Kean English major turned comic artist

By Bryan C. Kuriawa

Under the guise of developing a video game with his friend, a student began to sketch out the basic idea. He developed the characters and the scenarios which were to form the set-up for his game and how it was to be played. Yet upon the release of “Angry Birds,” his friend became discouraged and the project was scuttled.  Compelled to complete it as a comic strip, he set out to finish it, his name Brian Turczmanovicz.

For the past couple of years, Turczmanovicz has been drawing and steadily developing his own comic series entitled, “D-Croc.” Utilizing his imagination, he has continued to craft this series, all from a lifelong love of the medium.

Born at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, New Jersey on October 21, 1992, Turczmanovicz  had a childhood he cited as being “uneventful, lots of bullying and probably during the early 90’s, we had teachers that were more focused on their work than education and pretty much a dog eat dog world.”  Prior to college, he spent high school developing his writing style in the form of short novels.

With his childhood heroes including the television creations of Mr. Rogers, Ash from “Pokémon,” and “The Powerpuff Girls,” he found an interest in comics from the strips featured in the local paper, The Star Ledger.

“As far as comics go, I was interested since like 7, because of The Star Ledger having a comics page and you have comics that are sort of like your first novel in a way,” Turczmanovicz said. “If you go back to “Beetle Bailey,” “Dick Tracy,” “Calvin and Hobbs,” there’s always a storyline progression with them and you can sort of relate to and understand as every issue comes out.”

Following the end of developing his friend’s video game idea, Turczmanovicz began to sketch out the original idea even further. Branching out from the basic idea of a game and a year and a half of development, he set out to complete his idea as a comic strip. The tale of a talking crocodile named D-Croc, an owl named Howl, and the various humans they encounter took shape.

“I started doing the comic strip because I could draw the crocodile over and over in a consistency and in a lot of ways the comic strip offered me a chance to write a novella,” Turczmanovicz said. “Where as I did not have to write an entire book, I could have four panels, three panels in this case, six panels, in which a story was told and it had a humorous ending, and at the same time there was a visual. So it was my attempt at making a story visually acceptable and it was,
instead of a graphic novel I chose a comic.”

Yet in developing his comic strip and gathering the ideas together from the previous idea, he found what most creators come upon. This became the reality of fully fleshing out an idea through the creative process. The name of the strip proved in truth to be one of the most interesting of developments.

“D-Croc is short for “Dumb Croc” which was the original name of the character,” Turczmanovicz said. “But due to limited space in the panels the name was abbreviated. The character D-Croc makes fun of it by saying that the “D” can mean anything in the dictionary.”

Printing out the panels from his computer, he began to draw them based on the pattern of each character drawn and its motion within each strip. He termed this “muscle memory” based on how they would be done each time in a similar fashion.

“It is the hardest thing in the world to do because it is muscle memory,” Turczmanovicz said.

Outside of his comic work, Turczmanovicz has been at Kean as an English/Teacher Certification major for the past few years. Yet while many seeking certification
intend to teach in a K-12 setting, he sees his career goal as one entirely different.

“My dream is to be a teacher in a juvenile detention center,” Turczmanovicz said.  “Because in my opinion, if a teacher can teach students who are not interested in English and are not interested in literature, and they make them interested in literature by the end of the semester, the teacher is doing their job. I do not want to be a teacher that teaches Honors, A.P., or Accelerated classes, because those students are interested in English, their interested in stories, and my job as a teacher should be to make other people interested and not have an easy class.”

Beyond his college major, Turczmanovicz continues to hone his craft and has been in the process of developing newer characters and further ideas down the road. Yet for those who enjoy this art form, he has four principles if you want to be a comic book artist. An artist must have patience, the ability to “absorb the moment” when their work is read, they must have a vast idea, and a person should be motivated even if their art is not perfect, as long as they try their best. For Turczmanovicz, his comic art demonstrates a charm and motivation few others can imagine.

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