue to stay here. I don’t try to be mean about it—that’s the way it is. If you grew up here, it’s stuff you’re aware of. There are specific examples that I like to freeze in time. I think a lot of people find these examples funny too. My followers have grown quite a bit. If it makes me laugh, it should make others laugh, hopefully. A lot of it is from past experiences and growing up .
Do you have an art background?
IF: I studied graphic design. My art started out with cartoons, and I’ve always done them to entertain friends. It’s what I love, and it’s addicting.
Are you also into comic books and graphic novels?
IF: Graphic novels aren’t my main thing—cartoons and comic strips are what I’m interested in. They’ve gone way downhill. There are just a few that hit like “Zits” by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman—Jim’s one of the best cartoonists out there.
It does seem that comic strips and newspapers are going the same way.
IF: It’s sad. Nobody really reads them. But that’s why I chose Instagram as my outlet, because everyone is on their phone. It’s an easy way to get my work out there without too much effort. I think comics are moving more online, like with web comics. There is a really great documentary that I saw that inspired me to start doing The Bubble, and it’s called “Stripped.” It came out not too long ago, and I went to the premiere of it. It talks about how the newspapers are dying and what will happen to comics. I found it to be very inspiring. A lot of the comic are dying, but on the other hand there are new generations of cartoonists that are coming up in the shift, and where comics are going to be consumed.
What’s your fan base like?
IF: The fans of The Bubble have been really great. They’ve really helped my cartoon evolve through their comments. I read all of their comments, and they’re very hilarious and they help me to understand what is funny—it’s instant feedback.
Follow Ian’s comic on Instragram @the.bubble.