Sam Alden takes comic art to next level, draws picture of success

Clara Bartlett

Credit: Allie Felt

A graphic designer and comic illustrator with many diverse projects under his belt, Whitman senior and KWCW Art Director Sam Alden took a moment to chat with The Pioneer  about his recent endeavors, artistic process and future plans.

What subjects are the most fun for you to draw? Do you hate drawing anything?
If left to my own devices, I’ll always draw big textured forests and oceans: I really have to force myself to draw other things. I hate drawing the insides of cars and the interiors of very clean houses. Messy houses are fun because you get to invent all this clutter, but without that, it’s the worst. I’ve literally rewritten important scenes in my comic to avoid drawing the interiors of cars and clean houses. Also I have never, ever been able to draw a horse that didn’t look like a giant dog with weird legs.

Do you think all good art has a good idea behind it?
I guess it’s more like all good art has a good idea in it. Saying that there’s a good idea behind it kind of implies that before drawing you have to sit down and think, ‘I’m going to pack these 14 symbols into this illustration and I shall execute it thus.’ Maybe some people work that way, but it’s much easier for me to start drawing and see what kinds of shapes and situations I find myself drawing, and then work out what it means as I go along.

What projects are you currently involved with?
Right now I have a giant graphic novel that I’ve been working on all through college called “Eighth Grade.” It’s basically a big soap opera about these three middle-schoolers and their families, and, on a more pretentious level, it’s about how children perceive adults and vice versa. I really want to publish that soon after I graduate. I’m also doing other random illustration jobs; I’m drawing the opening credits for some movie being made in Chicago right now, and some promotional drawings for this international men’s fashion show. I have no idea how I’ve lucked into this semi-professional career while I’m still in college, but I am very appreciative of everyone who has ever given me money in exchange for drawing.

Alden’s prints were recently exhibited in the Stevens Gallery in Reid Campus Center. To see some of his work, go to, check out his shirts for the Colville Street Patisserie and KWCW, or pick up a copy of KWCW’s magazine “Hey, Man.”