Following your Passions: An Interview with Military Cartoonist, Pat Hrabe

Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

Every survival kit should include a sense of humor. ~ Author Unknown


If your day has been tough, sometimes hearing a joke or seeing a funny cartoon can be just the thing to change your focus and bring a small smile to your face or a hefty belly laugh. We have talked about how humor can help during a deployment during a previous interview with Julie Negron, creator of military spouse cartoon strip Jenny Spouse. This week military cartoonist, Pat Hrabe joins us to chat about his animation Web series, Hey, Shipwreck.


Wendy: When did you first start drawing cartoons and how did you know it was something you wanted to pursue as a profession?


Pat Hrabe: I have been drawing ever since I can remember and I think the natural kid's interest in cartoons and comics compelled me to often pick that as a subject. When I got to an age where it occurred to me that people made a living drawing and cartooning, it was an easy assessment as to what I wanted to pursue.


Wendy: What cartoon strips or projects are you currently working on?


Pat: Right now, I am getting ready to launch a new season of my animated Web series, "Hey, Shipwreck." On top of that, I also manage to upload a comic when a good idea hits me.


Wendy: What kind of feedback have you received?


Pat: The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Even from higher-ranking members of the military, the overall input I've received is based on the cartoons' genuineness to the military experience.


Wendy: What has been the most exciting thing to happen since you first started pursuing cartooning and animation?


Pat: Last year, I was invited to two events through Navy Operational Stress Control to draw cartoons for injured service members. It was the first time I ever interacted with other professional cartoonists and the experience of brightening the days of military personnel recovering from combat wounds was an unforgettable experience.


Wendy: Why do you think humor is important when going through a tough deployment or separation?


Pat: It's important because it not only puts perspective on what you're going through, I've learned that there are legitimate mental health benefits for seeing the lighter side of a situation.


Wendy: How do you overcome creative blocks?


Pat: The main thing I do is "Trust the Process." Part of the creative process is muscling through bad ideas until a good one reveals itself. I just keep pushing because I know if I don't, then I'm just delaying a breakthrough.


Wendy: What advice do you have when it comes to pursuing your passions?


Pat: The main thing for me is to do something because you love it. If you're doing it for any other reason, be it money, benefits, recognition, etc., then the outcome is never going to be as good as when the motivation is joy. However, usually those other aspects follow if you're joyful about your work long enough. I believe the statement that you never really fail until you quit.


How have you pursued your creative passions during a deployment? What advice do you have for others?


Related article: Futuristic 'Shipwreck' spoofs Navy - Navy Times


To learn more about the military cartoon series Tube Daze visit:


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