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Qwerty's Interview with The Smile Cabinet

The Smile Cabinet is a brilliant site of pun-based cartoons. The interview below was conducted via email by Qwerty’s Fiction Editor Andrew Ramos with Caillie West, creator of The Smile Cabinet.

The Smile Cabinet was kind enough to provide us with a brand new cartoon, found at the end of this interview.

AR: How would you describe The Smile Cabinet to someone who has never seen your work?

CW:The Smile Cabinet features cartoons of various characters in goofy situations. The cartoons typically have a literal sense of humour and are often pun based. For The Smile Cabinet, there’s no boundaries as far as what can be a character. Some cartoons are people-based while garbage cans have also made cameos.

AR: If you could point that person to a single cartoon to represent The Smile Cabinet as a whole (or to just your favourite cartoon in general), which would it be and why?

CW: My favourite cartoon would be “Misunderstanding” where the one guy mistakes clouds for the other guys thoughts ( I like it because it completely encompasses the type of humour I’m going for with these cartoons.

AR: How and why did you come up with the idea of starting The Smile Cabinet?

CW: When I was younger, my dad used to make a cartoon each day for us before school. Over time, us kids would start to think of our own ideas too. As I grew older, I kept getting more ideas and started to write them down. I saw other webcomics and cartoons grow in popularity and I thought, why not put mine out there? Why let a silly thing like not knowing how to draw stand in my way? (Still working on this one!)

AR: Where do you get the inspiration for your cartoons? What is your creation process like?

CW: I will generally get my ideas when I’m busy doing something else, talking to someone or just walking down the street. Usually something is sparked by my brain naturally taking a different or literal take at a subject. I’m rarely successful if I just sit down and force an idea.

Once I have an idea, I’ll often sit on it until I have the complete set up for the cartoon. If I’m really excited about it and the idea is simple and complete, I’ll get started on it right away. I draw the cartoon out on paper then trace it on the computer using a Wacom graphic tablet and the program Clip Studio Paint.

AR: What sort of future do you see for The Smile Cabinet? Where do you want to take it?

CW: I’m just taking it one day at a time and having fun with it. For now, I’m hoping to start producing the cartoons on a more regular basis. I have some ideas for cartoons based on audience contribution, and I would like to make greeting cards at some point. I’m also planning on doing a revamp of the website this spring. Stay toon’d!

AR: Any chance you’ve read through our latest edition of Qwerty? If so, were there any pieces that you particularly liked or got your creative energy flowing?

CW: I did read through the latest edition of Qwerty and really enjoyed it! There was a lot of great work. Particularly, the ones that stood out to me were: ‘The Master of Nothing’ by Gordon Massman, ‘Poem for a Woman I Made Up’ by Claire Kelly, and ‘Typewriter with note’ by Gord Marci Jr. Both poems had unique styles and hooked me right away. I loved ‘Typewriter’ because it made me smile and left me thinking about the story behind it.

The Smile Cabinet can be accessed at:

Instagram: @thesmilecabinet

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