Interview with Jordie Poncy about his Life in MS Paint

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordie Poncy, a friend of a friend who is very, very funny and earnest. He writes a blog called Life in MS Paint, through which he tells well-crafted stories using Microsoft Paint as his tool. I’ve never seen anything like it; he’s truly a master of his craft.

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Jen Bokoff: Your blog is amazing. I love how simply enjoyable and fun and witty it is. Where’d the idea come from?  

Jordie Poncy: Thank you! The blog kind of evolved to its current format. After college, my friends and I used to draw ridiculous pictures and email them to one another as a way to stay in touch (instead of working hard to build up a professional reputation in the workplace). For example, when our friend Jess got an internship at the National Institutes of Health, my friend sent around this picture of her accidentally pricking herself with a syringe of wolf DNA and turning into a werewolf:

(Jess had a blond ponytail in real life if you couldn’t tell from the drawing.)  I started posting some of my funny pictures on a blog. I really like comedic writing, so at some point, I decided to start using these pictures as a way to illustrate some funny stories from my life. The blog got a lot better when I started adding the writing. (You can see how bad the early stuff was on the blog.) I have always found MS Paint pictures pretty hilarious because they usually look kinda bad.  

JB: On a scale of totally made up to totally true, where do your stories and drawings fall? And do you and your friends actually resemble what we see in the drawings?  

JP: Believe it or not, the stories are actually frighteningly true. A lot of my comedy stems from having a sense of humor about the stuff happening around me. I like the idea that your average trip to the store can be filled with hilarious things if you’re just open to seeing stuff that way. I do usually add a few small details to punch the stories up a bit, especially if I think of a good joke I can’t resist including. As for the accuracy of the drawings, I’d say it really depends on the person. My mom looks EXACTLY like the drawings. Conversely, I can’t draw my dad at all. He always ends up looking all wrong. I’ll let you be the judge of how I draw my best friend, John:

     [Editor’s Note: WELL DONE!]

JB: You seem to really like the Pea Patch Jig. Explain?

JP: Ahhh, the Pea Patch Jig. What could be better than a kids book about a bunch of mice who throw a huge party in a garden despite a lurking murderous farmer? They jam to some bluegrass music and dance a jig while leaving their baby unattended. It’s a good thing too because the baby ends up firing a pea at a predatory fox using a straw as a blow-gun and saving the whole irresponsible family. Also, here’s a gem I found when I googled The Pea Patch Jig.

JB: What’s one of your favorite story and illustration combos, and what was your process for creating it?  

JP: I was really pleased with The Trouble with Pets is that They’re Always All Dead and Stuff. I love that it highlights some of the funny things about my family, and there are some pretty ridiculous images in it. When I create any post, I always write it in an email first. I write as if I were sending it to some of my funniest friends. By pretending that I’m emailing them, I can get into a really goofy frame of mind. Once I have written the story, I go back and create all the illustrations. Then I edit it after pasting it into the blog. Finally, I get mad at my friends for emailing me their reactions instead of commenting directly on the blog!

JB: Do you have any tips for someone who is new to MS Paint and wants to use it like a pro?

JP: No……………Just kidding. First, I would suggest investing in a good mouse (I can’t believe I just said that). Second, keep in mind that it’s easier to draw lines in the downward direction than upward. Third, I’d recommend just going for it. In MS Paint, the pictures aren’t supposed to be perfect. In fact, it’s usually the case that the worse the drawings are, the funnier. This is a case in which being a horrible artist can be a major advantage. Have fun!

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Make sure to check out Jordie’s fantastic storytelling at Life in MS Paint, and if you really like it, leave him an awesome comment. Bloggers get a kick out of those. [Editor’s Note: Trust me.] Also, enjoy his tags with each post; they are the most random I’ve ever seen.

[Editor’s Note: A few hours after a posted this interview, I was brought to tears by laughter. This is why.]

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