Interview with Cannibal Khan

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Spankart: Hello Cannibal Khan, I'm happy to get the opportunity to do an interview with you. My first question, I am really curious: Where does your nom de plume come from?

Cannibal Khan: The name springs purely from my twisted sense of humor. I draw domestic & school scenes, often trying to be funny or touching. While I labored over what name to use as my internet handle the little demon on my shoulder who usually wins most of the arguments suggested, "Why not juxtapose this cutsie stuff with a really violent nickname? That'll confuse people!" Since confusing people in the real world is one of my favorite things to do, my phonetically alliterative alias was created.

S: You are an extraordinarily prolific spanking artist - with no less than nine galleries on Handprints all of your own if my count is correct. Where do you take all this energy and creativity from?

C: In our community there are a lot of very prolific artists so I'd never really thought of myself as extraordinarily productive. What motivates me is the process of improving, trying to make the next drawing better than the last. Sometimes I feel I'm successful, sometimes it leads to epic failure, but it's the journey that's the fun part for me. When I started, did I think I'd ever have over 150 drawings online? No, but it's fun to surprise yourself sometimes.
More superficially, I just like having a pastime that doesn't leave me bankrupt. I have a number of other hobbies, motorcycling, SCUBA, paintball, et cetera, but they're all ridiculously expensive so I can't do them as often as I'd like. Drawing, and being part of the spanking art community, is a hobby that I can escape to any time just by putting the proverbial pen to paper.

S: What are your typical sources of inspiration when you start a new image?

C: Inspiration can come from anywhere...a mainstream movie, book, or TV outfit...a setting...a song...a story someone tells. That's a part of my brain that never shuts down, it's always on the lookout for a new idea. If I have an idea that isn't fully developed, or I can't get to it right away I write it down and return to it later. I have a few concepts in my "Future Ideas" file that have been waiting for years. Imagine having to wait that long for your spanking!

S: Did other artists (spanking or mainstream) inspire or influence you stylistically?

C: The work of my fellow artists is a tremendous resource, and they've definitely influenced my work. I believe, however, that developing your own style is part of the fun. A good analogy is that insane Japanese cooking show "Iron Chef." I would watch that program knowing that there was absolutely no way I could copy those chefs 100%, but observing their techniques got me started on my own culinary ideas.
It's the same with art; see how Barbara O'Toole paints her mouths, see the body positions George J. Churchward used, see how Drooaygah works text into his drawings? Rather than trying to outright copy their techniques I consider how I can adapt them to fit my own style.

S: Would you like to share a little more information about you? May I ask your age, where you're from, what languages you speak?

C: I'm 34, and currently live in the south-eastern United States, although that's just one of many places I've resided. Considering how much I've traveled I'm a little embarrassed to admit I'm only fluent in English, although I can struggle along in French, German & Turkish. I can ask for a beer in about 20 different need to have priorities after all!

S: (laughs) True. How and when did you first become interested in the spanking fetish, and when did you realize you had this interest? (unashamedly copying your own question! ;)

C: (laughs) Yes, I opened a "dreambook" page to ask that question and received a lot of interesting answers. My spanking fascination arrived with early adolescence; but much darker things caught my interest at a very young age. My kindergarten class had a film-strip depicting an old African folk tale...a monkey had been throwing cocoanuts down from his tree and killed 3 baby birds. The animals of the forest judged the monkey, and found him guilty, so they beat him to death with cocoanuts (pretty harsh for kindergarten!). I was fascinated by this story, and watched it over and over.
As I grew older, to reading age, I read and re-read the parts of books involving non-consensual torture and doom. Frodo's torture in the tower in Lord of the Rings, Friday's near consumption by cannibals in Robinson Crusoe, Aslan's execution in the Chronicles of Narnia, volumes & volumes of real-world history, et cetera. Of course, nobody thought this was odd, all young boys are obsessed with gruesome stuff so it was normal.
I became interested in spanking later, at about 10-12 years old...about the same age when one begins to make a little progress with girls. A few of those girls who were equally eager to "fool around" were still subject to spanking at home, and they weren't too shy to talk about it. I was hooked.

S: You're using interesting techniques in creating your artwork — combining free drawing, photos, textures, digital colorization and filters. Would you like to explain a bit how you work, technically?

C: Gauis Marius pointed out that my style resembles a "children's collage" and I like that comparison. In the beginning I created a line drawing, scanned it, and did all the colorization & detailing on the computer. For about a year and a half I've been using a tablet and that's really expanded my options. For instance I can begin with a background now and add characters, or create the characters first and build the background around them. A graphics program that can work in layers is the greatest thing in the world for a computer-artist.

S: How did you learn to draw?

C: Like most kids I loved to draw. I specialized in dinosaurs at a young age & as I grew to pre-adolescence my focus shifted to cars & motorcycles. By junior-high school I was writing more than I drew, and for many years the only time I drew was when someone needed a map.
The urge returned when I was in my thirties. I had discovered HandPrince's incredible collection of online art, and after a few years of lurking I decided to get involved. Problem was, I'd always been lousy at drawing people. That's where you came in, SpankArt. At that time you had a buzzlink page with a lot of very helpful tutorials. It helped a lot as I learned my basics. In addition to that I purchased a handful of art instructional books with topics ranging from classical anatomy to anime/manga. That stuff got me started, but I'm still learning. I hope I keep learning for the rest of my life.

S: Oh, I'm really glad to hear that the tutorials and links I put up found some fertile soil — I was hoping so, but got very little feedback on my site back then. That's good news. Where do you get all the material from that you use in your pictures — the photos and the textures for example?

C: Online & magazine scans mostly. The internet is full of wallpaper businesses, fabric shops, and furniture stores. Occasionally I will take a screen-capture of an interesting web-page background. I get a lot of shoes from online shoe-stores. Sometimes I'll even take a digital photo of an interesting pattern I see in the real-world!

