Creative Alum: ‘In My Nature to Draw Monsters’
By Sarah R. Schwartz ’10
Graphic Designer Chuck Regan ’90 soon will be known by ‘tweens and teens across the country under his pseudonym, Paddington Frisk, the author and illustrator of Children to Avoid. Regan recently acquired a literary agent and is working toward getting his book published.
“When I was a kid, my mother always asked why I never drew nice things. I guess it was always in my nature to draw monsters. This time, monster kids,” he says. His book, full of off-center witticisms and stunning illustrations, faintly echoes the dark humor of Charles Addams.
Children to Avoid began last February when Regan was laid off from his job at an ad agency. He wanted to try something new. “I had written the first draft six months earlier in a frenzy, after waking up one morning with the first four lines in my head. I started painting the weekend after the lay off and finished the first draft and 26 paintings by summer.”
He credits Arcadia for unleashing his creative ambitions. “Arcadia provided me exposure to the esoteric, the commercial, and the classical, and I am better for it,” he says. “I was able to take chances and explore my creativity, including an independent study—a sequential art adaptation of Plato’s Allegory of The Cave. Arcadia is the kind of place where you can do something unique, and the professors are forward thinking enough to give students the opportunity.”
Regan specifically notes the quality of the teaching staff, specifically the late Dennis Kuronen, former chair of the Department of Fine Arts, and Dr. Richard Wertime, Director of Graduate Studies in English and the Humanities. “They taught me to be honest with myself,” he says.
In the past 20 years, Regan has gained experience in the comic book industry and also says he got to live a tiny geek dream illustrating for Dungeons & Dragons for a couple of years. While he’s moved on to advertising, he still enjoys working in those mediums. “The skills I developed in those years translated directly into the storyboards and conceptual sketches I draw for advertising agencies, where the real money is, designing with pixels, creating logos and websites, illustrating and animating commercials for internal corporate communications,” he says.
In addition to Children to Avoid, Regan is working on his first novel, under the working title “Little Agony,” which takes place on the surface of planet Mars. It tackles some of the same problems of life on Earth but includes the fun of hovercrafts, blasters and craters. The plot was foraged from Regan’s senior thesis at Arcadia, an analysis of the hero in popular culture. “It is psychologically fulfilling to see someone struggle against something larger than themselves and come out successfully on the other side,” he says. “Anyway, I’m learning, not only about the craft of writing, but about myself, which I think is the most important aspect of the creative process, whether ray guns are involved or not.”
For a preview of Children to Avoid, visit www.childrentoavoid.com.