S: Am I right in saying your artwork tends to depict scenes set in contemporary America (as opposed to the past or other cultures)?

C: That would be accurate. There are plenty of people creating nostalgia inspired spanking art (Lee Warner, Ann Madison, Ron Wilson), so I'm happy to fill the modern niche. As for the location, that can be left to the viewer's imagination, but I admit I do use a lot of American clichés.

S: Embedding humor in spanking art is one of your specialties. To me, even knowing this, it always catches me by surprise in your works — probably because a thumbnail doesn't tell you in any way whether the pic you're about to see is funny or serious, and something in your style often seems to suggest humor at first glance when it's in fact serious (that is: probably, but rarely 100% sure), or vice versa. Is this uncertainty, this ambiguousness intended? Do you enjoy combining the serious with the funny, the grave atmosphere with the laugh?

C: I was never spanked as a child, so the actual emotions surrounding the event are a mystery to me. It seems to me that people who were spanked look back on it with a comical sense of nostalgia. I can't imagine they felt the same way about it when they were kids, so there's where the "layering" of emotions comes in. A goal is to try to create situations that the spankee, as miserable as she might be during the actual event, could look back on and laugh.
Subject matter becomes important here; I never draw a character being spanked for bullying, or for abject cruelty, and similarly I never draw a spanker taking pleasure from the act. Harmless mischief seems to be the best source of inspiration in order to achieve that desired combination of emotions.

S: Your spankees are always girls?

C: Always. More than a few people have asked me to create a boy-spanking piece, but to them I can only offer my apologies. I just have no interest in it, and if I did do one it would be so forced that it wouldn't look very good anyway. You have to stick with what you enjoy doing.

S: How old do you imagine the girls in your drawings to be?

C: My usual range is 8-13 years. The situation in the drawing says a lot about the age of the girl. If she's being spanked for spray-painting Mom's car, ruining her expensive party clothes, or misbehaving for the babysitter, chances are she's in the lower end of that range. If the unfortunate girl is being punished for smoking, running up a huge phone bill, or sneaking in late after curfew she might be as old as 17. Of course, certain subjects, like trouble at school, apply to all ages.

S: Do you also write stories?

C: Yes I do. I'm a storyteller at heart, and I think my drawings reflect that. I've written a number of stories too, but I've never found an appropriate place to post them.

S: What are your views on the spanking of children by parents or teachers?

C: Domestically; I'm not in favor of it, but as a non-parent I also don't think I have any business telling people how to handle their kids. I do believe, however, that the government has a right to get involved if there is even a question of abuse.
As far as schools go, I'm 100% against it. It represents too much power in the hands of an authority figure who all too often goes unquestioned. A large part of education should be learning to question & challenge authority in a civilized manner, which is completely antithetical with school corporal punishment.
If I were to have my own kids (not likely) I hope I would be capable of influencing them without resorting to physicality.

S: Have you met with other spankos in real life?

C: I've run a cross a few, but I've never discussed my online life. A handful of adult women (who now enjoy either a spanking or BDSM fetish) have shared their childhood spanking experiences with me, which I have edited into stories.

S: Have you tried spanking in real life?

C: Not really. I tried once (as the submissive) with a Venezuelan prostitute but it was pretty unsatisfying. In order for consensual spanking to be fun I think you need two partners who are equally interested & willing to role-play. That kind of relationship requires trust. I however, have never been involved in a romantic relationship of any length (not really interested either, casual encounters appeal to me more) so I've never laid that essential groundwork.
In addition, I'm a 6-foot, 220+ pound sailor in real life...people might find me scary in the dominant role & I don't think I'd make a very convincing sub! Under the right circumstances I'd be willing to try both roles though.

S: What's your best advice you can give to other hobby artists, especially beginners?

C: First of all, never underestimate your own idea. The first "South Park" episodes were created using simple construction paper & stop-motion photography, and look how far that's gone! Lee Warner invented a computer aided tracing technique that produced some of the most incredible art our community has ever seen. I'm sure that someone out there is sitting on the next great idea, and they're just a post away from sharing it with the world. Don't base your creative style on emulating a favorite artist...base it on what you're good at & what you enjoy doing.
Posting on sites like Handprints and AnimeOTK is great for receiving encouragement, but not very useful for getting genuine advice. It's only natural...people are hesitant to post negative criticism in a public forum (lest they be criticized themselves). If it's real advice and critique you're looking for, contact an established artist. Most of us have our e-mail address publicly available, and AOTK has a very useful private message system. There are lots of us out here that would be happy to help out!

S: I can really second that. Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

C: I'd like to let everyone know how much I've enjoyed being a part of this creative community for the past few years, and thank them for the tons of terrific feedback I've gotten.
Like most of us I wasn't sure what to expect when I first got involved. The only person I knew of that was interested in spanking art was myself. Sure, there had to be others, but who were they? What kind of people were they? Is there a typical profile? Do I fit that profile?
What I've found out over the years is that there is no "typical" spanko. I've met as widely varied a group of individuals as you could hope to find. Among us are affluent professionals & struggling students, people from all 6 populated continents, adventurers & introverts, men & women, straight people, gay people, and everything in-between. I've talked with folks in their 60's & 70's, as well young people who...well...probably shouldn't even be hanging out on an "adult-oriented" website like this. It's an honor to be part of this diverse group, and I hope my work continues to please for years to come!

S: Thank you very much for this interview, Cannibal Khan. It was a great pleasure. I wish you all the best for your future, and somehow I'm sure you'll never run out of ideas for spanking drawings! :)

C: Thank you for the opportunity, SpankArt. I eagerly look forward to your next interview.